The majestic waters of Lake Baikal stretch among the mountains. Incredible views open to tourists who decide to visit a place of strength and harmony. But is it true that getting to Lake Baikal is not so easy, and most importantly, the pleasure is not cheap?
Dependence on the season
The nature of Lake Baikal is so unique that it attracts curious minds from all over the world. The deepest and cleanest lake in the world is beautiful not only in the summer season, it does not depend on the time frame that the tourist society imposes on it.
A favorable time for traveling to Lake Baikal is the summer period - especially July and August. However, the water in Lake Baikal, even on the hottest day, remains icy: the depth of the lake is so great that the water does not have time to warm up. It is also influenced by numerous mountain rivers carrying their cool mountain waters to Lake Baikal. Therefore, it is better to choose the period from July to mid-August as the best for swimming. In other months, the Small Sea (as the locals call Baikal) will not please with a warm welcome, unless, of course, you are a fan of swimming in cold water.
Also in July and August - the most tourist peak, travelers from all over the world flock here. Especially at this time you can meet our neighbors, residents of China, who come to reunite with nature, visit the picturesque mountains and try the most delicious buuzy (national Buryat dish).
If you definitely want to plunge into the waters of Lake Baikal, then choose June or September.
Many tourists who have visited the lands of the Irkutsk region say that at least once in a lifetime you need to visit the shores of Lake Baikal. But what stops people? Is he afraid of the greatness of his waters? Everything is much simpler – the prices for rest. There is an opinion that a trip to Lake Baikal will cost a simple tourist a penny. Well, we'll find out.
According to information portals and websites of travel agencies, a night in a three-star hotel for two in a standard room will cost from 5,000 to 11,000 rubles. A cheaper alternative will be a small private tourist base, where prices start from 3000 rubles per day. The cost of accommodation depends on the location of the hotel or hostel, as well as on the level of comfort. Lovers of relaxing away from civilization, do not forget about tents! This is an ideal option to merge with nature, and most importantly - there are a lot of places where you can settle.
As you know, hotels or tourist centers in the price of overnight accommodation and breakfast. But the question is: how much will it cost tourists to dine or try delicious dishes for dinner? In general, in Irkutsk you can have a hearty and tasty snack within 300 rubles. If we talk about the restaurants of the city, the average check per person will start from 700 rubles without alcohol. In the restaurants of Listvyanka (a village located at the source of the Angara, the only river that flows out of Lake Baikal), the average check for one is from 800 rubles. As for hotels, here lunches and dinners will cost you from 700 to 900 rubles, at tourist bases more expensive - 900-1200 rubles.
The cheapest option for a snack is a cafe in the fish market: there you can have a hearty lunch at prices from 250-300 rubles.
Trips on the territory of Lake Baikal will be costly if you prefer private minibuses to regular buses. Travel on a six-seater minibus will cost tourists from 30 rubles per kilometer (depending on the end point). On average, to get from Irkutsk to Listvyanka (distance 60 km), you will have to pay 3,000 rubles, a trip from Irkutsk to the Small Sea (distance 250 km) will be 9,000 rubles. But to save money, it is better to use regular transport, the price for it will be from 300 rubles.
Do not forget about the ships. Regular ships connect Irkutsk, Listvyanka, Peschanaya Bay, Olkhon Island, Severobaikalsk, etc. To swim across the entire Baikal from Irkutsk to Severobaikalsk, a tourist will have to pay about 5,000 rubles. To Olkhon, the cost of a ticket for a regular ship will be about 3500 rubles. The cheapest will be a ticket from Irkutsk to Bolshiye Koty - 800 rubles.
As for the flight, a ticket from Moscow to Irkutsk and back in 2022 costs from 11,000 to 35,000 rubles (according to information posted on the websites of airlines).
Places to visit
The main issue facing tourists, especially those traveling independently, is planning, logistics. What places to visit, where it is better to stay, how to plan your vacation.
Basically, West Baikal is more accessible for travel. There are villages, tourist bases - and most importantly, you can get here both by car and on foot.
The closest to Irkutsk is the village of Listvyanka. Here tourists are waiting for popular hotels, museums and a lot of entertainment. A little further, in the area of Sandy Bay, you can visit the yurt glamping "Uliger". Here you can enjoy a view of the sacred Baikal and connect with its nature away from the bustle of the city.
Next, it is worth visiting Cape Krestovsky, which preserves the history and culture of the ancient Kurykan people. Rock paintings, fortresses and ritual and household complexes have been preserved here.
Do not forget about the island of Olkhon. This is the strongest energy place of Lake Baikal. Here you will find excursions by car, cycling, hiking, as well as boat trips.
As for the northern part of Lake Baikal, tourists mostly prefer to fly there. The north of Lake Baikal has wilder places that are not subject to every tourist. But if you get there, you will be warmed by hot springs: Hakusy, Kotelnikovsky or Goudzhekit.
Another attraction of northern Baikal is the mountain lake Frolikha. It is located 40 km from the village of Nizhneangarsk, is a World Heritage Site and is protected. Therefore, before traveling to these parts, you should issue an entry permit.
Things to keep in mind
If you decide on a long way to the waters of Lake Baikal, you should remember that the local nature is not always friendly to humans. In May-June, the peak of the spread of the tick, so before the trip you should be vaccinated. It's a good idea to get health insurance.
Pay attention to warm waterproof clothes. Despite the summer heat and warm apartments, at night you will definitely want to wrap yourself in warmth and admire the stars.
Make a reservation in advance, especially if the trip is planned for the summer. Good hotels and hostels are filled with guests with incredible speed.
If you decide to live in a tent, then avid travelers recommend that you write off with the locals in advance or find a group of tourists who are not the first to go to Lake Baikal. Locals know the area well and will tell you the most convenient places to camp.
The wildlife of Lake Baikal is as insidious as it is beautiful. Therefore, do not forget to take with you various navigators (maps, routes), most importantly, working without a network. Rent a satellite phone and notes where several phones for an emergency will be recorded.