Olkhon Island

Lake Baikal is located in Eastern Siberia. To get there, I took a 6h flight from St-Peterburg to Irkutsk; it was very unique because I saw the sunset and sunrise within those hours. To get to Olkhon Island, it is another 4-5h bus journey. It is the biggest island on the lake and the fourth largest lake island in the world. When I arrived, the “biggest” village called Listvyanka, which consisted of hotels with maximum 5 floors, homes, dirt roads, and a few souvenir shops and restaurants. But you do not come to Olkhon for the town, you go for its stunning landscapes and views and its spiritual energies.

Shaman rock: The Buryats are the local indigenous people from Olkhon Island. They believed that Shaman Rock it was an important energetic center for shamanism and people were not allowed to and feared to go here. They believed that the Lord of Baikal lived in the caves. Today, many tourists visit the site because it is considered one of the 6 most sacred places in Asia. Traditional rites like removing curses and cleansing from past karma are still performed here.

North island tour: This tour is easily organized once you are at the island. Drive to the north side of the island and stop at different viewpoints to appreciate the stunning landscapes and shimmering blue lake. Unfortunately, tours are not available in English and you might have to lookup information online and read it for yourself. On this tour, you visit Cape Khoboy: here, listen to the echoes that bounce off the rocks, meditate, or explore the caves.

Bike around the island: Since I was traveling alone, I just rented a bike and took off. I headed north and was having a blast: It was sunny, the road was a little bumpy but I was enjoying it. I was completely alone at every stop, there were no other bikers, and I barely saw any cars drive by. On the way back, I stopped for lunch at a small restaurant and luckily, I met a Russian who spoke English and helped me order some food. We talked for a bit and then I continued my journey back to the hotel. The ride back was such a race: a storm was coming and the bumpy road was hurting my body so much from all the shaking. Luckily I made it back just before it started pouring. My ride was about 34km that day and it felt great!

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