In the summer during daytime, the temperature in Siberia is comfortably warm (25-35°C). By night the temperature drops to 15°C, there is continental climate. But just like in Switzerland, you have to be prepared for bad and cold weather for multiple days. Depending on the region, rain is very common, and it may also be cold during daytime in the summer. In higher regions, the thermometer drops to 0°C. Because of that, you absolutely should have shorts and t-shirts, as well as a rain jacket and warm clothing in your luggage. The water temperatures at Lake Baikal are depending on region and weather around 15°C to 22°C.
If you want to go fishing, you have to bring your equipment yourself. There are no restrictions on sport fishing and you can fish in rivers and lakes as much as want. In bigger places as well as in the city, you can find excellently equipped fishing shops which make the heart of every fisher beat faster.
You are going to sleep in the travel vehicle Nordic style. There is bed linen. Per bed there are 2 cushions and 2 bed covers. If you’d rather sleep in a sleeping bag, please bring one on your own. The travel vehicle has a powerful heater so you won’t freeze at any moment.
If you want to stay the night in a tent like an adventurer, you are free to do so. There is now a tent for three persons available.
In Ulan-Ude you will stay in the Hotel Sibir, which is in the city centre.
In Irkutsk in the “Auberge theatrale” you will sleep with sheet and cover in single beds. There are two 2-bed-bedrooms and one 4-bed-bedroom in the attic. The lodging is simple, small and lovely. It has a shower/WC , a washing machine, cooking possibility and a fridge, as well as Wi-Fi and a PC. The lodging is situated in a pretty street with many wood houses from the turn of the century. You can reach all attractions comfortably by foot.
Please bring your luggage in a backpack or a travel bag. Because of the space, travel suitcases are inconvenient. You can stow your clothes in the closets of the vehicle. The empty bags can be folded up and practically stowed in a storage compartment.
We will shop, cook, wash and clean up together. Especially in local markets or grocery stores shopping can be very interesting and adventurous from time to time. Being there is worth it.
The cellular net as well as the internet connection are really good. In all bigger regions just like on the main roads it is comparable to our net. In more far off regions you may not have an internet connection or just a weak one. You have the possibility to buy a SIM-card in Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude as well as in most convenience stores in smaller towns.
In the whole region you will have the possibility to go to any ATM with all known credit or debit cards and get cash. In most stores you can pay with a card anyway. Most of the time, you will only have the possibility to pay with Russian rouble. Don’t take any Swiss Francs with you, because you can’t change it anywhere. We recommend you to only take some Dollars or Euro in cash.
The country’s language is Russian and it’s written in Cyrillic. Most people only speak Russian and do not speak any foreign language. At the airport in Sherementjevo and Domodedovo you can barely pass with English. After that, there are only Russian speakers. Even at the international airport of Ulan-Ude and Irkutsk almost no one speaks English or any other foreign language. Nevertheless, the people are very helpful by trying to communicate with hands and feet.
In the region of Buryatia/Lake Baikal the people speak Buryat. This language is very close to Mongolian, because Buryat and Mongols are related people and can understand each other.
Compared to the swiss standard, the medical standard leaves much to be desired. The country saves up a lot of money in medical care, which leaves the people with long waiting lists, no medicine at all (or just with special payment), as well as the rampant corruption, which does not even stop at medical care. Nevertheless, the medical emergency care is guaranteed. In most of the bigger regions there are so called “MedPoint”, a kind of small hospital.
If you do need to take any form of medication, please check if your allowed to import those. (Especially strong painkillers which contain opiates or morphine are classified as narcotics, and are penalized with draconic punishments!) I ask you to take enough of your medication with you (Please regard the duration of the travel), because some medications are very hard to get or impossible to get at all.
Otherwise, the country in general is easy to travel, medically speaking. There are no regulations on vaccination and there are no illnesses like malaria or rabies, that can be transmitted from animals. Of course, I would still recommend to take an vaccination against tetanus or rabies. Also, I do recommend to take a vaccine against meningitis.
The hygiene standard, generally speaking, is really high and comparable with the one of western Europe. Typical hygienical standards are applied. The food can be consumed everywhere without any concerns. There is also an emergency kit in the vehicle with necessary medication for headache and general aches, gastrointestinal problems, nausea and regurgitating, insect bites, bruises and sprains, as well as plasters and band aids.
If you have any allergies, food intolerance or you are vegetarian, please tell me early enough, so we can take that in consideration when we eat and shop.
“Small gifts keep the friendship going!” This also counts for Russia. Most women like western hygiene articles and cosmetics, pralines and flowers. Men prefer pocket knives, calculators and such. The kids are happy with candy, colouring pens and painting papers. Ballpoint pens and notebooks are always a good gift. Also self-made gifts and foods are always loved (Please regard import regulations!). Please take into consideration that Russia is no developing country and think precisely what gifts you want to present. If you want to bring a gift, then make sure that is in good quality. The people really appreciate it and take proud in it.
To get your visa and your flight ticket, I recommend to you to contact
Amrein Reisen, Miss Natalia Amrein, Kappelgasse 16, CH-6004 Luzern, www.rusvisit.ch or
Reichlin Reisen AG, Miss Géraldine Mechat, Gotthardstrasse 70, CH-6410 Goldau, www.reichlincar.ch
Please do regard the general travel indications of the federal Department of Foreign Affair, FDFA: https://www.eda.admin.ch/countries/russia/en/home/travel-advice.html