In this post, you will find all the important facts about Oymyakon in Yakutia and you will learn how to visit this unique and stunning place!
Facts about Oymyakon
The coldest in inhabited place on earth!
Yakutsk is an extreme place. But in fact, there is another constantly inhabited place that is even colder than Yakutsk: the village of Oymyakon (in other languages translated as Oimjakon), some 500 kilometers east of Yakutsk. And again, it’s all relative. Compared to Oymyakon, winter in Yakutsk appears to look warm and pleasant. How cold does it get in Oymyakon? Well, the record temperature dropped to minus 78 degrees in 1933. This is a world record for an inhabited place.
If you are looking for something unique and extreme, traveling Oymyakon in Yakutia in winter will be a moving experience for you. In Yakutia, you will find the coldest inhabited places on earth. Nevertheless, once arrived you will soon realize that the climate is just one of the remarkable things about this place. You will find out that the hospitality of the indigenous population forms a sharp contrast to the harsh climate conditions.
You will also find out that the silence and beauty of the endless taiga make Yakutia in winter not just only extreme but also a stunning place with its energy. If you are ready for a true once in a lifetime experience please leave us a message or comment. We are always looking for travel mates to join us!
What does Oymyakon mean?
Ironic enough, Oymyakon means in Evenki language something like ‘the unfrozen patch’ due to the hot springs close to Oymyakon. But why is Oymyakon that cold? Apart from its location in the far north, its attitude is almost 1,000 meters above sea level as well as its location in a basin making cold winds flowing into the village contribute to the extraordinary cold. The cold air flowing into the bottom of the basis and pushes the warmer air up out of the basin.
How is life in Oymyakon?
The roughly 500 inhabitants of Oymyakon have adapted to life in the extreme subarctic climate. This is also true for pupils, the local school only stops working at temperatures hitting the minus 55 degrees mark. But also else, the local population lives a quite normal life.
Want to learn more about the daily life in Oymyakon? Have a look at this awesome documentary:
Does Oymyakon have seasons? How warm does it get in Oymyakon?
Oymyakon does have seasons! While it is known for being the coldest inhabited place on earth, the summer is quite warm. If you are wondering how warm it does get in Oymyakon, you may be surprised that it can get very hot! During the summer months, in July and August, temperatures travel up to 20 to 30 degrees. Traveling Yakutia in these moths is an adventure on its own. One great idea is, for instance, kayaking the Lena and Sinaya rivers. Find more about that trip in our dedicated post.
How to visit Oymyakon
Road Trip through Yakutia’s Endless Taiga
Can you visit Oymyakon? Yes, you can! In this post, we will tell you how to visit Oymyakon. The trip to Oymyakon and back will take five days and traveling there will be an adventure itself. To get to Oymyakon we will cross frozen rivers, we will travel hundreds of kilometers through the endless taiga east of Yakutsk and we will cross the Verkhoyansk mountain range. Hence, we will follow the P-504 route, a 2,000 kilometers federal ‘highway’ connecting Yakutsk with Magadan at the sea of Okhotsk, which is locally just called the Kolyma Trassa as it is the only sealed road in the entire region.
The Road of Bones
The road is also known as the Road of Bones as it was built in the 1930ies by forced labor in the Stalin era as part of the Gulag system. The conditions in the Gulag camps were terrible, many thousands of the workers died from hunger, cold, and exhaustion. The route is a mass grave. Though most of the camps have been destroyed since then, the Gulags is present in some things you will see along the road: crosses to remember those who died, a handful of unofficial museums and memorials, and even some abandoned camps which are still there after all the decades since the Gulag system came to an end.
Is Oymykon safe?
The answer is that Oymyakon is a safe place with nice and kind people. However, that does not mean, it is not dangerous. Oymyakon is one of the most remote and extreme places in the world. In addition, you need to travel one of the most remote routes in the world to get there. The extreme weather conditions and the remoteness bear their risks you need to be aware of. That’s why you should never travel there alone but should work with a travel company or should work with a local guide.
Travel companies offering trips to Oymyakon include:
Accommodation and Hotel in Oymyakon and Yakutsk
Hotels in Yakutsk
During your stay in Yakutsk, if wished, you should organize a stay for you in the Tygyn Darkhan hotel which is located in the center of Yakutsk. Free wireless LAN and free access to the fitness center are available for every guest. You may also relax in the sauna and swimming pool. During the trip to Oymyakon, you will stay in smaller private hotels (one night way there and one night way back).
Are there any hotels in Oymyakon?
Despite that the village is increasingly visited by foreigners, there is no hotel in Oymyakon. Therefore, you will stay with locals in traditional housings. This will not only allow meeting locals but will also allow experiencing the traditions and lifestyle of Oymyakon’s people. I am sure, you will love it!
How to get there and when to travel
Given its remote location many are surprised that Yakutsk is not that difficult to reach. Yakutsk has a modern airport and is well connected for its size.
How to get to Yakutsk?
To get to Yakutsk you need usually to fly via Moscow. The flight from Moscow to Yakutsk takes around seven hours. Return tickets from the major European hubs with a stop in Moscow start from 700 euros but maybe also cheaper in some cases.
How to get to Oymyakon from Yakutsk?
In general, we are recommending staying for some days in Yakutsk to get to know this unique city. We are also recommending visiting the Lena and Sinaya pillars some 200 kilometers south of Yakutsk. During your stay in Yakutia, we would like to invite you to experience our indigenous culture, beliefs, and shamanism traditions.
Have you for instance ever eaten frozen fish? Well, we do that all the time. But no worry, there is a lot else to try. For experiencing the ‘true winter’ you should come to Yakutsk between November and February. As the trip to Oymyakon will take around five days you should plan to stay in Yakutsk for at least a week. You may also combine your trip with a stay in Moscow. We will assist you in getting an appropriate visa.
For more on Oymyakon, have a look at this great tv show published by the TV show “60 Minutes”: