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Tips for active rest on Baikal Lake
September 13, 2010 17:19

Baikal Lake is a place on the Earth which doesn't need a special introduction. A huge lake with crystal water and unbelievable beautiful sights draws tourist's attention all the year round. There are a few things you should know to make your voyage safe and comfortable.


Certainly, it depends on that what you want to do there. If you associate your active rest with camping, fishing, journey on foot and swimming, Baikal is waiting for you from the first decade of July to the end of August. Before that time, in June, nights are yet too cold and small ice-floes can be observed on the lake surface, which is not very good for water activities. Strong winds begin blowing from the end of August to the mid-September, making the weather not very nice.

Best time for taking pictures and enjoying sights is mid-September - mid-October, when the winds are not so strong, the tourist flow as well is not so big, and the forests on the banks in the fall color look wonderful.

If you want to make a little trip on Baikal ice - you are welcome in March - April, when the frosts aren't so severe.

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Among the most popular places on Baikal are:

- Maloye More shoreline (Maloye More means "little sea". The local public calls Baikal the sea)

- Western shore of Olkhon Isle

- Peschanaya bay and its area

Circum Baikal Railroad

- North-werstern shore from the city of Severobaikals to Baikalskoye settlement

- All places available by car

Unfortunately, there are so many people there, that it could spoil the impression from the wild nature. But it is possible to walk on foot all the shoreline. There are many interesting and, to be honest, rather difficult routes. Many people recommend trip around Olkhon Island.

There is only one place which is not recommended for visits, it is world famous pulp-and-paper plant, which has recently begun functioning instead of the protests of greenpeace ecologists and world community.

Lake Baikal is situated in the area of continental climate. It means, that it can be very hot in summer, and very cold as well, sometimes on the same day. So warm clothes are necessary. The main source of discomfort is wind, blowing in the evenings from the lake. A cap or a hat as a protection from the sun is also suitable.

The second thing is mosquitos and ticks, which can be dangerous because of tick-borne diseases. You should have clothes with long sleeves and tight cuffs. Mosquito nets are also necessary for some areas on the northern and eastern shores. By the way, vaccination can be very suitable.

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Swimming places Water in Baikal is cold most part of the year and sometimes - very cold and covered with ice.

But there are some places where water temperature in summer is very comfortable for swimming. They are the bays of Mukhor, Chivyrkuysky, Barguzinsky, Proval, Posolsky Sor and Yarki Isle. The temperature there is more than 20 C. But take into account, that every storm makes the water 10 degrees colder, because the waves mix warm water of bays with cold water of depths, by the way, Baikal is the deepest fresh water lake.

Things not to do We hope that you are civilized and educated, but anyway remind things which you may not do on Baikal lake. Unfortunately, not everybody remembers it:

- Chopping trees

- Leaving waste

- Making fire outside special places

- Making inscriptions on rocks with your names and hometows. By the way, local public calls them "cretinoglyphs", which means letters, left by cretins

- Fishing with big nets and stunning fish, but fishing with angle is OK

- Picking flowers

Getting around

First of all it is necessary to get to one of the cities not far from the lake. For example, to Irkutsk. This city is available by plane and by train. By the way, "not far" in Siberia and in Europe, even in European part of Russia is not the same. Baikal is situated in 70 km from this city.

From Irkutsk you can get to Baikal shoreline from three places. They are railway station with trains and suburban trains, city bus terminal with buses, shuttles and private taxis Raketa mooring, but remember, that navigation is very short: the boats sail June - August

Then, you should choose, what place on the shore you need.

Circum-Baikal Railroad. If you need Circum-Baikal Railroad, you can: take a suburban train and go to the southern shore of Baikal (settlements Kultuk and Slyudyanka). It will take 2, 5 - 3 hours. The ticket costs 40 rubles. You can get off at the station of Tyomnaya Pad' and walk down a path, down and down. In a hour you reach the shore and 149th kilometer of Circum-Baikal Railroad. You also can take a boat "Voskhod" from Raketa mooring and it transports you to the port of Baikal. It will be also 73th kilometer of this railroad. In winter you can take a bus to Listvyanka settlement and from there - ferry boat to port. It sails in winter as well. There is also a tourist train "Circum-Baikal Express", which runs Irkutsk - port Baikal - Irkutsk in summer and early autumn since 2003. The ticket costs 200 - 1100 rubles depending on class. Finally, you can get to Kultuk and Slyudyanka by car from Irkutsk.

If you want to Listvyanka settlement, you take a bus or shuttle from Irkutsk bus terminal. The ticket costs 60 rubles, trip takes 1 hour. In the summer you can take a boat from Raketa mooring. The ticket costs 100 rubles, and you will be in Listvyanka in 1 - 1, 5 hours.

Maloye More and Olkhon Isle are available by boat and bu bus (with taking ferry boat from the mainland). Buses and shuttles Irkutsk - Khuzhir cost 300 rubles, trip takes about 8 hours. Buses and shuttles Irkutsk - MRS go 7 hours and cost the same money. In summer Kometa boat, sailing Irkutst - Nizhneangarsk makes a stop in Zagli bay of Olkhon Isle. The ticket costs 1100.

If you need Severobaikalsk town, it is available by train, which goes 40 hours, and the ticket costs 850 rubles. By water it is faster: already mentioned Kometa motor vessel makes a stop here on the trip to Nizhneangarsk. The trip takes 12 hours, it costs 1, 400 rubles. Kometa sails 2 - 3 times a week and certainly only in summer.

Bays of Sukhaya and Peschanaya are available by Barguzin boat. The trip takes 6 hours and costs 500 rubles.

Voskhod boat sails to Bolshiye Koty settlement. Ticket costs 150 rubles, it takes you 1,5 hours.

Bolshoye Goloustnoye settlement is tied with civilized world with bus service. The bus goes once a week and transports you to Bolshoye Goloustnoye in 3, 5 hours. Settlement of Buguldeyka has transportation like this, but the way there is 2 hours longer.

Chivyrkuysky Bay is very popular among the tourists, but not very easy to get, if you don't have a car. It is easier to go there from Ulan-Ude. If you are already in Irkutsk, take train to Ulan-Ude. From Ulan-Ude you take a bus to Ust'-Barguzin and the last 25 kilometres you have to walk. Or hitch a motor.

By the way: be ready that visiting some places costs money, because they are nature reserves and national parks.


Tags: Baikal Ecotourism Active Travel   

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