Here you’ll find travel reports about Irkutsk. Discover travel destinations in Russia of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

31 travelers at this place:

  • Day15

    Beautiful Lake Baikal

    June 22, 2017 in Russia

    Today's visit to Lake Baikal has been one of the highlights of the trip so far. An early start and one hour on the bus from Irkutsk, following the River Angara, brought me to this wonderful place. Lake Baikal is the world's deepest lake, and contains 20% of the world’s freshwater supplies If all the rest of the world’s drinking water ran out tomorrow, Lake Baikal could supply the entire population of the planet for the next 40 years! Known as the Blue Eye of Siberia, it can apparently be seen from space.

    The main town, Listvyanka, is a bit touristy as you might expect. I joined in some of the tourist fun and enjoyed a show at the Nerpinarium by Lake Baikal’s famous freshwater seals. Not exactly Sea World, but the kids, and this adult, enjoyed their performance. I had a lovely walk in the sunshine along the front, and found a nice restaurant where I dined on fresh Omul, a fish only found in Lake Baikal, baked with cheese and potatoes - lovely (and I’m no’ a fish haun). A highlight however was going on a short boat trip to experience part of the lake. Again the weather hot and sunny, and it was a pleasure to feel some breeze about you and admire the beautiful scenery.

    Back safely in Irkutsk, no thanks to the marshrutka driver, who insisted I sat in the front of his packed minibus, while he drank coffee, smoked, ate his lunch, used his mobile phone, played loud Russian ballads which he sang along with, while driving at breakneck speed. When he stopped to pick up more passengers, an old woman got in the front beside me and I signalled to him that I couldn't find the seat belt - he dismissed me with a wave indicating I didn't need it - and I noticed he wasn't wearing one either!

    Once back in the city I had a walk round the extensive market. Although it was late afternoon it was still thriving with a huge selection of fish, fruit and veg, meat and bakery items. I decided to stock up on goods to get ready for tomorrow’s marathon train journey - 3.5 days to Vladivostok! As I probably won't have wifi on the train you may not hear from me for a while. What's that you say - thank goodness?
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  • Day13

    Life on board the Trans Siberian

    June 20, 2017 in Russia

    For those of you imagining the Trans Siberian as being pulled across the frozen wastes of Siberia by a puffing steam locomotive - think again. The whole line has been electrified by Russian Railways (RZD). Gone too are the days of the marble bathtub, ingeniously designed not to overflow as the train rounded a corner. Tanks full of fish in the dining room are sadly no longer a feature of the cuisine in the restaurant car. However the Trans Siberian still has a mystique and attraction of its own, and so far I am loving it.

    For someone more accustomed to 10 minute trips on the Cathcart Circle, journeys of 24 hours plus are a different matter for me altogether. This leg of the journey takes 48 hours. I am sharing a compartment this time with a young military guy, who fortunately speaks some English. When I said I thought soldiers travelled in the multi occupancy 54 berth carriages, as opposed to our comparatively luxurious 4 berth kupe (2nd class) compartment, he laughed and proudly declared that he was an officer. He kindly offered to share his food, but I headed for the restaurant car for breakfast. Again it was largely deserted but, in wee Jean’s style, I asked for a table for one!

    As ever, most things I pointed to were ‘aff the menu’ and I ended up with some kind of cold fish with olives, eggs with small slices of ham, a bread roll and black tea - all in all not too bad. I was disappointed however not to have experienced the ‘pickled pike with stuffed cabbage’, or the ‘rabbit living with onions and potatoes served with greenery’. Ah well, another time.

    As if it wasn't confusing enough, Russian trains run to Moscow time, and even local station clocks show this. This is regardless of the fact that this huge country spans 7 time zones. When I was due to catch this train at 03.54 in the middle of the night, my ticket said it departed at 01.54 - panic! But ours not to reason why..

    The weather is sunny and hot today. The countryside whizzes by - mainly forests, lush fields, mighty rivers or woods of birch trees (that reminds me of being beaten in the banya - ouch!). Occasionally, small isolated train platforms sit in the middle of nowhere (reminiscent of Fiddler on the Roof - ‘Far From The Home I Love’, Liz!).

