Olkhon Island | Siberia, Russia, 09

img_9702Distance : 46.6 miles (75 km) approx.

Avg. Time : 3 days

Start / Finish :

  • Khuzir to Cape Khoboy (return). It may be possible to hitch a ride back from the Cape to Khuzir.
  • Olkhon Island is situated midway along the western shore of Lake Baikal. It is accessed via a short ferry ride from Sakhyurta.
  • The closest city is Irkutsk. During the summer there are daily buses between Irkutsk and Khuzir. The journey takes about seven hours. Click here for details.

Season : June – October

Maps / Info :

  • Olkhon is the largest island on Lake Baikal. It is 72km long and 15km wide. It is considered to be one of the world’s most important shamanistic centres by the Buryat people, the native inhabitants of the island.
  • See the Way to Russia website for general information on the island and the Lake Baikal region.

Route / Conditions :

  • The hike from Khuzir to Cape Khoboy is not an established hiking trail. That being said the terrain is relatively gentle and navigating is simply a matter of heading NW along the coast from Khuzir.
  • After passing the abandoned village of Peschanaya, link up with the main dirt road heading NW and visit the scenic fishing village of Uzury, situated on the island’s east coast (at this point Olkhon Island is no more than 3km wide).

  • From Uzury it is less than 10km north to Cape Khoboy.
  • Drinking water can be obtained in the villages along the route.
  • Bring all supplies from Khuzir.

Sleeping :

  • Take a tent. Alternatively, you may be able to find indoor accommodation in the villages of Kharantsi, Khalgay and Uzury.
  • Whilst in Khuzir, Nikita’s Guest House is a fantastic spot to use as your base. Accommodation and three meals a day for around US$30 (as of 2009). Great food, atmospheric bar, ping pong tables (Nikita himself used to be on the Russian national team; his young son also plays a mean game) and an authentic Siberian bathhouse.

Overview :

  • Olkhon island is a magical place. Maybe my favourite spot in Russia.
  • One of these days I would love to return to Siberia to hike or volunteer on the Great Baikal Trail. At the time of writing (2010), the trail is still very much a work in progress.

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