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Road of bones Expedition

Destination: Yakutia
Easy - nothing more than normal walking while sight-seeing
Moderately Easy - 1-3 hours of physical activity daily
Moderate - 3-5 hours of physical activity daily
Challenging - 5-7 hours of challenging physical activity daily
Extreme - 7+ hours of challenging/extreme physical activity daily
Difficulty
Basic — most of nights in tents or rooms with shared WC, some nights in comfortable rooms.
Standard — most of nights in comfortable rooms, some nights in tents or rooms with shared WC.
Upgraded — all nights in comfortable rooms.
Comfort
Minimum age of the participant of this trip
12 Days
Highlights
  • Ghost town visits
  • One part of the way passes by the Ten'ka road
  • Visit of the GULAG camps
  • Travelling through the permafrost and the Road of Bones
  • Meeting with the indigenous people of Russia
  • Opprtunity to drive the 4x4 Toyota Land Cruiser
Tour Overview

Road of the bones Expedition, expedition on the Kolyma highway, expedition Magadan-Yakutsk or the Pole of Cold… None of the names we could have thought about would have been able to reflect the richness of this tour.

During this trip, you will visit the port town of Magadan, the popular Kolyma highway (or “Road of Bones”), the hydropower station of the Kolyma, ghost towns, the Pole of Cold, the capital city of Yakutia, the road of permafrost.

This route is the short version of the Moscow-Magadan expedition and was designed for those who have already discovered the European part of Russia, or simply those who have less free time for such a trip.

All along the expedition, we will spend night in hotels, inns and under the tent. This is what makes the whole spirit of this adventure where “flexibility” is the key word: everybody does as he or she wants (hotel or tent, meal or not). If you choose a night under the tent, the organizers will provide the necessary equipment: tents, mattresses, first-aid kit, kitchen tools, camping stove, etc… But in all cases, we will spend some nights on the shores of lakes and rivers where you can enjoy the beautiful scenery. We will also live according to the rhythm of the lively villages to the abandoned ones, a tour within the “real” Russia, a long immersion where men and equipments undergo the long distance. As long as the distance is concerned, our vehicles are the famous Land Cruiser from Toyota !

The Kolyma highway links Yakutsk and Magadan (after that there is no road left, only the Kamtchatka region). We are going to the world’s end and the length of this part of the road is 2032 km long. Its nickname “The Road of Bones », comes from the time of its construction under Stalin’s dictatorship by the prisoners exploited by the Far-Eastern Russian mining operators. The entire process was made in awful working and living conditions, in the cold, while working hard and under the sadistic temper of the guards of this terrible enslavement working system. Needless to say that the mortality rate was very high and digging tombs was too hard for the already abused and tired prisoners who had to bury their fallen comrades under the same road they were trying to build. According to the legend, they actually became a part of the road themselves and the Kolyma became a mass grave for thousands of people, which inspired this terrible and mournful name…

The expedition route is already known but can also change (which is the spirit of an expedition) according to the weather, the state of the road or any unforeseen events and cases of force majeure. The flexibility of the trip makes it strength, as it is a real expedition. Regarding the nights under the tent, they are a reflection of the casual everyday life while camping, that is to say sharing the different tasks between the members of the expedition and participate to the proper upkeep of the camp (assembling/disassembling…).

And as adage says: we know where it starts, we know where it ends, and in between, there is only the adventure!


