Ask Baikal

Hi there! My name is Maxim Milyutin. I am based in Irkutsk, Russia's Siberia. Traveller, organiser of local travel talks, and owner of Irkutsk hostel. Travel for me is not necessary movement to some place far away from home, it's a state of soul. That's why I like to travel around my home region and and abroad as well. I'm happy to share my knowledge about Baikal with everybody! Feel free to ask me about Lake Baikal via the contact form Tatiana Baksheeva, our previous blog runner, remains with us as a contributor.

Baikal ‘Omul’ Whitefish

Hi! Today I’ll tell you about very famous Baikal fish in Russia, it’s Omul, also called Baikal whitefish, or stranger whitefish! You can find it everywhere at the lake, at markets, cafes and restaurants. Locals cook it in many ways, boil it (then you get local fish soup, called “yushka”), fry it. And salted omul fish is very good in salad, called “zagudai”, when except the fish you have slices of onion, pepper, salt and vegetable oil. It is traditional food fot local minority called “buryats”, originally nomads, but here they are also hunters and fishermen. But the most tasty it is hot-smoked and cold-smoked (I prefer hot!). Try it!

Russian economy and prices for travel to Siberia at 2015

Hi, guys!

You probably know, that there is something happening with Russian economy. Here is my forecast for prices for the next year. The pros of this process is that prices for everything (tours, food, accommodation, guides…) had dropped dramatically, USD/RUB and EUR/RUB exchange rate strongly decreased (ruble is now twice cheaper), and now everything here is twice cheaper than before. I think it’s good time for travelling. Some examples below. Hostel accommodation costs 600 rubles, in 2014 it was around 15 USD, now it’s 7 USD. Dinner at good restaurant costs 1500 rubles, it was 40-50 USD, now it’s 20-25 USD! The prices is going to rise during 2015, but not so dramatically, because Russian government manages the situation, and averate salaries won’t increase two times. Probably, during the 2015-2016 dollar and euro exchange rate to ruble will be normalized, but still it’s really cheap.

The con is that travelling abroad for Russians is very expensive currently (since we get salaries in rubles, not dollars). I think 2015 should be great year for travelling. Happy New Year and see you in Siberia!

TOP Places to Visit at Lake Baikal, Russia [tips + video]

Chersky Rock at Lake Baikal, Russia. Photo by

On the boat. On Lake Baikal.

Chersky Rock at Lake Baikal, Russia. Photo by

Lake Baikal is the oldest, the deepest and one of the most fascinating lakes of the world. Wherever you go at this charming lake, you will feel its spirit, spend a wonderful time and will be filled with its powerful positive energy!

If you arrive in Irkutsk and you are limited in time or have limited budget, then it’s better to visit Listvyanka, which is situated on the shore of Lake Baikal, 70 km (44 mi) from Irkutsk.

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How to get from Listvyanka to Olkhon Island?

I’ve been asked a question on how to get to Olkhon Island from Listvyanka.

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Lake Baikal map (from Red dots shows Listvyanka and Olkhon. Click the image to enlarge.

In summer time you can get from Listvyanka villgae to Olkhon Island only by water.

I translated an official timetable for summer 2011. Read more »

Top 10 things to do around Lake Baikal. Travel tips by Lonely Planet.

Snowdrops and Lake Baikal in spring. Photo by Vladimir Tumentsev.

Snowdrops and Lake Baikal in spring. Photo by Vladimir Tumentsev. More spring photographs on the Ask Lake Baikal facebook page.

Lonely Planet has its opinion on everything. For instance, it offers to consider its top 10 highlights for Lake Baikal. Here are some of them:

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What is the Best Season for Visiting Lake Baikal?

Spring at Lake Baikal, Russia. Photo by Andrei Sobetov.

Spring at Lake Baikal, Russia. Photo by Andrei Sobetov.

Lake Baikal is beautiful and interesting to visit in any season! No doubts. Check the following information, videos and photographs.

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