If a journey into the unknown to discover something unique, authentic and special is what you long for, Yakutia is the place for you.
For many the main attraction of Yakutia is its extremely cold environment. Only in Yakutia can you find the Pole of Cold, the coldest inhabited place on Earth outside the Arctic Circle. Two days drive from the capital Yakutsk is the village of Oymyakon, with a recorded low of -71.2C. In winter regular trips run there full of adventure travellers whose purpose is to experience a degree of cold found almost nowhere else on Earth.
Others are attracted to the magnificent and untouched landscape. Throughout Yakutia’s unexplored and unspoilt wilderness the natural beauty and purity of nature shines through everywhere in all its glory; from the endless primeval forest of the taiga to the boundless marshes of the tundra; from the pure, translucent waters of its rivers and lakes to the heavy mountain ranges and glaciers in the east. In winter it is a still and sparkling white paradise; in summer it is a vibrant and colourful masterpiece of nature. Its beauty will take your breath away – quite literally in winter!
In order to appreciate Yakutia’s wonderful nature visitors must get out and experience it for themselves. Even if you’re not a hardened ‘outdoorer’, day excursions and guided tours allow you to discover true Yakutian wilderness during the day and sleep in a comfortable bed at night. If you’re a seasoned outdoor expert Yakutia is teeming with opportunities. Yakutia is full of outdoor activities from the mild to the wild. Take a summer picnic at the Buluus Glacier or journey to the Pole of Cold in the extremes of winter. Try your hand fishing for Yakutia’s world-class Salmon or raft a raging river. Take a relaxing cruise up the Lena River or skim the wilderness in a helicopter. Yakutia’s many famous rivers offer the chance to experience rafting, kayaking, catamaraning, boat fishing and ice fishing. Cyclists, joggers and walkers will find endless possibilities at their feet. There’s also skiing, snowboarding, dog sledding, reindeer sledding, horse riding and bird watching. For overnight activities deep in the wilderness expect to put up tents and cook dinner over fire. No matter what your interest you’re sure to find some adventures tailor-made for you.
There is a growing desire amongst international travellers to find experiences that are original and real. Perhaps the biggest draw of all then is the authentic nature of travel in Yakutia. Being ‘off the radar’ of most tourists that travel to Asia, you can avoid areas and activities where there are many other people. Furthermore the Yakutian people show no cynicism towards international travellers which one often experiences at popular tourist destinations. Compared to the well-trodden tourist routes of South East Asia, Yakutia offers a refreshing change. In Yakutia you are not just another tourist. You often hear surprise among the locals that foreigners would travel to such a remote place. They are well aware that visitors to these distant lands are not the ordinary travellers of the world. That they are a higher grade of tourist with a pure love of adventurous travel and of exotic cultures. The locals welcome such experienced travellers, especially as tourists are still rare in Yakutia. In certain places you’re likely to feel like an honoured guest. And this is just in the capital city, Yakutsk, a city with modern conveniences and communications. Deep into the countryside where it is just man with nature, tourists are much rarer indeed.
If you happen to strike up a conversation with a curator at one of the many interesting museums in Yakutsk you’re likely to see how keen they are to speak with you, how proud they are of their culture and how enthusiastically they impart knowledge about the republic. (You probably will need an interpreter though).
During the European conquest of the world from the 16th century, European leaders shamefully and systematically set out to destroy indigenous religions such as Shamanism, and impose European ideologies and Christian religion onto the native peoples of the world. They sought to control the masses and centralise the power (and probably still are!). If you believe the conspiracy theories, they sought to destroy spiritualism and reduce us to thinking of ourselves as weak vulnerable ‘human beings’, rather than the eternal, invulnerable ‘conscious beings’ that we actually are. Whether you believe this or not, the fact is that the ancient shaman spiritual practise was persecuted and in most places was eradicated. Thankfully in Yakutia Shamanism survived and this ancient religion is thriving today. It is highly recommended for travellers to visit in June and observe the summer solstice ceremonies; they really are a sight to behold. As yet very few tourists visit these ceremonies. Unlike other ceremonies around the world which can be fake and ‘showy’ and put on for tourists, these ceremonies are authentic and the religion practiced with faith.
If you venture deep into the villages and countryside of Yakutia you will meet genuine nomadic reindeer herders. In these remote spots gone are the trappings of modern life, gone are traffic jams, Wi-Fi connections, factories, advertisement banners, air pollution and news of the atrocities going on in the middle-east. Here you will find honest people, still living from the land in ways not much changed for hundreds of years. Real people living true with nature. It is highly recommended for travellers to take a tour and stay with the Even people, perhaps learning to dog sled or reindeer sled or hunt and fish with them. On such tours accommodation is in the native Yurts or tents, and living conditions will not be as comfortable as modern life. These tours would therefore appeal to strong, young-spirited people not afraid of difficulties whilst staying out in nature. You won’t find 5 Star hotels or beautifully decorated log cabins. Nor will you find luxurious spas and hot baths! (there are natural hot springs though, which you can bathe in). But the reward is truly worth it. You will experience a world of times gone by, of far simpler times, long forgotten by the wider world. You will meet and bond with real Yakutian native people, experience ancient culture and observe and take part in their way of life while engaging in enormously enjoyable activities. And all that whist being surrounded by wonderful breath-taking scenery. There is little mental stimulus on these types of tour and if you can only turn off your smart phone for a week or so, the mind will begin to quieten. Sit back, relax and let the strong spiritual dimension of the great outdoors guide you to peace and stillness inside.