Olkhon Island

A place where legends come to life

Olkhon Island

P eople call Olkhon the Pearl of Baikal. It is no wonder – the beauty of this place is fantastic! Its energy leaves a feeling of something special, which you can’t find anywhere else in the world! So it’s not a surprise there is no other place on Baikal more popular than the Olkhon island.

Olkhon Island, ancient as the Baikal itself, contains many secrets and legends. Each Island’s sight is closely connected to shamanism traditions and tells a beautiful story from local folklore.

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Olkhon Island

A place where legends come to life

Olkhon Island

P

eople call Olkhon the Pearl of Baikal. It is no wonder – the beauty of this place is fantastic! Its energy leaves a feeling of something special, which you can’t find anywhere else in the world! So it’s not a surprise there is no other place on Baikal more popular than the Olkhon island.

Olkhon Island, ancient as the Baikal itself, contains many secrets and legends. Each Island’s sight is closely connected to shamanism traditions and tells a beautiful story from local folklore.

Карта Байкала
Olkhon island on the map
Popularity — 100%
Complexity — 30%
Availability — 100%
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What’s interesting here?

  • A sacred center of local believings
  • A chance to see Baikal seal – Nerpa!
  • Guide trips in different languages
  • 143 archeological objects on the Island
  • “The New York Times” recommended Olkhon Island as one of the best tourist places in 2019
  • Ship travel is available
  • Island’s length – 73.5 km, width – 15 km
  • Island’s population – about 1800 people
  • The capital – village Khuzhir

What’s interesting here?

  • A sacred center of local believings
  • A chance to see Baikal seal – Nerpa!
  • Guide trips in different languages
  • 143 archeological objects on the Island
  • “The New York Times” recommended Olkhon Island as one of the best tourist places in 2019
  • Ship travel is available
  • Island’s length – 73.5 km, width – 15 km
  • Island’s population – about 1800 people
  • The capital – village Khuzhir

Olkhon Attractions

Olkhon island doesn’t only portray the beauty of Baikal’s unique nature. Giant stones, cliffs, capes look so mystic and unusual! Could nature have created this? Maybe an evil shaman turned someone into stone many centuries ago? On the Island of Olkhon, you will see unforgettable landscapes and listen to ancient legends that will fascinate you… or scare you?

The name «Olkhon» comes
from buryat word «Oikhon» which means «a bit foresty»

Olkhon Island

A view near Khuzhir

Shaman Rock

This two-peaked Rock locates near the Khuzhir village. In ancient times, this Rock was a sacred place. It is considered that the master spirit of the entire Island lives here. People were always afraid of this place; however, in time of need prayed here for help. They swore in love near the Rock and gave oaths because no one would dare to lie before the face of the mightful spirit! Island residents made sacrifices and performed various rites near the Rock to respect the Olkhon mighty master.

It was a long time ago…

Today, the Rock is a sacred place, so it is strongly recommended not to drink alcohol or use curse words near the Rock of Shamans.

Shaman Rock is the place of power
and has the great respect in Shamanism

Остров Ольхон

Shaman Rock

Khoboy Cape

The word «Khoboy» in the Buryat language means «fang.» It locates in the northern part of the Island. Khoboy Cape is another place of Power on the Olkhon. On the cape, you can often meet people engaged in meditation. Moreover, there are even strange writings around the rocks… Nobody knows what they mean.

The cape looks like a woman’s silhouette. According to the legend, the Gods gave a man a Giant Palace. He began to live in it with his wife. They were happy. Nevertheless, the wife envied her husband. She asked the Gods to send her the same palace as her husband. The Great Gods considered it greed because the woman lived in her husband’s palace and did not need anything. They were angry and turned the envious woman into stone for such an act. «Until greed and envy have gone on the Earth, you’ll be a stone!» – They said. The stone still rises above the steppe. However, I hope one day she will become human again.

