Traveler’s Notes
Russian Far East

A while back, when we worked on «Traveler’s Notes» dedicated to Primorsky Krai, we never thought the work on them will be so captivating, so interesting and cognitive.

Yet there was no solid opinion in the team that we should continue with «Traveler’s notes: Far East». All was decided in 2015 after we travel to a few so far unvisited parts of magnificent Russian Far East. Yes, we definitely should!

So here it is, another, fourth part of «Traveler’s Notes», up to your attention.

Best regards,
Sergey Yatsyshin.

Russian Far East

To the east of Siberia and Baikal lake lies the vast reaches of Russian Far East, surpassed only by immense Pacific.

20% of country landmass inhabited by only 4% of country population. Only macro region of Russia, washed by the two oceans. Part of Russia, that have completely different geographical, climate, cultural and economic circumstances than the rest of a country. That’s probably explains different, far eastern, traits of character and attitude to life.

Russian Far East consists of nine regions that we happy to present you in this book.

— in a couple of years after the publication of our original book president Vladimir Putin announced transfer of Zabaikalsky Krai and Buryatia from Eastern Siberia to Far East macro region. While we welcome with open hands our new Far Eastern compatriots, that book was made for different era and this translation will depict the same, classic, nine Far Eastern regions.


In the spring of 2015, when I arrive in Yakutia, I was pleasantly surprised right at the airport. Really nice, modern and convenient.

One of my friends once said that Yakutsk, capital of region, is a «worthy city». A really fitting word explaining nuances of urban development, interesting places and people living there.

Yakutian fish mostly a mystery to me, though I am of Primorye descent, so not a stranger to fish species. Very tasty foal and fawn, Yakut specialty. I bought those meats in Vladivostok and cooked it myself, nothing compared to Yakut local food. Probably thanks to indigenous cuisine.

Sinsk and Lena pillars are some really impressive work of nature. At the time I write these words we are working toward fishing trip to Lena in 2016 July. I’m all in anticipation. I studied a lot of materials regarding pioneering and developing this land, biggest of all Far Eastern territories. My utter respect to these people!


Not a widely known fact, but chukcha, aborigines of this territory, fought expansion of Russian Empire, and actually won, after which were left alone for a further 70 years.

There is an International Date Line in between the Chukotka’s Ratmanov island (aka Big Diomede) and US Little Diomede (aka Injaliq in Inupiat and Krusenstern in Russian), so as example when it’s 12:00 of 18th September in Russian side, there’s still noon of September 17th at the American one.

There is very vague concept of international borders for indigenous people there, chukchas at the Russian side and American Inupiat. When I’ve been there in the middle of 90’s they easily visit each other traversing state border by snowmobiles. It’s pretty common for them to have relatives on both sides of the border, and they live by their own traditions and customs.

There is a lot can be said about Chukotka towns like Egvekinot, Provideniya or Anadyr. Good luck to all who plan to visit these places, kudos to fine fellows who even read about them.


Favorite spot for advanced tourists from abroad, and I absolutely agree with that. Active volcanoes — superb! Sopki, thermal springs — unique. Balneological resort Paratunka is famous around the world. I’ve seen tourists from Europe and Japan, and, of course, from the other parts of Russia.

Rafting enthusiasts travel to local rivers, go off grid and enjoy newfound unity with the nature. No access to the big world, only pristine nature. I’ve heard a few very emotional and inspiring stories of such visits.

I ask you to find and read about Avachinskaya bay. It left a very strong impression on me, especially in conjunction with stories told by locals.

And a bit of a fly in the ointment. To locals, it would be great to see your airport finished.

Amur oblast

One of two landlocked Far Eastern regions.

People who been there recommend the capital, Blagoveshchensk, as a good and pleasant city.

I know of people who make living hunting sable and selling furs to the state. And, of course, by fishing and other types of hunting. They are real professionals, who know how to read animal trails, understand rural environment, know the laws of nature, when to expect game when it’s time to fish, what bait to use, how to live and survive in harsh conditions. Those people can live in taiga for months without visiting any settlements.

I heard a lot about Zeya river, and plan to visit her in coming years.

Magadan oblast

We found very limited knowledge while writing these notes. That’s a pebble to the local administration’s window. Maybe it’s worth developing tourism in oblast? I know that given the right instruments there will be a lot of visiting tourists. As how to develop — mind the text about Primorye. Of course, when you can find very limited information even online, it’s discouraging.

For me, and for most of the people I know, Magadan oblast is first and foremost associated with gold and with forced labor. Of course, writing of Solzhenitsyn sums up this issue completely.

Capital of the region, Magadan city, I find rather bleak and comfortless.

Yet there is a lot in terms of nature’s beauty, that impress even in form of photography, Jack London lake is a good example.

All in all, Magadan oblast is a corner of Earth that many times worth to explore and admire.

Jewish Autonomous Region

Second landlocked region of Russian Far East.

Again, dig at locals and authorities. Region was included in a list of worst tourist places of Russia. No need to add anything.

To be serious, there is not much to be seen. Memorials to Cossack pioneers, churches and icons. If you like that sort of aesthetics — welcome, in other aspects it not worth your time.


Truly unique place. Back in 2008 when I visited Yujno-Sakhalinsk, I was impressed to see a lot of expat professionals working there. Oil and gas industry, that says it all.

A lot of people, notably from Primorye, travel to Yujno-Sakhalinsk in the winter for skiing. Can’t really compare place to Sochi (never been there), but Sakhalin have some great infrastructure.

There is stone cape called Edge of the World at the Kuril Islands, which is a part of Sakhalin oblast. I’m curious about history of such name.

I’ve been told that back in 80s, when salmon migrated to spawn, it was such large quantities of fish that one could cross the river walking over the fish backs. These were a times!

I want to drive around Sakhalin, to fish at the local rivers, to see with my own eyes these nature wonders, as in Chekhov’s «Sakhalin Island». This idea is growing for me for a long time.

Khabarovsky krai

Notable place!

I was amazed when I come to Khabarovsk first time, beautiful and well groomed, especially main street, square, fountains. Almost like some European capital! And I have a lot to compare Khabarovsk to, given that I traveled around the world at these times.

And what a fishing! Hour driving from Khabarovsk, and fish is a plenty.

Amur, one of the great rivers of continent, pushing her waters to Tartar strait, have a huge influence at nature around Khabarovsk, vegetation, lowlands.

Shantar islands is another unique place! There is no easy way to go there, if only probably for financially secure people. You have to rent a helicopter, local guide, equipment. I recommend to seek information and photo of that place.


There is kind of amusing legend about Primorye. When the world was created, Primorye was a bit overlooked, and only after having built a man, our Creator noted that mistake. So Primorye was erected with human existence in mind. Easy to access rivers, enjoyable climate, picturesque mountains. Soft, not really cold winter, great summer, warm autumn. All in all, big thanks to said Creator!

Primorye, in our humble opinion — best place in the entire planet.

The only Far Eastern region with strongly marked monsoon climate. Lies at the Sochi or California latitude.

Tourism development in the region become notable in recent years. Starting with tourist booklets in the airports, continuing to distinctive local cuisine (there is Chinese «chi fan», grandma’s Pyan-se, real Primorsky cuisine in places like Port Café, pan-Asian Zuma, that holds «Best Russian restaurant of 2014» award).

Watch, seek and enjoy!


Dear readers!

We wish you to always have an opportunity to find your dreams and make them true! And we will help you as far as we can, and help you to make new ones. Here’s to diverse, interesting and good life!

10 years with you, faithfully
STT Marine Service people