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“Have you ever seen a frozen wave?!”
Review of Baikal Explorer

Baikal Explorer
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Baikal travel. Tours in lake Baikal and Siberia.
Reviewed March 10, 2018

If you visit Lake Baikal in Siberia in the winter, you will! Even though I grew up in a hot desert and was incredibly daunted, I still wanted to see this!
We booked a 3 day tour with Baikal Explorer in February and it was one of the most magical experiences of my lifetime. Driving across a frozen lake, lying on the ice, sitting in an ice cavern, leaning on a clear, four foot high frozen sheet of ice that was once a wave but literally froze mid-wave one night, walking over the bluest-blue ice chunks in the world…where else can you do all this plus more?
Baikal Explorer gives you free range to set up your tour however you want. Simply let Leonid know when you book and you can add extra destinations, days, whatever you want. Our guide, Anna, picked us up at our hotel in Irkutsk and drove us to Olkhon Island. She was a million percent great!! We adored her! She is super sweet, fun, speaks fluent English and is completely fearless! She was jumping over ice chunks like a mountain goat! She was always there to lend me a hand as I was slipping on the ice or suggesting a different camera shot that we hadn’t thought of or giving a tip on how to keep our hands warm. We love Anna!!
A few specifics to help you plan: You will be a little daunted when your guide drives onto the frozen lake the first time. When we got out of the car, we walked as if we were walking on broken glass. Then we got used to it and it was incredibly fun! Our motel for two nights was fairly small but absolutely adequate. The rooms were warm, there are showers with hot water and single beds. Breakfast and dinner are provided each day. The second day was our frozen lake day. We wore 5 layers plus our winter coats. Wearing two gloves helped, also, super thick socks and of course, boots made for -20 degrees. I used the new charcoal packets to keep my hands warm (should have brought the toe warmers I purchased but foolishly left at home). My husband did not use the warmers and his hands were darn cold. I was never cold during the day except my feet. You can always get back in the jeep if you’re too cold and they’ll turn on the heater. Our camera froze 27 times! We had to hold it in our hands to get it to work again. Our pictures look like they could be on the cover of National Geographic! Staggeringly beautiful!
Book with this company and they will ensure you have a safe and incredibly memorable experience in Siberia!

Date of experience: February 2018
2  Thank cocoanutty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"frozen lake"
in 6 reviews
"day trip"
in 9 reviews
"lake baikal"
in 25 reviews
"olkhon island"
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"great guide"
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"one night"
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"bucket list"
in 2 reviews
"whole team"
in 2 reviews
"highlight of our trip"
in 2 reviews
"knowledgeable guide"
in 2 reviews
"off road"
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"went smoothly"
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Reviewed March 9, 2018 via mobile

We wanted to see the lake in the winter, and weren’t disappointed. The drive and walk on the frozen Baikal, in the northern area of the Olkhon island was one of the most wonderful experiences we have had in our lives. Leonid, the manager, was very helpful when we organized the trip. Accommodation and food were fine, in the circumstances (Khuzhir is not Paris, you know), transportation worked reasonably well on the difficult roads inside the island, and our guide, Alëna, did a fair job, though a bit scarce sometimes. I will recommend this organization to my friends for visiting Baikal.

Date of experience: March 2018
1  Thank 84ignaciog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 8, 2018

There seems to be an unlimited choice of tours and options when it comes to visiting Lake Baikal and Olkhon Island.

Leonid was exceptionally helpful and informative before my visit and Alona was a wonderful and very patient guide-apart from pointing out good photo opportunities, she indulged my fellow traveller and me in stopping when and wherever we asked.

Very good accommodation in Olkhon [Khuzhir] itsel and a great-and better than any of the alternatives as far as I could see]-tour of the island and the lake.

We had sunset on Day 1, a whole day on Day 2, sunrise and wrap up on Day 3.

And a great trip under the care of the unflappable Aleksandr who took us to the parts the other tours cannot reach and who also cooked a superb fish soup for lunch.

Not only that, but they found my missing phone charger and delivered it to my hotel.

Nobody does it better!!

Date of experience: February 2018
2  Thank feckerdoc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2018 via mobile

We contacted Leonid in late December 2017 as we were planning to travel to the Baikal in mid Feb 2018. He was extremely helpful and answered all our queries very patiently.

We had requested Leonid to arrange for our tickets on the Trans Siberian Train and he remembered our request of vegetarian food while making the booking. We greatly appreciated that he remembered small details like this and took care of them.

Our trip to the frozen Baikal was the highlight of our trip to Russia and Baikal Explorer made it possible. The accommodation, food and experience was phenomenal. Our guide Maxim was at the station earlier than the agreed time (which translated to a shorter waiting time for us).

He was full of interesting anecdotes and ensured our trip was truly memorable. He also took us to the local market and gave us the list of “must-buy” items (cedar nuts, herbs for tea, delish local cookies) all of which were really good.

The trip to Listvyanka was also great. Alena was another lovely guide who accompanied us when we went shopping and ensured we had a fabulous time.

Baikal Explorer are very professional. We started everyday’s programme in time without any delays. I hope to come back to the lake in Summer and will definitely contact Baikal Explorer.

Date of experience: February 2018
2  Thank renuka_g54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 12, 2018

Back in July 2017, my husband and I, we decided to have a private tour to Lake Baikal in winter and through Tripadvisor, we found Baikal Explorer. We started to correspond with Leonid and on 3rd of February 2018, we finally started our trip which was "legendary"!!!

Leonid was very helpful with all the planning. We wanted something different than the standard program and he managed to include all our requests. It all went flawlessly. We did not have to worry about anything. Our trip started at Irkutsk, then we stayed 2 nights at Litsvyanka and then 2 nights at Olkhon Island and then got back to Irkutsk again. Both our guides (Anya and Alena) were lovely people, very punctual about timing, very knowledgeable, with very good English. I'm a photo enthousiast and they were eager to stop anytime on the road so that I could take pictures.

Without Baikal Explorer organization, we could not have had such a flawless, wonderful trip, we are really very grateful. In case you ever plan to come to this part of the wolrd, I wholeheartedly recommend Leonid and his team.

Date of experience: February 2018
3  Thank TubaKoseogluOkcu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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