Europe > Russia > Russian Far East > Chukotka
Chukotka (Russian: Чуко́тка, choo-KOHT-kuh) is a region in the Russian Far East and is the northeasternmost region of Russia. Located along the Bering Strait, Chukotka is home to beautiful tundra scenery and the indigenous Chukchi people, butt of many Russian anecdotes. Chukotka was until just recently governed by the extravagant Russian Oligarch (and owner of Chelsea football club), Roman Abramovich. Never a province to fit in nicely, Chukotka is also the only region of Russia lying in the Western Hemisphere.
- Anadyr — the capital
- Bilibino — small city on the edge of tundra, site of world's northernmost nuclear plant
- Provideniya — port, village in north-east Chukotka with population ~2,500-3,000
- Big Diomede — easternmost island of Russia
- El'gygytgyn Lake
- Wrangel Island — UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Chukotka autonomous district is notable as being the closest point that both Eurasia and Russia gets to North America and the United States. In fact on a clear day you can even see across the Bering Sea which separates them into Alaska. While Chukotka is massive at about 285,000 square miles, it only has a population of 55,000. With fewer than 400 miles of road and no railroad infrastructure; the population is mostly employed in mining and subsistence hunting.
Enter by swimming
Being this close to the US provides some interesting ways of getting into Chukotka however very impractical, illegal and dangerous. It's even possible to swim or even walk across (when the water freezes) but doing so will definitely get you into trouble with local border guards. Although highly impractical, it is also possible to swim from the United States of America to Chukotka across the Bering Strait. To date only the legendary Lynne Cox has chosen this route, swimming 3 kilometers/2 miles from Little Diomede in Alaska to Big Diomede of the then Soviet Union. Reportedly, she requested a "babushka" for when she arrived, thinking she could take home a souvenir scarf. But babushka in Russian (as opposed to Polish) means "old lady"—so the Soviets made a babushka available at the site of her arrival, trained in medical care to revive the freezing traveler to health! In August 2013, a team of 65 swimmers swam a relay swim across the entire Bering Strait from Russia to Alaska (roughly 110 km), the first swim crossing ever. They had special permission and support from the Russian Navy.
There have also been people walking over the ice in winter, but this is very dangerous as the ice streams quickly and it is possible to end up in the open ocean.
The way of getting in would be by either boat or plane at any established points of entry. Passengers of cruise liners are allowed to land on Chukotka and stay for 72 hours without visa and special permission.
- Bering Air offers charter flights from Nome to Provideniya on either a Piper Navahoe, taking 80 minutes or a Beach King Air 200, taking 60 minutes. Flights are weather dependent and each airplane carries nine passengers. Charter flights can be arranged from Nome to Anadyr.
- There are flights from Moscow to Anadyr, but not every day. Transaero Airlines, VIM Airlines and Yakutia Airlines have such flights.
- In summer time some cruise ships go from Alaska and stop at Anadyr, Provideniya and more places. Search for "cruise anadyr" on Google. In 2014, Silversea Cruises has such cruises.
Air is the most used mode of local travel inside Chukotka. Anadyr is the main hub. Chukotavia operates local flights inside Chukotka.
There is no network of roads, and very few local roads near settlements. In winter there is a network of snow and ice roads.
Classic Chukchi literature of Yuri Rytkheu.
- Attend Whaleboat or Reindeer races
- Walrus Watching (not hunting)