Visit the world’s coldest inhabited place located in Russia
The World’s Coldest Winter Adventure Road Trip
Let’s experience the greatest fun on the winter road trip from Yakutsk to Magadan via Oymyakon, the coldest inhabited place on Earth. We continue arranging the world’s coldest travel on Siberia’s Kolyma road! Join us!
Visit the world’s coldest inhabited place located in Russia
Visit to reindeer herders winter camp with reindeer sleigh ride
See remains of GULAG Camps existed in the Soviet Union
Visit the sea port that was established for accepting boats with GULAG inmates
Arrival in Yakutsk, the world’s coldest city, in the morning.
All incoming flights takes place before the sunrise (i.e. 10:00). In the darkness and thanks to lights, the runway is visible and it is possible for pilots to land a plane even in foggy weather conditions.
Rendezvous at the airport.
Transfer to a hotel. Check at a hotel.
Free time. Good to have short rest after long flight.
At 14:00, we meet up in a lobby and depart a hotel by car for the city sightseeing tour with a chance to visit shops/markets to buy warm clothes (fur boots, fur hats, gloves, etc), souvenirs and other goodies that would be impossible to get on the way to Magadan.
Back to hotel at 18:00. Free time.
Distance: 432 km, 10 hours w/ mealtime & photo stops.
Temperature between -35C and -45C in the daytime
Leaving hotel at 09:00. Arrival in Khandyga at ~19:00. Pure driving time is 7 hours. Stops for 3 hours.
Right after Yakutsk, we cross the Lena River on the ice road.
The river is 3 km wide, but the length of the ice road is 8.7 km. We’ll do a short stop on the ice, take a group picture in front of Yakutsk.
On the opposite bank, we’ll pass through the settlement of Nizhny Bestyakh, important transport hub. It is the point where two federal roads – the Amur-Yakutsk Highway from the southern town of Nerungri and the Kolyma Highway to Magadan – meet each other.
Nizhny Bestyakh is also location for a railway station that should start operating on regular base in the near future.
The part between Yakutsk and Khandyga is very populated. We drive through 4 administrative districts of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). They are Megino-Kangalassky, Churapchinsky, Tattinsky, and Tomponsky.
On the way, you see many traditional Yakutian villages with tiny wooden houses that still use stove heating in the wintertime. Along the road, it’s possible to see roaming Yakutian horses, native horse breed adapted to dwell in the extreme cold climate, and able to locate and graze on vegetation that is under deep snow cover.
Two stops at road cafes, i.e. before the village of Cherkyokh and before Khandyga.
Tattinsky District is considered the Cradle of the Yakut Culture. Therefore, we stop at remarkable places and visit to the Cherkyokh outdoor museum with century-old buildings and a wooden church tower with bells.
40 km before Khandyga, we cross the Aldan River (the 6th Russian longest river with 2273 km length) on the 5-km ice road.
Arrive in Khandyga in the evening. Currently, it is the half-empty administrative center of Yakutia’s Tomponsky District.
In the time of the USSR, it was a very busy settlement, as the area was intensively mined for coal and gold. Initially, it was the GULAG system’s hub at the end of the Road of Bones constructed from the very Magadan. Served as one of airports on the WWII Alaska – Siberia Air Route.
Accommodation in 2-3-bed rooms in the private hotel. No breakfast.
Distance: ~235 km (one way) or ~470 km (round trip).
Average moving speed: 40 km/hr including all stops for photo sessions and mealtime.
Leaving hotel at 08:00 am. Start time depends on travelers & vehicle’s readiness.
Drive from Khandyga to Teply Klyuch, 70 km. Stop for brunch at a roadside café. Drive to Gulag sites on the Topolinoe road through the edge of Verkhoyansky Range, 165 km, 3-hr drive.
Free time on GULAG sites.
Stop for early dinner, 70 km to Khandyga.
Arrival back to Khandyga in the evening. Overnight in the same-type private hotel. No breakfast.
Distance ~514 km, ~12 hours w/ stops and photo shoots.
Temperature between -35C and -55C in the daytime.
Distances to drive according to the GPS tracks:
• Khandyga (private hotel) to Kyubyume (road café) – 319 km at speed of 60 km/h.
• Kyubyubeme (road café) to Tomtor (gas station) – 153.4 km at speed of 50 km/h.
• Tomtor (gas station) to Oymyakon (guest house) – 41.2 km at speed of 40 km/h.
Leaving hotel at 8:00. Arrival in Oymyakon in the late evening.
This part of the trip is long, but very picturesque, as the Road of Bones constructed by GULAG inmates goes through Verkhoyansky Mountains. Keep your camera always ready.