Tour programme
  • Day 1
    Aquaintance with Magadan
    Magadan
  • Day 2
    The Old Kolyma road
    Magadan — Ust-Omchug
  • Day 3
    Butugychag - valley of death
    Ust-Omchug — Butugychag
  • Day 4
    Reserve day
    Butugychag
  • Day 5
    Ghost town Kadykchan
    Susuman — Kadykchan
  • Day 6
    Tomtor - land of the cold
    Kadykchan — Tomtor
  • Day 7
    Free day in Tomtor
    Tomtor
  • Day 8
    Oymyakon - Pole of Cold
    Tomtor
  • Day 9
    Continuation of the road
    Tomtor — Khandyga
  • Day 10
    Siberian rivers Lena and Aldan
    Khandyga — Yakutsk
  • Day 11
    Aquaintance with Yakutsk
    Yakutsk
  • Day 12
    End of the programme
    Yakutsk
  • 09:00
    Breakfast Not included
  • 10:00
    Visit of Magadan
    Visit of the city centre. Program of the visits in the morning: Regional History Museum of Magadan with its 5 halls reserved for the GULAG history.
  • 13:00
    Lunch Not included
  • 14:00
    Discovery of the monument “Mask of Sorrows"
    Departure for “Krutoy” hill, where is located the “Mask of Sorrows”. It was built by Ernst Neizvestny and dedicated to the victims of political repressions. Panoramic view on the city and the two bays of Nagaev and Gertnera.
  • 19:00
    Dinner Not included
  • Overnight in the hotel
Photo of the day
Route
Magadan
Accommodation
Accommodation in the Magadan hotel
16 m2, twin beds, TV, telephone, Wi-Fi
  • 09:00
    Breakfast in the hotel
  • 10:00
    Starting of the road
    Today we take the old Kolyma road up north and west to the village of Ust-Omchug. The old road of Kolyma (Ten'ka road) is 100 km shorter then the main one. Moreover, it's more picturesque - there a lot of descends and rises twisting in the endless mountains.
  • 16:00
    Arrival to Ust-Omchug village
    Setting up of the camp and rest.
  • Overnight under the tent or in a hotel along the road
Photo of the day
Route
Magadan — Ust-Omchug
Note

  (160km)

4x4  (260km)

  • 10:00
    Visit of the labor camp Butugychag
    Butugychag is one of the corrective labour camps of the GULAG system. It's considered as of the most terrible camps. The prisoners had to mine the uranium ore. Because of the hellish conditions, more ten 380 thousand people dead there. Today the road to the camp is almost destroyed, but this camp is one those where you can see the real factories and barracks. It's an illustration of one of the most terrible pages of country's history.
  • 15:00
    Continuation of teh way by the Ten'ka road
  • Overnight under the tent or in a hotel along the road
Photo of the day
Route
Ust-Omchug — Butugychag
Note

4x4  (320km)

  • 10:00
    Continuation fo the way
    As the Ten'ka road is considered as very difficult one, this day is left as a reserve one. If the weather is fine, we will visit the Soussoman town.
  • 13:30
    Free time
  • 16:30
    Arrival
    Setting up of the camp and rest.
  • Overnight under the tent or in a hotel along the road
Photo of the day
Route
Butugychag
Note

3 h free time  (100km)

  • 10:00
    Départure to Kadykchan
    Before, 7000 people lived in the town located near two coal mines, in which all the citizens were working. But in 1996, an incident in one of them killed 6 workers and the mines were declared too dangerous to work in anymore and got closed. All the private sector was burnt so the citizens wouldn’t come back to the city. Today, only a man with his two dogs still lives there.
  • 15:00
    Visit of Kadykchan
    Visit of the ghost town: parks, schools, libraries, hospitals...
  • Overnight under the tent or in a hotel along the road
Photo of the day
Route
Susuman — Kadykchan
Note

4x4  (91km)

  • 09:00
    Departure to Tomtor
    Early transfer to the village of Tomtor, a challenger for the “Pole of Cold” title. Its main competitor is currently Oymyakon. Besides, since 2001, the village has reunited hundreds of people every year for the “Pole of Cold” festival, which welcomes all the most important Santa Clauses in the world. From the Finnish “Joulupukki” to “Ded Moroz” from Veliky Ustyug, the most popular Russian Father Christmas, they are all present for this event. “Chyskhaan”, the terrible Yakoutian “Keeper of the Cold” is also there, but only by default, because he lives here, in a sacred cave in the mountains Ebe-Khayya.
  • 19:00
    Dinner Not included
  • 19:00
    Arrival to Tomtor and accommodation
  • Overnight under the tent or in the homestay
Photo of the day
Route
Kadykchan — Tomtor
Note