    Our carriage is fairly quiet. I decided to explore the train to get some exercise. The next carriage had a party of Germans heading to Siberia. They had put up a huge poster/map of ‘Russland ’ with pictures of wildlife such as bears and wolves they might spot en route. Sadly the only wildlife we've seen so far have been the local neds, hanging about some of the stations as we zip through!

    As I was taking my stroll through the length of the train, I saw some SV or 1st class compartments - not much different from mine, but for 2 people instead of 4, and a lot more expensive. At the other extreme, the platzcart, or 3rd class, is an open carriage with 54 berths, mainly occupied by students and soldiers - the smell of sweaty socks and drying laundry were overpowering, so I quickly retreated to the safety and comfort of my kupe compartment.

    Along the whole length of the Trans Siberian Railway there are markers on the track on black and white poles every kilometre, telling you how far you have travelled from Moscow. They are hard to spot as the train whizzes by, but I'm told if you look closely out of the window on the south (left hand) side of the train you can glimpse them. I have to say I got some peculiar stares from folk passing down the corridor as I pressed my face flat against the window pane, squinting, and looking quite demented.

    We are in Western Siberia now, and there seem to be more ponds and rivers rather than just forests. The train stops occasionally and Madame Provodnitsa lets you know if you are allowed off. I don't stray too far, for fear of the train leaving without me. On the platform various women sell their wares - bakery items, soft drinks, fur jackets and smoked fish. I had been warned not to buy anything hot to eat, as it has often been cooked in the station toilets. I opted for a a soft bun with a sausage through it (not unlike a Gregg’s sausage roll). It tasted not too bad, and the sweet old lady came chasing down the platform after me insisting she give me my change - I had only given her the equivalent of 50p!

    The Provodnitsa keeps busy, hoovering the corridor and compartments, and telling folk off: ‘whit have a tellt you - get yer feet aff that seat!’. She also sells snacks (anything that can be re hydrated with boiling water from the samovar), and comes round selling ice cream, souvenirs and what looks like bingo tickets. However I certainly wouldn't like to give her a false call! She also keeps the toilets spic and span. There are always plenty of towels and loo roll (I haven't had to use those huge supplies you provided me with yet, Campbell). There is apparently one shower somewhere, but some folk just attach a piece of hose to the tap in the bathroom and give themselves a hose down. The water all runs away down a hole in the floor on to the track - just like a kind of wet room on wheels. I think I'll just stick tae a Paisley wash!

    According to my phone, the time has changed again! I don't know whether I'm coming or going. Apologies for the lengthy blog today, folks - I can't get off for more than 15 minutes every few hours, and there is a lot of time to fill
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  • Day14


    June 21, 2017 in Russia

    I survived the 48 hour train trip from Ykaterinburg and arrived in Irkutsk promptly at 7.18am. Took an extremely old rackety tram No. 1 to my hotel just outside the city centre (20p ride). Although I was very early, I breakfasted in the hotel by which time my room was ready. It is a lovely comfortable hotel with free wifi. I asked to get some laundry done, and it was back in my room washed and ironed by the time I came back later in the day. It definitely helps to travel light.

    Irkutsk is a popular stopping-off point on the Trans Siberian due to its proximity to Lake Baikal. It is a big, spread out city and I did a lot of walking. To be honest I found it a bit soulless and not as attractive as Ykaterinburg. A unique feature of the central area however is that there remains a significant number of wooden houses from the 19th century with beautiful carvings on the eaves and windows, and some beautiful churches (apparently the most beautiful, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan was demolished to make way for the ugly bulk of the Soviet HQ).

    Although I am now in central Siberia you would never know it - it was 33 degrees today - and after me packing my fur hat, great coat and winter boots!

    To get some respite from the heat, I visited the city Art Gallery (not memorable), and a museum of wooden houses dedicated to the story of the Decembrists, a group of nobles involved in the unsuccessful coup against the Tsar in 1825, and who were sent into exile in Siberia to do hard labour. Interesting story and exhibits.

