Svjatoi Nos - Arrival via Ust Barguzin

Bus, group taxi or your own vehicle of choice are the alternatives for getting to Swjatoi Nos from Ulan Ude. The worst advice would be the first one as it is the cheapest and therefore preferred by most Russians. To say it clearly, there is hardly any chance of being picked up immediately. A better choice is a group taxi. At the city center of Ulan Ude you can hire one out of a good dozen of drivers who will then take you to Ust Barguzin, the entrance point of Zabaikalsky National Park, or: Swajtoi Nos. The trip of 270 kilometers will cost you about 300 Rubels and take you there in somewhere between four to six hours.
If you are traveling in or on your own vehicle, be advised that the only road to the north is in bad shape, so biking is really only a choice for tough proŽs. In 2001 long-lasting construction work began and is now either turning the road into a rough dustroad or neverending puddles of mud. Also, traffic has increased visibly and bikers are not paid much special attention to.

From Ust Barguzin the journey advances by ship. The ferry across River Barguzin (the "first name" of the village Ust is a burjatic name and stands for "furt") is a 15-meter-long, 8 meter-wide ponton, pulled across the river by a motorboat. This takes less than ten minutes and costs only a few Rubels. Having arrived at the north bank of the river, you hike or drive on a street that seperates itself after several hundred meters. The road to the west will take you to Swjatoi Nos, the one to the east leads to Barguzin National Park, which is the entrance point to the aforementioned Zabaikalsky National Park.

This is the last bigger village and end of the road to the national park. Shortly after the street division, a barrier (in Russian the same as in German: "Schlagbaum") marks the park entrance. Quite surprisingly, and against all other travel guides information, the entrance fee is only 10 Rubels per day in the park.
More expensive is the trip by boat, from Swajtoi Nos to the Ushkani-Isles: 1000 Rubles per person roundtrip. After this last threshold you are up to hike or drive the 20 kilometers of connection between the onshore and Swjatoi Nos. This can turn into rather less of a pleasure than you wish for, because the summer heat and the sandy grounds both do their best at slowing you down. But the picknick- and overnight areas, officially marked by the park administration and located right by beaches at the shore of Lake Baikal, sure can make up for big parts of that.


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30 Jan 2006

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