I am on bed-rest this week. Which means I have a lot of time to kill. I usually have a long travel wishlist. And I do end up working through my list fairly often. Starting this thread to collect some necessary info about the places I intend to go to. At some point, once the tickets are booked (yours or mine), this should be good reference material.
Dipti and I started talking about Lake Baikal, when she visited Patna few weeks back. Our last trip together was Japan, and that was already three years back! So, let’s start going through some details.
- When – February/early March (this is when the lake is frozen)
- Expected weather – -10ºC to -20ºC
- Where – Lake Baikal is the deepest and largest freshwater lake in the world, accounting for 20% of the world’s fresh water reserves. Located in Russia and a pitstop while traveling by the Trans Siberian railway.
- Why – The frozen lake is a sight to behold. Absolutely tourist free. You can walk on it, camp on it, see some incredible sunrise and sunsets and sledge on it. Just take a look at this pic.
- Fly in to Moscow – Non-stop 12 hours flight (Aeroflot) from LAX to SVO. Approx. $650.
- Take the Trans-Siberian to Irkutsk – Takes about 75-80 hours and costs $350. Book well in advance.
- Use one of the local tour operators to travel through Lake Baikal – http://www.baikal-adventure.com/, http://www.baikal.travel/, http://vokrug-baikala.ru/, http://baikalov.ru/ and http://www.baikalvisa.ru/. These can set you off anywhere between $500 to $1100 depending on the difficulty level and number of days.
- Fly back from Irkutsk to Moscow – Aeroflot flies non-stop 6 hours to SVO, costs $270.
- Notes on must-do
- Explore Irkutsk
- Olkhon Island – Jeep rides on the lake, ice formations
- Ice caves and grottos in Small Sea
- Cape Hoboy
- Camp on the frozen lake (needs some thought!)
- Eat Omul fish – Because I love fish and this is local to Baikal only!
Will keep adding to this post till the tickets are actually booked! If you have been here already or know something helpful, do put in a comment or email me. More later.