DEPARTURE - 31 JANUARY 2020

 

OR


There you are, in your swimming trunks, am I really going to do this? "You think. You do not feel the cold, because the adrenaline gushes through your veins. You walk into the water and take a dive. And another dive. Then you know: you are alive! You feel everything around you, but you still do not really feel cold. Only when the tour guide hangs a towel around you, you realize what you have done and you throw your fist in the air. The hot chocolate milk tastes better than ever.

Sinterklaas.jpg

The thermometer is at -50. You get out of the warm car and immediately you feel the extreme cold. Your skin starts to tingle, your lungs fill with the cold air. You actually want to get on board again, but you still stand outside with wonder. You enjoy this extreme experience in this fascinating landscape.

iceroad2.jpg

You are thrashing at 100 km / h on a 'zimnick', an ice road over the river. It bumps a bit and you realize that under the 2 meter thick layer of ice one of the largest rivers in the world flows. You see large groups of reindeer, driven by eternally drunken shepherds. You experience the immense landscape of the Taiga with its rivers, forests and open spaces.

If you drive through the Verchoyansk mountains, you do not understand how the locals stand here between those huge white tops. You are surprised how small and hairy the cows and horses are. You enjoy the enormous hospitality and delicacies of the broadly smiling Yakut, a people who migrated here 500 years ago from Mongolia.

In Oimjakon you pulverize your personal temperature record by tens of degrees. You experience the stimulation in your nostrils as you breathe, the tingling on your skin and the kick that your warm clothes and shoes keep you nice and warm.

200-41.jpg

You see boiling hot tea falling apart in millions of ice crystals as you throw the contents of your cup into the air. Later on you can see the ice crystals on the video red-orange light up by the low sun. "

YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE

116_1006 copy.jpg

Eric Terpstra

Your tour guide on this adventure

Winter tour experience: one trip to Siberia, three trips to Alaska & norhern Canada, multiple trip to Scandinavia

Call me: +31 (0)6 5757 0846 or email

WHEN

The best time to experience the cold in halfway December until the end of February. We choose the first week of February, as the days are longer with much longer lights than earlier in January or December. Also the Russian record was set in this time of year, on 5 February 1933 the temperature dropped down to -66.7°C (-89.9°F) in Oymyakon, so we are hopefull!

WHERE

Our trip takes us to eastern parts of Siberia where the cold the harshest. Surprisingly, a the modern city of Yakutsk has grown to more than 300,000 inhabitants in the past years. People are used to the cold and dress accordingly.

 Source: opensourcemap.org

Source: opensourcemap.org

SAFETY

Read all about it on our special page on this important issue.

UNCERTAINTY

Although Oymyakon is the coldest inhabited place on earth, weather changes from time to time. That means that it's not always -50, but it can even go up to -30 sometimes in the dead of winter. In more than 100 years, the temperature was never higher than -15 at the beginning of February. 


 

PROGRAM



20180310_163529.jpg

DAY 1/2 - Flight to Yakutsk

We depart from Europe via Moscow to Yakutsk, the capital of the autonomous republic Sacha in eastern Siberia. The flight from Moscow to Yakutsk passes 6 time zones and we arrive the next morning.


20180314_185506.jpg

DAY 2 - Yakutsk

Upon arrival in Yakutsk we take our luggage and we are soon outside. It is a small airport and the cold immediately hits you when you open the doors. We immediately head for our first destination: a local farm in Tulagino, about 15 minutes drive away. We are welcomed by the farmer and peasant woman. They show us how they deal with the long cold winter. We see how horses drink from a hole that is kept open all winter in the 2-meter-thick layer of ice behind the farm. Then we get a traditional Sacha lunch. Everything is from the farm, organic. A specialty is Mors, a kind of juice of berry varieties. But also deep-frozen liver, which is known as a local delicacy. We also see how people get water in an area without water pipes.

In the afternoon we head to our hotel and relex for the rest of the day or go for a stroll through town. After dinner we will go for a short visit to the Ice Sculpture exhibition on the Lena river.


116_0940.jpg

DAY 4 - Through the endless Taiga and across 'Zimniks'

We leave around 9 o'clock for our first leg to Oymyakon. The ride starts spectacularly with a crossing over the Lena river via a 'Zimnik', a road that runs across rivers or lakes in the winter and is maintained by the local authorities. The next stop is at the border between two regions. There we leave some food and drinks behind for the local gods and spirits.

