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Baikal Tour: Ice Golf Tournament and Local Culture (Russia)

offered by supplier M19685 (read about supplier)

Key Information:
Tour Duration: 10 day(s)
Group Size: 4 - 14 people
Destination(s): Russia  
Specialty Categories: Golf   Cultural Journey  
Season: March - April
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 1340 Euro (EUR)
Maximum Per Person Price: 1560 Euro (EUR)

Professional players, hardy amateurs and golf enthusiasts from around the world of golf are welcome to take part in the “Baikal Prize Open” Tournament on Ice Golf next spring - the last weekend of March. Baikal Prize Open is played in accordance with "All-Russia Rules on Golf Competitions», the Rules of Golf as approved by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews and the local Baikal Ice Golf Tournament Rules approved by the Baikal Prize - Ice Golf Tournament Organizing Committee.

The “Baikal Prize Open” Organizing Committee includes Golf Association of Irkutsk Region, Irkutsk Regional Committee for Physical Culture, Sports and Tourism, and our Events and Expeditions Bureau. Admitted to participate are golfers from any part of the world who possess professional or amateur status according to the Rules of Golf approved by St. Andrew Club, have valid registration card or having no any alike. No age restrictions. The Player must be moderately fit and healthy enough for ice golfing.

Ice golfing thanks to personal enthusiasm and efforts of Mr.Yury N. Milvit - the President of Ruts Regional Golf Association, has been already 5 years catching on in the ice-covered area of Lake Baikal (Russia) – the world’s deepest, largest and oldest lake. The “Baikal Prize Open” Ice Golf Tournament is far from being extreme one. Because winter on Lake Baikal is not at all severe as most foreigners perceive: from the middle of March and on there’s plenty of sunshine and nearly no wind allowing people to enjoy the end of winter even getting sunburn – especially, when you are on the ice of Lake Baikal which effectively reflects the sun rays…

Spring is already in the air, on some days the temperature is above zero Centigrade, but the transparent 1.5 meter thick ice on Lake Baikal melts away only in May thus extending the opportunities for great ice golfing amidst some of the best weather and landscape conditions in the world and on-of-a-kind natural environment of the Great Baikal. Moreover, at the place of golf course and at least 100 miles away there’s no any threat of attack from any bears or wolves…Well, give your best shot in winter/spring on the golf course of ice-frozen Great Lake Baikal!

Day 1: Upon arrival of the players and their accompanied persons transfer to the town of ice golf course. Check in at the prior booked hotel or guest lodge. After lunch - a guided tour of the Baikal Ecology Museum that has unique collection of items on display relating to the world’s deepest, most ancient and largest lake; visit Baikal aquarium to see Baikal aqua fauna and Baikal’s only mammals - fresh water seals. Visit to the ice golf course. In the evening – meet the Organizing Committee for short introduction and orientation on the upcoming Tournament procedure and associated events; preliminary registration.

Day 2: 11 am - 06 pm, the Baikal Ice Golf Course is open for training. 06 p.m. – the Players and Organizing Committee general meeting. Final registration, draw, etc.

Day 3: 12.00 pm - 01.00 pm Opening Ceremony of the “Baikal Prize Open” Tournament on Ice Golf and start of the 1-st play day.

Day 4: 01:00 pm - 04:00 pm - 2nd Play Day. (For the guests of the Tournament from 13:30 till 15:00 there’s a match play organized on 9-18 holes to compete in long drive, hole van with one stroke). 04:00 pm - 04:30 pm - The Award Ceremony. 06:30 pm - Reception on behalf of the Organizing Committee.

Day 5: Listvyanka–MRS/Sakhyurte settlement on Small Sea of Baikal (total 255 km drive) via Ust-Orda. After breakfast we check out from the hotel and head north through the hills and taiga. The initial stopping point will be at the roadside Shamanistic monument marking the native boundary of the Buryiat area. The local tradition calls for an offering at such boundaries and a small portion of vodka is spilled and sprinkled to the ground and a drop touched to the chest for the health of each child. Our first visit en route will be in Ust Orda Buryat settlement. Ust-Ordat. In Ust-Orda, activities include a visit to the Buryat Ethnography Museum followed by a Buryat folklore performance.

Buryats are a native Siberian people whose history and culture closely relate to that of their southern Mongolian neighbors. We also explore a Buryat shamanistic center—the traditional wooden yurt home of the shaman—and sample some of the Buryat national cuisine including salamt, arza, and tarasun moonshine. Here we are met by Bashiila, the President of the Oriel Shamanistic Fund and a local hereditary shaman. Known locally as “Uncle Vasya”, Bashiila demonstrates a traditional ritualistic ceremony devoted to the deities of Lake Baikal and honoring the health of the earth.

Bashiila will speak to us about the philosophy, religion and culture of the local Buryat people and their traditional conservation practices, describe the shaman practice and altar, and perform a short ritual in honor of travelers and local spirits. We continue then to the Metelitsa (meaning “Snowstorm”) restaurant for lunch. After lunch about 150 kilometers north of Irkutsk, our coach will turn east, towards Baikal, and head up into the highlands and mountains which surround the Lake.

Shortly before the pavement ends, at the high point which marks the border between regions, there’s a special place where offerings are made and stripes (ribbons) are tied to the bushes in respect to Bourhan, the native god. Before dinner we arrive at the Khuzhir settlement located on the mainland and right opposite the famous Horse Head Peninsula of the Olkhon Island. We check in at the “Wind of Journey” Guest Lodge in rooms with modern amenities. At dinner enjoy home-made cuisine cooked by Mrs. Stepanovna - Baikal distinguished cook who will be ready to provide us with explanations about Siberian way of cooking the fish and other tasty dishes.

