Getting there & away
At 8am on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, Buryat Intour runs buses from outside the Hotel Baikal to the Bayangol Hotel in Ulaan Baatar (R750, 12 hours) via Kyakhta.
Use the main bus station (Sovetskaya ul) for Barguzin (R228, 8.10am), Kurumkan (R295, 8am) and Ust-Barguzin (R192, six to seven hours, 7am) supplemented by similarly timed marshrutky from the yard opposite. Marshrutky to Goryachinsk (R140, 3½ hours) leave at noon and 4pm and to Kyakhta (R150, 4½ hours) via Novoselenginsk in the morning when full. There's also a 7.45am bus to Arshan (R332, 11 hours).
Marshrutky to Arshan (R350), Irkutsk and Chita run overnight from the courtyard of the train station, usually departing around 9pm. Sporadic daytime marshrutky serve Kabansk and Posolskoe from the same place.
From the Banzarova bus station bus 104 departs for Ivolginsk Datsan at 7am, noon and 4.20pm. Alternatively, use frequent bus 130 to Ivolga then switch to a taxi.
Beijing-bound trains pass through Ulan-Ude on Tuesday (via Chita) and Saturday (via Mongolia). Fast trains to Ulaan Baatar pass through on Sunday and Monday at 1.30am and waste vastly less time at the border than train 364 (R1350, 24 hours), which departs 6am daily. Buy internation- al tickets from the servis tsentr (282 696; 8am-1pm & 2-6.45pm) upstairs at the train station. For Chita, train 340 (R295 plats- kart, 10¾ hours) is the handiest overnight option. Towards Irkutsk day trains (from R280 platskart, from seven to 10½ hours) are popular for Baikal views.
Siberia Airlines(220 125; ul Sukhe-Batora 63; 9am-7pm Mon-Fri, to 5pm Sat & Sun) flies to Novosibirsk and Vladivostok, and offers deep discounts for early-purchase tickets to Moscow (daily, R9980 full price, R3500 two-week advanced purchase). Buryatavia has very scenic flights to Nizhneangarsk near Severobaikalsk (R1860, four to six per week) purchasable through Buryat Intour.