View Full Version : A visit to Lake Baikal

05-06-2012, 12:08
Asking advise from people who have been or know of.......

I am thinking of visiting Lake Baikal during the third week of this month. If anyone has any advise or information on this I would appreciate hearing about it. Where to go, what to do, where to stay, do and don't, train or plane and which agent/company to use to organize the above. Thank you

05-06-2012, 12:19
I went there independently in 2005, as part of extended rail journey with a Russian friend. Much of that experience won't be directly relevant if you are looking at a week-long trip, but a few thoughts.

Train vs plane - unless you have a lot of time at your disposal, fly. You can't really spare four days by rail to Irkutsk if you're looking at a one or two week stay.

Irkutsk is a pleasant city - definitely worth a day or two to explore - but not really on Baikal itself. You'd probably be looking to get to somewhere a bit more remote. I headed north, to Severobaikalsk, which gives access to a lot of unspoiled countryside (there's a daily boat service linking to Irkutsk. In theory it's first come first served at the harbour, but in practice it seems to be possible to pre-book - we couldn't get on the boat as planned, and ended up with a second extensive (36 hr) train tide). Once up there, your most likely contact would be Nikolai Sorokin, driver / tour guide. Ask around for him at the railway station.

A more accessible but similarly remote spot (if you're starting from Irkutsk) might be Olkhon Island. I can't really advise on how to reach it, but I've heard it's a good place to visit. You might be looking at local train to somewhere like Listvyanka then boats. I'd assume Irkutsk has tour agencies which can also assist, but I don't know anything specific.

05-06-2012, 14:14
Sorry about the heading the title should read Lake Bailkal of course. Anyway of changing it?

05-06-2012, 14:35
That*S okay , sounds kinda hot :D

Always wanted to visit Lake Bail :) :mooooh:

Lake Collateral

05-06-2012, 14:47
Asking advise from people who have been or know of.......

I am thinking of visiting Lake Baikal during the third week of this month. If anyone has any advise or information on this I would appreciate hearing about it. Where to go, what to do, where to stay, do and don't, train or plane and which agent/company to use to organize the above. Thank you

The expat.ru [Search] button is your friend :) Try "Baikal" or various combinations of "Trans-Siberian" :D

The word "Baikal" or "Siberia" seems to evoke the same response as asking a New Yawk'r about Alaska or Australia, for that matter :inlove:

05-06-2012, 18:44
That*S okay , sounds kinda hot :D

Always wanted to visit Lake Bail :) :mooooh:

Lake Collateral

I once visited the Baku suburb of Bayil, and in London I've walked past the Old Bailey. Not sure I've been to Bail yet, though.

05-06-2012, 19:56
As the military epidemiologist, I should warn you - June is TICKS SEASON in Siberia, especially out of cities. The best time to visit Baikal is August.

So please before going to Baikal "moutains" surrounding the lake, or just green areas workaround your collar, wrists, sleeves, trouser-legs and top of your boots with insect repellent. After going to the nature go to bathroom and check skin on the body (especially where skin is thin - groin, navel. armpits).

Almost all local people are vaccinated vs ticks encephalytis, second non-pleasant thing from ticks is ticks borelliosis. Both are diagnosed and treated well in:
Центр диагностики и профилактики клещевых инфекций (г. Иркутск, ул. К. Маркса, 3, тел. (3912) 333-445.

Вирусологическая лаборатория ФБУЗ Центр гигиены и эпидемиологии в Иркутской области (г. Иркутск,ул. Трилиссера, 51, тел. 23-41-97).
They also make injections of immunoglobulines if needed.to

Prophylaxy vaccination in Moscow is the best way to go, but I'm afraid you're late - it is needed to make 3-4 months in advance.

If you've found the tick sucked to you, make the loop of usual sewing thread, put it on the tick (try to do it below its head, on the "trunk", maximally closer to your skin), tighten the loop firmly enough and drop one drop of liquid oil onto tick to cover its breathing holes. Wait 5-7 min and start to pull ends of thread 45 degrees up to different sides, carefully waiving a bit left-right-left-right. It should go out. Disinfect the wound with spiritus, vodka, brandy or other strong alcohol.
Put tick with thread into vessel with cover and add piece of wet cotton inside to avoid dry-out oof the biomaterial. Then go to address above to give it up to serological/inmmunological investigation lab.

