While traveling around Lake Baikal, you can visit a famous balneological resort Arshan that is situated in the Tunkinsky Valley. Technically, when you arrive at the place, you will be crossing the border between Siberia and Buryatia (Arshan is situated a three-hour-ride away from Irkutsk, and it belongs to another Siberian region). Resort Anshan is a tourist center located high in the mountains, and it has many interesting sights, so let's see which the best things to do in Arshan Resort are!
Arshan became famous in 1894 when locals noticed that the underground spring water had some peculiar taste. If one translates the word “arshan” from the language of ancient Buryats, it would mean exactly “healing water”. Nowadays, the locals and village guests come to the resort specifically to fill their bottles with this water. In ancient times, the locals not only noticed the healing power of Arshan's water but also thought that it could have magical powers. Modern Russian doctors consider this water to be useful when patients suffer from thyroid gland diseases, blood pressure, endocrine, and nervous systems. Patients are recommended to drink Arshan water or to take healing baths in it. Arshan has many water springs scattered around the village, and all the water is free to take by the tourists.
Arshan is also famous for its mountains that surround the village. The “Love Peak” is a mountain peak, suitable for beginner hikers. Although the height of the peak is relatively low - 2124 m – and you won't need any climbing equipment to reach the top, the hike will take ten hours to complete. Beware of the rain situation and stay away from the peak when the forecast warns you about the high chances of precipitation. To climb that mountain during rain would be very dangerous! But, when the weather is sunny and promising, put on good climber's shoes and go up! The path leading to the peak is delightful; you'll see beautiful nature and contemplate the forest creatures (squirrels, gophers, chipmunks) accompanying you along the climb. The time spent on the peak will be gorgeous, you'll see the clouds so near you and, probably, witness the incipient rain somewhere in the distance.
If you are not a hiker, opt for the waterfalls. Yes, Arshan has them too. Waterfalls are hidden in the forest, but there are signs made by the locals, so you will find them easily, just by following the plaques on the trees. To reach the nearest waterfall, you will have to march 1.5 km along the narrow forest path. If you are not ready for that, take a horse-riding tour. A walk to the waterfalls is very refreshing, and you will be rewarded with the great scenery afterward!
It's up to you to decide what to do during your stay in this place, but these are, for sure, the best things to do in Arshan Resort while on your first visit there!
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