Including the Trans-Siberian Express!
& Lake Baikal
July 12-27, 2020
We invite you to join us as we explore the two
finest natural areas in Russia, the Kamchatka
Peninsula and Lake Baikal, and take the Trans
Siberian Express from the Russian Far East
across the vast taiga of Russia to Irkutsk and
Kamchatka is two-thirds the size of California,
and includes several active volcanic corridors.
It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage
Site. Twenty-nine of its 300 volcanoes are active,
including the tallest on the Eurasian continent
at 4,835 meters. There are hundreds of glaciers
and scores of healing mineral springs. On
Kamchatka, we will:
- Explore Petrpavlovsk, the capital, situated
on lovely Avachinskaya Bay.
- Discover the ethnic settlement of Sosnovka.
- Fly by helicopter to see fabulous geologic wonders—geysers, steam vents, mud pots,
and snow covered volcanoes, including
the world famous Valley of the Geysers.
- Discover a profusion of flowering plants,
many with medicinal value.
- Discover the salmon capital of the world.
We then fly to Khabarovsk, on the Amur
River, where we will board the Trans Siberian
Express for an adventurous two and one-half
day journey across the great Siberian taiga to
Itkutsk and Lake Baikal. We’ll have Russian
lessons on board the train and lectures, and
enjoy the huge rushing rivers and vast taiga
As we approach Irkutsk, the “Paris of
Siberia,” we will round the southern tip of
Lake Baikal which extends for hundreds
of miles to the north.
The Russian “Galapagos Islands,” Baikal is the
richest single location in Russia for endemism,
a fabulous reservoir of unique flora and fauna. It is the oldest and deepest lake in the world, and
stores nearly 20% of the freshwater on earth.
Our visit to Irkutsk will include striking
gold-domed churches and traditional wooden
homes with blue and green shutters. We will
also meet scientists at the Irkutsk Botanic
Garden, and enjoy a special visit there.
We then continue north to the Maloye
More of Lake Baikal, the “small sea,” and
ferry to Olkhon island, the largest island in
the lake, which has a fine small museum, and
is renowned for Shaman Rock. From Olkhon
we will journey south by ferry to the village
of Listvyanka near the outflow of the Angara
River from the lake. Special visits to the Solar
Observatory overlooking the Lake and Baikal
Museum will be a treat.
Leading the expedition will
be Dr. Victor Kuzevanov, the
director of the Irkutsk Botanic
Garden, and head of the public
forum in Irkutsk. Victor is a
treasured friend and expedition
leader who will delight you.
We hope you will join us!
Margaret M. Betchart
Betchart Expeditions Inc.
For AAAS, Sigma Xi, and ACS
$6,595 pp + air
2020 Brochure (PDF)
Photo courtesy of Jean-Bernard LePecq
Irkutsk Botanic Garden