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Study Trip

"Discovering the Art, Cultures and Natural Beauty of Lake Baikal, the World's deepest and oldest lake"

Tuesday, 21 – Tuesday, 28 August 2018
Organised with the help of the Russian Geographical Society under the leadership of Khun Pikulkeaw Krairiksh, President of the Siam Society

*As the Russian hotels will only hold our reservation until 10 April it is essential*
that you let the Society know this week if you want to join this trip.

 

Cr.Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

 

The Baikal lake is located in Eastern Siberia and is the boundary of two Russian provinces – Buryatia Republic on the south-east shore and Irkutskaya Oblast on the north-west shore.

It is the world’s deepest (1637m) and oldest lake. The lake contains 20% of the world's surface unfrozen fresh water while the flora and fauna of the lake are mostly endemic. Russians sometimes call Lake Baikal a sea because of its size.  Mountain ranges surround the valley and the lake. In the west there are the Baikal mountains and in the east the Zabaikalskie mountains. The Angara River is the only outflow of Lake Baikal.

The lake's geological formation started around 20-25 million years ago, making it one of the oldest lakes in geological history and even nowadays its rift is continuing to widen 2cm a year. The first mention of its name appeared in Chinese writings in 110 B.C. as "Beihai" (Northern Sea).

Several cultures have appeared on its shores, including the Buryat. Russian sources first mention Baikal in 1640 after which was a time of exploration and description by Russian Cossacks and the Church until its first scientific expedition in 1723.

On October 13, 1905 the Circum-Baikal Railway opened. In 1916 Barguzinsky Nature Reserve was organized. In 1990, wind-surfers from Russia, Austria and Czechoslovakia were the first to cross the lake's widest point. In 1991, the deepest point on the lake's bottom was declared near Olkhon Island, and since then slightly deeper points have superseded the original. In 1997 Lake Baikal became a part of UNESCO Heritage.

Under the leadership of Khun Pikulkeaw Krairiksh, President of the Siam Society. The Siam Society trip to Baikal lake region will explore both western and eastern shores of Lake Baikal: "European" Irkutsk region and "Asian" Buryat Republic. Visit Baikal's most famous sites and get acquainted with the history of four different cultures inhabiting its shores; Buddhism, shamanism, the culture of the Buryats and Old Believers' way of life in modern Russia.

This trip is being organised with the help of the Russian Geographical Society.  The Society was established by the highest authority of Nicholas I in 1845. It is one of the oldest geographical societies in the world.

Nowadays, the Russian Geographical Society continues to follow the time-honored traditions established by its founders. Geographers, ecologists, geologists, ethnologists, statisticians, photographers, mass-media representatives, travelers and those, eager to learn new about Russia and ready to help to preserve its natural riches cooperate with the Society. Regional branches of the Society operate in all 83 federal subjects of the Russian Federation.

The Board of Trustees of the Society, headed by the President of Russia Vladimir Putin was established in 2010. The Board has restored years-long traditions of patronship and instituted grants of the Society.

The Russian Geographical Society’s expeditions played a significant role in opening Siberia and the Far East, Middle and Central Asia, and the World Ocean.

 

The tentative programme will be as follows:

Day 1: Tuesday 21 August: Bangkok – Irkutsk

3:00 p.m. Meet at Suvarnabhumi Airport, check in counter for Siberia Airlines (S7)
5:25 p.m. Depart Bangkok to Irkutsk by S7 762

Day 2: Wednesday 22 August: Irkutsk

00:25 a.m. Arrive Irkutsk airport, transfer to hotel Courtyard by Marriott Irkutsk City
Morning Breakfast at the hotel
10:00 a.m.

City Tour of Irkutsk. Visit the historic part of the city: Epiphany Cathedral, the oldest stone-structure Church of our Saviour and the only Catholic Cathedral in Irkutsk, the Kirov Square and circus. Visit the main street of Irkutsk, the Karl Marks Street, see the monument to Alexander III, the district of historic wooden buildings.  Visit the Regional Museum which contains a great collection of the ethnographic exhibits and displays from the 20th century.