At 08:00 we leave hotel and drive around the town of Khandyga – we refuel our vehicles, and on the way from the fuel station to the eastern exit of the town we do a short stop at the Orthodox Church with the view of the frozen Aldan River and the first morning lights of the rising Sun.
When we make 96 km off Khandyga, ~11:00, we have stop for sufficient breakfast at road café.
Afterwards, we see beautiful mountain landscapes along the Kolyma Highway. 200 km full of mountains in the daytime.
Highest point at 1314 m above sea level. Safe road, as it was modernized for last years and is maintained by road workers all the year around.
We drive through such famous places as Tomporuksky Pass with the Cross to the Victims of GULAG, the Chernyj Prizhim narrow high pass, the Zajachja Petlya (Hare Loop if translated from Russian) narrow serpentine, Lastochkin Dom (Swallow Nest), the “Vostochnaya Khandyga” weather station, etc.
Photo shoots at listed places. In this mountain area, there are no villages and towns. Road constructors’ camps only. Sunset does happen when we are in the area of the weather station.
At ~18:00 we have stop for dinner at a road café at Kyubyume fuel station. Home-made food is very simple, but very tasty. Meat meals is made out of reindeer meat or rams. Fish dishes from fishes caught in the nearest mountain Kyubyume River.
The left part of the travel on the old summer route of the Road of Bones goes along mountain chains through lakes and rivers in the darkness. We’ll evaluate all the beauty of this part and check the abandoned village of Kyubyume (used by GULAG authorities initially and road constructors lately) on our way back from Oymyakon in a couple of days.
Stop for refuel in Tomtor.
Arrival in Oymyakon in the late evening.
Accommodation in a private house at Yakutian family’s.
Late dinner (included).
Not recommended to drink much water before sleep, as the night experience of going to outdoor toilet is full of adventures. This is where you’ll need to use head lamps.
In the nighttime, temperature should be already under -40C and much less. By the morning, it might be possible to register -60C.
Accommodation at family’s in Oymyakon.
Expected temperature -40C and -55C in the daytime, and -40C and -60C in the nighttime.
This day always starts from checking an outdoor thermometer (one of them is attached to terrace) and sufficient breakfast prepared by the host. Don’t be surprised, if you would see meat, fish and potato dishes on the table. All those calories will be useful for your cold experience in Oymyakon. If you’re a vegetarian, let us know in advance.
From 10:00 we’ll do a walk across the village. Visit the “Pole of Cold” monument, where we meet Chyskhaan, the Keeper of the Cold, and receive the Pole of Cold Certificate from his hands.
We travel to the farm of Yakutian cows, original Siberian breed. They are small and steady, and accustomed to live outdoor in the extremely cold conditions
When we are back to the guest house, we’ll have time for funny outdoor experiments with the cold. For instance, you can see how quickly a wet t-shirt or your national flag becomes solid and frozen, try to hammer a nail with a frozen banana, crash frozen apples or cabbages, see which drinks would freeze quicker (spirit will win definitely), blow bubbles, blast the boiled water in the cold air, etc.
Sufficient lunch (included).
After lunch, we drive to the Indigirka River to see the traditional way of ice-fishing. If you would like to fish yourself, we do holes in the ice and give you tackles. Fishes to catch in the mountain river are graylings and other specifically-local types. All your trophies to be cooked by the host the next day.
After sufficient dinner, we enjoy the evening of the Yakut culture in the House of Archy. With purification ritual, friendship circle dance, national songs, and Jew’s-harp (khomus) performance.
Late dinner with tea (included).
Distance ~435 km.
Expected temperature between -35C and -50C in the daytime.
Distances to drive this day:
• Oymyakon (guest house) to Tomtor (gas station) – 41.2 km at speed of 40 km/h.
• Tomtor (gas station) to Reindeer Herders’ Winter Camp – 131 km at speed of 50-60 km/h
• Reindeer Herders’ Winter Camp to Kyubyume (gas station & road café) – 22 km at speed of 60 km/h.
• Kyubyume (road café) to Ust Nera (hotel) – 240 km at speed of 60 km/h.
Leaving Oymyakon at 08:00. Arrive to herders at ~14:00 and leave them at 17:00. Check point in Kyubyume at 18:00. Arrival in Ust Nera at ~23:00.
After the other sufficient breakfast, we give hugs to our host in Oymyakon and leave the coldest village at 08:00.
We do a stop in Tomtor. Before the USSR time, that settlement used to be the administrative center of the whole Oymyakonsky District (nowadays, it is Ust-Nera.) It has its own airport that operates in the summertime only and the weather station.
In Tomtor, we visit the ice tunnel (former food storage) with giant ice crystals on walls and ceiling (indoor constant temperature is -8C -10C), village airport that operates in the summertime only, the never-freezing Kyudusun River.
