Throughout all year, Arshan is a nice place for a brief respite from work, outdoor activities from morning to night, or a thorough treatment in a sanatorium. The resort stands at the foot of Tunka Mountains, 893 meters above the sea level. Breathe Arshan’s clear mountain air for a day, and you’ll be full of energy.
“Arshan” means “healing water” in Buryat. This water is what makes Arshan so popular. Local mineral water is similar to Kislovodsk narzan, and it can be used in different ways. People drink it, bathe in it, and bottle it to take home.
Water falls from the wells into pump rooms and baths at 51,8 °F to 113 °F. However, Arshan also has springs that were preserved in their natural form. One of them is the eye spring. This spring is visible from large distances because of colorful ribbons tied to the tree branches. According to local customs, the ribbons should be tied twice. The first one is tied with a request for a healing, and the second is tied with gratitude for treatment before leaving the resort.
Getting health benefits on your holiday is great. But if you want some more excitement, add some of the more interesting landmarks to your list of things to see. Some of the landmarks stand within the resort, such as the 500-year-old larch tree. Others demand a long walk or a car drive. Pick the sights to see according to your wishes and capabilities.
How to get to Arshan from Irkutsk
Take a car, a bus or a taxi. Alternately, take a train to Slyudyanka and then take a bus, a minibus or a bike through the Tunka Valley.
The journey will take 3—4 hours. First, drive 100 km to Kultuk village and another 110 km to Arshan on the Kultuk-Mondy highway. The best way to drive is like this: from the Kultuk highway to the M-55 highway, then taking the A-164 through Kultuk, Tibelti, Tory and Zun-Murino. Then, at the 182nd kilometer from Irkutsk, you’ll see a turn from the federal highway. Follow “Arshan” pointer to the right and then drive 28 km straight.
Arshan is located in the Tunka National Park. You’ll have to pay 100 rubles per person and car at the entrance.
By bus or taxi
Irkutsk-Arshan buses depart from the bus and train stations. Route 520 departs from the bus station at 8:00 and gets to Arshan at 11:45. The ride costs 385 rubles. Keep in mind the routes 523 and 723 — they go from Irkutsk to Arshan and then to Nilova Pustyn’. The former route travels on odd days, and the latter — on even days. Both depart at 8:45.
If you need to depart at a different time, choose a minibus route at the train station. Minibuses take the tourists to Arshan from 8:00 to 18:00 daily, with 30-minute intervals in the morning and 3-hour intervals in the evening. The tickets must be bought from the train station ticket window half an hour before the departure. Note that the last minibus that goes from Arshan to Irkutsk departs at 17:15. Don’t be late.
The longest route is combined, and best suited for those who want to visit Slyudyanka on the way to Arshan. First, you spend 3 hours and 15 minutes on a train from Irkutsk to Slyudyanka. One ticket will cost 105 rubles.
Then you pick the option that suits you best. Take a minibus from a train station or a bus from Slyudyanka bus station and travel another 1,5—2 hours. We recommend you to check the ticket prices and the schedule by calling +7 950 053-40-84, +7 950 139-63-70 for a minibus, and +7 950 055-11-07 for a bus ride.
Romantic and sporty people go on a biking route from Slyudyanka through the Tunka valley. 130 kilometers of the flowery scenic road take a day or two to travel, but the memories of this adventure will last a lifetime.
Where to stay at Arshan
Those who come on a purchased trip just stay in a sanatorium. For others, accommodation options run like this: a bed in a shabby private house with a street toilet; a room in a comfortable house with all facilities; or a hotel room.
Finding a place to spend a night is simple even during winter. House owners paste their phone numbers all over the village. Some of the owners meet the tourists at the bus station and offer to stay in their houses. A bed without amenities costs 300—500 rubles. Rooms with toilets and running water in the house cost 600 rubles a night and up.
For 1 000 rubles a night you can find a decent suite in a guest house with a toilet, a shower and satellite TV. Hotel suites are more expensive, costing 1 500—5 500 rubles. Better book them in advance, as the most comfortable suites are rarely unoccupied, especially in the summer.