There is always time to stop for photos and of course we keep an eye on the temperature as we get closer to the cold pole. We have lunch in Churapchinsky. Then we drive for a few hours on the Taiga. Just before we arrive at our simple accommodation in Chandyga we go over an iceroad near Nizhny Bestyakh. We stay in 2- or 3-person rooms.

Overnight stay

Local accomodation in Chandyga


417.jpg

DAY 4 - From the Taiga into the mountains to the cold pool

A long day with the final destination Oimjakon. After a few hours we reach the Werchojansk mountain range, but first we take pictures in the village of Teply Klyuch and the memorial of the victims of the Gulags (the prison camps of the Soviets). We stop several times for the fantastic view, among others at the Sharam river, at Devil Gate Bridge over the Agayakan and at a point where the mountains seem to split apart. In Kyumber we have lunch and refuel the cars for the final stage to Oimjakon on the Kolyma road that winds through the mountains.

We arrive at our accommodation in the evening. Oymyakon is a village in a region with several valleys that are also known as Oymyakon. The weather station is not located in the village, but cnear the town of Tomtor. The official record is -67.7°C, measured at the beginning of February 1893. In January and the first half of February, temperatures usually drop at night to values etween -45 and -55. Of course we check the thermometers all day while we're on the road, maybe we're already below -50 in the evening. As soon as we succeed, we toast on it with a glass of Russian vodka!

Overnight stay

Simple accommodation in Oymyakon or Tomtor

thermometer.jpg

DAY 5 - Cold experiments and Sakha culture

We stay 2 nights in the Oymyakon vallei in simple, but warm accomodation. Usually this will be in a 2- or 3-person room with shared shower and toilet. Tourism has not yet penetrated here and hotels like we are used to do not exist. They always know how to keep their houses warm, so we are regularly in our t-shirt because otherwise it is too hot.

After breakfast we go - still in the twilight - for a ride of about 2 hours. We go on a quest to the lowest temperature in the valley. When it is cloudy we wait until the next morning. Then we visit Chyskhaan, the 'guardian of the North Pole', we receive a certificate and are allowed to take a picture with this man who is a striking appearance with his long beard.

Then we will probably do the most exciting of the whole trip: for those who want it, a short swim will be on the program! Near the village, part of a tributary is almost always open due to thermal influences. Of course everyone is free to try it, or to make only photos and video. It goes very fast, you are no longer than 10 seconds in the water and when you get out we are ready to get you dry and warm with towels.

In the afternoon we do the 'Coldpool games'. These are games that you can only do in extreme temperatures. Think of throwing hot water in the air and seeing it snowing over your head, or 'ice darts'. We see how the local population fishes under the ice in the Indigirka river.

In Tomtor we go to the local museum and we descend into an ice tunnel. This goes to a depth of 10 meters, a place where the ground is permanently frozen, the so-called permafrost. At this depth it is about 10 degrees below freezing all year round (even if it is 30 degrees in summer!) The permafrost is about 500 meters thick here.

After dinner, an evening with Sakha culture follows.

Overnight stay

Simple accommodation in Oimjakon or Tomtor

158.jpg

DAY 6 - Via reindeer camp back to Chandyga

Early in the morning we go back to Chandyga. We also take the time to find the coldest spot and obviously hope for a (personal) record below -50 (or even below -60!). On the way to Chandyga we stop in the village of Joecheyoejai to visit some reindeer drivers of Sakha republic. This visit is not guarenteed as these people are semi nomadic.

Overnight stay

Simple accommodation in Chandyga

20180310_143534.jpg

DAY 7 - Back in the civilized world

The last part of the trip to the cold pool. We arrive around 6 o'clock in the evening in Yakutsk where we check in at our comfortable hotel. The evening is free to rest, have a descent dinner and view all the stunning photos that you shot at the pole of cold.


20180315_122920.jpg

DAY 8 - Lenskie Stolby - Lena Pillars

After a good breakfast, an excursion to Lena Pillars (Lenskie Stolby) is on the program. It is a popular destination for the locals, both in winter and in summer. In the summer, large passenger ships sail off and on. We first drive through villages along the Lena, but the last hour we continue on the 'Zimnik' (on the ice of the river). This also goes much further on to remote cities in southern Siberiad. You can actually drive all the way to Olekminsk in the south.

