1. Business Travel
2. Emergency Cases
4. Internet Access
6. Money Issues
7. Open Hours & Peak Hours
8. Post & Courier Services
12. Mongolian Embassy
13. Web Resources
1. Business Travel
Irkutsk is an important center of business activity in Eastern Siberia. Apart from being a vital transportation hub between Russia and Asia, it's also home for headquarters of many Irkutsk and Irkutsk region companies, and quite often hosts specialized exhibitions. That's why Irkutsk has everything that a business traveler might need: good hotels, quality business services, exhibition spaces etc.
The following contacts might be useful for you, if you're going to Irkutsk for a business:
Baikal Business Center. A wide range of business services and office space rental (from $300 US a month for 10 sq. meters office space, including telephone and other communications). The business center is located outside of the city centrum just in front of International Trading and Exhibition Center “SibExpoCenter”. There's also a hotel on the territory of the business center, which is one of the best in Irkutsk, at our opinion.
Address: Irkutsk, Baikalskaya St., 279. Contacts: tel.: (3952) 259-111, 259-114, internet: www.bbc.ru. Contact person: Alexey Mityukov. Map: D4 - circle #1
There are also a few business centers in the centrum of the city, but we haven't checked them out.
2. Emergency Cases:
In case you have an emergency, it's better to contact first the manager of the hotel where you're staying, or local police.
The operators of emergency services speak Russian only:
01 - Fire
02 - Militsia (police)
03 - Ambulance
04 - Gas service.
In case you lost your credit card, you should dial Moscow numbers given in Practicalities / Money section.
If you have nowhere to stay, and you don't feel like being out, you can go to Irkutsk railway station, there's a non-comfortable, but secure waiting area. Also, there are many trains passing by at any time of the day, so a good (and adventurous) option could be to take a train somewhere (for example, to Krasnoyarsk, which'll take you slightly less than 1 day). You'd pay about $10-$20, comparable to the price of a cheap hotel and have a bed and a place to store your bags for yourself.
If you got ill, you can go to the government hospitals, but you'll have to stand long queues, talk to the doctor who speaks Russian only (in most cases) and I'm not sure about the quality of service. So, it's better to find a western clinic or wait until you get to Moscow.
Here are addresses of some hospitals in Irkutsk:
Medicine Vaccination Center. Vaccination against barrelioz and encephalitis, emergency assistance.
Address: Irkutsk, Karla Marksa St, 3. Tel: (3952) 333-971, 240-351 (central). Map: B2 - circle #2
City Hospital #9. Irkutsk, Radishcheva St., 5. Tel.: (3952) 34-40-13
City Hospital #1. Irkutsk, Baikalskaya St., 118. Tel.: (3952) 22-91-76.Map: C3 - circle #4
Dental Clinic (open 24 h). Irkutsk, Lenina St., 4 (central).Map: B1 - circle #3
There are a lot of pharmacies in Irkutsk. You'll even be surprised — they're on every step. A pharmacy is called "apteka" in Russian, and if you need to find one, go on the central Lenina or Karla Marksa streets. The popular medicines and basic hygiene products (condoms, towels etc.) are readily available, but if you need something special, better take it with you. Most of the pharmacies are opened 8.00 to 20.00, but there are some 24h ones.
Here's a list of some central pharmacies:
Avicenna (central branches). Sukhe Batora St., 18 (tel.: 34-34-19), Karla Marksa, 9 (tel.: 24-04-53). Map: B2 - circle #5 and B1 - circle #6.
24 hour pharmacies in Irkutsk:
Avicenna. Corner of Sukhe-Batora and Karla Marksa st.
Another one: Lenina st., 21 (corner of Karla Marksa and Lenina st.)
It's easy to get internet access in Irkutsk: there's one 24-hour internet cafe and a few other internet cafes throughout the centrum.
Don't use internet in hotels, because they charge crazy 180 R ($3) for an hour. It is too much.
