This is a small guide on some practical tips to get around Irkutsk. Irkutsk is famous for being the biggest city located by the worlds largest freshwater lake called Lake Baikal, but also for being one of the stops on the famous transsiberian railway.
Public Transport in Irkutsk
Irkutsk has both trams, buses and trains going from the main railways station.
The easiest way to get around it to find your route using Google Maps. When you arrive at the station there is public Wifi available in the station hall, you need to activate your Wifi login using a cellphone number so make sure to have phone with an international number working.
Paying for the ride
Depending on the type of transport the payment works in different ways.
- Busses – Pay the driver when getting off at your stop. Payment using cash is easy, the driver has some change ready. The cost is usually marked with a poster at the driver exit door, you can expect around 20 RUB for a single bus ride.
- Trams – There are service personal onboard the trams taking your payment as you start your ride. You can pay with cash or with MasterCard/Visa that are wireless payment ready. The cost is usually around 10 RUB for a single ride.
Good to know
- The public transport standard is not very high but is works. Both the trams and the buses runs on roads that are not very well maintained, so you can expect a bumpy ride.
- Public transport is a cheap and effective way to see the city. You can for example go with tram line 1 in a circle to see both sides of the river and the city will vary quite a bit.
Getting to Lake Baikal
If you want to take a look at Lake Baikal without booking a private tour you can use public transport to get to a small shore city called Listvyanka.
There are a few buses that run from Irkutsk bus station to Listvyanka every day. The bus station is not located by the train station but on the other side of the city. The address you want to go to is Avtovokzal (Автовокзал). There you will find a building and inside a counter were you can buy tickets. The tickets costs 150 RUB / person one way.
The trip takes about 1h between Irkutsk and Listvyanka and prepare for a bump ride over the motorway.
The second alternative (boat)
There are also boat rides from Irkutsk all the way to Listvyanka. We would recommend this during the summer time. A good thing to know is also that they cancel the ferries when it is windy or bad weather. You find the time table here: https://vsrp.ru/en/passengers/timetable/. The ferries depart from the Raketa pier. You can get there with public transport by taking a bus.