We stop at Lenskie Stolby and behold the extraordinary rock formations. They are also called the Bryce Canyon of Siberia. A well-constructed path leads us to the top of the mountain in about 30 minutes, which towers just over 200 meters above the river. It is somewhat slippery, but fortunately there are fences that you can hold on to. On top you have a fantastic view over the Pillars and the Lena River which is 3 km wide here.

Many photos further we leave again to our hotel in Yakutsk. We stop at a frozen waterfall, a 15-minute walk. In the evening we have a joint farewell dinner and exchange stories.

Overnight stay

Tygyn Darkhan Hotel, Yakutsk (or similar)


IceTunnel.JPG

DAY 9 - Return flight

After breakfast we are taken to the airport, a ride of 15 minutes. You fly back to your destination via Moscow.

 

good to know

You travel to distant regions with sometimes exceptional circumstances. Often you need a visa, but you will certainly have to take into account clothing. In addition, many countries have different plugs.

20180215_225902 copy.jpg

Passport and visa

To visit Russia you need a passport and visa. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months after returning from Russia.

You can arrange the visa yourself or have it carried out by an intermediary at a cost.

We recommend that you apply for a visa at least 4 weeks before departure due to a sometimes long lead time at the Embassy. Via VFS Global you can apply for a visa yourself. Then you have to travel to The Hague to hand in the documents.

You also need an invitation, which we can arrange for you via our Russian partners.

Meer informatie Visum

bigstock--195741646.jpg

Vaccinations and health

No vaccinations are required for this area.

netstekkers.gif

Electricity plugs

In Russia, plugs of type C and F are used. If you live in the Netherlands or Belgium, you do not need a travel plug in Russia.

bigstock-Changing-Time-7302171.jpg

Time differences

In Yakutsk it is 8 hours later and in Oymyakon 9 hours later than in western Europe. For example, if it is 11 AM with us, then it is 7 PM in Yakutsk.

child-fun-jump-69896.jpg

Clothing

You are going to experience extreme cold, you have that certainty. Not comparable with what you have ever experienced. -30 is really much colder than -20 and how about -50 or even lower? A detailed packing list is provided in the travel information you receive from us.

android-applications-apps-226664 copy.jpg

Phone & internet

In Yakutsk you have good reach, both for calls and for 4G internet. The costs depend on your provider and are often substantial.

We take a hotspot with which you can get a connection via WiFi, that is a free service from us. So you have the internet on the road (only Yakutsk and surroundings and elsewhere in a single place) We ask you to turn off all automatic updates of apps and photos to cloud services. It is often possible to call over the Internet, but here too we ask you to disable video.

20180310_160003.jpg

Souveniers

n Yakutsk you can buy souvenirs in various shopping centers.

bigstock--213783370.jpg

ATMs

In Yakutsk there are several banks with ATMs. In addition, payments can be made with Mastercard or VISA in most places . Elsewhere else it is not possible and bills can only be settled with cash. For 1 euro you get about 70 rubles. Or in other words, 100 rubles is about € 1.40.

For security reasons, Dutch banks have set the bank cards with Cirrus / Maestro logo as standard for use within Europe. If you want to withdraw money in Russia, you have to change this institution (temporarily) to 'World'. Belgians can use their bank card in Russia without restrictions. Belgian banks charge Russia with Europe. Always check your own bank policy on this matter.

KLM Aeroflot.JPG

Flights

Flights with Aeroflot (and / or) KLM

We fly via Moscow to Yakutsk, the first part being operated by KLM or Aeroflot or another carrier. The second part is Aeroflot. Aeroflot is part of SkyTeam, just like KLM and has built a highly modernized fleet over the past 20 years.

Flights are always subject to changes by the airlines. If the flights are canceled or overbooked, we arrange an alternative.

You can book your flights yourself, or we will take care of that for you. Do you want to leave earlier or stay longer, let us know, we will make that possible!

Departure

Friday, February 1: In the morning departure for Moscow.

18:50 departure for Yakutsk

Saturday, February 2

07:50 arrival at Jakoetsk airport

Way back

Saturday 9 February

09:10 Departure from Yakutsk, arrival in Moscow 10:15

In the afternoon or evening back to your final destination