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Tunkinskii national park

Source:  Buryatia. The sunny side of Baikal. - Ulan-Ude, 2010. - H. 46-49.

The main part of the park is located in the catchment basin of the Irkut River, within the whole Tunka region. It was arranged with the purpose of keeping the natural complexes of Eastern Sayans, upland of Khamar-Daban.

The amount of sunny days here is equal to that in Yalta (famous resort).

This reserved part of nature is one of the most beautiful places in Russia. It is not by chance that a part of the park is included into Baikal district of the World Heritage by UNESCO.

The opportunities for tourism are really great: in summer one can climb to the mountain lakes and peaks, do rafting down the mountain rivers, horse-riding, walking and cycling tours; in the forest one can pick-up mushrooms and red bilberries, in the mountains they collect medicinal herbs (famous sagan-dali, heather, juniper, golden root); in winter tourists enjoy skiing tours along the Kitoy River, ice-climbing the frozen waterfalls of the Kyngarga River.

The trip in Tunka valley, visiting both   shamanist   and   Buddhist   sacred places - is a real school of Buryat traditions. You have to make the local spirits benevolent to you by special ritual («bur-khan»), when you sprinkle some vodka to the four sides of the world at a sacred Buryat place, called «obo».

And only after that you can be sure that the weather will be fine and you will have just planned adventures.

In spring in late April thousands of extreme sports fans climb to Munku-Sardyk (3491 m) to get an enthusiastic feeling, which they would remember whole life. Munku-Sardyk is the highest point of Eastern Sayan mountains, with its southern part being in Mongolia and the northern part being the plateau, where the rivers , Irkut and Kitoi start. Famous rafting down the Oka and Kitoi Rivers is a real adventure with overcoming the obstacles, waterfalls, terrible canyons and, on the other hand, peaceful flow of water with fishing for graylings, lenok, taimen and enjoying the nature. The Irkut River suits rafting activity perfectly. The name of the river means «turbulent».      This     «merry-go-round» fits family holidays with children above 7 years old: the routs are not complicated, although in the upper and lower parts Irkut is a regular mountain river.

But what really makes the valley famous is the amount of mineral water springs. Thousands of people come here all year round to improve their health in the resorts «Arshan», «Sayany», «Nilova Pustyn», «Zhemchug».

The waters of the local springs are unique and rare in terms of their therapeutical qualities. Holiday-makers can have a course of balneotherapy, mud-soaking, climatotherapy, they drink mineral water. In the outskirts of Arshan there is Khoimor datsan, where khurals (services) and Buddhist holidays are celebrated. There is another datsan closer to the settlement of Turan - further in the valley.

Tunka boarders with Oka region. A small mountain regions has mineral water hot springs, inimitable landscapes, monuments of the Bronze age, places marked by the deeds of Geser.

A visit to such places means horse riding, fishing, the possibility to see unique plants and diversify your summer holidays; you can get richer with new impressions, which you might share later in winter sipping aromatic tea made of the herbs you collected in the alpine meadows.



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