The next stop and finally after 2 days 7 hours and 34 minutes I have reached Irkutsk on Saturday in the early morning. I plan to stay here a few days before heading on wards to Ulanbaatur, Mongolia.
Irkutsk in Siberia is 13 Mio Km2; let’s compare that to some other countries – Colombia 1 Mio Km2, Germany 300k Km2 and Switzerland 40k Km2 – massive. The summers are fairly warm and winters… oh yeah.. cold. Irkutsk is one of the major cities in Siberia with 600k inhabitants.
Nice cute town and I was lucky that it was fairly warm with -15°C 🙂
I would do it again!
How did I get here?
As I am on the Trans-Siberian route I took the train. And it was a really long ride: 2 days 7 hours and 34 minutes and 2815Km.
What did I do en route, what is there to do?
– Staring at endless number of birch trees standing in snow covered fields for countless hours every day
– Resting, sleeping and listening to the Russian passengers talking about god knows what in my cabin
– Trying to communicate with the Russian guys, oh was talking to Oleg for many hours; a young lad really proud of his work
– A really intoxicated guy annoying everyone in our cabin, so that in the end the police had to show up and throw this guy off the train
– Had a vodka night with Mr. Vlad that at first I thought was the meanest guy as I put my luggage in his compartment; him angry at 6 in the morning screaming around in the deepest Russian accent and in the end having a good time
I would suggest anyone nowadays to not book a tour through an agency as it’s super easy to book it on your own. In this way you stay really flexible when travelling as you can even book the train ticket 30 minutes before departure so if you have time, can decide to stay you can really still do it till the last minute.
And there are many action filled hours on the trains even though 2 days sounds like a pretty long time.
Where is this place?
What did I do here?
Irkutsk, I didn’t imagine this city in the Siberian region to be as modern as it actually was. It is fairly small, has a decent amount of traffic and has nice small side streets.
Of course if you’re here in the region mainly the reason is the BAIKAL LAKE. And yes I did that, and will post about it in more detail later.
a. Walk around, explore
b. Restaurant: Around the trendy quarter there are many restaurants – I went to the Rassol’nik (traditional Russian food even with a singer there), Shaslikoff is a good place for meatlovers, also went to a Mongolian Restaurant around that area.
c. Walk down the road of Ulitsa Sukhe-Batora and you’ll find a few nice churches right next to each other
d. Restaurant: Сибирская Пельменная “Реальный Замес”, with good Pilmenis and the Belaya Vorona next to it
Where did I stay?
I stayed at the Reshetnikov Hostel (5€) for two nights. Then later decided that I would move to the Dobryy Kot Hostel (7€) for a more peaceful sleep.
I didn’t realise that the Reshetnikov was right above a bar, it was Saturday night and music and the bass was blasting until 3am and some Belgian Vlander guys were so loud and I could hear everything through the walls. Then Sunday night 2am and the music was blasting. I needed a more peaceful sleep and something close to the train station so I booked the Dobryy Kot Hostel.
Also stayed at the Montana Hostel and still would chose the Dobryy Kot 🙂
The Reshetnikov is very well located, in the centre but the noise level is terrible.
The Dobryy Kot was super quiet (I had a Dorm of 3 on my own), it was close to the train station perfect for my getaway the next morning, but not in the centre.
I would chose the Dobryy Kot again, however for the nights in the centre I would take another Hostel.