Irkutsk is the administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, and one of the largest cities in Siberia.  It began as a small settlement in the mid 17th century for gold-trading and for the collection of the fur tax from the Buryats. The settlement officially became a town in 1686 and the first road between Moscow and the new city was built in 1760.

In 1821, Irkutsk became the seat of the Governor-General of East Siberia.

In the early 19th century, many Russian officers and nobles were sent into exile in Irkutsk for their part in the Decembrist revolt against Tsar Nicholas I. Due to this influx of individuals from St. Petersburg, Irkutsk became the Siberian center of intellectual and cultural life. By 1900, the city had earned the nickname “The Paris of Siberia”. Today Irkutsk has become a college town with many young people studying at the university and other institutes of higher education in the city.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant
Afternoon: Proceed to Ust-Orda settlement, center of Buryat culture. (140 kms).  Visit the Local Lore Museum and learn about the history of different ethnic groups that inhabited the region since the Paleolithic Era and participate in ancient purification ritual with a real shaman.
Evening: Drive back to Irkutsk
- Dinner at local restaurant

Day 3: Thursday 23 August: Irkutsk – Listvyanka - Irkutsk

- Breakfast at the hotel
9.00 a.m.

Proceed to visit Listvyanka (70 kms.), a small settlement located on the southwestern shores of Lake Baikal.

En route, visit Taltsy - an open-air Museum of Siberian Wooden Architecture.  The museum´s oldest buildings are the Spass Tower of the Ilimsk Fortress (1667) and the still active Kazan Chapel (1679).
Noon: Arrive Listvyanka, lunch at local restaurant
Afternoon:

Take a boat ride through Shaman Stone and Port Baikal village. Discover the history of the most expensive and difficult to construct part of the Trans-Siberian railway, take a walk along the railway, visit the local museum, and then back to Listvyanka.

Walking tour around the Listvyanka settlement, visit the Church of St. Nicolas - the guardian angel of travelers, Baikal Ecological Museum to see the lake's flora and fauna and visit the local fish market. Smoked OMUL – Baikal endemic testy fish – is highly recommended to try.
Evening: Return back to Irkutsk.
- Dinner at local restaurant
- Overnight at hotel Courtyard by Marriott Irkutsk City Center

Day 4: Friday 24 August: Irkutsk – Circum Baikal Railway route trekking - Irkutsk

- Breakfast at the hotel
- Our visit of this part of railway will give you an understanding of the architecture and construction solutions of those days, and the feel of unique nature of the lake.
9.00 a.m.

Departure from Irkutsk by bus to the starting point for a two hour trek.

The walk will go downhill from the new line of the Trans-Siberian through the valley to Lake Baikal

Around 13.00 we will arrive at the village of Staraya Angasolka by the lake. Staraya Angasolka is a small station with a few buildings, and there is an art gallery and a good eatery with tasty pancakes during summer! After a picnic lunch we walk by the old Trans-Siberian line till the station of Kultuk.

After the village we will follow the tracks, passing  three tunnels, several bridges and small stations (4 km). We will also see some leftovers of disassembled second line of the Trans-Siberian.
4.00 p.m.

Frome Kultuk station we drive to the top of the mountain, enjoying the beautiful view of Baikal Lake.

After that drive back to Irkutsk
Evening: (Optional) Russian 'banya' (steam bath)
- Dinner at own arrangement

Day 5: Saturday 25 August: Irkutsk – Ulan Ude

- Breakfast at the hotel
9.00 a.m.

Check out, and proceed by coach to Ulan Ude, the capital of Republic of Burytia. (460 km.)

En route, stop at the most southern point of Lake Baikal A view point to see the lake from above. After that continue to visit Baikal Tankhoy Sanctuary (a protected National Park). Explore the small but interesting museum at the visitors center, dedicated to the history of Circum-Baikal Railway and the forest inhabitants. After that, we will have a very relaxing walk along the wooden Tankhoy nature trails for 1-2 kilometers, exploring the forest and its inhabitants. After that we head to Posolskiy Bay.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant on the way
Evening Arrival to Ulan-Ude, check-in at the hotel Mergen Bator
- Dinner at the hotel

Day 6: Sunday 26 August: Ulan Ude

- Breakfast at the hotel
9.00 a.m.

