Lake Baikal: Irkutsk 5 185 km + island Olkhon


Arrived at Irkoust for Lake Baikal

Irkutsk is the capital of Eastern Siberia, one of the most popular stages of the Trans-Siberian to reach Lake Baikal. And it shows, because as soon as you arrive in the city, we immediately see the difference. More active, more tourist signs, all in the city shows an economy based on tourism. The city has even rebuilt a wooden, the 130 Kvartal village, where gathers a large part of the nightlife.

Located 70 km it is the best place to go and visit Lake Baikal, the Pearl of Siberia and also the largest in the world. I spend a night in Irkustk in a hostel for recharge in food before resuming the bus the next day.

Lake Baikal

My night in the city after I take a bus in the direction of Lake Baikal and specifically to Olkhon island located west of the Lake. Buses can be caught at the bus station at 10: 00 or 15: 00 (to be checked at the train station directly), it takes about 5-6 hours before reaching the main town of the island, Khuzhir. During the trip, one sees a new landscape, the steppes. I've not yet seen before and it is beautiful. The road is lined with plains with his cows crossing the road at their convenience. After 3 h – 4 h, we arrive at the ferry, which in 10 minutes takes you on the island. The Lake, this is impressive! A beautiful blue surrounded by red, yellow vegetation in the colors of autumn. A real treat for the eyes.

Lake Baikal
Sacred area

Olkhon island

From this moment on, the roads are in Earth, forcing the bus to roll more slowly (to not lose luggage on the roof or explode its shock absorbers). Happened to Khuzhir, I head to the Church where my couchsurfing. It is the only one of the island (it is easy to find on the site). It's called Serguey and own a House with land which it offers free to all people wishing to camp. It is also possible to sleep in the big blue tent designed for several people without worries. Even if I stood in a garden, I had access to water in the bathroom. and electricity. What is interesting is that thanks to couchsurfing, we meet very quickly to many travelers.

Lake Baikal
The Shaman rock

After me, I went for a ride along the shore (self to 3 min walk to the camp). A magnificent view of Lake Baikal was waiting for me with its reliefs and its clear water. Such a desire to swim, even if the water does not exceed 15 ° C. I reached the rock of the shaman to 15 min of the camp on the edge of the city where I enjoy the sunset on the water with inside trees covering of their fall jacket. I also discovered my first sacred water places. The beach stretches out of sight, covered in sand. There seems to be on a beach in the South and not in the middle of Siberia where it can reach – 40 ° C!

Later I then went to the camp meet my roommates for the next two days. We ate together in a great atmosphere before going to bed. For information, yes it's cold if it does not have. It is especially very damp, which is logical with Lake Baikal alongside.

Lake Baikal Couchsurfing
Camping couchsurfing

Ride on Olkhon island

It is possible to circumnavigate the island via organized tours. Other people decide to walk to stop while camping. For information it is possible to camp anywhere, even if it's better on the beach, you just pay attention to the bears. The main destination is the northern part of the island 30km of Khuzhir, but we can go anywhere easily.

Lake Baikal

With two Finns, we rent bicycles to achieve the best point of seen from the island, to the North, Cape Khoboy! It's to go around 30km and we go in the morning. The roads are not paved, we quickly made to mountain BIKING on paths. The view is magnificent and very entertaining ride. I enjoyed the first part on the first 15-20 kilometers. A plain flat, green with many mountains in the distance on our right and beautiful beaches to our left were with us on along the way. Cows and horses encouraged us during our journey.

Lake Baikal

Thereafter, we reach the nature reserve of Lake Baikal with its pine forest. And then it gets complicated. The majority of the path is made up of sand which is more difficult to bike. We continue our journey on foot pushing our bike stopping on the beautiful beaches along our route.

After an hour in the Park the Finns decided to turn around because we are to go and we still do the 30km return. I decided to continue alone for an hour to reach the North.

Out of the forest and I fall back on a tough road in the plain. I continue my journey and reach after two, three hills North. It's amazing to see all this expanse of water over 600km to the North, we imagine we're on a Lake!

To make the return, by chance, I came across a group of french tourists by bus offering me to take my bike on the roof of their car and take home me. It is with pleasure that I accept for me also to enjoy their tour and exchange with them 😉

Lake Baikal
You put my bike on the car

After an hour's drive and have exceeded the Finns, I find myself Khuzhir. With time, I decide to go for a swim in the Lake to relax.

The evening happens at best, with new arrivals. We're enjoying a good meal with tea. We decide to make a fire or we play music from each of our countries throughout the night. All this of course accompanied by hot tea, because the nights are cold.

Lake Baikal
Evening around the fire

The return

The next day, I put my gear and decides to take a bus back to Irkutsk. Of many hotels or companies offer returns to 800RUB, most of the time at 8: 00, 10: 00 and 15: 00. It is possible to get to his hotel or waiting at a meeting place. So I go to Irkutsk to take a train the same evening to Ulan-Ude. In the meantime, I sit in a pub open 24/24 to take advantage of the internet. When I take my train, I discovered that my bed is already made. As I arrived at 1: 00 in the morning on the train and I have to wake up at 8: 00, the Russians kindly made me my bed so I can sleep right away. If it's not affecting 🙂

Lake Baikal

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