Krasnoyarsk - Severobaikalsk - Tynda - Neryungri - Yakutsk
This winter trip by train will take you to the coldest part of Russia - Yakutia, which is also known as the Republic of Sakha. You will travel on three of the largest railway lines in the country: the Trans-Siberian Express, the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) and the Amur-Yakutsk Mainline (AYaM). All three railway lines pass through harsh natural conditions, but the BAM and AYaM will take you even further to a land of permafrost and extremes in temperatures.
Your trip starts in Krasnoyarsk, which is located in the very centre of Siberia on the River Yenisey. From here you will set off east to the deepest lake in the world - Lake Baikal. The lake’s surface freezes around February, although the northern part freezes a little earlier. Thanks to its remoteness the northern part of Lake Baikal is much less visited than the southern part which is located close to the Trans-Siberian Railway route. This means that this end of the lake is much more pristine and less affected by the problems mass tourism often brings.
Travelling along the BAM you will then head for the unofficial capital of this engineering feat, the city of Tynda, and then into the Republic of Yakutia (Sakha). You will visit Neryungri, a place which rarely features in guidebooks. However it is one of the largest cities in the republic, despite its young age, as it is a centre of coke coal production. The AYam passes through this city, which you will take to get to Yakutsk.
The River Lena, another of Siberia’s three great rivers, is not yet crossed by the AYaM, but the 16km railway bridge is in the process of construction. For now you will have to cross the frozen river using the specially equipped ice road. Yakutsk is the capital of Yakutia, the largest constituent entity of the Russian Federation, comparable to the size of India. It is somewhat cut off by the rest of Russia due to its harsh climate and vaste size. It is rich in minerals but has a very small population and a tiny population density. This is one Russian republic where you could be forgiven for thinking you are no longer in Russia. In December and January you can experience here extremely low temperatures and all the beauty of a bleak winter landscape.
1 DAY / KRASNOYARSK
Arrival in Krasnoyarsk and transfer to your hotel.
Tour of Krasnoyarsk and the Stolby Nature Reserve - Krasnoyarsk is one of the biggest Russian cities east of the Urals and markets itself as the Gates to Eastern Siberia and the Capital of Yenisey Siberia. The River Yenisey, on which Krasnoyarsk stands, is considered the border between Western and Eastern Siberia. Unlike other cities in this part of Russia, Krasnoyarsk has a large number of historical buildings.
Despite being a major city, Krasnoyarsk has on its very doorstep wonderful nature: alpine views, dense Siberia forest and the famous Stolby Nature Reserve. Stolby in Russian means pillar and it is so named due to the many exotic looking rock pillars that formed here naturally over the millennia among the taiga forests on the foothills of the Western Sayan Mountains. The reserve is located just 3km from the outskirts of Krasnoyarsk.
Night in Krasnoyarsk.
2 DAY / KRASNOYARSK - SEVEROBAIKALSK
Transfer to Krasnoyarsk Railway Station.
Overnight train to Severobaikalsk - the first part of your train trip is along the Trans-Siberian, but after the station of Tayshet begins another major railway line - the Baikal-Amur Mainline, which runs for 4,300km. Almost all of the stations along the railway were built in the late Soviet period in harsh conditions in virgin Siberian taiga.
A major city on the route is Bratsk which was built during the construction of the Bratsky Hydroelectric Dam.
Night on the train.
3 DAY / SEVEROBAIKALSK
Arrival in Severobaikalsk. Transfer to the hotel.
Excursion around Severobaikalsk’s Railway Tunnels - these tunnels were the most difficult engineering task on the whole BAM project and this stretch is called the Key to BAM. The Severomuysky Tunnel is 15km long, making it the longest railway tunnel in Russia, and it took 26 years to complete. On the way, you will see some great Soviet features: monuments, bus stops and memorials dedicated to builders who died during the construction.
Excursion to the Northernmost Point of Lake Baikal - this is the very northern top of Lake Baikal and is situated on the right bank of the River Kuchera as it flows into the lake. From north coast to south coast the lake runs 636km and ranges in width from 24 to 79km. However, the Baikal is record-breaking in terms of its depth, with its deepest point reaching 1187 metres.
Night in Severobaikalsk
4 DAY / SEVEROBAIKALSK
Tour to Baikalskoe Village - Baikalskoe is an old Siberian fishing village located on the shore of Lake Baikal, not far from Cape Ludar - one of the most beautiful spots on the lake. Although people have lived here for centuries, the first permanent settlement only appeared in the 17th century with the arrival of the Russians. The village has never been large, but always multicultural. Here Russians, Buryats and Evenks live side by side. The Great Baikal Trail, which runs around the western coast of the lake, passes through the village. After visiting Cape Ludar, a hot meal with a local will be waiting for you.
