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Interview: The beauty of Russian nature – Lake Baikal


One of the most beautiful and picturesque places that attracts travel lovers and adventurers from all over the world is Lake Baikal in Russia. A resident of one of the oldest Russian cities – from Irkutsk, told about life and tourism on Lake Baikal: the most popular resorts of Lake Baikal, when it is better to go to rest in these parts, where to relax on Lake Baikal and how much the cheapest hotel room costs, as well as other interesting and useful moments.


– Tell us about yourself.

– My name is Ekaterina. I am 27 years old. I was born in Irkutsk, where I live to this day. Since early childhood I have been dancing, I love to run in the morning, even in winter. I am a very creative person and three years ago, when my daughter was born, I discovered a lot of new and interesting activities that turned into a hobby. I love to arrange and decorate holidays and of course travel.

— Have you ever had a desire to move to another country?

— The desire to move permanently to another country has never really arisen. But my family and I really enjoyed spending the winter in Thailand. We spent a month there and now we plan to try to leave for two winter months. After all, we can’t do without our winter, we want slides, skates, and skis.

– Name the most popular resorts of Lake Baikal.

  • I’ll start with my hometown – this is IrkutskIt is one of the oldest cities in Russia and one of the most popular places on Lake Baikal. The city is steeped in history: old manors, houses of famous historical figures, temples.
  • A popular place on Lake Baikal — Listvyanka village, located on the very shore of the lake. There is beautiful nature with stunning views. Listvyanka has a pretty good service for vacationers, there are various entertainments, cafes and restaurants.
  • The next popular resort of Baikal — Olkhon Island, which is considered one of the most picturesque places of Lake Baikal and is a nature reserve. There are small camp sites on the island where tourists can stay. On Olkhon you can do various water sports, or visit historical and architectural monuments.
  • Arshan Resort it is also quite popular on Lake Baikal. There are many healing springs concentrated in this place. There is rich, beautiful nature and clean air.
    The Small Sea is a part of Lake Baikal. It is considered the best place in the region for a beach holiday and for fishing enthusiasts.

— When is it better to go to Baikal?

— We live in Irkutsk, a few kilometers from the unique and mysterious Lake Baikal. The closest location of the lake to Irkutsk is the village of Listvyanka. In general, there are three starting points for the journey to this beautiful lake: Irkutsk, Ulan-Ude, Severobaikalsk. Both in winter and in summer, or rather all year round, Baikal is attractively good. For our family, the favorite time of the year on Lake Baikal is summer. In July and August, we spend the most time on the shores of our wonderful lake, because these are the warmest months in the summer season. If you want to visit Baikal in winter, then it is better to come in February-March. At this time, the lake is fabulous and incredibly beautiful, it is covered with transparent ice, and its thickness is more than 1.5 meters.

  • Definitely, summer it is considered the most popular time to relax on Lake Baikal. In summer, the weather is warm and all attractions are available, ship cruises, rafting on mountain rivers, hiking, etc.
  • Autumn It comes to Baikal in the second half of September and this is the most beautiful time in this place when you can take amazing photos. In autumn there is sunny and windless weather and few tourists. Also during this season, you can visit all the sights on Lake Baikal.
  • In winter a fairy tale and magic are coming to Baikal, there is unusually clean air, snow-white snow and clear sky. A popular place to celebrate the New Year on Lake Baikal is the village of Listvyanka. There is a fairly developed infrastructure for tourists, for example, you can ride dog sleds and snowmobiles, visit Russian folk festivals. Also, for lovers of outdoor activities, we have a ski resort in Baikalsk.
  • In spring nature wakes up on Lake Baikal, and everything begins to bloom with bright colors. In May, you can see an incredible sight – an ice drift, it’s an amazing beauty.

— Where to relax on Lake Baikal and what are the best places for swimming?

