Three days in Ulan-Ude

You can spend three days in Ulan-Ude and see all the most beautiful things, taste all the tastiest dishes and find all the most interesting attractions with our guide.

We recommend devoting the first day to a walk around the city. Soviet Square with the Lenin's head, Trading Rows and the Old City, Rinpoche Bagsha Datsan and St. Odigitrievsky Cathedral – we talked about these and many other places in detail in the "One day in Ulan-Ude" article /link to this text/.

The next day you can go to the Ivolginsky datsan, get acquainted with local traditions in the "Steppe Nomad" and "Zamdaa" Ethnic Complexes and in the villages of the Old Believers, visit the ancient city of the Huns or the site of Genghis Khan. We talked about these and other stunning points on the map of Buryatia in the "Interesting places nearby Ulan-Ude" article /link to this text/.

The third day should be set aside for a longer journey deep into the republic. We divided your trip around Buryatia into different directions. If you like to leisurely wander through museums and listen to people's stories, this selection of cultural places is for you. Are you interested in Buddhism and Buryat traditions? We have collected several points of religious direction for you. Well, what about a trip to Baikal? There are also many places worth admiring here. Choose the attractions you like and plan a trip to the most beautiful places in Ulan-Ude and Buryatia with us.

Cultural direction

Novoselenginsk and the Museum of the Decembrists

Novoselenginsk was once considered a city and a commercial center of Transbaikal, and also became a place of political exile. Now the village houses the Museum of the Decembrists named after N.A. Bestuzhev, who grew up from a local school club. The museum has more than ten halls, each of which is associated with the activities of such Decembrists as brothers Nikolai and Mikhail Bestuzhev and Konstantin Thorson, who served exile in Selenginsk. The exhibits include fragments of a chronometer made by Nikolai Bestuzhev, which he used for seismological observations; a model of a threshing machine invented by Thorson, a wood lathe from the workshop of the Bestuzhev brothers and furniture created by them.

Kyakhta and the Museum of Local Lore named after V.A. Obruchev

Kyakhta was founded as a trading city and was called Troitskosavsk. Cloth, textiles, fur goods and yuft were exported to China through it. It was through Kyakhta that the world-famous Tea Route passed; for more than a century the city supplied tea throughout Russia and Europe. It is curious that in Russia this Chinese tea was called Kyakhta, and in other European countries – Russian. In the XIX century, the city was called "Sandy Venice" and "Zabalui-Gorodok"; the journeys of famous explorers of Central Asia – Nikolay Przhevalsky, Grigory Potanin and Alexandra Potanina, Vladimir Obruchev – began or ended here. One of the oldest museums in Siberia and the Far East, the Kyakhta Museum of Local Lore, bears Obruchev’s name. The Siberian Hermitage collection includes items of Russian-Chinese trade, rare photographs, documents, maps and books. Also in the museum you can attend a tea ceremony with a tasting of tea brewed according to ancient recipes.

Bichura and the longest street in the world

UNESCO included the culture of the Transbaikalian Old Believers, the Semeyskys, in the World Intangible Heritage List. Modern residents of these places carefully preserve their heritage — they sing old songs, restore outfits and sew new ones according to the canons of their grandmothers. The village of Bichura is the largest Old Believer village in Transbaikal. Here you can get acquainted with folklore and traditional cuisine of the Semeyskys, admire residential buildings painted in bright colors and original carved platbands. And the longest rural street in the world is located in Bichura. Kommunisticheskaya Street is listed in the Guinness Book of Records and attracts many tourists.

Religious direction

Tamchinsky datsan

One of the first Buddhist monasteries on the territory of modern Buryatia, the Tamchinsky (Gusinoozersky) datsan, was founded in the mid-XVIII century on the southwestern shore of Lake Gusinoye (Galun-nur in Buryat). Queen Elizabeth declared the temple the center of Buddhism in Russia, it retained this status for more than a hundred years. Tamchinsky datsan was also considered a center of arts, crafts, printing and medicine. In czarist days, the only government-sanctioned school for khuvaraks, students of lamas, was located here. Emchi-lamas also practiced here: they studied Tibetan medicine, compiled detailed descriptions of medicinal plants, and received patients.

Datsan was one of the few monasteries in Transbaikal where the Buddhist mystery "tsam" was held. One such mystery was filmed by film maker Vsevolod Pudovkin; it can be seen in the feature film "Descendant of Genghis Khan."

On the territory of the datsan there is an ancient archaeological monument Altan-serge (which means "Golden hitching post"). Images of deer are engraved on each face of the stone stele; according to researchers, they were painted in the XI–VIII centuries BC. According to legend, the Buddhist deities Burkhans come to the datsan for holidays and tie their horses to the hitching post.

Egituysky datsan and a statue Zandan Zhuu

According to legend, the only lifetime sculpture of Shakyamuni Buddha is located in Buryatia. The statue of Zandan Zhuu, a sandalwood Buddha, is considered the treasure of the Egituysky datsan and one of the Buddhist shrines of Russia. It came here from China, and there from India. The temple itself is located in the Yeravninsky District of Buryatia on the banks of the Marakta River. Now a new datsan has been built on the site of the monastery that was completely destroyed in the 1930s.

