Travel Oymyakon – the Coldest Inhabited Place on Earth
If you are looking for something really unique and extreme, travelling Yakutia in winter will be a moving experience for you. In Yakutia, you will find the coldest inhabited places on earth. Nevertheless, once arrived you will soon realize that the climate is just one of the remarkable things about this place. You will find out that the hospitality of the indigenous population forms a sharp contrast to the harsh climate conditions. You will also find out that the silence and beauty of the endless taiga makes Yakutia in winter not just only extreme but also an absolutely stunning place with its own energy. If you are ready for a true once in a life experience please leave us a message or comment. We are always looking for travel mates joining us!
Yakutsk is an extreme place. But in fact, there is another constantly inhabited place that is even colder than Yakutsk: the village of Oymyakon (in other languages translated as Oimjakon), some 500 kilometers east of Yakutsk. And again, it’s all relative. Compared to Oymyakon, winter in Yakutsk appears to look warm and pleasant. In Oymyakon, the record temperature dropped to minus 78 degrees in 1933. This is a world record for an inhabited place. Ironic enough, Oymyakon means in Evenki language something like ‘the unfrozen patch’ due to the hot springs close to Oymyakon. But why is Oymyakon that cold? Apart from its location in far north, its attitude almost 1,000 meters above sea level as well as its location in a basin making cold winds flowing into the village contribute to the extraordinary cold. The cold air flowing into the bottom of the basis and pushes the warmer air up out of the basin.
The roughly 500 inhabitants of Oymyakon have adapted to life in the extreme subarctic climate. This is also true for pupils, the local school only stops working at temperatures hitting the minus 55 degrees mark. But also else, the local population lives a quite normal life.
Road Trip through Yakutia’s Endless Taiga
We would like to invite you on a journey to this magic place. The trip to Oymyakon and back will take five days and travelling there will be an adventure itself. To get to Oymyakon we will cross frozen rivers, we will travel hundreds of kilometers through the literally endless taiga east of Yakutsk and we will cross the Verkhoyansk mountain range. Hence, we will follow the P-504 route, a 2,000 kilometers federal ‘highway’ connecting Yakutsk with Magadan at the sea of Okhotsk, which is locally just called the Kolyma Trassa as it is the only sealed road in the entire region.
The Road of Bones
The road is also known as the Road of Bones as it was built in the 1930ies by forced labor in the Stalin era as part of the Gulag system. The conditions in the Gulag camps were terrible, many thousands of the workers died from hunger, cold and exhaustion. In fact, the route is a mass grave. Though, most of the camps have been destroyed since then, the Gulags is present in some things you will see a long the road: crosses to remember those who died, a handful of unofficial museums and memorials, and even some abandoned camps which are still there after all the decades since the Gulag system came to an end.
Accommodation and Hotel in Oymyakon and Yakutsk
During your stay in Yakutsk, if wished, we will organize a stay for you in the Tygyn Darkhan hotel which is located in the center of Yakutsk. Free wireless LAN and free access to the fitness center are available for every guest. You may also relax in the sauna and swimming pool. During the trip to Oymyakon, you will stay in smaller private hotels (one night way there and one night way back). Are there any hotels in Oymyakon? Actually, despite that the village is increasingly visited by foreigners, there is no hotel in Oymyakon. Therefore, you will stay with locals in traditional housings. This will not only allow to meet locals but will also allow to experience the traditions and lifestyle of Oymyakon’s people. I am sure, you will love it!
How to get there and when to travel
Given its remote location many are surprised that Yakutsk is actually not that difficult to reach. Yakutsk has a modern airport and is well connected for its size. To get to Yakutsk you need usually to fly via Moscow. The flight from Moscow to Yakutsk takes around seven hours. Return tickets from the major European hubs with a stop in Moscow start from 700 euros, but may be also cheaper in some cases. Once that you have arrived in Yakutsk, we will pick you up at the airport. In general, we are recommending to stay for some days in Yakutsk to get to know this absolute unique city. We are also recommending to visit the Lena and Sinaya pillars some 200 kilometers south of Yakutsk. During your stay in Yakutia, we would like to invite you experience our indigenous culture, beliefs and shamanism traditions. And of course, we will would also like to show our national cuisine to you. Have you for instance ever eaten frozen fish? Well, we do that all the time. But no worry, there is a lot else to try. For experiencing the ‘true winter’ you should come to Yakutsk between November and February. As the trip to Oymyakon will take around five days you should plan to stay in Yakutsk for at least a week. You may also combine your trip with a stay in Moscow. We will assist you in getting an appropriate visa.
We are aiming at making each tour the best tour possible according to your preferences. That’s why each tour is different. There are possibilities to join existing groups or to create an own one. Further, you may also book individual trips. Contact us to find out more and we will come back to you with a proposal to you.
Oymyakon Tour Packages
The next winter is your chance to visit Yakutia! We are just now organizing the groups for December 2019 and January 2020. Are you interested in taking part in one of them? Sign up for our newsletter to receive further information on the trip and to keep posted on upcoming trips and free places in travel groups.