TRANS-SIB HOSTEL IN IRKUTSK Mark Johnston July 24 Lodging, Reviews, Russia, Travel Dorm Room Amenities Pricing Location 3.2Overall Score The Trans-Sib Hostel in Irkutsk was our first hostel stop in Russia. We only stayed for a single night as the very next day we set out for Lake Baikal, but it was a comfortable stay. Close to the train station, the hostel still proved a little difficult to find despite printed directions and four of us looking. Thanks to some yelling in Russian and pointing from a tenant in an apartment window high above us, we finally found the large metal door and keypad that would lead us inside. While we didn’t get the friendliest impression from the outside–old apartment building, big metal doors and locks–inside we found a small, comfortable apartment with plenty of space for the number of beds it offers. Here’s how we ranked the Trans-Sib Hostel in Irkutsk. Dorm Room: Our six person dorm room was quite small but comfortable. I was thrilled to find a bed that actually fit me and one that turned out to be very comfortable. The weather was quite cool, cloudy and rainy while we were in Irkutsk, so we never got too hot in our room, or too cold for that matter. Our fellow guests were all quiet and respectful when others were trying to sleep so no complaints. Amenities: As at our last stop in Mongolia, we were thrilled to find a full kitchen free to use. This once again helped us save some money by cooking dinner on the stove after grocery shopping around the corner. With what few guests were there during our stay, we never had to wait to use it. Same went for the two toilets and two showers in the hostel: clean, spacious and never a wait. There was a washing machine in one of the bathrooms which we needed to use, but the price was a bit steep at 150 Rubles each load- detergent included. Wifi was very fast, (I keep saying that, but everything feels so fast after China), and we never had an issue uploading or streaming music or videos while relaxing at the dinner table. The staff were fluent in English and around all the time to help out when needed. We booked our microbus to Lake Baikal with their help and saved some money and time doing it that way. Pricing: At 600 Rubles, (about $17), each for the one night, the price seemed reasonable. We were quite happy and comfortable during our stay, but were probably easy to please after a long ride on the train the two previous days. As stated before, the laundry cost seemed a bit steep for D.I.Y. Location: The massive metal doors that greeted us outside and in were a little discomforting at first, but as it turns out that’s just Russia. I won’t, however, say it’s fine to go wandering the streets at night around there as I just don’t know. The Trans-Sib Hostel was located very close to the train station, about a 10 minute walk, and just a 30 minute walk from the downtown area where we visited some beautiful churches. There are grocery stores and ATMs very near the hostel, but the only restaurant option nearby was a rather sad looking pizzeria. Not sure what else to say about location as I’m not sure what people visit Irkutsk for besides the detour to Lake Baikal. That took us about six hours on the microbus, which picked us up at our front door then drove at break-neck speeds. But it was well worth the trip for a few days on Olkhon Island. Next hostel on our route: THE SOLNECHNAYA (SUNNY HOSTEL) ON OLKHON ISLAND, RUSSIA.