Night in Severobaikalsk
5 DAY / SEVEROBAIKALSK - TYNDA
Train to Tynda - although you will spend all day on the train, you will be able to enjoy spectacular views from the window of a completely untouched terrain.
Night on the train.
6 DAY / TYNDA
Tour of Tynda - Tynda is considered the capital of the Baikal-Amur Mainline and the largest city in the region. The city even has a flavour of Moscow as many of the streets share their names with streets in the Russian capital, as the workers who built the new city were from Moscow. The city is surrounded by taiga and its 16-storey buildings and especially its futuristic train station rising above the dense forest makes quite a sight.
Night in Tynda.
7 DAY / NERYUNGRI
Transfer to Neryungri. Distance: 210km. The route will take you over permafrost through thick endless taiga. It is a really wild place and there is even a chance you will see a bear from the road. Before its repair, this was one of the worst and most dangerous roads in the country.
Tour of Neryungri - although it only became a city in the mid-1970s Neryungri can trace its history back to 1643 when the first Russian expeditions came here. In the 19th century it experienced a gold rush and more than 80 gold-mines were in operation around the Timpton Valley. Many gold miners and their Evenk guides remained here. Now Neryungri is the second city of Yakutia.
Night in Neryungri.
8 DAY / TRAIN TO BESTYAKH
Transfer to the train station.
Overnight train to Bestyakh.
Bestyakh is located on the newest railway line in Russia - the Amur-Yakutsk Mainline (AYaM), which connects two major railways - the Trans-Siberian and the Baikal Amur Mainline. AYam is one of the most complex engineering projects in the world today as it is being built over permafrost where the annual temperature ranges from +50C in summer to -40C in winter. In 2019 the railway line was built up to the River Lena and now the project to build a bridge across to Yakutsk is underway. On the way you will see some breathtaking views of winter Yakutia.
Night on the train.
9 DAY / YAKUTSK
Arrival in Bestyakh and transfer to the hotel in Yakutsk. You will cross the frozen River Lena over a specially built, 12km ice road.
City Tour of Yakutsk - the largest city on earth built on permafrost. It is the capital of the Republic of Yakutia (Sakha), a land rich in gold, oil, gas, diamonds and other precious stones and minerals.
Treasures of Yakutia Exhibition - a rich collection of gold and diamonds, and articles made from them. The exposition has three floors dedicated to gems, metal and stones; artwork of local masters; and the history of mining in Yakutia.
Lunch at a Restaurant of Yakutian Cuisine - here you will try the pride and joy of Yakutian cooking: stroganina - slices of raw frozen fish. In addition, you can try traditional dishes from horse meat or venison and the tasty dessert Kerchekh made from whipped cream and berries.
Museum of the History and Culture of the Peoples of the North - at this museum you will learn how people have managed to live in such extreme climatic conditions over centuries and manage to keep their own identity.
Night in Yakutsk
10 DAY / LENA PILLARS
Tour to the Lena Pillars - a real natural wonder on the River Lena are the gigantic pillars that line a section of the river bank for several kilometres. Scientists believe that these rocks began being formed over 500 million years ago, but only took on their present form around 400,000 years ago. In the winter it can get as cold as -65C here, but in summer temperatures of +35C are not uncommon. To get here you need to cross the Lena by snowmobile.
Night in Yakutsk
11 DAY / YAKUTSK HORSES FARM
Tour of a Yakutsk Horse Farm - many northern peoples are associated with hunting, finishing and reindeer herding, but the Yakuts also herd cattle and horses. To survive in the freezing temperatures a hardy type of horse with shaggy hair was bred by the Yakuts. The horse is also able to dig through the snow with its hooves to get at the vegetation below. You will visit local horse breeders and see Yakutian horses in their pastures. They are unique animals and quite well suited for this land for drastic temperature changes.
Night in Yakutsk.
12 DAY / DEPARTURE
Transfer to the airport.
- Part of the tour takes place in the open air, therefore you should follow advice in terms of required clothing and provisions for winter tours on Baikal and Yakutia areas.
- The tour is not an extreme tour and does not require any special physical preparation, however some trekking included in the itinerary.
- Tickets to museums cannot be sold without an excursion with a guide.
- The tour is suitable for travellers with children
- The tour is available in English, French and German languages. Other languages upon request.
- All excursions/guided tours included in the itinerary are private which means private guides and private transport along the programme - unless otherwise stated.
- Best time to travel on this route: from the end of December to Mid March.
- The prices given below are for guidance only. The actual final cost of the tour will depend on availability. Hotel prices and train tickets may increase or decrease in cost depending on how much in advance you book them.
• CANCELLATION POLICY •
DATE OF CANCELLATION
|FROM 60 TO 45 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE||10%|
|FROM 44 TO 15 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE||30%|
|FROM 14 TO 7 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE||50%|
|LESS THAN 7 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE||100%|