Baikal Pathways

Baikal snow

Project timeline: February 5th – 14th 2019

  Languages used: English, Russian

Project starting point: Irkutsk

Project locations: Irkutsk — Listvyanka — Tankhoi — Irkutsk

Project goal: Provide volunteer assistance to the Baikal Nature Reserve by promoting the development of socially responsible eco-tourism through creating informational boards and posters, conducting educational classes on ecology and environmental protection, and volunteering with schoolchildren.

Volunteer application form


Day 1 

  • Meeting at 9 am in the GBT hostel;
  • Orientation to the project;
  • Departure to the bus station at 9.30 am;
  • Late arrival back to Irkutsk.

Today we will go to Listvyanka village, which is located on the Baikal shore 70 km way from Irkutsk. We will see lake Baikal, visit Baikal museum, walk to a viewpoint Kamen Cherskogo (Chersky stone) where you will be able to see the source of the Angara river.

At the end of the day, we will instruct you about the upcoming trip to Tankhoi in the Republic of Buratya. This is where Baikal Nature Reserve headquaters are located. Our project will take place there.

Day 2 – 8

Departure from Irkutsk to Tankhoi.

In the morning at 10:00 a.m. we meet in the GBT-Hostel, take a public bus to Irkutsk Railway station, and then take a train to Tankhoi.

The village of Tankhoi is located in a picturesque place on the shore of Lake Baikal, between the cities of Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude at the foot of the Khamar-Daban Mountains. We will spend nine days participating in activities with the Baikal Nature Reserve and enjoying the natural beauty of the surrounding environment.

We will be staying at the Baikal Nature Reserve Visitor’s Center. We will work on developing a winter route within the Nature Reserve’s territory. We will help to plan children’s events at the Visitor’s Center, and we may be able to carry out one of these events if time permits. We will also discuss ideas for remodeling the old Visitor’s Center and remove snow from the boardwalk among other things.

More details are coming up after we communicate with the Reserve Administration.

Free time: You’ll be able to walk around on the ice of Baikal, or on the boardwalk (after we remove the snow from it), snowshoe, enjoy the view of the snowy peaks of the Khamar-Daban Mountains, visit the Museum of Buryat Culture, take a picture with your own Baikal snowman, or even see white-coated baby nerpa seals from afar if you are lucky. Also, on one of the days, we will be able to experience a Russian banya and local cuisine.

Day 9 

  • The last day of work in the Nature Reserve;
  • Summary of the project;
  • Certificate presentations.

During the first half of the day we will continue working in the Nature Reserve. The second half of the day will be allotted for free time to gather our things and take a final walk to Baikal. In the evening we will have our final gathering to present awards and have tea.

Day 10 

  • Departure by train from Tankhoi to Irkutsk;
  • End of the project.

After breakfast we will board a train back to Irkutsk. We expect to arrive in the city in the afternoon.


In the group, there will be a project leader (crew-leader) that will organize the work of the group, and an interpreter that will be able to provide communication between the participants.

Physical requirements for the project: You will sometimes be asked to carry a backpack with your belongings and the group’s foodstuff. You will also be hiking all day in winter conditions. All volunteers will have kitchen-duties (cook and wash dishes).

Necessary equipment: 
You need to bring a backpack with a volume of no less than 60L and boots with ice cleats. Small light backpack of 20-30L will be also useful. You may wish to bring a thermos (for day trips) and a laptop (to work on different projects at the nature reserve). We advise you bring your plate, cup and spoon.
Also, take time to do a little research to learn more about the climate in the Baikal region in February so that you can pack appropriate clothing and footwear. During the day the temperature could be anywhere from -5° to -20° C (depending on the year). It’s therefore necessary to make sure that you have warm windproof clothing and water-resistant shoes. Really, bring warm clothes with you (Ask Roma)!

You are welcome to bring some souvenirs from your country for other volunteers in the group or new friends, prepare some presentation of your culture: some stories, traditions, legends, interesting facts, or cook a special dish (don’t forget necessary ingredients).

Participation fee: 15, 000 RUB

The participation fee includes:

  • Accommodation in GBT-hostel in Irkutsk on day 1 and 10;
  • Transportation from Irkutsk to Listvyanka and back;
  • Lunch in Listvyanka;
  • Transpotation from Irkutsk to Tankhoi and back to Irkutsk (public transportation in Irkutsk is not included);
  • Room and board at the Visitor’s Center in Tankhoi from day 2 through day 10 of the project until returning to Irkutsk;
  • Food supplies in Tankhoi.

The participation fee does not include:

    • Travel around Irkutsk;
    • Meals in Irkutsk;
    • Additional excursions to museums, attractions, etc.

We will provide all equipment and materials necessary for volunteer work, including equipment for preparing food.

Accommodation and meals in Irkutsk: Accommodation in Irkutsk (8-bed mixed dormitory room in GBT-hostel) on the first and last days of the project is included in the participation fee. Meals in Irkutsk are not included in the project fee, since some participants will want to eat out in a café or restaurant and other participants will want to prepare their own food in the hostel kitchen.
In the case of unforeseen circumstances, GBT maintains the right to close the project or make changes to the program, while informing all participants beforehand.


Volunteer application form