Now a couple of words about pleasant things.
I stayed there in 3 places, all are in Listvyanka (the village closest to Irkutsk and connected by road to it) - it has happened chronologically as below, from good to better ;) :

1) hotel Pribaikalskaya http://www.pribaikalskaja.ru/ - on the exit of Listvyanka to Irkutsk - 2008, June, that time it was a bit older design USSR-times hotel, but friendly and helpful people, good food

2) hotel Mayak (center of Listvyanka, near lake port, shops, market, administration) http://www.mayakhotel.ru/ - 2008, July, 1st 4* hotel in the area, a bit posh, high prices, although service and food were good as well

3) hotel Krestovaya Pad' (between Mayak and Pribaikalskaya) - http://www.krestovayapad.ru/ - 2010, August, the best in balance plus a very good and professional cooking team, excellent administrator, who organised for us everything, whole program - Elena Glinskaya (I have her contacts, PM if needed)

At least 5-6 more hotels are there, for any pocket.

To do:
1) Visit the market and buy fish (omul', sig and others, cold smoked, hot smoked) - perfectly goes with beer and vodka, and just hot smoked is super with cold brandy ;).

2) Visit "nerpinariy" - http://listvyankasity.ru/catalog/socialnieobekti/dostoprimehatelnosti/nerpinarii/ ; http://www.baikalnerpa.ru/ru/rasp/listv - Baikal seal aquarium

3) Visit Lymnological museum/institute and dendropark - http://listvyankasity.ru/catalog/socialnieobekti/dostoprimehatelnosti/istokangari/ - we've liked dendro so much that been there twice and both times excursion ladies were exteremely professional with a lot of knowledge

4) Proceed further a couple of km to climb to "Kamen' Cherskogo" (Chersky Stone) - mountain/rock with a very nice view to Baikal and Angara river source

5) Visit private museum of metal constructions "Retro park" in Listvyanka - http://listvyankasity.ru/catalog/socialnieobekti/dostoprimehatelnosti/1284439694/

6) Take motoboat with driver in that lakeport/excursions bureau and go to sit over Shaman-kamen' (very energetic place).

7) Take taxi or marshrutka and go to Taltsy architectural-etnographical museum (between Listvyanka and Irkutsk) - http://www.talci.ru/ - it's a very good place.

8) Take a ride on KBZhD aka Krugobaikalka (old railway around southern coast of Baikal, former part of Transsib) - they do shuttle runs from: Irkutsk main station (starts in the morning, so wake up early and catch marshrutka or taxi to Irkutsk) - Slyudyanka - Port-Baikal (small village), then cross Angara river source on the ship to Listvyanka pier, transfer buses waits here to return people to Irkutsk. Other day they go back direction - people take transfer buses in Irkutsk to Listvyanka, then by ship to Port-Baikal, then by train to Irkutsk via Slyudyanka.
The train make several stops on the way to go out, make photos of tunnels and galleries, drink beer, eat shashlyk, pee, pick nose looking around ;)
You may take 1st, 2nd and 3rd class wagons there. 1st is most clean, nice seats, tables etc. DON'T ORDER MEALS here! They are (were ;)) terrible. Better to take sandwiches with you and order only tea/coffe/beverages. 2nd and 3rd are more relaxed, big companies of people eat and drink what they take with them, play guitar, sing songs and everything is funny and nice.

9) Too long way either by car or by ship, I didn' dare to - try to visit Ol'khon Island (nice views and Buddhistic places).

10) If you're Christian, visit St. Nicholas wooden chirch in Listvyanka ( http://sobory.ru/article/index.html?object=19759 ) and fire up the candle for all travellers ;)

06-06-2012, 11:00
Thank you FatAndy appreciate your advise and time taken to write this.

06-06-2012, 12:10
My pleasure, just ask if needed ;)

One correction to andymackem about Ol'khon island - there is no regular railway connection from Irkutsk to Listvyanka, only by car/bus/marshrutka, or several hours with that touristic KBZhD train to Port-Baikal, then by boat or ship - 15 min.

As I've discovered in 2010, you can take taxi-bus-marshrutka from Irkutsk to Listvyanka, then take a boat to Olkhon. But:
1) Boat (in fact small ship) rent for return trip was 30-35K rub in 2010 and I don't hope price is lower now. It is better to order boat in advance and form a company of 5-10 ppl to share costs.
2) From L to O boat goes long enough - around 14-15 hours one way.

Alternate way is from Irkutsk - around 10-12 hours (first half by "marshrutka" on a bit better road, then by jeep by bad road) to the Baikal's bank across the closest point of Ol'khon, then by ferry to Ol'khon itself.

Hope the things are changed in 2 years to better side with this transportation, but be ready if not ;)