And we thought we knew everything there is to know about Baikal…!
The bay looks its best during summer, of course - depending on how sunny it is, the waters here can change colors from gray to light blue and azure. And even though the beach itself is quite pleasant, the water always remains chilly and never gets warmer than 10 degrees Celsius!
Up until 2017, it was forbidden to camp here in an effort to protect the local natural landscape and environment, but a few years ago, authorities decided to open it to tourists and installed some special infrastructure for campers. Now tourists are constantly being watched by inspectors to ensure the bay stays pristine and clean. Fines for simply throwing a piece of paper on the ground can cost you as much as 4,000 rubles ($60)!
To get here, you have to acquire a permit to enter the Pribaikalsky National Park (it has offices in Irkutsk, Listvyanka, Bolshoi Goloustny or Buguldeyka) which costs 100 rubles ($1.5) for adults. Additionally, if you plan to set up a tent, be prepared to pay 100 rubles ($1.5) a night. Two hotel complexes are also located nearby - ‘Baikal Dunes’ and ‘Bukhta Peschanaya’.
Getting here is not easy, however. The bay is located some 140 km from Irkutsk and there is no direct transport. There is an option to travel from Irkutsk to Peschanaya Bay on the ‘Barguzin’ ferry (3,500-3,700 rubles or $53-56 for a one-way ticket) and then walk 30 minutes along a forest trail.
There is also an option to reach Babushka Bay via the Great Baikal Trail, which starts at Listvyanka. This hiking trail takes a minimum of two days (55 km) but there is an alternative - by getting to Bolshoi Goloustny by bus (300 rubles or $4.5 for a 3.5-hour ride) and then walk 37 km, enjoying the unique scenery of the Primorsky Ridge.
Also, be prepared to have zero mobile service here - a downside for some, but not for those who are eager and ready to immerse themselves in the beauty of this paradise on earth!
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