Yakutia (Russian: Яку́тия, yah-KOO-tee-yuh), also known as the Republic of Sakha, is located in the Russian Far East, and is notable for being the largest subnational governing body by area. Yakutia covers an area of more than three million square kilometers, representing about 18 percent of the Russian Federation, and making it roughly the size of India, despite having a population smaller than that of Rhode Island. The Republic's capital is Yakutsk.
Yakutia borders Chukotka to the northeast, Magadan Oblast and Khabarovsk Krai to the southeast, Amur Oblast to the south, Zabaykalsky Krai and Irkutsk Oblast to the southwest, Evenkia to the west and Taymyria to the northwest. In the north it has a long coastline with the Arctic Ocean.
- Yakutsk — a serious contender for the title, "Coldest city in the world"
- Kyubyume — abandoned town on the road from Magadan, perfect for an urbex expedition
- Ust-Nera — large-ish town on the road from Magadan, featuring an interesting museum and surrounded by impressive mountains and taiga
- Bennett Island
- Lena Pillars Nature Park — an UNESCO World Heritage site
- New Siberian Islands
- Pole of Cold
Yakutia, or Sakha as it is known to its indigenous locals, is named after the Yakut (Sakha) people, who are remotely related to Turks. While most of Sakhas are, at least nominally, Orthodox Christians, there are still many remnants of their ancient religion, Tengriism (a kind of sun-worship, with shamanistic practices). Other aspects of indigenous Sakha culture have recently started going through a revival as well.
Native language of Sakha people is Sakha, which is a Turkic language, but Russian is by far the most common language anyway, as Sakha is spoken by only about a quarter of the population. English is not widely spoken or understood.
The train service works to Neryungri, Aldan and Tommot station on Amur-Yakutsk railway. The station for Yakutsk is pending, but the station on the other side of Lena river just opened and is not accepting passenger trains yet.
On a car
The only road connecting Yakutia with other regions of Russia is M56 Never-Yakutsk road. It is macadam covered, sometimes asphalt (near towns and cities). There are many lakes and rivers along the way, and it is very exciting to go along the road. The road has been selected as "the worst in the world" in 2006, it has been renovated, but still after long rains the road becomes a way of mud.
Air travel is the main mode of transportation due to the large distances across Yakutia.
A popular option during the summer months is to take a river boat along the majestic Lena river, both cruises and regular services are available from Yakutsk. Among the routes offered are a once-weekly hydrofoil service to Lensk (RUB 4,000, 32 hours). The more remote destinations you can reach via ship includes arctic settlement of Tiksi where the Lena river meets the Arctic ocean, there are 5-6 departures during summer and a one-way journey takes five days, prices from RUB ~12,000. More information can be obtained from the Yakutsk river port (+7 4112 21-90-13), the seasons schedule is usually published in early May.
- Kolyma Highway — one of the ultimate adventures on the planet with a very real possibility of death, this "highway" crosses the taiga all the way from the Pacific coast