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Siberian BAM Guide: rail, rivers & road

by: Athol Yates & Nicholas Zvegintzov

UPDATES

PART 1: PLANNING YOUR TRIP
Getting there
To Russia (p11)
There is now a weekly plane between Magadan and Anchorage, Alaska, USA (see below).

Travel arrangements
Travel Agents ,Yakutsk (p18)
New email address for TourService Center Ltd: info@yakutiatravel.com).


PART 2: EN ROUTE
Also Appendix F
The following, recommended by a reader, may be worth checking out: http://www.timetable.tsi.ru is the Russian railway timetable site and is the free version of http://www.express-2.tsi.ru, which is the actual booking system of the Russian Railways. The free version is updated every few weeks.
The www.timetable.tsi.ru site has an English version but it appears not to accept parameters (eg, station names), so you will need to use the Russian version.

Another reader, Johannes Wittlinger, suggests the website www.db.de (under international guests is an English version), for timetables. Note that the time used is always Moscow time.

 

Igor Shalygin sent the following about Tayshet.

p61 Tayshet.  Tayshet is the gate of BAM. BAM officially starts here and if you have used the Trans-Siberian, change the train easier and better to do in Tayshet, because it is an important railway junction, where trains from the East,West,North and South.
Every day there are several trains in the direction of Severobaikalsk and Tynda.
Next to the station will see the old steam loco and the monument"BAM begins in Taishet"
Where to stay:the best place is Igor's guesthouse,where you will always receive a warm welcome,homemade food,experience in the Russian bath and unforgettable hospitality
GPS coordinate for the bikers: N 55 55.261" E 098 00.359"
What to visit in the city: local lore Museum,local market,walk the old streets of the town with beautiful Siberian houses,to see the old Moscow highway and the remains of the Gulag.
Highly recommend to visit also the nearby town of Biryusinsk if you want to discover the Siberian province. There are very interesting museum, Kalinina 1
and GULAG cemetery.
Highlight: you must to visit "White Stones" on the river Biryusa/especially at summer,when is possible to have a boat trip/,to climbing on the hill and get beautiful view over the region!
Getting assistance: Contact Igor Shalygin www.facebook.com/Transsib-baikal-transit or per e-mail: igor_shaligin@mail.ru
He can organise excursions,transportation and accommodation or give some advice, before you go on the BAM.

 

PART 3: MAINLINE ROUTES
Severobaikalsk
Where to stay (p89)
Homestay in Severobaikalsk
"It's definitely worth a visit to go to the north of lake Baikal. Beautiful nature, high mountains, the BAM and astonishing views on the Baikal. I can really recommend it. We went there in June 2004 and were really enthusiastic about it. Tourism is not very big yet in Severobaikalsk or Nizhne Angarsk so it's hard to find a place to stay if you are on a budget trip. But I can recommend homestay. His name is Jewgeni, he once worked for the BAM and now tries to earn money by renting his house to backpackers and working as a mountain guide for them. He can show you really nice places, little beautiful lakes, one day mountain trips a nice walk along the rivers and so on. His house is very basic. He has a out-house and for a shower you have to heat up the water with a heater. But he has electricity and running water, a equipped kitchen. He takes you to the local market to buy food and you can drink some vodka or beer with him in the backyard.

His address is:
Jewgeni Straschew
ul. Leningradskaja 3, kw 14
Severobaikalsk 671701
Burjatia Russia
Tel: 30139 (Vorwahl Severobaikalsk) 24445

You can bargain with him about the price per night. We paid 300 roubles per night. And we paid him 500 roubles for the guiding. He is a very helpful and friendly person, can tell you a lot of stories about the BAM and the life in Severobaikalsk. Not to forget he speaks fluently German and little bit English. We enjoyed it very much and became friends."
Tobi Schwarzmueller

PART 5: REPUBLIC OF SAKHA
Yakutsk
Where to stay (p236)
Warning – Hotel Lena has a bad reputation and unsavoury characters hang out in the billiard room all day.

TourService Center Ltd can organize home-stays including in many remote settlements in Yakutia.

Getting assistance (p237)
New email address for TourService Center Ltd – see above.


PART 6: THE KOLYMA HIGHWAY
Magadan
Getting there and away (p288)
There is now a weekly flight to/from Anchorage, USA:
The flight (with a stop in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski) leaving Magadan on Friday evening arrives in Anchorage on Friday morning, the flight leaving Anchorage on Friday morning arrives in Magdan on Saturday morning.
The flight is on Magadan Airlines ‘Mavial’. It must be booked direct, using cash. For further information phone (+1) 907-248-2994.

 

Thank you to Casey Handmer for the following information:

Pages 284-6  Kadykchan was abandoned in 1995.  Also, an all season road (passable by a 2wd car, but don't take your own!) now extends from Magadan via Ust Nera to Khandyga.

Susuman has only one hotel now (above the avtovokzal).

There are no public internet facilities between Yakutsk and Magadan except at Yagodnoye in the post office. The bridge to Jack London Lake is now operational, though the road is quite rough.

Siberian BAM Guide: rail, rivers & road