Posted 2012-05-14 4:11 PM (#50761) Subject: Best stop for Lake Baikal?
I am planning a summer trip on the trans-mongolian route this summer and apart from feeling very excited am also feeling rather overwhelmed by all the timetables and train options and interesting looking places. We are planning to travel for about 4 weeks spending several days in Moscow and Beijing too. Laka Baikal looks awesome and I would like to spend several days there. What is the best jumping off place for this. It looks as if Irkutsk and Ulan Ude are both possible.
Any other suggestions for good places to visit welcome.
Posted 2012-05-15 5:57 PM (#50777 - in reply to #50761) Subject: Re: Best stop for Lake Baikal?
Location: Oxfordshire and St Petersburg
I can recommend Irkutsk, I think it is a great city, lots of different ethnic groups, fine old siberian Buildings, lots of orthodox churches, Chinese markets, street markets, a real mix. The river Angara flows through the centre, and in the summer you get fine weather. Check out the old British built Icebreaker that is in the Irkutsk Marina. built in Newcastle, then transported overland and reassembled on the lake. Not sure but i think its a museum and possibly a restuarant now.
There are buses from Irkutsk to Baikal which take about 90 minutes to get to the mouth of the Angara, catch the ferry across to Port Baikal, then take the train along the old trans-siberian route alongside the lake. The train stops at various view points to allow photos etc, and around midday stops for you to picnic by the lake and if it's warm enough, take a dip. If you choose first class, it comes complete with russian karaoke, you can do this as a day trip from Irkutsk, as the train returns to Irkutsk in the evening.
Also, you can catch a hydrofoil along the Angara river, which will drop you off in a small lakeside hamlet, then collect you later in the day. Both trips are well worth taking, and while you're by the lake, try the local cooked fish, Omul a trout like fish, it's freshly caught in the morning, cooked over open fires, and tastes fantastic.
Posted 2012-05-16 3:40 PM (#50787 - in reply to #50761) Subject: Re: Best stop for Lake Baikal?
Location: Redcar & Lermontov Nr Pyatigorsk
Sounds fantastic Jon. Its definitely on my wannago list. I read about the boat built in newcastle, I think that there were 2 but one is at the bottom now along with a train carrying troops going across the frozen lake (cos the rail route wasnt finished) during the russo-japanese war.
Posted 2012-05-17 6:12 PM (#50799 - in reply to #50761) Subject: Re: Best stop for Lake Baikal?
Location: Volgograd & Moscow
I've tried both, Ulan Ude is also the home of Russian buddism and is quirky wierd outpost city on the border with Mongolia. You can also go to the less commercial side of lake Bikal where the Russians visit.
Irkutsk has its own style and is also really interesting with loads to do.
If I had the time I'd do 3 days in Irkutsks and Bikal and then 2 days in Ulan Ude.
If I had to choose one city, I guess I would go with Irkutsk.