Explore Yakutsk, the largest city built on continuous permafrost, and wonder at the unique architecture and cultural practises born of the harsh environment. Celebrate the arrival of summer during the Ysyakh Festival, where the locals perform traditional Yakut sports, dance into the night and feast on local delicacies like roasted horse meat. Stay overnight in Ust-Buotama National Park and visit a bison nursery, hike through evergreen forest and see the towering limestone rock pillars that line the Lena River. Learn about various Yakut traditions on a visit to a horse farm, during lunch with a family in a small village and in tiny regional museums.
“Summer in Siberia” Russian language and culture course announcement
This trip is built around three journeys by train that are longer than 20 hours with the longest being 38 hours. Please read the itinerary carefully for estimates and think carefully about your suitability for such travel. While the crew will do their best to follow the itinerary, variations to train schedules may occur due to weather or under direction from local authorities. A sense of humour and flexibility will ensure you have a fascinating trip regardless and, if necessary, other travel arrangements will be made to reach the Ysyakh Festival.
Cities previously inaccessible by land, dense forest, tiny villages — this tour visits very remote locations. Please be prepared to forgo some modern conveniences in certain locations. This Expedition involves learning about some confronting history, particularly in regard to gulags and forced labour under the Soviet Union. This trip finishes in Yakutsk. You will need to book onward flights to Moscow, Vladivostok or St Petersburg at your own expense.
If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below. In order for our local operator to book train tickets in Russia, we require the following information at time of booking or no later than 31 days prior to departure.
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A minimum of 4 travellers are required for departures of this trip to run. Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more. Travel deep into Siberia on a rail riding adventure Siberia — the very word has become symbolic for all that is remote, rugged and mysterious.
Why you'll love this trip Travel into stunning, sparsely-populated Far East Russian Siberia via two incredible feats of railway engineering — the Permafrost Express and the historic Baikal-Amur Railway — in the short window of summer. Is this trip right for you?
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Itinerary Expand All Collapse All. Day 1: Vladivostok. Your adventure officially begins with a 6 pm welcome meeting. With the formalities out of the way, choose whether to join your group and leader for an optional dinner. Check out Vladivostok on a bus tour today approximately 3 hours. You'll be joined by a local guide who'll give you background information on the main sights around town. Take a walk on the main streets, admire Vladivostok from the old artillery battery, and visit the famous S submarine museum.
When the tour's over, the rest of the day is at your leisure until boarding the overnight train this evening at approximately 6 pm please ask your leader to confirm the time of departure today. Maybe use your free time to explore on your own or choose from our extensive list of recommended optional activities like a ride on the funicular. When the time comes, settle into your train carriage and get comfortable for the first leg of your Russian rail journey.
The train will trace the border of China today, travelling through Khabarovsk and crossing the Amur River. Stop in riverside Khabarovsk for about 1 hour and use the opportunity to stretch your legs, breathe some fresh air and stock up on snacks. Continue the train journey and arrive in Komsomolsk-on-Amur at around 6 pm. Set on the Amur River, the majority of Komsomolsk-on-Amur was constructed by gulag labourers — as well as prisoners of war and volunteers — on the site of a peasant village.
After checking in, venture out on a walk to seek out some dinner. You leader is full of recommendations for a good local meal. Take a tour of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, a city with a fascinating though confronting history as a purpose-built industrial city and major gulag centre. Visit a building where prisoners worked, see the administrative office of the forced labour camps and pay your respects at a memorial stone that commemorates victims of political repression.
Spend some time in the city centre then venture further afield to a prison camp for the convicts who built the Baikal-Amur Railway — the very same one that will carry you forward on your Russian adventure. See the camp hospitals, cemeteries and a quarry where prisoners also worked.
Following the excursion, board a train bound for Tynda in the early evening. Day 5: Baikal-Amur Railway. Built as an alternative to the Trans-Siberian Railway from materials that could withstand the tough conditions and permafrost of Eastern Siberia, the line is rarely used for commercial transport. Day 6: Tynda - Neryungri.
Arrive before 7 am in Tynda, where you can grab breakfast and stretch your legs with a stroll across the river. Head to the silver Builders Monument, dedicated to the volunteers who worked on the Baikal-Amur Railway. Continue by private transfer to Neryungri kilometres, approximately 4—5 hours in the Sakha Republic Yakutia.
Arrive after lunch and settle into your accommodation. Head out to the local technopark, where massive machinery used in the Russian coal and construction sectors is displayed in a verdant setting. These huge pieces of equipment — which you can climb on and explore — give a sense of the epic scale of local industries. The rest of the day is at your leisure. Be sure to head to the main square to check out the imposing Lenin statue that stands watch there.
Day 7: Permafrost Railway. Return to the train station this morning and climb aboard the Permafrost Express at about 9. The Lena River's delta is critical breeding habitat for many birds. The river has been a key conduit for people and cultural diffusion for millennia, and the Dyuktai culture was discovered there.
Native peoples are Evenks, Yakuts. Use these resources to explore the environment, peoples and cultures of the Lena River. Lena River - origin of its name and the possibility that it once flowed out of the west side of Lake Baikal before the Baikal Mountains rose.
Lena River : description, tributaries, delta, ice conditions, photos, and Lena River locations. Aldan River: a major Lena River tributary, with photos.
Yakutia Photogallery: with flora, fauna, nature and countryside, people. ORDER Russia's Diamond Colony: The Republic of Sakha Yakutsk: a profile, including parallels with Alaska, and more on Yakutsk from the first Russian fort built in to the city's role today as an administrative, scientific and cultural center with academies, museums, universities, more. Sakha Republic: an introduction, and another profile of Sakha or Yakutia , and an in-depth look at the Republic of Sakha Yakutia.
Siberian Village: Land and Life in the Sakha Republic
Republic of Sakha Yakutia is a vast region about the size of India that has experienced population changes as the original hunting and fishing peoples such as the Yukagir encountered peoples such as the horse and cattle-breeding Yakuts or Sakha from the south. Map of Lena River Watershed: with details on its size.
Map of Lena River Region: river flows north, swings east toward the Sea of Okhotsk, then north again, with Yakutsk marked with a star. Map of Central Siberia including Yakutia and the region in Eurasia. Baikal map with the region's major rivers shown including the Angara, the Lena, the Uda and Selenga. Olekminsky Zapovednik: only nature preserve in Yakutia has as its largest river the Olekma, a Lena tributary.
Wildlife includes moose, reindeer, musk deer, wolf, red fox, lynx, wolverine, sable. Map, photographs.
Lena River seen from space: photos show it frozen on May 21, , flooding seven days later, and photo of Upper Lena River. Lena River Delta: in this region miles wide, many migratory birds breed each summer , and more on the Lena River Delta , the largest Arctic river delta in the world, with branches. Lena River Delta seen from space: with the many branches visible in this vivid, false color photograph.
Ust-Lensky or Lena River Delta Region: second largest river delta in the world, vital breeding grounds for migratory birds in the summer, home year round to polar bear and Arctic Fox. Map, photos, many facts.
Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge » Russian North and Far East Regions
Salmon species shared across the North Pacific Rim include the chum or dog salmon ranging from California to Japan, east to the Mackenzie River and west to the Lena River, and the pink or humpback with the same range. Yakutia's Diverse Populations Today: including the native peoples of the north including Evenk, Even, Yukagir, Chukchi in various districts. Evenkis, Land and Reform in Southeast Siberia.