Every traveler has had this question: “What souvenir or gift should I bring back from the trip?” And your loved ones are definitely excited to get something unique and unforgettable. Check out this article to find out ideas on what souvenirs and gifts you can bring from Lake Baikal!
Omul, a delicious fish found in Lake Baikal, is undoubtedly the best gift you can ever think of. Five or ten years ago, it was close to impossible to bring omul home, because this fish easily goes bad while you are on your way home. Today, however, vacuum bags are widely used by travelers who want to bring omul home. From smoked omul to dried omul, from omul with spices to salted omul – the list of options is impressive! A piece of advice: don’t buy omul in a souvenir shop – instead, go to a large grocery store and you will surely find omul in gift boxes at affordable prices. As far as prices are concerned, plan on paying about 500 rubles for 650 grams of smoked omul and about 120 rubles for a 150-gram jar of salty omul. You can always opt for a barrel of omul (1 kg): this gift will cost you about 900 rubles and is sure to surprise anyone!
Hundreds of unique herbs and plants can be found near Lake Baikal. They are widely used in the production of tea, which is another popular souvenir for your family and friends. Some of the plants and herbs used to produce Siberian tea are thyme, nettle, rhododendron adamsii, willow herb, wild rose, black currant leaves, lungwort…and much more! Therefore, Siberian tea in a box is not just delicious and natural, but also good for your health and wellbeing. A 100-gram tea gift box will cost you about 200-250 rubles.
Yummy and easy to find – pine nuts and cedar roasted nuts are amazing souvenirs from Lake Baikal. Cedar grows everywhere by Lake Baikal, which explains its low price here, compared to Moscow and other big cities. Pine nuts come in various forms, including sacks, birch baskets, and gift bags. Another delicious gift that your family members and friends will love is honey with nuts. You will pay about 160 rubles for peeled pine nuts (100 grams), which is twice as low as in Moscow! If you opt for cedar roasted nuts (180 grams), plan on spending about 500-600 rubles. Keep in mind that prices in souvenir shops are much higher than those in supermarkets.
The Republic of Buryatia, located to the east and the south of Lake Baikal, is home to about 25 datsans (Buddhist temples). This is why traditional Buddhist talismans, statuettes, pendants, fragrance oils are common souvenirs to bring home. You can get them either in souvenir shops or in stores located by datsans. When buying souvenirs by datsans, be sure to talk to vendors: they will explain the meaning of each amulet and help you choose the best amulet for you or your friend. When buying a souvenir here, you can be sure that it will bring you good luck and make your dream come true. Rates are different and depend on souvenir type and material.
Although you won’t be able to buy a real seal, you can still bring this lovely animal to your home – as a figurine or a soft toy. The shelves of souvenir shops close to Lake Baikal are filled with white and grey seal toys, statues, stones with images of seals, mugs, and (of course) T-shirts. These heartwarming souvenirs will surely impress your friends and family, as they can be found only in this area. Prices vary, from 200 rubles for a small stone depicting the seal to 1,000 rubles for large stuffed toys. A beach towel will cost you 800 rubles, and a small seal toy – about 500 rubles.
Deposits of precious and semiprecious stones can be found by Lake Baikal – this is why jewellery is another gift you can bring home from here. The list of these stones includes tourmaline, jade, malachite, turquoise, lapis lazuli and more – so you will definitely find necklaces, rings, earrings, and pendants on the shelves of local souvenir shops. Prices are different: from key chains decorated with stones (50 to 300 rubles) to jewellery that will cost you thousands of dollars. You can get beads of inexpensive stones and onyx vases for 1,000 rubles.
In any Russian region and city, you can get birch baskets and figurines made from wood and leather – and Lake Baikal is no exception. However, wooden and leather gifts bought here have its national color! Some ideas for souvenirs are wooden statuettes of people wearing national costumes, leather accessories and goods (handbags, wallets, business card holders, paintings, and slippers), picture frames, wooden bowls, dolls and much more. Belts, socks, slippers, and blankets are also popular souvenirs that can be found near Lake Baikal. The price depends on what you opt for, but is considerably lower than those in other Russian cities and regions. For example, you can buy a quality leather wallet for 800-1,000 rubles, camel wool socks for 300 rubles, and a wooden box with pine nuts for about 800 rubles.
The area around Lake Baikal boasts two confectionery factories – ‘Amta’, located in the Republic of Buryatia, and ‘Angara’, located in the Irkutsk region. For decades, these two factories have been producing various types of chocolates and sweets. Today in stores you can find boxes of chocolates of all kinds: they will be a tasty reminder of your trip to the shores of the lake. If you are willing to bring a box of chocolates to your family and friends, choose one with the views of Lake Baikal or the cities of Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude. Premium sets that come in smart boxes (‘Buryatia’, ‘Uliger’, and ‘Gifts of Buryatia) are also an option. To save money, be sure to buy chocolates in supermarkets: you can get a box of chocolates even for 100-150 rubles (for instance, a 170-gram box of ‘Baikal Meteorite’ will cost you 100 rubles). Premium sets are naturally pricier: you will spend about 700 rubles for 390 grams of ‘Uliger’ and 1,100 rubles for a three-level box ‘Gifts of Buryatia’ (550 grams).
Most people have no idea how Sulphur is used here, on the shores of Lake Baikal. In this region, Sulphur is used to make a chewing gum from Siberian larch. Local people have been using this chewing gum for centuries: they used to chew Sulphur to treat cavity and strengthen enamel. Today chewing gum made from Sulphur is not just a therapeutic tool, but also a popular souvenir. Although its taste is specific, you will get used to it! Sulphur chewing gum is a local product, which is difficult to find in other regions – so be sure to get some for yourself and your loved ones. A packet of Sulphur-containing chewing gum costs about 35 rubles.
You can’t leave Lake Baikal without magnets, souvenir mugs and key chains! The slogan ‘I have been to Lake Baikal!’ is the most common one, and is used on T-shirts, bags, jackets, caps, mugs and many other things. Getting such gift is a must for those who travel to Lake Baikal – if not as a souvenir to your friends, then for yourself. As always, cost varies: from magnets that you can get for just 30 rubles (magnets made from wood or leather are slightly more expensive – from 150 to 200 rubles) to T-shirts that will cost you about 400 rubles.