The Northern odyssey: to the Pole of Cold via GULAGs


Day 1

An airplane brings group of tourists to Yakutsk in the early morning. They are met and get transferred to a hotel for a little rest because their schedule is going to be tight today. First, visitors have a sightseeing bus tour where they visit local museums. Among those museums there are:

The Mammoth Museum is a unique museum of Natural History.

The Lore Museum is a place where guests of the republic get to know its history and find out its nature diversity.

“Treasury of the Republic of Sakha” exhibition that shows people mineral wealth of Yakutia and surprises even the most sophisticated visitors.

After the tour guests are offered to have lunch in one of the most popular restaurants of the city that are famous for serving scrumptious food.

Right after lunch group proceeds to “The Atlasov’s Estate” ethnographic complex where everyone participates an unforgettable ceremony of blessing called by locals “Algys”.

Another ethnographic complex is on the list and it is called “Chohur Muran”. Here guests can try riding dog sleds drawn by Yakutian Laika.

A little fun here and there is another spot to hit – The Permafrost Kingdom, where tourists enjoy seeing gorgeous ice sculptures.

Having arrived downtown tourists check the outfit.

Then tourists are offered to have dinner at the restaurant of Chochur Muran.

Day 2

After a sufficient breakfast at the hotel group gets on an off-road vehicle to start the journey to the “Pole of Cold”. Next stop is a village called Teply Klyuch. The road runs through the central part of the republic where tourists get a chance to enjoy seeing spectacular views of landscapes and winter taiga. On the way tourists cross the frozen Lena river and its side-stream, the Aldan.

During the journey group stops for a field-conditions lunch.

Totally, on the 2nd day tourists cover 480 km (300 miles).

Having had dinner travelers spend the night in a cozy guest house in Teply Klyuch.

Day 3

Having had breakfast group heads to a real chamber of horror of the past (360 km away from Teply Klyuch).

This day tourists visit abandoned GULAG settlements where you get a chance to see soul chilling ruins of what used to be called “a prison with no cages”. Those were labor camps that covered one third part of the republic during the Soviet period. Most people taken into custody were political prisoners: scientists, writers, teachers, doctors etc.

On the way to the spot there are few stops for meal and taking pictures.

As day winds down, group heads back to the guest house in Teply Klyuch

Day 4

After breakfast tourists hit the road straight to Oymyakon.

On the 4th day of their adventure travelers are supposed to cover 500 km (310 miles) for about 13 hours of driving. The road that runs through the Verkhoyansk Range, and is also called “the Road of Bones” was built by the GULAG prisoners and is steeped in history of their tragic fate.

And on the contrary tourist can see the eternal beauty of Siberian nature: snow-capped mountains, frozen rivers, vast reindeer pasture-lands.

In the middle of the journey, not far from “Vostochnaya” meteorological observing station group makes a stop for lunch and after it keeps going.

Late arrival to Oymyakon is expected. Tourists check in a family hotel and have dinner. After such a long way it is just what the doctor prescribed!

Day 5

After breakfast travelers go on excursion around the place where the lowest temperature of the Northern hemisphere was registered (- 71.2 C) in 1926. It is believed that Oymyakon Valley is the coldest permanently inhabited place on Earth.

As many people of Oymyakon are engaged in horse breeding, an interesting thing to do is to meet. Here tourists learn the way horse-breeders live and also get to know what a Yakut horse that stays outdoors all the year round looks like. Horse riding is also available.

In the afternoon guests get back to the hotel and have lunch.

Another thing many people have heard of, but not so many have tried is ice-fishing.

After lunch visitors get a chance to get trained how to fish and try ice-fishing themselves.

If you think you’ve tried everything in the world then see this: tourists are offered to try some authentic eating called “stroganina”. In fact, stroganina is frozen raw fish in slices eaten with salt and pepper!

For sauna lovers there is a chance to try Russian sauna (w

hich is reserved in advance and paid extra)

The day culminates in dinner and rest.

Day 6

Breakfast comes first being followed by a unique show called “Tricks with the Cold” (Fishki Holoda) where guests learn some unusual properties of materials at low temperatures.

After the show travelers proceed to the monument to the Pole of Cold where they get their presence in Oymyakon certified.

Then comes lunch.

Another journey is on and group heads to Tomtor settlement and check into a family hotel on the arrival.

Tomtor is interesting for the Museum of ice sculptures that is located in a shaft where tourists are brought after an excursion around the village. Also, this museum is a residence of a creature that symbolizes master cold in Yakutia, Chyskhan. And guess what? Travelers get a chance to meet him in Tomtor!

The day ends with dinner in the hotel.

Day 7

It’s time to say “good bye” to Oymyakon region.

After an early breakfast around 7 a.m. tourists head to Khandyga.
The whole day on the road and again it’s a splendid opportunity to take some beautiful pictures.

Arrival to Khandyga is expected late at night. Tourists check in a hotel and have lunch.


Day 8

After breakfast tourists are transferred to Yakutsk. Lunch in field conditions is implied. After arrival to Yakutsk guests are offered to do some shopping for souvenirs.

The day ends with a farewell dinner and rest in a hotel.

Day 9

An early morning transfer to the airport of Yakutsk.