Epicentre Internet Cafe. There's a new internet cafe located at the crossing of Karla Marksa st. (main street in Irkutsk) and Sukhe-Batora st. It is opened 24 hours a day, 1 hour of internet costs 30R ($1), the connection is quite fast. There's also a gaming hall, so kids are shouting a bit too loud, but it doesn't disturb much.
There's also a cafe & bar to be opened soon.
Address: Sukhe-Batora st., #18, Internet: http://www.epicentre.ru
38 Net Internet Cafe. Closed for renovation (as of September 2003).
Address: Irkutsk,Marata st., 38. Internet: www.38net.ru, tel.: (3952) 24-23-52. Open 24h a day. Map: B1 - circle #7
Web Corner Internet Cafe. A network of internet cafes. Good connection, a standard range of services: printing, scanning, CD recording etc. The internet is 30 R ($1) for an hour.
Address: Irkutsk, Lenina st., 13 (on the corner of Lenina and Karla Marksa). Tel.: (3952) 56-48-45. Another place is located on Chekhova St., 19 (Tel. 205-928). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Internet: www.webc.angara.ru. Map: B2 - circle #8
Unfortunately, there are no self-service laundromats in Irkutsk, so the only thing you can do is either to ask a hotel manager (or a maid) to wash your stuff (it should costs about 100 R - $3 US), or wash everything in the sink. That's what most of Russians do actually, luckily, detergents are widely available.
6. Money Issues:
As it was said before, Irkutsk is striving to be a center of business activity, so there are many banks, ATMs, and currency exchange offices, especially in the center of the city.
There's an ATM at the Irkutsk railway station (24 hour access). There are two 24-hour ATMs at the Central Telegraph office located on Sverdlova st (opposite to the Circus)
Also, there's an ATM and a currency exchange office at UralSib bank branch located on Sverdlova st. in the same building as central telegraph (open 9.00 to 16.30).
Most ATMs accept Visa and Master Card (AMEX is more rare). Try to use ATM's next to banks, so you'd know whom to go to in case there's a problem.
The currency exchange rate it slightly lower than in Moscow or St. Petersburg, so it's advisable to change beforehand. However, if you're using a credit card, don't bother.
Here are addresses of some major Russian banks in Irkutsk:
Alfa Bank. Banking services, exchange office, Western Union transfers. Irkutsk. Gagarina Boulevard, 38. Tel.: (3952) 24-05-14, Email: email@example.com Web: http://www.alfabank.ru/branches/irkutsk/ Open: 9.00-18.00 (mon-sat), ATM (Visa, EC/MC, Cirrus, Union Card, dispenses Rubles, Dollars, opened 24h a day). Map: B2 - circle #9
Impexbank. Irkutsk, Rossiyskaya st., 10. ATM: Visa, Master, Maestro
Guta Bank. Irkutsk, Dzerjinskogo, 1. ATM. Tel.: (3952) 25-51-61. Web: http://www.guta.ru/branches/place_4_25.htm. Map: B2 - circle #10
There's also a currency exchange office on the 2nd floor of the Central Market (Chekhova St., 20), but it's usually out of rubles, because the "black market" guys are dealing outside, proposing you to sell dollars for a lower rate. Don't deal with them, unless you're really in need (you'll lose about 5% on the rate).
You can find ATMs in the lobby of major hotels. Here's a list of some ATMs of major banks: there's an ATM on Lenina St., 11 or in the lobby of Havana Cafe (opened until 24.00, Sukhe Batora st, 18 - entrance from Karla Marksa st.)
Other ATM's: Sukhe-Batora, 7 (open 24h, Guta Bank, next to Angara hotel), Proletarskaya, 12 (24h, Guta Bank), Intourist-Baikal hotel on Gagarina blvd, 44 (24h, Guta Bank), Aeroport (24h, lobby, Guta Bank), Alfa Bank branches (see addresses above, give dollars and rubles, accepts Visa, EC/MC, Cirrus, Union Card), Aeroport (gives rubles and dollars, AlfaBank),
7. Open Hours and Peak Hours:
Irkutsk is not a "nightlife" city, so you won't see many people on the streets after 23.00. The normal opening times for shops are 10.00 to 19.00 Mon to Fri, with shorter times on Saturdays. Many shops are closed on Sundays, but not the big ones, or the ones selling food. You can also always use stalls -- there are many on the streets.