4x4  (258km)

  • 11:00
    Free time
    A day to rest in case of bad weather or unforeseen events. If this day is free, it can be replaced by a longer stop on the road in one of the most beautiful places on the itinerary.
  • Overnight under the tent or in the homestay
Photo of the day
Route
Tomtor
  • 11:00
    Visit of the Oymyakon village
    Visit of the Chyskhaana cave (museum of ice sculpture) and the “Pole of Cold”, the village of Oymyakon, 40 km away from Tomtor. According to non-official data, the record minimal temperature of -77.8°C was registered in 1938.
  • 13:00
    Lunch in the cafe en route
  • 16:00
    Return to Tomtor
  • Overnight under the tent or in the homestay
Photo of the day
Route
Tomtor
Note

4x4  (40km)

  • 09:00
    Transfer from Tomtor to Khandyga
    Khandyga is the ancient central point of the GULAG and became a marina in 1983. The village was built in 1939 along with the road between the river Aldan and Oymyakon.
  • 20:00
    Arrival to Khandyga
  • Night under the tent or in a hotel along the road
Photo of the day
Route
Tomtor — Khandyga
Note

4x4  (485km)

  • 10:00
    Transfer from Khandyga to Yakutsk
    The city was built in 1632 and is the capital city of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia). Yakutsk is the biggest and oldest city in Yakutia, as well as one of the oldest in Siberia. During the trip, we will cross some of the greatest Siberian rivers: Lena and Aldan.
  • 16:00
    Arrival to Yakutsk
    Arrival in Yakutsk in the afternoon. Rest after the long journey on the road. Check-in in the best hotel of the city, “The Pole Star”.
  • 19:00
    Dinner Not included
  • Overnight in the hotel
Photo of the day
Route
Khandyga — Yakutsk
Accommodation
Accommodation in the hotel Pole star
Standard twin room
Note

4x4  (400km)

  • 09:00
    Breakfast in the hotel
  • 10:00
    City tour and Mammoth Museum
    Visit of the city centre. “The Old Town” is an historic architectural complex, a district in the city centre, in which the buildings looks like the old Yakutsk. Besides, we will visit two legendary museums: The Mammoth Museum and Kingdom Permafrost. The World’s Mammoth Museum was created in 1991 on the initiative of Petr Alexandrovitch Lazarev, specialist of mammoths. The word “world” is indeed necessary, because the paleontological exhibit of unique objects as a worldwide significance and is a part of a priceless heritage for humanity.
  • 13:00
    Lunch Not included
  • 15:00
    Excursion to the museum Kingdom Permafrost
    The Kingdom Permafrost opened in 2008. Behind a simple door on a mountain slope is hidden a real miracle made of ice. In summer, the temperature in the museum does not rise above -4°C, but in winter, it goes under -10°C.
  • 19:00
    Festive dinner
  • Overnight in the hotel
Photo of the day
Route
Yakutsk
Accommodation
Accommodation in the hotel Pole star
  • 09:00
    Breakfast in the hotel
  • 10:00
    Transfer to the airport
    End of the programme.
Photo of the day
Route
Yakutsk
Detailed description
New departures available soon
Price includes
  • English-speaking guide
  • Accommodation as per itinerary
  • Transport as per itinerary
  • Excursions and visits as per itinerary
  • Transfer from airport / railway station on first day
  • Transfer to airport / railway station on last day
  • Letter of invitation
  • Camping outfit rental
  • Meals according to the program
Price does not include
  • Personal expenses and tips
  • Visa fees and travel insurance
  • Optional activities
  • Sleeping bag rental
  • Airline tickets
For more info, please download the detailed description of the trip.
Note

The departure is guaranteed, the announced price is fixed. Total number of vehicles: 2, number of passengers per vehicle: 2-3. The accommodation in a hotel room is booked for the following cities: Yakutsk (2 nights) and Magadan. For the other nights, the accommodation will be negotiated between the members of the group, either under the tent (no extra charges), either in a hotel along the road (extra charges on spot). Meals included: breakfasts in the hotels (see the involved cities above), lunch in Oymyakon and diner for the last day (Yakutsk). All the other meals will be negotiated with the group members once on spot (additional charges). The itinerary of the expedition can be changed according to the road or weather conditions as well as unforeseen events.

