Yakutsk to Magadan via Oymyakon - uVisitRussia
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Yakutsk to Magadan via Oymyakon

YAKUTSK – GULAG CAMPS – OYMYAKON – MAGADAN 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.

Trip Duration: 1 preparation & city sightseeing day in Yakutsk + 7 days on the road with activities en route and a day trip to GULAGs + 1 city tour day in Magadan + departure day.
Tour starts in Yakutsk, capital of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Russia’s Siberia and ends in Magadan. From the cold to the warmth. If you would like, you can travel from Magadan to Yakutsk.

Route: Yakutsk – Khandyga – GULAG Camps – Khandyga/Teply Klyuch – Oymyakon – Ust Nera – Susuman – Magadan.

Distance: ~2800 km (with all short rides within villages and turns, the total distance might be longer).

  • Extra warm clothes & souvenir shopping in Yakutsk. We can provide a parka and felt boots for rental, and we have a limited quantity of warm accessaries sets (fur hats, winter pants, gloves, socks).
  • Yakutsk City Tour with a chance to visit Mammoth Museum, Kingdom of Permafrost Ice Tunnel Complex, fish market, etc.
  • Cherkekh Outdoor Museum in the village of Cherkekh considered the Craddle of the Sakha Culture.
  • Best roadside cafes en route.
  • Remains of GULAG Camps on Topolinoe winter road.
  • Remarkable mountains passes in Verkhoyansk Range.
  • Fun activities in Oymyakon.
  • Pole of Cold Monument, Yakutian cow-or-horse breeding farm, traditional ice-fishing on the Indigirka River, Sakha Culture Evening in Oymyakon.
  • Home-made meals in Oymyakon.
  • Ice tunnel with huge icy crystals in Tomtor.
  • Time with Even herders.
  • Olchansky Pass, one of the highest in Verkhoyansk Mountains.
  • Kadykchan, ghost town of cold miners.
  • Susuman, town of gold miners.
  • Sinigorye, the calling card of Kolyma, 32 km south off Debin.
  • Debin & Kolyma River Bridge, the longest in Kolyma.
  • Abandoned Soviet-era settlements en route to stop.
  • Magadan City Sightseeings: Mask of Sorrow, Bays of the Sea of Okhotsk, remarkable monuments of Magadan.
  • Market in Magadan where it’s possible to buy in red cavier.
  • Farewell party at the lovely restaurant in Magadan.
Type: Small Group Tours
Duration: 10 days

Itinerary Hide all details

Day 1: Yakutsk, Russia. Arrival in Yakutsk & Preparation Day

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.

Day 2: Yakutsk – Khandyga

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.

Day 3: Day trip from Khandyga to GULAG Camps

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.

Day 4: Khandyga – Oymyakon

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” meteo 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 meteo 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.

Day 5: Oymyakon, the world’s coldest inhabited place

Accommodation at family’s in Oymyakon.
Expected temperature -40C and -55C in the daytime, and -40C and -60C in the nightime.

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 vegeterian, 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).
Free time.

Day 6: Oymyakon – Tomtor – Reindeer Herders’ Winter Camp – Ust Nera

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 Oymyakonat 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 meteo 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 looks 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.

Day 7: Ust Nera – Susuman (Magadan Oblast)

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 meteo 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.

Day 8: Susuman – Magadan

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).

One of the best stops we do this day is when we do 32-km turn southward Sinigorye town. Established at the source of the Kolyma River!

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.

Day 9: Magadan

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.

Day 10: Departure from Magadan

– Group transfer to Sokol Airport, 50 km.
– Flight from Magadan.

What's included

  • visa support (Letter of Invitation);
  • airport-hotel transfer in Yakutsk and hotel-airport transfer in Magadan;
  • transport service for a group to shop warm clothes and other stuff on a day of preparation and sightseeings in Yakutsk;
  • guide service on the day of shopping and group city tour in Yakutsk;
  • entry tickets to two venues in the course of group city tour in Yakutsk;
  • transport/s and all transport-related expenses en route Yakutsk – Oymyakon — Magadan;
  • 1 guide for the Yakutsk – Oymyakon – Magadan trip;
  • accommodation in Khandyga (twin room), Oymyakon (twin), Ust Nera (single), Susuman (single) on the way to Magadan;
  • 2 dinners, 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch at Oymyakon family’s;
  • “Oymyakon – Pole of Cold” Certificate;
  • activity program (ice fishing on the Indigirka River, visits to Yakutian horse breeding farm, reindeer herders w/ lunch & reindeer sleigh ride, ice cave tunnel w/ huge crystals in Tomtor (Chyskhan residence), the Sakha culture evening at the cultural center in Oymyakon);
  • 5-hr city tour in Magadan and the bays of the Sea of Okhotsk (w/ entry ticket to one museum in Magadan);
  • hotel booking service in Yakutsk and Magadan (advance request should be done).
Not included in the price
  • air tickets to Yakutsk and from Magadan;
  • warm clothes rental (we provide hat, parka, winter pants, socks, gloves at request);
  • accommodation in Yakutsk – approx. 50-75 USD/room/day;
  • accommodation in Magadan – approx. 80-100 USD/room/day;
  • food en route between Yakutsk and Magadan – approx. 20 USD/day/person;
  • food in Yakutsk – approx. 50-80 USD/day/person;
  • food in Magadan – approx. 80-100 USD/day/person;
  • non-included transport service in Yakutsk before the start of the tour;
  • non-included guide service in Yakutsk before the start of the tour;
  • day excursions out of Yakutsk before the start of the tour;
  • personal medical & travel insurance;
  • tips & gratitudes.
Additional info

We recommend to take outdoor gears from such brands as Canada Goose, The North Face or similiar. Good underwears are produced by the Swedish company TERMO.