Day 6: MRS - Olkhon Island. After breakfast it’s on to the Khuzhir settlement on Olkhon Island, the largest and only permanently inhabited island on the lake. En route we wind through the “Small Sea”, part of Lake Baikal sandwiched between the mainland shore and the island’s eastern shore. Time permitting, we may be able to visit the small island of Ogoy—site of the lake’s only Buddhist stupa. At more than 32 feet high, the stupa holds 2.5 tons of Buddhist mantras and 1,543 pounds of holy Buddhist books that were brought from Nepal.

The Ogoy stupa recently became a site for Buddhist pilgrimages. We have a leisurely morning to enjoy our surroundings. Upon arrival in Khuzhir, we check in at the “Sunny” guesthouse, overlooking the famous and legendary Shaman Rock, and our home for the next 3 days (rooms with amenities). The guest lodge is owned and managed by a native Buryat family of Obogoev, who are nice and charming people, eager to tell the travelers about their way life, culture. The atmosphere of the “Sunny” Guest Lodge is very warm and hospitable.

Day 7: Olkhon Island - Khoboy Cape. Our explorations of Olkhon take us first to a holy place of Lake Baikal—the Shamanka craig rock, or Burkhan Cape where the so-called Altar of Rock nestles - the holy-of-holies of shamanists and Buddhist alike. The Rock is reached by an easy walk through Khuzhir village. Then we set out for an excursion around the island, first driving to the northernmost point, the Cape of Khoboy (translation: “fang”). The Cape is located at the widest point of Lake Baikal and offers the best views of the Eastern and Western shores. For the local shamanist believers, the site is a sacred spot. Photo stops are planned in the most picturesque places of the island offering great views of the cliff complexes in Sagaan-Khushin, Budun and Khoboi capes.

During this full-day trip we will also try to locate and see the famed freshwater seals of Baikal, the nerpa, the only freshwater seals in the world. With luck, we can find them in their natural habitat. How the freshwater seal came to be in Lake Baikal is still a mystery; the lake is hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean.how to catch Baikal’s famed fish: grayling, perch and the endemic omul. Our lunch will be served as “hot” picnic on the ice. After dinner, our local guides—passionate ice-fisherman—introduce some ice-fishing secrets on how to catch famous Baikal omul-fish and black-grayling. We learn about the local methods of attracting fish by the use of shrimp bait called “burmash”, which fishermen drop in large amounts in order to entice the omul to feed under their ice-holes…

Day 8: Incredible encounter with Seals and Ice fishing Amateur Tournament. This morning before breakfast if we wake up at around 05:00 a.m. in close vicinity to the Sunny Guest lodge we are most likely to see a unique , though typical scene for this area - the Baikal fresh water seals getting out from ice holes and… Taking To The Air! And then flying eastwards for their annual Seals’ Brotherhood gathering! Can you believe it? Yes, you may have forgotten that today is April 1 – when the smart people of the world have much fun celebrating the All Fools Day which in Lake Baikal area proves to be most amazing amidst fantastic ice, snow and mountain landscapes. Many practical jokes will be played on unsuspecting people on this day, but we should understand though that this should be played in the spirit of fun and not in a spirit of meanness. So, Enjoy the day, everyone, and don't be an April Fool!

But to be more serious, breakfast today is followed by the “Omul Cup” ice fishing “tournament”, during which we set up near our “kamchatka”, or traditional omul group fishing area, where tents and huts perch on the ice over long-established fishing spots. Watch—and participate if you choose—in the ice-hole drilling with promises of local rewards for the fastest driller. Our fishing ground will be not far from the shore and a bit less accessible to the less-dedicated fishermen. The entire fishing shall be a kind of “Cool Fisherman” competition (the more fish you have caught regardless of its size and weight the better). Before lunch the fishing shall be stopped and the result of the competition summed up, and winners will be rewarded. But there won’t be losers since a good catch is guarantied. We return to the guesthouse to enjoy another traditional Siberian banya (steam sauna) before having our farewell to Baikal dinner featuring tasty home-made entrees cooked by our hospitable hostess and her family.

Day 9: Olkhon Island to Irkutsk. This morning we say goodbye to the island and set out for back to Irkutsk with lunch en route in the Petrovo village where we’ll taste Buryat national cuisine – the famous “pozy” – or Buryat big dumplings stuffed with cut lam meat. Upon arrival in Irkutsk we check in at the Victoria Hotel, have some time at leisure before enjoying our toast-filled farewell dinner.

Day 10: Departure from Irkutsk. Format of the Baikal Prize Open: The “Baikal Prize Open” Ice Golf Tournament is played over 9-18 holes stroke play over 2 days to determine absolute winner, the winners and prize winners (female and male).

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

- Registration terms and fees:
- Professionals – 160 Euro (per player)
- Amateurs – 120 Euro (per player)
- Beginners – 80 Euro (per player).

Price Includes:
- Accommodation and full board
- All kind of transfers as described in the tour program
- Guide services
- All events as described in the tour program.

Price Excludes:
- Domestic or international air fare
- Registration fees.

About This Supplier
Location: Russia
Joined InfoHub: Sep 2009

For about 30 years we have been involved in the international travel industry of Russia. We well remember tourism in the Soviet Siberia when breaking through the “iron curtain” was, probably, major motivation for most foreign travelers to come here, if not to count the value of the Trans-Siberian and phenomenon of...

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