Offices are normally opened 9.00 to 18.00.
Cafes, restaurants, and clubs are usually opened from 12.00 to 0.00.
Even though there are not many people in the night, there are many taxis on the central street, so you'll be able to get around without any problems (but write down a taxi number just in case).
Irkutsk is not a very busy city and there are enough buses, so there's no specific peak hours you should avoid.
8. Post and Courier Services:
If you want to send something by post from Russia, you can do it either through government post service or courier services - the difference is price and speed.
State Post Service is inexpensive, but slow and inefficient. It'll take about 3-4 weeks for your letter or parcel to be delivered, unless you pay more and send it as "priority air mail" (even in that case, it'll take 2 weeks from Novosibirsk to Europe or USA).
To send anything, you should buy the post stamps at the post offices, which you can find by "èÓ˜Ú‡" (Pochta) sign. Post offices usually work monday - friday from 9.00 to 19.00 and saturday - 9.00 to 17.00, sunday is day off. It costs around 20 rubles (0.7$) to send a letter to western Europe. You can send your letter or a postcard using any of light blue post boxes on the streets or directly at the post office (better). Sending an average (around 500gm) parcel costs around $15
Courier Services are much more reliable, fast, and much more expensive. The letter will arrive to Moscow in about 1 day, and will cost about $30 to send it. A small parcel (up to 1 kg) will cost from $25 US, a big parcel (10kg) - $61, a very big parcel (100kg) -- $500 US. If you send something to Europe, the prices are about 70% higher (UPS prices as of Dec 2002). This might be a good option if your luggage is heavier than 20kg and the airline you're flying with is obliging you to pay. Here are contacts of some courier post service providers in Irkutsk:
DHL Express Mail. Irkutsk, Baikalskaya St., 108, 1st floor. Tel: (3952) 54-07-00, 54-07-01, 54-07-02. Map: C3 - circle #11
TNT Express Mail. Irkutsk, Shiryamova St., 10, office 105. Tel (3952) 258-247, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
UPS Express Mail. Irkutsk, Lenina str., 6 (centrum) ,office 305. Director of the center - Boris Zhilkin. Email: EUR1MWL@europe.ups.com Tel.: (3952) 342316 or 200939. Map: B1 - circle #12
Irkutsk seems to be calm and safe even late in the night. It's quite small and welcoming. However, we'd recommend you to stick to the main avenues in the nighttime, and in case anything happens, go to one of the hotels first – at least they speak English there.
I wouldn't camp in the city there (as we did in Novosibirsk), but it seems like people are friendly and open.
10. Shopping: Food, Travel Gear & Other Stuff:
You can find anything you need in Irkutsk: great nourishing food, clothes, travel gear, medicines, books, photo equipment and a lot of other useful stuff. If you're on your way to Asia or to further to Russia, stock in Irkutsk
Here's a list of the shops and markets in Irkutsk we recommend:
Central Market. There's a great market in the end of Chekhova St., next to the Central Department Store. You can find all sorts of fresh fruits,
vegetables, forest berries, and delicious fresh and smoked fish!
There are also a lot of little cafes that sell all kinds of foods and snack, so go to this market if you arrive early by train and don't know where to eat. This is the best place (minibus-marshrutka #61 operates between the railway station and the market).