In Yakutsk, we’ll do additional shopping in case if you need to buy warm clothes such as gloves, hats, fur boots or valenki, etc. More info are given at request.

In the course of your trip preparation, we give many useful advices.


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Group trip rates for Winter

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Russian visa support (Russian visa invitation letter) is included.

Sights included in program

Far East : Magadan
Magadan is a city and seaport on the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk, located in the northeastern part of Russia, in the Far East. It is the capital of the Magadan oblast and the Kolyma region gateway. Read more
Far East : Yakutia
Yakutia it is A country of permafrost, where temperature lowers below minus 60° in the most severe winters, and where the topsoil can get frozen up to a half of a meter. Read more
The Magadan Regional Museum of Local History is a museum that tells about the Kolyma region, located in the central part of Magadan. It was founded in 1934 and was originally called the Kolyma Local History Museum. Read more
Magadan : Mask of Sorrow
The Mask of Sorrow is a monument perched on a hill above Magadan, Russia, commemorating the many prisoners who suffered and died in the Gulag prison camps in the Kolyma region of the Soviet Union during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Read more
Magadan : Nagaev Bay
Nagaev Bay or Nagayev Bay, also known as Nagayeva Bay, is a bay within Taui Bay in the northern part of the Sea of Okhotsk, Magadan Oblast, Russia. Read more
Sculpture "Time" (monument to Mammoth) stands on the shore of the bay, as a symbol of eternity and frailty of all life before the onset of time. Ironically, although this embodiment of the glacial period is made of scrap metal, it looks very beautiful at the water's edge. Read more
The village of Khandyga is one of the youngest regional centers of Yakutia. In 1939, at the mouth of the Hospital key, geologists placed the first tent on a new, uninhabited place - on the banks of the Aldan River and 18 km from the Khandygi River. Today, a small village divides in two the federal road "Kolyma", to which it owes its foundation. Read more
Yakutia : Oymyakon
Oymyakon is a small Yakut village, famous all over the world, which is considered the coldest inhabited place of the planet. This is truly an unusual place, which is becoming more popular with tourists from all over the world. Read more
Yakutia : Susuman
Susuman is a city in Russia, the administrative center of the Susuman district and the corresponding city district of the Magadan region of Russia. The city of district importance, until 2015, formed a city settlement of the city of Susuman. Located on the banks of the river Berelyok (Kolyma basin). The name of the city comes from the name of the river Susuman. Read more
Yakutia : Ust-Nera
Ust-Nera is a city-type settlement in the east of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). The administrative center and the largest settlement of the Oymyakonsky district (ulus). The population in 2016 was 5597 people. The population mainly specializes in gold mining. In the vicinity of the village there is an ore-dressing gold-mining plant. Read more
Yakutia : Yakutsk
Yakutsk is a city in Russia, the capital of Sakha Republic (Yakutia), a port on the Lena River. It is the largest and the oldest city in Yakutia, one of the oldest cities in Siberia. Yakutsk is a city in Russia, the capital of Sakha Republic (Yakutia), a port on the Lena River. It is the largest and the oldest city in Yakutia, one of the oldest cities in Siberia.Yakutsk is a city in Russia, the capital of Sakha Republic (Yakutia), a port on... Read more
The Old City is the most beautiful place in Yakutsk.“Old City” - historical and architectural quarter downtown with the houses of old Yakutsk. It located at the very center of Yakutsk and is bordered by the streets Ammosov, Arzhakov, and the Plaza of the Fallen. Read more
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Our flexible payment options allow you to pay 20% of a deposit first and the remaining 80% in 14 days prior to your tour date - payment can be done both online or over the phone. This gives you the peace of mind knowing your spaces are booked on the tours and that you do not miss out on making the most of your time in Russia.

Also you get the best, top-rated and most experienced and knowledgeable hand-picked tour guide appointed on a priority basis.
In our experience, exceptional travel experiences are almost always delivered by exceptional people. With that in mind, we utilize a comprehensive approach to select and employ the best tour guides only. Multilingual and well travelled, each possesses deep insight into the diverse attractions and cultural patterns throughout the region. With us guides undergo a rigorous selection process, achieving outstanding knowledge of local culture and language. Rest assured that the best tour guides only will be working on the tours to give you excellent opportunity to explore the best of the sights during both short and long-term stay in Russia.

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