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Review of Lake Baikal

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Owner description: Known as the Pearl of Siberia, this incredibly pure and clear freshwater lake measures one mile in depth, contains more flora and fauna than any other lake in the world, including the only existing fresh water seals, and is surrounded by high mountains, wildflower meadows and rich green forests.
Thetis Island BC
Level Contributor
23 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 October 2013

The water in Lake Baikal must be seen to be believed. It is so good to know the pulp mill has finally been shut down and this treasure will continue for future generations. Take the ferry to Port Baikal so you can see the water from another perspective

Visited October 2013
1 Thank TelegraphHarbour
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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382 reviews from our community

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Turku, Finland
Level Contributor
426 reviews
180 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 236 helpful votes
“Natural wonder”
Reviewed 13 October 2013

The lake it's a real wonder of the nature being the oldest lake on earth and containing about 20 percent of earth's fresh water. Furthermore it's the cleanest lake with plentiful of fish. You may get disappointed if you expect to see a cozy small lake surrounded by nature. Instead you'll find a lake that looks more like the ocean as it's about 650 x 80 kilometers big. You can hardly see the snow topped mountains raising on the Eastern shore of the lake. There are several settlements around the lake, but most of the people join a boat trip from the Listvjanka village which is about 70 kilometers from Irkutsk. My suggestion is not to buy a ready tour from abroad or Irkutsk, but to get to Listvjanka and find a boat there and then you know what to expect and what you pay for. Yes, Listvjanka depends a lot on tourism, but it's still quite underdeveloped and don't expect to find any luxurous cruising ships. There is a restricted number of hotel and hostel rooms and you should reserve in advance if you're there during high season. May and October can be recommended if you want to see the nature as coilurful as possible. Some people think that the lake is as it's best during the winter when it's frozen and you can take a dog sledge over the lake. There's no road around the entire lake and you have to be a skilled hiker if you decide to walk around (which would take you months...) the lake or just into the wilderness (especially on the Eastern side). Better to choose some certain places you want to see and then make up a deal with the boat owner. There are some places worth a visit within easy reach from Listvjanka, like the place where the Trans-Sibirian train was pushed off the track and into the lake back in the early 20th century The train lays so deep in the lake so to sveral tons of gold has never been found. The Trans-Sibirian reailroad has since that been re-routed, but there's a history railline running ther today. You reach the end station from Listvjanka by the ferry going a ross the mouth of the river. The railway is called the Circum-Baikal railway and you find the schedule on the net. The visit to the lake can be such an overwhelming experience and make sure to make it complete by having a swim in the ever so cold lake and enjoy the different kinds of fish dishes.

Visited October 2013
3 Thank MosseTurku
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
19 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Smoked fish and snow”
Reviewed 13 September 2013

We had heard so much about Lake Baikal so we were keen to visit. It is beautiful but where we stayed was rather dull but I fear that it is hard to do much when it is -30c. The infrastructure once you are leave Irkutsk does leave a lot to be desired, the restaurants are a little one dimensional and its all pretty quiet.
We stayed at the main place on the lake (listvanyaka) but as it was mid winter there wasnt much you could do. We tried the dog sledging which was fun but oh so expensive and we walked along the lake but even properly dressed it was hard to stay out for too long. It was an experience but for the real beauty to be appreciated maybe go when its warmer than December. By the way everyone pushes the smoked local fish (omul) as a great delicacy. I like most things (liver, caviar, oysters, brains etc) but really struggled to appreciate the benefits of this one. Fun to try though.

Visited December 2012
1 Thank paultreble
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Christchurch, New Zealand
Level Contributor
112 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“Nerve wracking walk!”
Reviewed 7 September 2013

If you are considering walking north from the next village up from Listvyanka along the shores of Lake Baikal, bear in mind the path is, at times, extremely treacherous. Not only is there a sign saying 'dangerous trail' but there are steep drop offs plunging to the lake with little to contain you if you did trip. The path is ever so gently tilted towards the shore which does nothing to ease your peace of mind and also scattered with pine cones so you really do have to watch your feet as you go. There are some short but steep rubble strewn ascents and descents with no obvious footholds.

Having said all of that the views as you go are stupendous so frequent stops are necessary! This makes for a more pressured walk if you have a train to catch, so allow a day spare! We filled our water bottle from the lake as we went with no ill effects.

Visited September 2013
Thank april f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Haifa, Israel
Level Contributor
102 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Beautiful sight”
Reviewed 5 September 2013

I don't think that Baikal is worth a special trip, but if you are in this area I would certainly recommend that you visit. The view of Lake Baikal from the train coming from Irkutsk and descending to the lake level is breathtaking.

Visited August 2013
2 Thank GolfBravo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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