Arshan is a source of infinite joy for active and curious travelers. Soft climate without deafening heat or heavy rains and chilly winds is perfect for those who love taking long walks, climbing the mountains and exploring new trails and routes. Natural attractions, scattered throughout the Tunka Valley, inspire the travelers. We captured them all in one article to make your days at Arshan full of movement and fresh impressions.
Waterfalls and the marble floor of Kyngarga RiverWaterfalls are the undisputed hit of Arshan. According to different sources, Kyngarga has from 12 to 20 waterfalls. The first one gets most attention, as it is located in 1.5 kilometers from the resort. A wide furnished trail leads to the waterfall, almost never empty. Follow the tourists who walk the trail, and you won’t get lost.
If you walk another 500 meters up the trail, you’ll see the Kyngarga ravine, adorned by high walls of stone. Its bottom is covered with water-polished and shiny pink and yellow marble — hence the “marble floor” name. In 3 kilometers from the first waterfall stands the Veerny waterfall, the most beautiful of them all. The road to Veerny is much more difficult. If you decide to climb the dangerous cliff, be extremely cautious and wear shoes with slip-resistant soles.
Panoramic PlateauYou don’t need to climb high to see Arshan from a bird’s eye view. For this, the resort has a comfortable viewing platform near the drinking pavilion over the white staircase.
If the view from the plateau isn’t impressive enough for you, walk 600–700 meters further up the ridge. You will not be able to feign indifference here. The already picturesque Tunka Valley seems breath-catchingly beautiful from above.
The Mongolian marketPeople come here for unique souvenirs and other curiosities, such as pine nuts or juniper bath brooms. The tourists especially like clothes made of yak, goat and camel wool. No matter how cold it is outside, a warm jumper, vest, socks and mittens from Mongolia will make it bearable. Buy them if you’re planning to travel around Lake Baikal in winter.
Since many come to Arshan for health benefits, the market sells a variety of health products. Bring home some of the local herbs to strengthen your immune system and avoid sickness. And for a snow-white smile, try some sera, conifer resin gum that is a healthy alternative for chewing gum and whitening toothpaste. The market is located at the park entrance. The working hours are from 9:00 to 19:00.
Museums and an art galleryArshan doesn’t have many museums, and you can see them all in one day. Start with the resort history museum, which stands on the main avenue of the park. Afterwards, stop by “Forest Fairy Tale” root décor museum which holds more than 500 root sculptures. The “Forest Fairy Tale” is in house 12. Check the working hours and ticket price by calling +7 (950) 137-73-78.
To get a feel of the local culture, visit the private art gallery in an authentic Buryat yurt. The yurt is called “The yurt of the two wise men”. The gallery is behind the Kyngarga Bridge, on 8a, Veresov St. A stream rumbles near the museum, and an Uzbek cuisine café stands open nearby. Interesting tours with Sayan medicinal herb tea tasting happen inside of the yurt. The ticket costs 100 rubles per adult and 30 rubles per child. “The yurt of the two wise men” is open daily from 10:00 to 20:00.
Old and new datsans
“Bodhidharma”, the first datsan, is a corner of peace with a pleasant mountain view. “Maidar”, the central temple of a Buryat religious association, is surrounded by a century-old pine forest. This place is perfect for walking, breathing grace-filled air and thinking of nothing.
“Dechen Ravzhalin”, the new Hoymor datsan, is located in the center of Arshan, across the “Sayany” sanatorium. The entrance is free of charge. Stop by to see the Buddhist services and purchase Tibetan medicine.
Virgins’ bowlThis stone bowl filled with clear water got its poetic name due to Buryat customs. The night before the wedding, a bride and her bridesmaids went to a secret place where they did a ritual bath and gave offerings to ongons, family spirits. Near Arshan, this ritual was held in the upper reaches of Buhota River.
Nowadays, anyone can take a swim in the bowl after walking 3 kilometers from the village. Locals and guides always say that the waters of this bowl will grant strength to your body, beauty to your soul and love to your heart.
Love PeakThis is the most attractive place of Arshan for those daredevils who are ready to travel a 3–5 hour long road for a breathtaking view from the peak. The legend attracts even more, saying that this place will uncover the truth about the visitor and his or her companion. According to this legend, a man and a woman from a single ulus were closely related, and therefore forbidden to enter a close relationship. To enlist help from powerful spirits, the couple climbed to the top and saw each other with their hearts.
The woman saw another man, her true future husband whom she had yet to meet. And the man was pierced by a pain of a mother who suffered for her family, reflected in the woman’s face. The mountain showed the lovers that they aren’t meant to be together, and that each one will find happiness alone. And so it happened. If you want to test yourself and your feelings, walk the trail from the end of the main alley up to the peak.
Suburgan springBuryats have used this place of strength and positive energy for healing since the ancient times. The spring has many names. Suburgan, Old Arshan, Small Arshan, Baruun Arshan and The Kingdom of a White Elephant Calf are among those names.
This spring is 5 kilometers away from the resort. Follow the trail from the datsan that stands near the souvenir market. The trail is simple. The route is straight and takes about an hour. A white stupa, interesting from all sides, stands near the spring. A steep path leads to this stupa. To be safe, hold the ropes strapped to the trees.
Extinct volcanoesHard to imagine but true: traces of volcanic activity from the end of the Ice Age can be found near Arshan. The oldest of Tunka volcanoes is Kovrizhka. It stands about 10 kilometers to the east from the Tunka-Arshan highway, between Khobok and Khurai-Khobok rivers. The volcanic cone can be seen from the right side of the road. The pedestal over Yelovski plateau is Kovrizhka.
Another notable volcano is the wooded Khara-Bolok, also called Ulyaborski or Cherski volcano. This one is 7 kilometers from Arshan, between Taloy and Ulyabory villages. The diameter of this volcano almost equals to its height, which are 80–100 meters and 100–120 meters respectively. A spring flows at the foot of the volcano, not freezing even for winter.
Unusual lakesWhen asked about what to see at Arshan, all tour guides exclaim as one: “Go see the Crystal Lake!”. The tourists are not so unanimous. Some love it, some pass by. The lake is famous for not having any kind of fish or other living creatures, for which the locals call it a dead lake. However, the area around the lake is beautiful and absolutely worth its 4–5 hours of walking down well-trodden mountain trails with steep descents.
Further away, 10 kilometers from Arshan, stand the Koymorski lakes. These lakes are an entire group of ponds, connected with each other by water channels. These lakes are home to many rare plants and animals that are a part of a list of Endangered Species of the Buryat Republic. This place is perfect for swimming, fishing, boating or discovering healing mud in Shirshonka and Butakovskoe lakes. Or, alternatively, you could just lie down on the meadow and enjoy the perfection of wildlife.