The hot springs of the Buchta Smenaja (snake bay)

The hot springs (Gorjachij Istotschniki) of the snake bay (Buchta Smenaja) can be accessed either by motorboat from one of the two fishing villages Manachowo or Kurbulik, or by walking down a small path along the shoreline of the sea bosom. The first way takes approx. 1-2 hours (depending upon weather conditions, pure travel time), the latter depending upon condition 8-10 hours (hiking time plus 1-2 breaks). The hiking route can be found easily even with the comparatively bad maps, which you can get at the national park authority. It is one of the first regularly maintained hiking paths, maintainted and mapped by the "Great Baikal Trail" (GBT) project.

Both the way to and back from the springs are the same, therefore it makes sense to first hire a fisherboat in Kurbulik. The price is as always a negotiation thing: For 300 roubles - equivalent to 2001 12 Euros in 2001 - and a 0,25l bottle of certified Vodka, two people were transported into the bay with an extra intermediate stop at one of the small islands in the sea bosom. In the summertime there are larger ships of the national park administration operating from the beach of Manachowo 1-2 times the the day. The big disadvantage of this variant is the large number of the travellers. They for sure will pick out a tent spot right next to yours, particularly in the summer evening hours after collective arrival in the snake bay.

If you have successfully adjusted to the sight of more than 20 tourists per day on Swjatoi Nos, the surprise about a small queue of tourists at the hot springs will not be so big anymore. Once you have made it into one of the two sulphur-containing springs of the west side of the bay, one can bear staying in there for a while, especially on colder days. In the hotter spring, the body has to accomodate for a while to the 40 degree of water temperature anyway. Pushing and shoving is not common, though, as in Russia people are accustomed to waiting. If you want no competition for warming up, you might want to select wintertime in Siberia as your vacation period ;-).


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30 Jan 2006

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