From old gulag camps, exploring abandoned cities and towns, learning the dark history of the region, seeing how people live here now, to the lively city of Yakutsk built entirely on permafrost, the bizarre and seriously remote mining settlement of Mirny with its signature enormous pit - this is the tour if you love adventure, and don’t mind roughing it in a little-seen remote and mind-blowing part of the world
Read on for a description of our 2018 Russia tour;
We’re proud to be able to offer our Magadan tour in 2018 that will take the willing traveller on an odyssey from the remotest corner of Russia deep into the interior, travelling along the world’s longest road; the Kolyma Highway – known as the ‘road of bones’ from Magadan (the name of which alone is enough to raise hairs on the back of the neck when its history is examined) all the way to the city of Yakutsk, capital of the vast province of Yakutia – now known as the ‘Sakha Republic’).
Along the way we will camp at the chilling and evocative gulag site of Dneprovsky – a place where iron was mined by Stalin’s prisoners, we’ll explore the site and learn about the history from local experts. We’ll travel on to the small city of Susuman, a decaying town deep in Magadan province, visiting abandoned towns and factories along the way (some amazing photos and souvenirs can be found in such places, unforgettable views and experiences!), we’ll spend more than a day exploring every corner of the major ghost city of Kadykchan, opened to the world by Koryo Tours in 2011 and a place few have ever been, but those who have will never forget it – by turns melancholy, exciting, tragic, thrilling, frightening, but truly a place that etches itself into the mind!
We’ll stay overnight in Kadykchan, bedding down rough in a remote once-vibrant pioneer community of many thousands, now a totally abandoned city slowly being reclaimed by nature - an experience of the end of the world at the edge of the world!
We’ll travel on into Russia’s vast Yakutia province (it has three time zones!), stopping at the most northern part of the Road of Bones; the settlement of Ust-Nera, and along the way seeing other sites of industry left to freeze in the deep Siberian winters that last for up to 11 months a year, we’ll stay in settlements almost unknown to tourists, and Russians too! We’ll cover the last section by plane and arrive in the deep interior city of the Sakha Republic, the end of the road but a place almost as remote as where we started. Here we will be able to enjoy some relaxation and even a bit of nightlife in this relative Metropolis (in that it hasn’t been abandoned; seriously though, this city has a fun nightlife and restaurant scene, relief from the hard road travelling!).
We’ll visit the highlights of the city, both conventional (the town square for example), and wacky (for example the Kingdom of Permafrost!) and then it’s on to somewhere just as fascinating but slightly odder (if that can be true!). We will take a flight from Yakutsk to the mining settlement of Mirny on the far western edge of the province. Mirny was the USSR’s main diamond producing town and when we arrive we will see where they dug the shiny and valuables little stones from – a giant pit right on the edge of town, at 525 metres deep and 1200 metres in diameter this is the second largest man-made hole in the world, a feature so stunning that helicopters are forbidden to fly over the top of the pit as they would be dragged into its depths. A quick Google search will show you pictures of this awe-inspiring sight – and you know how much better it will be up close!
So if you’re looking for the holiday of a lifetime, massive bragging rights when the holiday conversation comes up, a serious tick on the bucket list, some photos to dazzle your friends and family with, a trip to report to the world in a travel publication, or even to just get away from the normal world for a while, then we would be honoured to have you along. We’re taking bookings now and space is strictly limited, so get in touch and let us know if you’re interested!
This tour will be led by our general manager and travel specialist Simon Cockerell, who first visited Magadan in the deep winter of 2010 to research this tour. Fascinated with the history of the Soviet Union, Simon has considerable knowledge of the area, and has been to Russia over 30 times and to every corner of the country — the known and unknown, famous, infamous, and ignored!
Please contact Simon to register your interest in our next tour to Russia
We currently have no future tours planned. Please check back soon.