This is a must-do sight in Irkutsk, and you'll be sorry if you miss it :-)
Open: daily 8.00 to 20.00. Map: B1 - circle #13
A snack and drinks shop “Ban’ka” is located on Karla Marksa street, 18 (next to Drama Theater). Next to it there’s a slighly overpriced supermarket where one can find delicacies from abroad, such as French cheeses and Swiss chocolate, as well as “normal” goods, such as mineral water, beers, pasta, fruits and veggies. Opened from 9 to 23, a smaller shop is opened 24h a day. Map: B2 - circle #14
24 hour food shop “Romashka” or "Lastochka". A real "local" food store and cafe opened all night is a real saver for taxists, late travelers, and nightlife people. There's a telephone and a TV inside.
Address: Lenina st., 22 (very close to Rus hotel). Map: B1 - circle #15
Gastronom #1. A typical Soviet style shop which has a good choice of food. There’s also a section of inexpensive salads and take-aways (baked fish, cheesecakes, potatoes). Opened 9.00 to 22.00 daily.
Address: Irkutsk, Karla Marksa 21. Map: B1 - circle #16
Kodak Original. A large variety of amateur and professional films (Kodak Gold, ProFoto, Supra, Portra etc.), photo services (developing, printing). Opened Mon to Fri 8.30-19.00; Sat and Sun 9.00 to 17.30.
Address: Irkutsk, Chekhova, 20 (just next to the Central Market). Map: B1 - circle #13
Central Irkutsk Department Store. (Tsum) Western clothes, apparels. Next to the Central Market. Map: B1 - circle #13
Fun Sport Travel Gear Shop:
A wide range of travel gear: from clothes to equipment, tents, sleeping bags. Mostly Salewa, MSR, Tatonka, Campus, and Russian brands. Staff speaks English.
Address: Karla Marksa st., #39 (red bulding), 2nd floor. Contacts: (3952) 24-33-92, 20-20-64, Email: email@example.com
The two AlpIndustria-Baikal travel gear shops are closed now.
The international phone code of Russia is "7", the code of Russia is "3952".
If you call to Irkutsk from abroad, you should dial international access number (usually 00 or "+"), then the code of Russia "7", then Irkutsk: "3952", and then the 6-digit city number.
If you call to Irkutsk from any place in Russia, dial 8, wait for a tone, then dial Irkutsk code (3952), and then the 6-digit city number.
If you're dialing an Irkutsk number inside Irkutsk, just dial the 6-digit number, without any prefixes. The calls inside the city are free, except in hotels (check how much they charge).
The best place to make international phone calls is in any post office, however most of them are opened 9 to 17 only. There's one 24-h international phone place:
Central Telegraph. International calls (24h), other services from 9.00 to 20.00: fax, email, telegrams. Address: Proletarskaya st., 12 (on the corner of Sverdlova st., in front of the Circus (Tsirk), close to Arena hotel). Map: B1 - circle #19
12. Mongolian Embassy in Irkutsk:
It’s better to get your Mongolian visa in Moscow, because it takes only 1 day there (against 1 week in Irkutsk). However, if you decided to get your visa in Irkutsk, it’s quite easy as well.
Here’s a list of the documents you need (as of August, 2002): 1. Passport; 2. One photo 3 by 4 cm; 3. A filled-in application form (given at the consulate). The citizens of most European countries, USA, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand don’t need any invitation. If you’re not from any of these countries, you might need an invitation (Russians do). It’s not a big problem, because in that case the visa officer will give you the address of a travel company that’ll do the invitation for you.
After you filled in the application form and provided your documents, you’ll need to pay about $20 US for the visa (valid for up to 30 days) and leave your passport at the consulate. In 1 week the visa will be ready. You can also get a transit visa ($15 US), and a multiple entry visa ($130, valid for 1 year).
Consulate’s open hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 9.30 to 12.00 and 14.30 to 17.00. Closed on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.
Address: Lapina St., 4 (close to Karla Marska St). Map: B2 - circle #20
Web portal of Irkutsk: city information, news, weather, links to relevant websites, catalogue, photo gallery. All in Russian.
http://babr.ru | clicks:
The main web portal of Irkutsk: catalogue of local websites, news, weather information. All in Russian.
http://virk.ru | clicks: