Private Room
3.3Overall Score

On Olkhon Island, there are few choices of where to stay in the small town of Khuzhir. We chose Solnechnaya, also known as Sunny Hostel, for its location near the beaches and Shaman Rock at Lake Baikal. We enjoyed our stay on the island as it was the first time in weeks that we weren’t in a large city.

Lake Baikal is a must-see in Russia as it’s the largest, freshest lake in the world. It was one of the best stops we took from the Trans-Mongolian Railway. Solnechnaya also helped make our stay a memorable one with wonderful cooking and great accommodation.

Solnechnaya, Sunny Hostel, Olkhon Island

Private Room:

We booked a private twin room in one of the wooden cabins. The room was simple with two comfortable beds, a table and stool, a mirror and window. There was no AC or heating in the room, which we never needed  as the cabin’s temperature was naturally moderate. We had neighboring rooms to each side of us and sometimes could hear our neighbors walking around in their room, but it was never loud enough to be a disturbance. Soon after we arrived, an English-speaking tour guide came to our door and showed us the property of where everything was and also helped arrange a late lunch for us.

Solnechnaya, Sunny Hostel, Olkhon Island


The highlight of our stay was Solnechnaya’s food, with the head cook, Ogla, serving three hearty meals a day. Olga’s cooking was a great blessing, especially since we didn’t realize our reservation came with complimentary meals, and also after living off of rice and noodles in China. Breakfast was usually grits, bread with meat or cheese and a pastry. Lunch was the biggest meal and would include a small salad, bowl of soup, meat/fish on rice and a dessert. Dinner would be a small salad, one main dish, and a dessert. At all three meals, there was a self-serve station with tea and rye bread. We booked through, which gave us the free meals. If you booked through, you’d only get the free breakfast, and would have to pay for the extra meals you wanted.

There was also a bar and a play area with ping pong, darts and a hockey board game. There is WiFi available in the bar, but we were told by the tour guide that it’s very slow. So we didn’t even attempt to use it. Solnechnaya also offered tours to the most northern tip of the island, which cost 800 rubles. We didn’t take the tour, although it sounded interesting, instead we enjoyed laying out on the nearby beaches each day. At the hostel, there was no plumbing so that meant the squatter toilets were in outhouses that smelled putrid later in the day as the temperature warmed. For bathing, there was a separate shower room with three showers and hot water. Also, drinking water was available next to the big boiler.

Solnechnaya, Sunny Hostel, Olkhon Island


It’s quite expensive to stay on Olkhon Island since there’s not many accommodation options. Therefore, the hostels can competitively keep prices high. We paid 7800 rubles for three nights, which came with the three complimentary meals each day. This was by far one of our most expensive accommodations on our overall trip, but the fact that it came with such delicious meals helped justify the price.

Khuzhir, Olkhon Island, Lake Baikal, Travel, Backpacking, Russia, Trans Mongolian Railway, Irkutsk, Epiphany Cathedral, Church, Beach, Shaman Rock,


Based off photos I saw on I thought the hostel was overlooking the beach, which wasn’t quite the case since a hill with towering satellites blocked most of the view. From the dining room, you can see part of the lake, but from the hostel rooms we couldn’t see it. The location was still great with just a 10 minute walk to the iconic Shaman’s Rock and beaches on each side of it. The supermarket in town was also just a 5 minute walk away. To get to Olkhon Island, we needed to take a minibus, which we arranged with our hostel in Irkutsk. Once on the island we tried to arrange our return trip with Solnechnaya, but their shuttle only left at 12 p.m., which was too late for us as we had to catch a train at 6:30 p.m. and the ride takes eight hours. Next door was another guesthouse called Nikita’s that we went to and they helped us arrange a shuttle. They had five shuttles a day with the earliest leaving at 7:30 a.m, which worked the best for us.


About The Author

Britnee traveled around the world with her husband on a shoestring budget for a year. A few of her favorite destinations include Scotland's Isle of Skye, Chile's Torres del Paine, Bolivia's Salt Flats and Nepal's Annapurna Circuit.

2 Responses

  1. Lynda

    That room actually looks quite cute! I’m not a fan of misleading photos on websites, it happens often too, but at the end of the day there’s not really much you can do other than just appreciate your new surroundings and be thankful :)