Khorin-Irgy Cape

On the west part of Olkhon, tourists can see a rock in a horse’s head shape. That’s why the name. Usually, tourists visit the cape Khorin-Irgy to explore its caves.

Остров Ольхон

A view from the island

Sagan-Khushun Cape

This place is also called the «Cape of three brothers.» The Three Brothers are three rocks of white marble. The cape took this name from a legend.

Once there was a powerful Shaman who had three sons and a daughter. One day his daughter ran away to her beloved. So the Shaman sent his sons to find her. After a while, the brothers found their sister. But her love was so strong that they decided to tell their father that she was lost. Unfortunately for them, no one can deceive the Shaman! So, in a rage, he turned his sons into three stones.

The cape is famous for the 15 meters depth cave. Nobody knows the cave’s full depth because the triangular stone closes the passage and makes it impossible to go further. What mysteries could be hiding behind the rock?

Kurykanskaya Wall

Kurykanskaya wall is near Cape Khorogoy. Hundreds of years ago, people built the wall without any fastening materials! The wall length is about 300 meters, and the height is up to 2 meters. Unfortunately, what was left of it now are ruins. Scientists still do not know what it was precisely intended: for religious or defensive purposes.

The wall was built by the Kurykan people. They lived on the island in V-VII centuries

Budun Cape

Cape Budun translated from the Buryat language as «Fat Cape.» It is towering over Lake Baikal at 100 meters. The cape locates in the middle of the West coast of Olkhon Island.

Olkhon Island

A view from the island

Khankhoy Lake

Khankhoy Lake is connected to Baikal by a narrow two-meter canal. Local beaches are perfect for relaxing by the water. Moreover, clear water allows you to see everything within a depth of 4 meters!

Shara-Nur Lake

In the Buryat language, «Shara-Nur» means «Yellow Lake.» Lake Shara-Nur is popular among tourists and locals because of its natural therapeutic muds. There are claims that the soil treats various diseases of the joints. If you decide to swim in the lake’s water, don’t be surprised about getting red all over— it is healthy mineral salts.

At the same time, this place fences on all sides by forests and hills and only the experienced tourists can reach it. Do you accept the challenge?

Остров Ольхон

A place near Saraiskiy bay

Zhima Mountain

This mountain is the highest point on Olkhon Island, with a height of 1300 meters. It takes a whole day to reach its peak.

Sarayskiy Bay

One of the most famous places on the Island of Olkhon is Sarayskiy Bay. The sandy beach is about 3 kilometers long and locates near the Khuzhir village. Perfect for long walks and admiring nature while relaxing.

Olkhon Island

Saraiskiy bay

Zagly Bay and Nur Lake

After crossing to Olkhon, you will see the Zagly Bay on the left side. Lake Nur is very close to it, where most tourists stay. This place is popular because of the warm water, up to 25 degrees.

A lonely birch

Here is a beautiful Buryat folk legend in conclusion.

A Shaman had five daughters. One of them had the Gift of Gods – she could heal people. She was always happy to help somebody and use her Gift; people loved and respected the woman for her kindness. However, even Shamans can’t stop the time. When the time came for her to die, people began to cry and beg her to stay. In parting, she said that she would help people even after death. The woman passed away. Suddenly, people saw a beautiful birch on the wasteland, where no living thing grew for hundreds of years. There was no doubt – the Healer returned to help her people.

Hug the Birch and ask for health or help. Then after some time, you’ll find the answers you need! After standing for a few seconds hugging the Birch, you’ll feel a surge of strength and energy. Hard to believe? Try it yourself!

Olkhon Attractions

Olkhon island doesn’t only portray the beauty of Baikal’s unique nature. Giant stones, cliffs, capes look so mystic and unusual! Could nature have created this? Maybe an evil shaman turned someone into stone many centuries ago? On the Island of Olkhon, you will see unforgettable landscapes and listen to ancient legends that will fascinate you… or scare you?

