Frequently asked questions!
Do I need an invitation to get a visa for Russia?
Yes, but for trips up to 30 days you can get the invitation in almost every travel agency. Often you can get a good deal when buying invitation and flight together.
Do I have the obligation to register in Irkutsk?
There are the wildest rumours about the obligation to register in Russia. On principle it is sufficient to register once. More information in our "Travel" chapter.
Where can I rent a car in Irkutsk?
In opposition to St. Petersburg and Moscow it is not possible yet to rent a car in Siberia. You can only get a car with driver.
Where can I get a car with driver then?
The best way is to ask at cheap accomodations or to look out for them on central bus stations. They mostly drive a small japanese van (Marschrutkas) and will offer a ride themselves sooner or later. We didn't have any bad experience so far but we recommend to inform yourself about the local fares beforehand. Otherwise it might become pretty expensive.
Does my mobile phone work in Siberia?
There are mobile networks in all bigger cities by now, but outside the cities there is none for sure. The problem are sometimes missing rooming-contracts with siberian network operators.
For how long will be lake Baikal covered with ice in wintertime?
The lake normally freezes up from January to May. Roads over the ice are opened officially from 23rd of February to 23rd of March. But normally these roads are also used a couple of weeks before and after these dates. Fishermen even drive on the lake when there is already a water film on the ice and first ice floes are forming! But please be careful: one could also call it "Siberian Roulette"!
Where can I get gas cartridges?
There are a few shops in Irkutsk where you can buy outdoor equipment. Usually they have the most common gas cartridges like the camping gaz 270 and 470 cartridges on stock. Adress: please look in the Travel Preps section.