Ice-bound Island

Ice-bound Island

Project timeline: March 4-13, 2019

Languages used: English, Russian

Project starting point: Irkutsk

Project locations: Irkutsk — Khuzhir village (Olkhon Island) — Irkutsk

Project goal: Promoting the development of socially responsible eco-tourism (through designing information boards, booklets, and posters, conducting educational classes on ecology, environmental protection and cross-cultural communication, and volunteering with schoolchildren), helping Khuzhir residents organize a music festival.

Volunteer application form



Day 1 (Monday, March 4th)

  • Meeting at 8 am in the GBT hostel;
  • Orientation to the project;
  • Departure to the train station at 8.30 am;
  • Late arrival back to Irkutsk.

Today we are going to Circum Baikal Railway, learn its history and walk through the tonnels. After that we will come back to Irkutsk.

At the end of the day, we will instruct you about the upcoming trip to the village of Khuzhir, which is located on Olkhon Island, the Baikal’s largest island.


Day 2 (Tuesday, March 5th)

Departure from Irkutsk to Olkhon Island.

In the morning we will meet at the GBT hostel and take a bus to the Sakhyurta village. Next, we’ll take an ice road to cross the straight and get to Olkhon Island. We will be staying at a guest house in Khuzhir village for the entire length of the project.

Before we go to bed today, we will get to know the details of our project agenda: what types of activity we’ll be doing, whom we’ll meet and what our free time is going to be like.


Days 3-8: (Wednesday – Monday, March 6th-11th)

We will start preparing to the music festival. We’ll be helping with assembling the stage and doing some other types of work for organizing the upcoming festival (more details will be available by the time the project starts).
During evenings we’ll plan our educational classes with school children: interesting activities devoted to cross-cultural communication (sharing our experience of living in different cities or countries, telling about the specific features of our work), workshops or environmental games.

 We will have one day-off when we visit Khoboi Cape, the northernmost point of the island. We will be able to see the cape from the ice (not every tourist could boast of having a view of Khoboi Cape from this point!)

We will meet with school students on one of the days and continue helping with organizing the music festival.

Free time: You’ll be able to walk around on the ice of Baikal, watch the sunset, and enjoy the local places of interest.


Day 9 (Tuesday, March 12th)

It is our last day of working in Khuzhir village.

We will finish all work we have. The rest of the day will be allotted for free time to gather our things and take a final walk to Baikal. In the evening we will have our final gathering to present awards and have tea.


Day 10 (Wednesday, March 13th)

Departure from Khuzhir village to Irkutsk by bus. End of the project.

After breakfast we will board a bus back to Irkutsk. We expect to arrive in the city in the afternoon.

In the group, there will be a project leader that will organize the work of the group and a translator that will be able to provide communication between the participants.


Physical requirements for the project: You will sometimes be asked to carry a backpack with your belongings and the group’s foodstuff. You will also be having day trips on Baikal ice. We will also be doing different types of physical work during the project: assembling the stage for the festival, chopping wood, etc.


Necessary equipment: You need to bring a backpack with a volume of no less than 60L. You can also bring ice skates to skate on Baikal ice (its condition differs from year to year: sometimes it can be mirror-smooth, while sometimes in March you can find that the ice is covered with snow and there are huge ice blocks. We will keep you updated on ice condition closer to the time when the project starts). You may wish to bring a thermos (for day trips) and a laptop (to work on some projects).

Also, take time to do a little research to learn more about the climate in the Baikal region in early March so that you can pack appropriate clothing and footwear. During the day the temperature can be anywhere from -5° to -20° C (depending on the year) and wind can be quite strong. It’s therefore necessary to make sure that you have warm windproof clothing and water-resistant shoes.


Participation fee: 20000 RUB

The participation fee includes:

  • Accommodation in Irkutsk on the first and the last days of the project;
  • Train tickets to get to Circum Baikal Railway and back to Irkutsk on the first day of the project;
  • Bus tickets to Khuzhir village and back to Irkutsk;
  • Excursion on Olkhon Island;
  • Accommodation and meals on Olkhon Island.

The participation fee does not include:

  • Travel around Irkutsk;
  • Meals in Irkutsk;
  • Additional excursions to museums, attractions, etc.


Accommodation and meals in Irkutsk: Accommodation in Irkutsk on the first and the last days of the project is included in the participation fee. Meals in Irkutsk are also not included in the project fee, since some participants might want to eat out in a café or restaurant and other participants might want to prepare their own food in the hostel kitchen.

In the event of unforeseen circumstances, GBT maintains the right to close the project or make changes to the program, while informing all participants beforehand.


Volunteer application form