Afterwards, we head to reindeer herders’ winter camp. We see the part of the road we missed the other day on the way to Oymyakon. Apart from mountains, it is very remarkable for old-fashion Soviet-time wooden bridges over rivers Suntar, Agayakan and Tiryakh-Uryakh.
We do a stop at Even reindeer herders’ winter camp hidden in snowy forest. Enjoy tea time with Evens in the traditional wooden cabin. Do reindeer sleigh ride and feel ourselves as real Siberia nomads. With herders, we’ll spend ~2-3 hours.
At ~18:00, stop for dinner at road café in Kyubyume. Before, we’ll have a short stop at the abandoned village of Kyubyume.
When we travel from Kyubyume to Ust Nera, we do stops on the top of two highest mountain passes, Bryungandinsky (1020 m high) and Olchansky (1170 km high and 100 km length.) Even in the moonlight they look gorgeous.
Arrival in Ust Nera at ~23:00 or a bit later.
Overnight at hotel in Ust Nera.
Those who might wish to have a late dinner, recommend to visit a nearby cafe.
Distance ~394 km, ~11 hours with stops.
Temperature -30C and -40C in the daytime.
Distance to drive from hotel to hotel: 394 km at average driving speed of 60 km/hr.
Leaving Ust Nera at 09:00. Arrival in Susuman at ~21:00. This is the shortest leg of the journey, though it has almost no traffic and no road cafes en route.
Breakfast at hotel’s café (not included).
Take advanced ordered snacks packed in lunch-boxes (not included).
We pass by the tiny settlement of Artyk (road workers’ one), a few camps of road workers, and surely remarkable places such as:
• Remains of the GULAG electricity station.
• Border between the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and Magadan Oblast. With a weather station and the Stella. Here we have break for lunch snacks (ordered at Ust Nera hotel at own expense).
• Abandoned village of Ozernoe, former gold processing wooden plant used in the GULAG system. Photo shoot.
• Kadykchan, a big ghost town of coal miners. Abandoned in 1990s. 30-min stop for taking pictures.
• Kolymo-Indigirsky Mountain Pass.
When we enter the territory of Magadan Oblast, you will already note how it is different from Yakutia. Other type of beautiful landscapes. Mild winter weather, but very windy.
Dinner at restaurant-type café in Susuman (not included).
Accommodation in Susuman GOK’s Hotel.
Distance: ~625 km. 12-15 hours.
Expected temperature -35C up to -20C in the daytime.
Distance to drive from hotel to hotel: 626 km at average driving speed of 60 km/hr. It’s a long stretch, but we know that travellers do have a great wish to make it to Magadan after Susuman as soon as possible. It’s an interesting bit of psychology.
Leaving hotel at 08:00. Arrival in Magadan by 23:00. Many roadside cafés on the way. Road condition is perfect.
As a café opens late in the morning, it’s better to start our journey right from hotel. In Susuman we see the famous plane cabin sticking out of the building and do stops at a grocery shop to buy snacks and drinks.
Stop for late breakfast in Yagondoe or Laryukovaya settlement after we cross the Burkhalinsky Mountain Pass (1005 m high).
The part Susuman – Magadan is remarkable for many abandoned gold miners’ settlements and the longest bridge over the Kolyma River (385 m long).
Stop for late lunch at cafe in the settlement of Laryukova.
Stop for dinner at cafe in the settlement of Palatka with draft beer.
Arrival in Magadan in the late evening.
Accommodation in single rooms in Magadan Hotel.
Expected temperature around -20C in the daytime.
– Free time by lunch.
Travellers might wish to have lunch in downtown located in the area of the former building of Dalstroy Adminstration.
City Tour in Magadan with a local history expert. We’ll visit Nagaev Bay and hear a story of how the sea port was established for accepting boats with GULAG inmates.
Stops by a few street sites including the giant Mammoth monument on the seashore for a group photo and go upward to the Mask of Sorrow on the top of the hill with a magnificent view of the city located between two bays, Nagaev and Gertner.
We definitely visit a local market, where you can such a delicasy as red caviar.
If there will be left time, we’ll visit Magadan Regional Museum.
In the evening, we go to Torro Grill Bar or already famous-among-adventurers Crocodile Bar for the farewell dinner.
Group transfer to Sokol Airport, 50 km.
Flight from Magadan.
The tour includes accommodation in Khandyga (twin room), Oymyakon (twin), Ust Nera (single/twin), Susuman (single) on the way to Magadan.
Accommodation in Yakutsk and Magadan is not included (if not ordered additionally).
Group trip package price:
In a group of 7 and more people travelers on 2/3 transports = 2 550 EUR per person.
For private trips, please, request the quote. Final cost depends on the route, the quantity of days en route, and the list of ordered services.
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