Proceed to visit Ivolginsky Buddhist monastery – the center of Buddhism in Russia. Founded in 1946, in spite of Stalin’s atheist policy, it became the center of Buddhism in Russia.

Today, it is the biggest Buddhist monastery in the country with colorful and elegant temples, Buddhist University, and a library. It is also a residence of the Khambo Lama –the leader of Russian Buddhists.

After that continue to visit to the Old Believers village at Tarbagatai. They are Eastern Orthodox Christians who maintain the liturgical and ritual practices of  the Eastern Orthodox Church as they existed prior to the reforms of Patriarch Nikon of Moscow between 1652 and 1666. Exiled to Siberia they live a secluded life and still preserve their unique culture, costumes, and folklore.

Meet and greet with the local people, who will show us round their traditional house, walk along well-decorated village streets, see the small local Old Believers church, thefascinating museum featuring Old Believers ' heritage and lifestyle'.
Noon Home-cooked lunch in the village, all products were gathered from local farms. After lunch see folk performance, traditional dances and songs.
Afternoon Proceed back to Ulan Ude.
Evening Dinner at local restaurant

Day 7: Monday 27 August: Ulan Ude - Irkutsk

- Breakfast at the hotel
8.00 a.m. Sightseeing in Ulan Ude, the capital city of the Republic of Buryatia, Russia. It has developed from a small Cossack fortress on the banks of the Uda River to a prominent merchant town on the Great Tea Road and to a capital of an ethnic minority region of Russia. Explore the streets of the Old Town lined with centuries-old traditional Siberian houses, see the Merchant Quarter, and visit a Buddhist temple – the Rinpoche Bagsha Temple situated on the top of a hill with a breathtaking panoramic view of the city, its rivers, and surrounding landscapes.
Noon Lunch at local restaurant
3.00 p.m. Process to Ulan Ude train station.
4.03 p.m. By train along the Trans-Siberian route to Irkutsk. (7.10 hrs.)
11.13 p.m. Arrive Irkutsk train station, transfer to hotel Courtyard by Marriott Irkutsk City Center

Day 8: Tuesday 28 August: Irkutsk – Bangkok

- Breakfast at the hotel
8.00 a.m. Transfer to airport
10.45 a.m. Depart Irkutsk to Bangkok by flight S7 761
3.45 p.m. Arrive Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

Booking

Bt. 118,000 (Bt. 121,000 for non-members). Single room surcharge Bt. 18,000. A deposit of Bt. 40,000 and photocopy of passport must accompany the booking. Your reservation will be confirmed as soon as the deposit has been made. Payment in full is required 45 days before the start of the trip (i.e. by Saturday, 7 July 2018)

Please pay by cash or cheque payable to ‘The Siam Society’. There is a 4% surcharge for credit/debit card payment to cover bank charges. Alternatively you can deposit/transfer the money to the Siam Society travel account at the Thai Military Bank, Asoke Branch saving account no. 053-2-18000-7. Please fax or e-mail the deposit or transfer docket to us. In case the tour has to be cancelled due to insufficient participants, a full refund of the deposit will be made.

Includes/Excludes:

The contribution includes meals as mentioned in program, airfare ticket, accommodation for two persons per room, entrance fees, transfer and sightseeing coach, gratuities and other costs incurred to make this trip possible. It excludes visa fee to Russia (if any), personal expenses, personal beverages, etc.

To comply with payment and cancellation policies set forth by tour agencies, and to facilitate smooth working condition between the Siam Society and the tour agencies, please read carefully the revised cancellation policies stated below:

Cancellation charge:

45 days before the start of the trip:                             Deposit forfeited
45-30 days before the start of the trip                         50% of the tour cost
Less than 30 days or cancellation without notice:          No refund

Booking details:

*As the Russian hotels will only hold our reservation until 10 April it is essential that you let the Society know this week if you want to join this trip.

Please supply a copy of your passport with your booking.

The Siam Society reserves the right to change the programme as necessary. Seats are limited. Please book your place as soon as possible. For further information and bookings please contact Khun Prasert or Khun Supanut.