Reviews
No reviews anymore or no reviews at all for this tour. Below reviews for destination:
5.00
5.00
Total score
5.00
Work of BaikalNature office before and during travel / customer support
5.00
Quality of accommodation
5.00
Quality of transport / transfers
5.00
Quality of meals
5.00
Friendliness and professionalism of guides / management
5.00
Quality and originality of visits / attractions / events
Pierre
From 19 June 2016 to 28 June 2016
Destination: Yakutia
Would you like to travel with BaikalNature again? Yes!
Nous sommes rentrés de voyage ce jour mardi 28 juin 2016. Beaucoup de découvertes, de péripéties, mais tout dans la bonne humeur. Pour les fêtes, le samedi, départ à 10:00 et 2,30 heures de trajet. Arrivée à 12:30. Bien évidemment nous ne sommes pas rentrés à 14:00. Le dimanche, le trajet a été beaucoup plus rapide, 45 minutes. Le dernier jour, retour à l'aéroport. Un taxi est venu, une
  Read more
4.83
4.83
Total score
5.00
Work of BaikalNature office before and during travel / customer support
5.00
Quality of accommodation
5.00
Quality of transport / transfers
5.00
Quality of meals
5.00
Friendliness and professionalism of guides / management
4.00
Quality and originality of visits / attractions / events
Frédérique
From 20 August 2015 to 2 September 2015
Destination: Yakutia
Would you like to travel with BaikalNature again? Yes!
Très beau voyage, très bien organisé qu'il s'agisse des transferts, des excursions qui exploitent toutes les possibilités sur place. Animations à bord peu intéressantes en revanche mais cela ne me dérange pas. Bel itinéraire intéressant du point de vue ethnologique, géologique et sociologique. Découverte complète de la Yakoutie sous un angle intéressant depuis la Léna. Je vous félicite et
  Read more
5.00
5.00
Total score
5.00
Work of BaikalNature office before and during travel / customer support
5.00
Quality of accommodation
5.00
Quality of transport / transfers
5.00
Quality of meals
5.00
Friendliness and professionalism of guides / management
5.00
Quality and originality of visits / attractions / events
Danilo et Barbara
From 5 August 2015 to 18 August 2015
Destination: Yakutia
Would you like to travel with BaikalNature again? Yes!
Beaucoup apprécié travailler avec BaikalNature pour l'organisation de notre voyage en Yakoutie. Voyage déroulé parfaitement, super! Merci tout spécialement à Olga !
3.67
3.67
Total score
4.00
Work of BaikalNature office before and during travel / customer support
4.00
Quality of accommodation
3.00
Quality of transport / transfers
3.00
Quality of meals
3.00
Friendliness and professionalism of guides / management
5.00
Quality and originality of visits / attractions / events
Stephen
From 19 June 2013 to 30 June 2013
Destination: Yakutia
Would you like to travel with BaikalNature again? Yes!
Very good cruise. The ship is clean and well organised. The crew and staff are pleasant and helpful. The entertainments and informative talks and films were good. Excursions along the way were interesting and well organised. Overall a very pleasant and relaxing holiday.
No reviews anymore or no reviews at all for this destination. Below all reviews.
5.00
5.00
Total score
5.00
Work of BaikalNature office before and during travel / customer support
5.00
Quality of accommodation
5.00
Quality of transport / transfers
5.00
Quality of meals
5.00
Friendliness and professionalism of guides / management
5.00
Quality and originality of visits / attractions / events
Bernard
From 12 March 2017 to 20 March 2017
Would you like to travel with BaikalNature again? Yes!
Superbe voyage très dépaysant. Le guide Igor était très professionnel.
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