    For dinner, I went to a nostalgia themed Russian restaurant, and enjoyed some delicious local food - great after two days of British Rail type catering. Well, off to bed early - Lake Baikal awaits tomorrow...
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  • Day4


    June 29 in Russia

    利斯特维扬卡小镇上有很多布里亚特人——蒙古人的一个分支,就连我们住的酒店都叫作Baikal Khan。因为是东北亚人的长相,不太了解状况的家人好几次以为来接我们的司机或餐厅的老板是中国人,直接和他们讲起了中文,结果当然是搞得对方一头雾水。

    中午在回伊尔库茨克的路上去了一家当地的布里亚特餐馆,两个简易的蒙古包在湖边非常显眼,餐馆内的装修和服务也极其平民化:菜单要自己去取、吃完饭后要自己打扫收拾餐桌,不过菜品真的非常有特色。我们吃到了被称为蒙古包子的буузы(发音和“包子”一样)、做法和口味与馅饼一样的шарбин(读音也与“馅饼”非常相似),这几天一直在吃俄餐的家人吃得十分合口味。有了前一天的经验,现在的我已经可以“自如”地用俄语点餐了——数字+菜名而已嘛,说实话,我觉得比有时候在墨尔本吃饭还要简单,因为碰到不认识的英文单词,完全不知道该怎么发音,只能非常尴尬地用this one来代替,而在这里却至少可以念出菜名来。转念一想,不由觉得中文点菜才是最高级别的挑战,不仅要读出一个个汉字,而且菜品的名字往往也与真正的菜毫无关系——即便能读出“蚂蚁上树”、“狮子头”来,也不知道这到底是什么鬼……

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  • Day2


    扯远了,中午飞机降落在西伯利亚南端靠近蒙古的伊尔库茨克,又小又破的机场让我以为通关的速度会很快,没想到我远远高估了战斗民族的边防效率。排在过关通道的全是我们飞机的乘客,一共也就100多个人而已,七八个窗口同时工作,却足足用了一个多小时才顺利入境。递交护照后,边防警察慢条斯理地对比照片、查看签证、扫描护照、输入信息、检查信息、改正信息、再检查信息、打印入境单、在护照上找出满意的一页、盖章……我看着面前的阿姨,脑海里不禁想到我曾玩过的一款名为Papers, please的游戏,就是以边防官的角色,不停地检查入境申请人的各种材料,并要从中发现恐怖分子的蛛丝马迹然后捉住他们。我承认,我玩游戏的时候效率也不太高,不过因为游戏里的奖金是和我的效率挂钩的,所以我也得在游戏中不断提升自己的业务水平,而很显然的是,我眼前这位阿姨的工资应该与她的工作效率没什么太大关系……



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  • Day8



    在我的印象里,爸爸一直是一个低调的人,在工作和生活中都非常安于现状,用我妈的话讲就是“吃饱了不饿”的心态,说得再负面一些就是“没有进取心”和“不求上进”。不过在这次旅途中,我发现爸爸是一个充满好奇心、勇于探索、心态非常开放的人。在岛上的三天里,他不停地让我问Sergei各种各样关于俄罗斯、西伯利亚和奥利洪岛的问题,从农林牧渔到电力运输、从汽车进口到土地政策、从地质水文到一日三餐……他把看到的想到的都问了个遍,得到答案后他还会和自己所熟悉的中国情况进行对比,然后分析利弊给我们听。我心里暗暗想:不错,已经上升到higher order thinking了……刚到岛上的时候,他在既没有手机信号,又语言不通的情况下,竟然连声招呼也不打,就一个人“擅自脱团”跑出去乱转,说他要看看街景、自由地感受当地风情,让我们气也不是,笑也不是。



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  • Day19

    Listvyanka nach Irkutsk

    June 1 in Russia

    Friday 01 June
    09-00 breakfast and check out
    10-00 transfer to Irkutsk City
    11-00 en route a visit to the museum of Talci (a wooden ethnographical museum)
    13-00 Lunch at 21st km Baikal restaurant
    14-00 check in at Marusya Hotel
    15-00 start to Ust-Orda National Buryat disctrict
    16-00 a visit to the Buryat Cultural Center (museum of Local Lore and the Shaman performance)
    19-00 return to Irkutsk
    20-00 free time

    Das “Talci wooden ethnographical museum” war sicher ein Höhepunkt. Laut Julia gibt es in ganz Russland nur 3 Museumsdörfer dieser Qualität. Die Region, wo die “Buryat” leben, war ca. 60 km nördlich von Irkutsk. Die “Shaman performance” war interessant. Wir werden in der Mongolei ähnliches erleben.