— My family and I adore the recreation center “Kultushnaya”, 300 km from Irkutsk in the direction of Ulan-Ude. There is incredibly clean, beautiful and invigorating water, a sandy beach and fresh air. Even babies bathe, the water is comfortable and pleasant to the body. Also in summer it is very cool on the Small Sea, Mandarkhan Bay is the warmest bay of Mukhor Bay. There are a lot of tourist bases everywhere. Especially cool and popular for young people and hangouts is the recreation center “Zuun-Hagun”. But Fr . has a special energy and attractiveness . Olkhon. In this place of indescribable beauty, nature, sandy beach and crystal water, and it is cooler than in the bays, but there are water baths on the beach. Even kids like to steam and jump right into the water. And in winter Olkhon is simply fascinating. There we come to collect our thoughts and recharge with its most powerful energy.

— How are things with the infrastructure on Lake Baikal?

– The infrastructure on Lake Baikal is gradually developing for the better. There are quite a lot of beautiful, comfortable camp sites and just wooden houses for recreation, also with all the necessary comfort for a person. There are also hotels with luxury rooms. Shops with food and souvenirs are also quite enough, as well as cafes, restaurants of different levels.

– Is it expensive to rest on Lake Baikal?

— In my opinion, it is quite expensive to rest on Lake Baikal. The most expensive is housing on Lake Baikal, or rather rent. On average, the cheapest hotel room is from 5,000 rubles per day. There are more budget options – houses, and their average price varies from 500 to 1000 rubles per person. A lot of us like to rest in tents, be closer to nature, cook over a campfire. It certainly comes out much cheaper. Of course, you can always find a more budget option, for example, rent a house on Lake Baikal from local residents. All that concerns cafes, restaurants and other services, I can say that the price does not correspond to the quality of the service provided. For example, in one of the restaurants in the village of Listvyanka, a portion of 100-150 gr. “Sagudaya” costs about 650 rubles.

— How developed is tourism on Lake Baikal?

– Unfortunately, tourism on Lake Baikal is poorly developed, everything depends on money. It is put in such a way that no one thinks that people will return to them again. Just a stream of tourists who bring money. There is no desire to improve the service, grow and develop. And this is very sad and insulting for such a beautiful place as Baikal.

— How does mobile communication work on Lake Baikal?

– In the more visited and popular places on Lake Baikal there is a mobile connection: MTS, Megafon, Beeline, Tele2. If you do not want to connect roaming, you can purchase a local SIM card in Irkutsk. But in the protected areas of Lake Baikal, only satellite communication works.

— How are things going with work on Lake Baikal?

– The main source of income for local residents is fishing, souvenir trade and our local fish. In every second house you can buy fish, or rent a room or a house. Most of the vacancies are related to the service sector: waiters, security, administrators. The average salary is 15,000 rubles .

— Why do the locals love Eastern Siberia?

– This is undoubtedly fresh air, magnificent nature, the purest water of Lake Baikal. In order to enjoy this splendor, you do not need to travel far. Baikal is always with us. And in order to fully feel all these charms, it is necessary to visit these places, as they give strength and fill with energy.

— Do the Chinese use the water resources of Lake Baikal to supply drinking water?

— I can’t say for sure, but according to local residents, it can be assumed that Chinese citizens use the resources of Lake Baikal and do not always do it with concern for our nature and people.

— What does traveling give you?

— I love traveling. My dream is to travel all over Russia and Europe, and then the whole world. The main thing is a great desire, because it’s so great to learn something new, get acquainted with different cultures, learn the history of each city, meet and communicate with new different people. These are incredible emotions that give an impetus to live and enjoy every minute of your life even more.

– Your advice and wishes to travelers.

– Do not forget to find out and get acquainted with places in advance in order to know not only the positive aspects, but also to be prepared for difficulties. I wish everyone to visit the places where you dream of coming at least once, and then make plans and act. After all, dreams tend to come true.

Olga Avrakh was talking

Photo of Ekaterina

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