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The Buddhist center of Russia, the healing springs of Northern Baikal and sandy beaches, the old believers ‘ village – all this you will find on the Buryat land

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The Most

Mysterious Region

Buryatia is not like the rest of Russia, it has a different way of life and a different view of the world. Perhaps in Buryatia, there will not be everywhere high-quality service, good roads, and places to sit with a cocktail. But there is nature, provincial simplicity, authentic culture, delicious local cuisine, and the largest Lenin’s head in the world. People come here not only for smoked omul, but also to capture shamanic rituals and get acquainted with the original Buryat culture and listen to their charming legends.

short region information

6-7 hours by plane from Moscow
Baikal Lake, Ivolginsky Datsan

types of tourism


A lady with binocular sightseeing


A man riding a quad


A man hiking in beautiful nature


Two people wearing traditional clothes


A gilded statue of Buddha


Two people seating on the top of a mountain enjoying the view over a river in the sunshine

The edge of the evergreen taiga

The Geographical

Center of Asia

Buryatia (The Republic of Buryatia) is located in the south part of East Siberia. It is a border region of Russia, in the south part of this province passes the Russian state border with Mongolia. In the northwest, the region is washed by Lake Baikal. Ulan Ude city, the gateway to this region, lies about 5 519 km from Moscow. Ulan Ude is an important railway hub due to its location on the Trans-Siberian Railway and on the Baikal-Amur Railway, and it’s also the starting station of the Trans-Mongolian Railway passing through Mongolia to Beijing.

Discover Ulan Ude streets

The  Capital

Start your journey with the capital of the region, Ulan Ude. The city was founded in the 17th century about 100 km in the southeast from Lake Baikal. In the past, the Great Tea way from China passed through Ulan Ude, and hundreds of merchants came here to sell and supply tea for the whole country. In the heart of the city, many old merchants’ houses still keep their charm, especially there’re many of them along the main walking street of Ulan Ude that the locals call “Arbat” (like in Moscow). Do not miss the building of Buryatia state academic theatre of opera and ballet, the unique architectural fusion of Stalin’s empire style and features of Buryat traditional culture. Not far from there stands the most famous monument of Ulan Ude, almost 7.5-meter in height, the gigantic Lenin’s head monument.

Witness a miracle

Buddhist  Temples

Buryatia is the main Buddhism center in Russia with dozens of Buddhism temples, which are called here “datsan”. The datsan Rinpoche Bagsha offers one of the best viewpoints in Ulan Ude. Visit this place in the afternoon to catch the stunning sunset.

Make a small drive out of the city and spend the morning at Ivolginsky datsan. It is the location of the imperishable body of Hambo Lama XII, the head of Buddhists in Eastern Siberia, who was buried in 1927. He spent 75 years in a cedar sarcophagus, closed in a secret place, in 2002 his imperishable body was found by the monks. Hambo Lama sits behind the glass. You can get close enough to it. The body temperature is constant-plus 27 degrees. If it gets hot, the Hambo Lama sweats, and then his Keeper wipes off the sweat. The imperishable is changed several times a year.

Ivolginsky Datsan also plays the role of the only Buddhist university in Russia.

Visit ethnic villages

A Journey in a Time Machine

The Russians were newcomers at this place in the 17 th century. Long before this territory had been settled by ethnic minorities – and Buryats were the most widespread. Today most Buryats live in Ulan Ude, although some of them keep the traditional lifestyle in the countryside. Buryats preserve their own language, songs, games, and dances, religious practices (they practice shamanism and Buddhism).

A Buryat shaman is dancing and performing a ritual
Photo by Arkady Zarubin
Face of a Buryat woman wearing traditional hat
Photo by Arkady Zarubin
A shore of lake Baikal in winter, a dog in front of a sacred pile decorated with colorful ribbons
An open sacred old-believers’ book with pictures of Saints
Old-believer women wearing traditional clothes in a wooden house
Old-believer women wearing traditional clothes in front of a wooden house decorated with hand painting
To get the full picture, make a guided tour in one of the Buryats’ villages, or the highlight of this area – visit the old-believers settlement. In Peter’s time there was a split in the Orthodox Church, and the old believers, who did not want to put up with the changes, went to Siberia. They settled separately from others, lived in their own community, and were called “semeyskiye”. Traditions are strong and have been preserved in Bichur and Tarbagatai for more than three hundred years.

Spend time close to nature

The Baikal of Buryatia

If you come to Buryatia, you will definitely get to know beautiful Buryat legends that are referred with the Great Siberian lake. According to one legend, Usan-Lopson, the son of Heaven, lives with his wife and servants at the bottom of the Baikal, and he is the spirit-caretaker of the Baikal pure water. He is still honored by the Buryat shamans, and his wooden 3,5m sculpture stands at the worship place not far from the village Dulan.

  The Baikal of Buryatia is the land of wild nature. One of the most beautiful places in this area is the Barguzin valley. There are picturesque rocks called Suvinsky Saxon Castle, resembling the ruins of a castle with two elegant natural towers. Ininsky rock garden with many boulders growing out of the ground along the banks of the Inu River is located 100 km from Barguzin. Some of the cobblestones are just huge – about 4 m in diameter – that creates an unusual landscape.

A sandy shore of lake Baikal
Giant ice bars of lake Baikal
Lake Baikal with small islands in the middle of it
Photo by Arkady Zarubin
Sandy shore of lake Baikal and mountains behind it

Eat with the locals

Buryatian Steamed Dumplings

One of the must-do before departure from Buryatia is to sample the local food. Start with traditional Buryats “buusy”. It’s a kind of steamed dumplings with meat filling. The locals say that its shape resembles traditional Buryat’s authentic shelter (yurta). Also, buusy is the main dish for the holiday Sagaalgan (Buryats’ Lunar New Year). Known for its warm hospitality, Buryats could invite you for traditional tea that is prepared with milk and butter.
Steamed dumplings "buuzy" served on a plate with two sauces
A Buryat woman wearing Buryat traditional clothes holding a scarf (hadak) and a plate in front of a wooden house

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