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Absolutely beautiful, Olkhon Island is a sacred shamanist centre and it does have a strange energy to it. On our first night we saw lightning above the hills, but no thunder or rain. The island is 70km long and 15km wide with a strange landscape of sand and trees and is about half way up Lake Baikal.

Shaman Rock is one of the most important places on the island and the Buryats believe that a spirit lives in a cave in the rock…

Described by the Lonely Planet as having a “dry climate” we had rain 3 days of the 5 we were there.


On the days it was sunny the place was stunning, clear air and sparkling lake water so clear and fresh and completely drinkable. Legend has it that if you wash your hands in the lake you add a year to your life, wash your feet too and it’s 5 years and if you’re brave enough to swim (the water hovers around 5C) then you can expect an extra 25 years of life.

Here’s Stef attempting to live to 41…

We have to wait till October to see if it worked but it made him taller!

We spent the rainy days indoors, reading and sleeping and the sunny ones on the beach or walking. Photos below…