Frequently asked questions
Why travel with us?
Ours is one of the few truly local websites specialising specifically in Lake Baikal. It is probably the only website with an emphasis on the wilder, remoter and more exotic parts of the region, such as the northern shore and areas to the east of the lake. We do not pass your booking on to another agency, for the simple reason that no other agencies offer most of the trips on this site. By booking through us you are cutting out any and all middlemen and going direct to the tour operator, as well as getting a truly unique travel experience that very few other people have had.
We have many decades of experience in the most beautiful and wildest parts of the region, something that very few other operators can boast. Our guides are all locals from Baikal and love showing off their homeland to visitors. We our always happy to tailor itineraries to our guests’ requirements or create something completely new. Our tours are all bespoke, so you can choose your own dates and group size. We can run all our tours for just one person or for large groups, depending on the wishes of the client.
Isn’t Siberia too cold for travel in winter?
As they say in Siberia – “A northerner is not someone who does not feel the cold. It is someone who knows how to dress warm.” They also say “There is no such thing as bad weather – only bad clothing.” This is really true. With the right clothing it is possible to comfortably enjoy a full day outdoors in the most extreme temperatures. Arctic reindeer herders, in their thick fur clothing, can comfortably sleep outdoors in -50°C. Obviously we do not expect any of our guests to try that. However, the point remains – Siberian winter temperatures are comfortable and enjoyable when you have the right clothing.
We of course send a recommended clothing and equipment list to all guests during the booking process. Siberian winters are extremely cold, but this is one of the main attractions! Our guests explore winter fairytale landscapes and learn from people who live in subzero temperatures for months on end. They drive on frozen rivers and go snowmobiling, sledging, skiing – where else can you do all of these in one trip?
Is Siberia dangerous?
In a word – no. Much of Russia became quite dangerous during the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, that era ended 20 years ago. Most expats who live in Russia find it safer than their European or American home city. Many Siberians have met few foreigners and treat them as something of a visiting celebrity. Everyone who visits Siberia returns home with unforgettable memories of the kindness and hospitality of local people.
Do I need to be fit?
Some of the trekking and skiing itineraries advertised on this site require a certain level of fitness. On each itinerary page you will see a difficulty indicator with a star rating. This indicates how fit you need to be for that tour. Many of our tours do not require a high level of physical fitness.
Do I need special travel insurance?
Yes, anyone coming on our tours must have travel insurance. It must cover the region to be visited, the activities to be engaged in and, if visiting a remote area beyond the road network, helicopter evacuation. We will tell you during the booking process whether your tour requires insurance that covers helicopter evacuation.
How far in advance do I need to book?
A 35% deposit will reserve the dates of your trip. The earlier you pay this, the better your chances of getting your desired dates and the most experienced guide. In many of the areas we visit there are few experienced guides and accommodation options. Transport is by non-standard means and we need to book it long in advance. To be sure of getting what you want it is therefore best to plan in advance. We will of course explain which guides, accommodation and transport are available for your proposed dates. However, they will only be confirmed once you send the deposit. The balance payment of 65% must be paid two months before the tour start date.
I am a single person, do I pay a single person supplement?
We welcome single people on our trips. A large number of the trips we run are for single travellers. The prices indicated for one person include single accommodation. Prices indicated for two or more people include twin accommodation. If there are more than two of you and you would like single accommodation you must pay a single supplement.
How many people will there be in the group?
All the tours we advertise on this website are bespoke itineraries. We do not run set-date tours for large groups. Therefore the number of people in your group depends only on you. If you are a single traveller, there will be just you. Those booking as a group of friends will travel just with their friends. We will not add unknown people to your group. If you are a single traveller who would like to join a group we can try to find one. However, it depends on whether we have any other groups willing to accept other travellers.
What is included?
You will find a list of inclusions and exclusions at the bottom of every tour page on this website. However, as with everything we offer this is customisable. We can include or exclude anything you want in the price of your trip. If you want to include something that is not on the list of inclusions, please let us know. Likewise if you would like to exclude something from the price, please let us know.
Which countries do you accept bookings from?
We accept bookings from all countries. Our guides speak many major world languages, including Russian, English, French, Spanish, German and Chinese.
There are things I would like to see and do on Lake Baikal that are not included in any of your set itineraries. What do I do?
Please get in contact with us. We have only included a few set itineraries on our website as an example of what we offer. All our trips can be tailored. We are always happy to create completely new itineraries for our guests based on their own goals and requirements. Whatever you want to do on Lake Baikal, there is nobody better placed to organise it than us.
I prefer travelling independently in a more backpacking / exploratory style than that offered on most standard tours. How much freedom and flexibility do I get on your tours?
Several of our team began as backpackers and started informally guiding a few trips many years ago. We therefore have a very good understanding of what most backpackers and adventure travellers want. Our company prides itself on tailoring trips to the needs of the guests.
Some people prefer team expeditions where everyone mucks in. Others prefer to follow a guide on a strictly preordained route. Some want to be involved in the decision-making process. Others prefer not to think about organisation, route changes or flexibility. Some prefer roughing it while others want a more luxurious and catered trip. Whatever your requirements we are happy to meet them. Our many years of experience allow us to make judgements on every group and cater to them accordingly.
Will I need to “rough it” on your tours?
As mentioned above, we are always happy to tailor our trips to the needs of the client. While some people actually enjoy roughing it, others do not. If you want to sleep in basic wooden huts and reindeer herders’ tents, we can organise that. For those who prefer their own luxury tent and catering team we can organise that too. If you prefer to travel by snowmobile that is fine but we are equally happy to provide a helicopter. Whatever you want, we guarantee 100% that we can provide it if it actually exists!
What do I need to bring?
This varies depending on the itinerary and the time of year. We will send you a detailed list of necessary clothing and equipment during the booking process. It will be possible to rent some items from us if you do not have them yourself.