The name «Olkhon» comes
from buryat word «Oikhon» which means «a bit foresty»

Olkhon Island

A view near Khuzhir

Shaman Rock

This two-peaked Rock locates near the Khuzhir village. In ancient times, this Rock was a sacred place. It is considered that the master spirit of the entire Island lives here. People were always afraid of this place; however, in time of need prayed here for help. They swore in love near the Rock and gave oaths because no one would dare to lie before the face of the mightful spirit! Island residents made sacrifices and performed various rites near the Rock to respect the Olkhon mighty master.

It was a long time ago…

Today, the Rock is a sacred place, so it is strongly recommended not to drink alcohol or use curse words near the Rock of Shamans.

Shaman Rock is the place of power
and has the great respect in Shamanism

Остров Ольхон

Shaman Rock

Khoboy Cape

The word «Khoboy» in the Buryat language means «fang.» It locates in the northern part of the Island. Khoboy Cape is another place of Power on the Olkhon. On the cape, you can often meet people engaged in meditation. Moreover, there are even strange writings around the rocks… Nobody knows what they mean.

The cape looks like a woman’s silhouette. According to the legend, the Gods gave a man a Giant Palace. He began to live in it with his wife. They were happy. Nevertheless, the wife envied her husband. She asked the Gods to send her the same palace as her husband. The Great Gods considered it greed because the woman lived in her husband’s palace and did not need anything. They were angry and turned the envious woman into stone for such an act. «Until greed and envy have gone on the Earth, you’ll be a stone!» – They said. The stone still rises above the steppe. However, I hope one day she will become human again.

Khorin-Irgy Cape

On the west part of Olkhon, tourists can see a rock in a horse’s head shape. That’s why the name. Usually, tourists visit the cape Khorin-Irgy to explore its caves.

Остров Ольхон

A view from the island

Sagan-Khushun Cape

This place is also called the «Cape of three brothers.» The Three Brothers are three rocks of white marble. The cape took this name from a legend.

Once there was a powerful Shaman who had three sons and a daughter. One day his daughter ran away to her beloved. So the Shaman sent his sons to find her. After a while, the brothers found their sister. But her love was so strong that they decided to tell their father that she was lost. Unfortunately for them, no one can deceive the Shaman! So, in a rage, he turned his sons into three stones.

The cape is famous for the 15 meters depth cave. Nobody knows the cave’s full depth because the triangular stone closes the passage and makes it impossible to go further. What mysteries could be hiding behind the rock?

Kurykanskaya Wall

Kurykanskaya wall is near Cape Khorogoy. Hundreds of years ago, people built the wall without any fastening materials! The wall length is about 300 meters, and the height is up to 2 meters. Unfortunately, what was left of it now are ruins. Scientists still do not know what it was precisely intended: for religious or defensive purposes.

The wall was built by the Kurykan people. They lived on the island in V-VII centuries

Budun Cape

Cape Budun translated from the Buryat language as «Fat Cape.» It is towering over Lake Baikal at 100 meters. The cape locates in the middle of the West coast of Olkhon Island.

Olkhon Island

A view from the island

Khankhoy Lake

Khankhoy Lake is connected to Baikal by a narrow two-meter canal. Local beaches are perfect for relaxing by the water. Moreover, clear water allows you to see everything within a depth of 4 meters!

Shara-Nur Lake

In the Buryat language, «Shara-Nur» means «Yellow Lake.» Lake Shara-Nur is popular among tourists and locals because of its natural therapeutic muds. There are claims that the soil treats various diseases of the joints. If you decide to swim in the lake’s water, don’t be surprised about getting red all over— it is healthy mineral salts.

At the same time, this place fences on all sides by forests and hills and only the experienced tourists can reach it. Do you accept the challenge?

Остров Ольхон

A place near Saraiskiy bay

Zhima Mountain

This mountain is the highest point on Olkhon Island, with a height of 1300 meters. It takes a whole day to reach its peak.

