Baikal is situated around the Trans-Siberian route, therefore this is best route to reach Baikal. There are two main means of transport to Lake Baikal—by plane or by train. If you are travelling from a nearby town, you can also get to Baikal by bus or by car. This place is extraordinarily beautiful! Baikal Mountains surrounding the valley and the lake consists of a few ranges. In the west there are the Zabaikalskie Mountains. The Angara River is the only outflow of Lake Baikal. The ranges, rivers and valleys are tourist attractions of their own.
Travel By Plane
This is the fastest way to reach your destination. There are flights between two major cities such as Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk etc and Irkutsk or Ulan-Ude, which are located within a close reach to Lake Baikal. The trip from Moscow to Irkutsk takes about six hours. Aeroflot Airlines and Sibir Airlines have a few flights every day. Travel by plane is slightly more expensive than train. There is another advantage if you travel by train. The train ride would give you the opportunity to enjoy the landscape, meet different people and get the actual feel of travelling!
Travel By Train
The Trans-Siberian route goes through Irkutsk, Slyudyanka and Ulan-Ude. Generally, Irkutsk is good for a more civilized exploration (western shore of Baikal), Slyudyanka (southern tip of Baiakl) is good for the exploration of Circum-Baikal railway, while Ulan-Ude (eastern shore of Baikal) is a great place to start camping or stay with locals in villages along the lake.
Travel By Bus Or By Car
The bus or car route is connected either from Irkutsk or Ulan-Ude. These are the only roads to reach Lake Baikal. Riding from Irkutsk lasts about an hour and a half, with several stops along the way and ends in the small town of Listvyanka. The right bank marked by sandy shores of lake Baikal, is more easily accessible from Ulan-Ude. There are enough petrol stations so there won’t be any problem while travelling.
Where to Stay in Baikal
You may stay in Irkutsk or Ulan-Ude, make a day trip to the lake and get back. If you are willing to stay over there for a longer period of time, contact the local tourist agents to look for accommodation in Rest bases. Rest bases of the Baikal are Russian type of countryside wooden houses with facilities offering excursions to the local sights. They often are locate in villages around the lake.
Some of the hotels in and around Baikal are:
- Hotel Mayak- From this hotel you can get an excellent view of the lake. The location is also good.
- Victoria Hotel- This hotel is small but with excellent location.
- Kupechesky Dvor Hotel- This hotel is very cozy and you will definitely enjoy your stay in this hotel.
- Baikal Country Hotel- This is a fairly comfortable hotel from where you can get a fantastic view of the lake and the distant mountains.
- Gloria Hotel- The rooms in this hotel are very comfortable. You can get good breakfast along with Siberian delicacies.
Lake Baikal is a popular destination among tourists from all over the world. The popularity of Baikal is growing day by day but there are no developed infrastructures in the area. From the quality of service and visitor’s point of view , Baikal has still a long way to go. Still, if you are willing to be in close communion with nature and enjoy its beauty, do visit Lake Baikal.