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Irkutsk

Getting there & away

For regularly updated boat, bus and local train schedules consult kbzd.irk.ru/Eng/shedule.htm.

Contents

Land

Bus

From the bus station (209 115; 6am-7pm) book tickets ahead for Arshan (R220, 8am) and Khuzhir on Olkhon Island (R370, 9am, frequency varies seasonally). List- vyanka buses (R30, 1¼ hours, five daily) are supplemented by regular marshrutky (R60, 50 minutes) leaving when full. For Bratsk, comfortable private express buses have special ticket booths opposite the bus station.

The Visitor Information Office organises seasonal minibuses to Maloe More and Olkhon Island, departing from the yard outside its office.

Train

The elegant old train station has numbered sections. Northernmost section No 1 has advance domestic ticketing; No 2 sells same-day tickets. Upstairs in area No 3 is the Servis Tsentr (636 501; 8am-7pm) for international tickets and the resting rooms, while downstairs is left-luggage. An unnumbered fourth area beyond sells elek- trichka tickets (eg to Slyudyanka, R38.20) and is the access route to all platforms.

The best, if most expensive, train to/from Moscow is the No 9/10 Baikal (R4150, 77 hours) but platskart berths on slower trains such as No 240/250 (87 hours) cost only R1820 via Krasnoyarsk (R505, 19 hours).

There are several alternate-day trains for Vladivostok including No 2 (R3840, 72 hours) and No 230 (R3400, 75 hours) via Khabarovsk (58 to 60 hours). Trains for Beijing (R3800, 73 hours) via Chita pass through Irkutsk on Tuesday at 9am. Those via Mongolia depart Saturday at 6am. Alternatively, for Ulaan Baatar (R1600) fast train No 6 (Friday and Saturday) is a full 10 hours quicker than the daily No 364 (35 hours). If you're heading east, consider stopping first in Ulan-Ude (eight hours), enjoying views of Lake Baikal en route. Train tickets are sold at the Central Air Agency (commission R80), upstairs in the airport (commission R70) and in Hotel Baikal (commission R100 domestic, R300 international).

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Boat

In July and August hydrofoils buzz up Lake Baikal to Severobaikalsk and Nizhneangarsk (R1400, 11½ hours) stopping off in Port Baikal and Olkhon Island (R1100). Departures from Irkutsk are timetabled at 8.50am on Tuesday and Friday returning next day but changes and cancellations are frequent. An extra Irkutsk-Olkhon-Irkutsk service might run on certain summer Thursdays. There's an airline-style baggage limit.

Between once and four times daily, June to September, hydrofoils also serve List- vyanka (R130, 1¼ hours) and Bolshie Koty (R180, 1¾ hours).

All of the above depart from the Raketa hydrofoil station beyond the Angara Dam in Solnechny Mikro-Rayon, two-minutes' walk from bus 16 stop 'Raketa'.

From a different jetty beside floating Kafe Iveriya, VSRP (287 467) hydrofoils run to Bratsk (R460, 12½ hours) on Tuesday, Saturday and certain Thursdays, June to late September.

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