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Europe > Russia > Russian Far East > Sakhalin > Okha

Okha

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Okha (Russian: Оха́, ah-KHAH) [1] is a city and important oil hub on the northern tip of Sakhalin island in the Russian Far East. Ancestors of the 29,000 people living here named the town Okha, with their usual pragmatism: it derived from an indigenous word for bad water, to which the town owes its existence. Oil was discovered here in the late 19th century, and today it's the center of the island's oil industry.

A view of Okha

Get in[edit]

Although many maps show a rail line connecting Okha and Nogilki, the tracks have since been removed. Transportation from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk is either done by air or in a combination of train and bus. Train #1 running once per day between Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Nogliki, often has a 6-wheel-drive bus (line 530) waiting to take passengers the last 250 km up a muddy dirt road to Okha: it's supposed to depart at 10:30, leaving you 17 minutes to make your transfer.

Okha Airport sees a SAT Airlines Antonov AN-24 propeller aircraft landing 3 times per week from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, when weather permits. SAT also has a route to Khabarovsk on Tuesdays and Thursdays from mid-June to mid-September.

Get around[edit]

For anywhere you are likely to go in Okha, walking should be sufficient. Busses 129 (for Tungor south of Okha) and 149 run to and from the airport about every hour between 07:00 and 19:00. Bus 180 bound for the harbour of Moskal'vo makes a stop in Nekrasovska (check see section below) 3-4 times per week (M W F Sa), departing Okha at 06:20 and arriving at 07:30.

  • Corona Taxi, 28 Karla Marksa st., +7 42437 2616. Can get you around, if your own two feet don't seem all that attractive with the thermometer plunging below -30 °C outside.

See[edit]

Described by most passing business folks and oil people as utterly depressing, add the whole 'end of the road' situation, and your equation should end up along the lines of a town you would only visit while on business. If you insist, try to get here before the snow melts, it adds a certain charm to the place.

  • 1 Okha Museum of Regional Studies, 1 Sovetskaya st., +7 42437 37724. Preordered visits only. The town's feeble attempt at a museum with ethnographic and archaeological exhibitions related to the indigenous tribes of the area, and some photographs and art about the Russian explorations of this remote region.
  • Nekrasovska. This small village, 28 km northwest of Okha, is home to the largest remaining community of the indigenous Nivkhi tribe. Take a marshrutka if you can find one, or find a cab driver, which while no easy feat either should be slightly easier.

Do[edit]

If you're not here to board a helicopter or supply ship to one of the oil and gas platforms further north, you took a wrong turn somewhere! Unless this mishap has taken place in January or June when the indigenous tribes have their main annual festivals, retrace your steps, and return down south — or shoulder your Arctic gear, sleeping bag, tent, and rifle and go explore the wilderness.

Buy[edit]

  • 1 Khiton Store (ХИТОН), ul. Karla Marksa 22, +7 42437 2-5009. General store with everything from food and clothing to electrical appliances.

Eat[edit]

  • 1 Cafe Kristall (кафе Кристалл), ul. Komsomolskaya, 25, +7 42437 2-7110. Look for a big "Кристалл" sign next to Hotel Canada.
  • Galata (Галата), ul. Dzerzhinsky, 3, +7 42437 2-4437.

Drink[edit]

  • Pivzavod Okha (Пивзавод Оха), 41 Karla Marksa st.. A local brewery, the beers are reported to be quite good.

Sleep[edit]

  • Hotel Canada (Канадская гостиница), Komsomolskaya st. 24A, +7 42437 20916, . Singles 850 руб, shared bedrooms 600 руб.
  • Hotel Oilman (гостиница Нефтяник), 40 Lenin St., +7 42437 44110. It's really not that fancy, but this old apartment building converted into a hotel is the town's best shot at an upmarket accommodation choice.
  • Hotel Satellite (Гостиница Сателлит), +7 42437 23719, . Affiliated with SAT airlines, this hotel has singles, doubles and triples equipped with water heaters, showers, televisions and some have kitchenettes. Some rooms are rented out on a shared basis for as low as 750 руб, otherwise a night will set you back 2100-3400 руб.

Cope[edit]

Go next[edit]

You've reached the end of the road: convince someone in the oil business to hire you to go further north, or turn around and head south.

This city travel guide to Okha is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.