7 Reasons to Visit the Russian Far East Now

This summer, the Russian Far East is more accessible to US travelers than ever before. Here are just a few reasons why you should discover this intriguing land for yourself:

It’s Close

Take Yakutia Airlines’ flight from Alaska to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky! Russia’s Kamchatka is just a 4.5 hour flight from Anchorageб and just 3 hours further lies Yakutsk. Check out schedules and fares. At Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, passengers can make connections to fly to other cities in the Russian Far East.


The natural and cultural wonders of the Russian Far East are just a short 4.5-hour flight from Anchorage, Alaska. Photo: Slava Stepanov

Adventure Travel & UNESCO Heritage Sites

Eastern Russia is home to many world class adventure travel destinations, including the UNESCO Heritage Sites Kamchatka volcanoes and geysers, Lake Baikal, Lena Pillars Nature Park, and the Sikhote-Alin range, habitat of the Amur tiger.


Where the sky meets the ground: The caldera of Gorely Volcano. Photo: A. Spiridonov


Photo: Mutnovsky Volcano Crater, Courtesy of Rene Limeres


Lena Pillars Nature Park in Yakutsk. Photo Courtesy: Yakutia Airlines


The business climate in Russia has greatly stabilized since the turbulent 1990’s. Foreign and American businessmen are successfully doing business in Russia in ever greater numbers. The Russian federal government considers development of the Far East to be one of its highest priorities, and great economic growth is anticipated. The region is also well placed to be a transit and logistics hub for exporting Russian natural resources to other countries and importing consumer goods deeper into Russia.

Russian-American Pacific Partnership (RAPP) is the leading US-Russian bilateral meeting between businesses, regional and federal governments on trans-Pacific relations and economic opportunity. Photo: RAPP

Wilderness & Wildlife

Population density in the Russian Far East is slightly more than one person per square kilometer. This means most of the region is wilderness – untamed, untouched wilderness, rare to find anywhere else in the world. Kamchatka’s brown bears are some of the largest bears on the planet. It’s also a home to 50% of world’s population of Stellar’s Sea Eagle, the largest eagle on Earth. The Russian Far East is a fisherman’s paradise – Kamchatka is the spawning ground of one-quarter of the world’s Pacific salmon, and the Siberian taimen, the world’s largest trout, is found  in the Lena and Amur rivers.


1/3 of the world’s wild pacific salmon spawn in Kamchatka. Photo: The Fly Shop


Eastern Russia and the West Coast of the US have long been linked by multiple sister city relationships, business ties, educational and cultural exchanges. A friendly contact in the Russian Far East may be just the catalyst you need to create a new connection or rekindle an old friendship.


Lisa Strecker was a Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks when she went to Kamchatka to study plants at hot springs.


The cultural traditions of Russia, its indigenous peoples, and its Asian neighbors all overlap in Russia’s Far East. Take part in a dance performance, visit a Russian orthodox church, explore museums, or try out some of diverse ethnic restaurants. From Anadyr to Yakutsk to Vladivostok, you’ll experience the richness of this region’s cultures.


Kamchatka’s Alkhalalalai Festival is celebrating the Itelmens. Photo: Bondarenko V.A.

Trains, Planes, and Helicopters

There are many ways to get to Eastern Russia’s most interesting places. Plan a journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway between Vladivostok and Lake Baikal, take a cruise on the Amur or Lena rivers, or visit Kamchatka’s Uzon Caldera and Valley of Geysers by helicopter.


Boarding MI-8 for a one-day tour. Helicopter tours usually include a couple of hours of flying time, a couple of hours of hiking, a stop for a meal and a soak in one of the natural hot springs. Photo by Scott McMurren

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