Face of the goddess Yanzhima in the Barguzin Valley

Yanzhima is one of the most revered goddesses for the Buryats. She is considered the goddess of wisdom and the patroness of mothers, children and students. According to legend, two sisters lived in these places, one of them was called Yanzhima. Everyone around loved her kind nature and beautiful voice. Many children were born into the families she visited. The sisters became heavenly princesses, and at the beginning of the XXI century, Yanzhima descended from heaven to the Barguzin Valley. In 2005, a miraculous image of a dancing goddess was discovered on one of the rocks. Since then, this mountain has become a place of pilgrimage for residents of Buryatia. Most often, prayers are addressed to the goddess for the birth of children.

Go to Baikal!

Barguzin Valley and Chivyrkuy Bay

Barguzinsky Bay is one of the most beautiful places on the sacred lake. The purest waters of Lake Baikal, the mesmerizing mountain peaks of the Barguzin ridge and the taiga spirit – everything that is sung about in the anthem of Buryatia is revealed to the gaze of a visitor to the valley. The village of Barguzin is the center of the district. The Decembrists and participants in other uprisings served their exile here, including Pushkin’s friend, poet Wilhelm Küchelbecker. The village of Ust-Barguzin is located in the middle of the bay, where the Barguzin River flows into Baikal. There are a large number of rest homes here, and the lake is within walking distance.

A walking path leads from Ust-Barguzin to the village of Maksimikha. This is the largest southern bay of the Barguzin Bay; the water here is warmer than in other bays of Lake Baikal. In the same direction you can get to the village of Goryachinsk, which is famous for its healing thermal springs, or to Turka – a convenient place to relax with picturesque views of the lake, walking paths and an viewing deck at the lighthouse.

The Svyatoy Nos Peninsula separates Barguzinsky Bay from Chivyrkuy Bay. This is the longest sandy beach on Lake Baikal. The tourist season here lasts all year round: in summer, travelers go hiking or on boat trips, while in winter, they go skiing and snowmobiling around the peninsula. The name of Chivyrkuy Bay comes from the Buryat "sheber" which means "thicket, thick forest, bush" or "sheverkhuu" – "overgrown with thick forest". The shores of the bay are, indeed, overgrown with thick forest, but the beaches are most often sandy. Zmeevaya Bay in Chivyrkuy Bay is famous for its springs, which treat radiculitis and diseases of the musculoskeletal system. The bay got its name from the non-poisonous snakes that sometimes appear here.

Sukhaya, Enkhaluk and Selenga Estuary

The villages of Sukhaya and Enkhaluk are located on the eastern shore of Baikal. People come here to relax, fish and boat. "Enkhaluk" is translated from the Buryat language as "calm", "peaceful", "blessed". This area is famous for its thermal springs. Hot springs on the path between Sukhaya and Enkhaluk help in the treatment of joints and skin diseases. In Iukhaya, you can visit the "Omulev Baikal" museum, dedicated to Baikal navigation. In the same area, there is another attraction – an extinct volcano on the Tolstiy Cape. The real volcano, 1700 meters high, can only be reached on foot or by water.

The Selenga River, flowing into Baikal, formed an unusual swampy labyrinth of numerous islands and channels, lakes and bays. It is the largest inland estuary on the planet and one of the few large freshwater estuaries in the world. Kabansky Natural Reserve is located here, where you can watch birds. In early May, ducks, geese, herons, gulls and other birds return to the Selenga Estuary - a total of more than a million birds nest here.

Tankhoy and Sobolinaya Mountain

You can go in the opposite direction and see the beauty of a completely different Baikal – more severe, rocky, but also less crowded. The village of Tankhoy is located on the eastern shore of Lake Baikal at the foot of Khamar-Daban. Before the construction of the Circum-Baikal Railway, there was a ferry crossing between Tankhoy and Listvyanka; its remains and the pier still remind of the old days. In Tankhoy, there is a visitor center of the Baikal Biosphere Reserve, where you can get acquainted with the history, geology, flora and fauna of Lake Baikal in an interactive format. For lovers of leisurely walks, there is a convenient walking eco-path, and inquisitive tourists will enjoy the bird ringing station in Mishikha – here you can take part in ornithological research.

The winter season on Lake Baikal is no less beautiful. The largest ski resort in Eastern Siberia, Sobolinaya Mountain, is located near the city of Baikalsk and attracts many fans of outdoor activities every winter. There are more than ten tracks here both for professionals and beginners, there is entertainment for children, equipment rental and instructor services.

Olkhon and airplanes

Olkhon is the largest island on Lake Baikal. Since recently, you can fly there every day from Ulan-Ude by plane. Here, wild landscapes coexist with comfortable places to relax – there is always something to do. The island got its name from the Buryat word oikhon, which means "little forest" or "a little wooded." From mid-June to the end of September, people go on boat and SUP-board trips, ride horses and ATVs along the shore, and admire the wonders of nature and archaeological sites. And from mid-January to the end of March, they go to Olkhon to see Baikal under the ice shell.

Whatever direction you choose – studying culture and traditions, exploring nature or a recreational holiday on Lake Baikal – it will never be enough. It’s worth coming here again and again to immerse yourself deeper into the beauty of the multifaceted and fascinating republic.