    The Republic of Buryatia is a federal subject of Russia (a republic), located in Asia in Siberia. Its capital is the city of Ulan-Ude
    Economic region: East Siberian
    Federal district: Siberian
    Official languages: Russian; Buryat
    Population: 972,021(2010 estimate)

    Die nächsten online-Footprints gibt es erst in 4 Tagen, wenn wir nach dreitägiger Zugfahrt in Vladiwostok am Pacific angekommen sind.

    Text von Wolfgang
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  • Day16

    016 - 020 Irkutsk

    May 29 in Russia

    Irkutsk ist die Hauptstadt der russischen Oblast Irkutsk am einzigen Abfluss des Baikalsees, der Angara. Sie ist eine Universitätsstadt mit 587.891 Einwohnern und liegt an der Transsibirischen Eisenbahn.

    Wir haben mit Vermittlung durch Katharina in Sankt Petersburg die lokale Reiseleiterin Julia kennengelernt. Irkutsk und Baikal ist sicher gut für einen eigenständigen Urlaub. Wir versuchen in 3 Tagen zusammen mit Julia „The Best of Baikal“ zu organisieren.

    Hier die Empfehlungen von Julia:
    „Meanwhile here is some info on the area , you may choose what you would like to do: For many travelers Irkutsk is a starting point to begin exploration of Lake Baikal.Irkutsk is situated very close to Baikal Lake, along the Trans-Siberian railway. It's a great city to stop for a few days and explore the Eastern Siberia. Irkutsk kept the flair of the 19th century combining it with some intrusions from turbulent early 90s of the last millennium.The center of the city is full of wooden houses with typical decorative carvings on the walls and window frames. Most of the buildings of this kind were destroyed in Moscow and other big cities during the industrialization of the 20th century, so it’s a rare opportunity to see what a Russian city would look like if it stayed the way it was back in the days. The closest place, where you can see Baikal is Listvyanka settlement, which is 65 km from Irkutsk, and you can get there by bus (1.5 hours) or car (1 hour). Listvyanka is quite a touristic village: there are hotels for any budget and taste, cafes and restaurants, and you can make good walks there.
    Alternatively, it is possible to take any Trans-Siberian train from Irkutsk towards East (China), and stop in Slyudyanka, which is less than 3 hours by train from Irkutsk. Slyudyanka is not as touristic as Listvyanka, there's only one hotel outside of the village, but it is a start of the Circum-Baikal railway. So, if you arrive there early in the morning, you can take Circum-Baikal train, come to Port Baikal (last stop) late in the evening, take a ferry to Listvyanka (about 15 mins), and get into a hotel. If you have three or more days, you should definitely visit Olkhon island — a beautiful land of steppes and sandy beaches. It is about 250 km away, and a 5-hour journey by car (7-8 hours by bus), but is well worth every bump on the road. Finally, Irkutsk is not only about Baikal. The great Sayan mountains are very close, and if you have time, it would be a shame not to go there for a few days. The most popular destination is Arshan settlement, which is located just at the beginning on the mountain range. There are a lot of accommodation options (homestays and camps) in the village, and opportunities for taking tours in the mountains“.

    Wir sind noch mit Julia durch de restaurierten Bereich von Irkutsk gelaufen, der zur Touristenmeile umfunktioniert wurde. Auf jeden Fall gibt es hier eine größere Anzahl von alten russischen Holzhäusern. Danach sind wir noch gemeinsam gut essen gegangen.

