Olkhon Island in Lake Baikal–blog #10

I left Irkutsk last Monday morning.  The shuttle picked me up at my hotel about 8:20 and I expected a ride of a couple of hours.  Well, two hours later…after making multiple stops at other hotels, a street side shuttle stop and a car park, we hit the road for Olkhon Island.  Seven hours later and a short ferry ride, we arrived at my hotel, Nikita’s Homestead.

It’s a neat place and I’ll tell you more about it in a later post but this time I want to tell you about my all day excursion on Tuesday.  The village of Khuzhir, where my hostel/hotel is located, is on the west coast of the island about midway between the north and south ends.  I booked an all day tour to the northern half of the island.  The van arrived on time about 10am and there were seven others from Nikita’s that were also on the trip.  The eight of us, five Chinese, two Thai’s and I filled the van.

Along with our driver/guide/chef we headed out.  We headed north avoiding the interstate and taking the more scenic route.  Actually, there is no other way than the scenic route.  Part of it through deep trenches

and some through grassland.

It was all pretty scenic if not teeth rattling.

It wasn’t like we didn’t have choices when it came to hill climbing.

Most of the time our driver seemed to choose the left choice as if it made a difference. We stopped four times to take photos.  This was our first top and this is a 12-image panorama.  Remember, you can click on an image to see it enlarged.


The sun hitting the cliffs on the mainland was beautiful.

The next stop was a sandy beach with an old pier extending out into the water.

Sorry, neglected to shoot the sand as it was crowded with Chinese tourists.  As an aside, there were a lot of Chinese along the way.  Part of it was because yesterday was a big holiday in China.  The 70th anniversary of the rise of Mao.  There was a big military parade in Beijing and everyone got a week off for the celebration.  Some in my van watched it live on their phones as we traveled north.  I don’t know which came first, Chinese tourists or the selfie stick.  Lots of Chinese tourists taking pictures holding up the Chinese flag.  Sorry, I missed those pictures.

After each stop, there were multiple shuttles with tourists.  It was always a challenge to remember which one you arrived in.  But it was simple actually, it was the gray one!

Further north, another scenic stop and another panorama.

At the very northern end of the island, we stopped for lunch.  While we wandered around taking pictures, our driver/guide/chef  prepared lunch:  fish soup, a cheese sandwich, salad, hot tea and a store bought bag of chocolate cookies.

We were on top of a large hill and it was windy and cold.  The soup and all was very good!  After a few more pictures

we were headed back to the village of Khuzhir.  We took the same scenic road.

More to come including a short tour of the village of Khuzhir.  A village of about 1500 people and home to Nikita’s Homestead.





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