"Lake Baikal - The Budget Way" Lake Baikal by nekro

Lake Baikal Travel Guide: 37 reviews and 91 photos

The Lake

I just started to bulid this page, but I gat an urgent job, so I have to finish it a couple of weeks later. Come back a bit later, and u will find much more information

Lake Baikal is the oldest lake and largest freshwater reservoir in the world. It is also the deepest one. Contains 20% of the unfrozen freshwater in the planet, more then the 5 Great Lakes in North-America. Packed with unique flora and fauna, the only freshwater seal (called nerpa) is living here. But not only nature, what you can experience: the native Buryat people around the lake; Irkutsk, the once center and gemstone of Russian colonization; and european engineering miracles: The Circumbaikal Railway, the original trak of the Trans-Siberian, now a neglechted brench-line, with more then 200 bridges, arches and viaducts couple of meters from the shore. Or the Baikal Amur Mainline in the north, a railway line costed more for the Soviet-Union then the spacerace.

Before your trip visit the Baikal Web World?s homepage, and use the really nice and detailed map
Baikal Web World
Baikal Map

My trip:

I spent about 2 weeks around the lake in the August of 2007 with a couple of my friends. We arrived to Severobaikalsk, spent there 4 days, cought the ferry to the Olkhon Island, where we wildcamped for a week, then we slept one in Listvyanka and the next day walked about half of the Circumbaikal, and waited the tourist train arriving 2 days later. I have no information about the eastern shores, but in a couple of years, I will go back.
95% percents of tourist at Lake Baikal visit its southern shores from Irkutsk. So I put every northern Things To Do information in the Off The Beaten Path. For winter tips, check kryzzo?s Lake Baikal page

Warnings and intineraries

The Lakes flora and fauna is extremly vulnerable. Don?t litter, and ALWAYS USE biodegradable soap and shampoo.

If you camp somewhere in the wilderness, please adopt some measures:
- camping fires must be attended at all times
- only dead trees or driftwood is to be used for fires
- burning cigarettes must never be thrown away, cigarettes in general should never be discarded in the countryside
- rubbish, vodka bottles etc. should not be disposed of in nature

only couple of days: Check Irkutsk and head for Listyanka for the Circumbaikal Railway, if trains interest you more then nature. If nature wins, head for Olkhon, but to get there you need half a day.
in 1 week, starting from Irkutsk: Hop of your Trans-Siberian, or aeroplane for a quick sightseeing in Irkutsk (1 day is quite enough) and catch a morning minibus to Khuzir, Olkhon Island. Spend there 2-3 days, absolute worth. Inquire at Nikita?s Guesthouse about the ferry, catch it to Severobaikalsk, watch the unique train-station and spend 1-2-3 days exploring the beautiful setting around (Baikalskoe is the best of them, I think so). Maybe charter a boat for yourself, and arrange a visit one of the rentable dachas in the north-eastern shore. It wont be a cheap bypass. Catch the night train back to Irkutsk. If it?s too much of a running for you, then miss the northern shores, and stay at Olkhon for 5 days.
in 2 weeks, starting from Irkutsk: like the previous, but spend 4-5 days in Olkhon, and before or after Olkhon, travel or walk the Circumbaikal Railway.

For penny-counters:

-Take your camping gear and cooking stuff and buy Russian or Chinese products, much cheaper than European ones. Buy the vegetables in the markets, and drink Baikal-water.
-Wild camp wherever possible. It is OK in Baikalskoe, Olkhon Island and the Circumbaikal. Watch your belongings.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Unique flora and flauna, easy to travel and enjoy
  • Cons:Cold water, so not the ideal beach resort
  • Last visit to Lake Baikal: Aug 2007
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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