    Text von Wolfgang
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  • Day17

    Irkutsk nach Listvyanka

    May 30 in Russia

    Diesen Text haben wir an Julia per eMail gesendet:

    To Julia Syssoliatina

    Hi Julia
    Arrival: 29.05.2018 - 14.37 (Tuesday). We arrive by train from Krasnoyarsk in Irkutsk
    Departure: 02.06.2018 - 21.14. We take the train from Novosibirsk to Irkutsk (Saturday)

    So we have about three days for the Baikal region. In any case, we would like to do the “Circum Baikal Train”, as you suggested. Otherwise, we rely fully on your recommendations. Please make us a suggestion and please tell us what we have to pay to you locally. You can book the hotels. In general, we have selected rather good tourist hotels on the Transib, since we will stay overnight from Mongolia to Istanbul almost only in very simple hotels or even in a tent. For the Baikal region we prefer neat Russian hotels with tradition. We would like to eat in traditional Russian restaurants. We can imagine traveling to the Baikal region again in 2019 or 2020. Then we will certainly have a few weeks time on our hands for it.
    Cheers und Danke Schön
    Большое спасибо
    Wolfgang und Heidi Schneider
    WhatsApp: +49 171 366 5482 (Wolfgang)

    From Julia:
    Great! I will conduct the bookings and give you the final info soon: roughly the program is:
    29.05 - arrival and transfer to Natalie Listvyanka ( baby’s)
    30.05 full day in Listvyanka the Baikal tour ( boat )
    31.05. Irkutsk in Marusya full day tour on Circum Baikal rr ( steam engine trip )
    01 06 Ust Orda trip with return to Ikt, 02 the city tour and late departure from Irkutsk.

    Bild 2: Die handschriftlichen Aufzeichnungen von Julia für unsere Agenda. Die Kosten laufen zwar langsam aus dem Ruder .... aber für 5 Tage erhalten wir viel Russische Authentizität.

    „Here is a draft - I will finish the final amendments tomorrow. The full tour ( all inclusive apart meals ) 998€“
    „Ok, большое спасибо“ 😊

    Itenery 29 May:
    14-00 meeting at the train station of Irkutsk city
    15-00 transfer to Marussya Hotel and check in
    15-30 free time
    18-00 dinner at Rassolnik Restaurant 130 Quarter of Ikt (meals not included only tables booked)
    19-00 free time in 130 Quarter)

    Wir starten unsere Eisenbahntour von Irtkutsk via Sludyanka nach Port Baikal.
    Russian Railway Tours:

    Wir fahren jetzt mit der Dampflok in Richtung Port Baikal. Erst geht es eine Zeit lang über eine der interessantesten Streckenabschnitte der Transib von Irkutsk nach Sludyanka mit einem Sonderzug. In der Hochsaison hat dieser Sonderzug fünf Waggons. Jetzt ist es aber nur Einer. In Sludyanka werden 2 Dampfloks aus dem Baujahr 1951 gegen die Elektroloks eingetauscht. Da die Dampfloks am Ziel in Port Baikal nicht gewendet werden können und offensichtlich auch nicht rückwärtsfahren können, wird ein Doppelgespann gebildet.

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  • Day42

    Transsib Teil 2/4

    October 1, 2016 in Russia

    Nach zirka 2'500 Kilometern Zugstrecke erreichten wir heute morgen Irkutsk.
    In Irkutsk haben wir im Vergleich mit der Schweiz sechs Stunden Zeitverschiebung. Unsere "Schlafrythmen" sind ein bisschen durcheinander, wir hoffen uns rasch anpassen zu können.
    Hier merkt man nun doch, dass man sich in Sibirien befindet. Das Thermometer übersteigt die Nullgradgrenze nur um ein Grad. ❄️

You might also know this place by the following names:

Irkutsk, Irkoetsk, إيركوتسك, İrkutsk, Горад Іркуцк, Иркутск, Irkoutsk, Эрхүү хото, Irkùck, Ιρκούτσκ, ایرکوتسک, אירקוטסק, इरकुत्स्क, Irkutszk, IKT, イルクーツク, ირკუტსკი, 이르쿠츠크, Ircutia, Irkutskas, Irkutska, Эрхүү хот, Irkotsk, Irkuck, ارکٹسک, Irkuțk, Иркутскай, อีร์คุตสค์, Өркет, Іркутськ, ایرکتسک, אירקוצק, 伊爾庫茨克

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