Sarayskiy Bay

One of the most famous places on the Island of Olkhon is Sarayskiy Bay. The sandy beach is about 3 kilometers long and locates near the Khuzhir village. Perfect for long walks and admiring nature while relaxing.

Olkhon Island

Saraiskiy bay

Zagly Bay and Nur Lake

After crossing to Olkhon, you will see the Zagly Bay on the left side. Lake Nur is very close to it, where most tourists stay. This place is popular because of the warm water, up to 25 degrees.

A lonely birch

Here is a beautiful Buryat folk legend in conclusion.

A Shaman had five daughters. One of them had the Gift of Gods – she could heal people. She was always happy to help somebody and use her Gift; people loved and respected the woman for her kindness. However, even Shamans can’t stop the time. When the time came for her to die, people began to cry and beg her to stay. In parting, she said that she would help people even after death. The woman passed away. Suddenly, people saw a beautiful birch on the wasteland, where no living thing grew for hundreds of years. There was no doubt – the Healer returned to help her people.

Hug the Birch and ask for health or help. Then after some time, you’ll find the answers you need! After standing for a few seconds hugging the Birch, you’ll feel a surge of strength and energy. Hard to believe? Try it yourself!

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How to get to the Olkhon Island

It’s not difficult to get to the Island because this route is trendy. On the other hand, the road to Olkhon and its capital Khuzhir takes about 5 hours by car or minibus.

You will be surprised by the high quality of the road from Irkutsk to the ferry crossing. In general, there are good roads almost in the whole Irkutsk region. However, on the Olkhon, the streets are not quite the same.

Be cautious in using your car; there can be big queues at the ferry crossing. In the worst-case scenario, you have to spend several hours waiting. But route buses and minibusses use the ferry without queuing. Moreover, there is only one gas station on the Island. Local people prefer not to buy gas there because of its low quality. Therefore, we recommend you buy gas in Irkutsk in advance.

A taxi service will cost you much more than a minibus trip – about 5,000 roubles one way.
It is the most widespread and the cheapest option. To go by minibus, tourists can always buy a ticket at the Bus Station and wait for their take-off.

The other way to use public transport is to take a minibus on the Central Market. We marked this place on Irkutsk Map. The price to go from Irkutsk to Khuzhir is 450 roubles. Just find a minibus with the inscription «Olkhon» or «Ольхон» (in the Russian language) and take a seat. Pay directly to the driver when you have arrived at Khuzhir.

The cost is similar for both options.

It is possible to visit Olkhon by ship. It is not cheap, but it’s possible to organize a ferry trip to Olkhon Island.

How to get to the Olkhon Island

It’s not difficult to get to the Island because this route is trendy. On the other hand, the road to Olkhon and its capital Khuzhir takes about 5 hours by car or minibus.

You will be surprised by the high quality of the road from Irkutsk to the ferry crossing. In general, there are good roads almost in the whole Irkutsk region. However, on the Olkhon, the streets are not quite the same.

Be cautious in using your car; there can be big queues at the ferry crossing. In the worst-case scenario, you have to spend several hours waiting. But route buses and minibusses use the ferry without queuing. Moreover, there is only one gas station on the Island. Local people prefer not to buy gas there because of its low quality. Therefore, we recommend you buy gas in Irkutsk in advance.

A taxi service will cost you much more than a minibus trip – about 5,000 roubles one way.
It is the most widespread and the cheapest option. To go by minibus, tourists can always buy a ticket at the Bus Station and wait for their take-off.

The other way to use public transport is to take a minibus on the Central Market. We marked this place on Irkutsk Map. The price to go from Irkutsk to Khuzhir is 450 roubles. Just find a minibus with the inscription «Olkhon» or «Ольхон» (in the Russian language) and take a seat. Pay directly to the driver when you have arrived at Khuzhir.

The cost is similar for both options.

It is possible to visit Olkhon by ship. It is not cheap, but it’s possible to organize a ferry trip to Olkhon Island.