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Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (Russian: Ю́жно-Сахали́нск, YOOZH-nuh suh-khah-LEENSK), also spelled Uzno-Sakhalinsk and previously known in Japanese as Toyohara (豊原), is the largest city and capital of Sakhalin Oblast, in the Russian Far East, with a population of around 173,000. Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk is a booming oil town.
The city was founded in 1882 as the village Vladimirovka, but was transferred to Japanese control after the end of the Russo-Japanese war. The Japanese renamed the city as Toyohara, and made it the capital of the Japanese prefecture Karafuto occupying the southern half of the island. After the end of World War II, Soviet troops occupied Karafuto, and the city was renamed Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk when control of the city was transferred back to Russia. Little remains of the Japanese administration apart from a very limited number of Japanese buildings, including the impressive old government building now used as a regional museum. The main heritage of the Japanese ownership of the city is a sizable number of Sakhalin-Koreans, deported here by the Japanese in the 1930s, and denied repatriation until the mid-1980s; many have decided to stay on Sakhalin, and around 20,000 reside in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.
Further information available
See also the itinerary Russia to Japan via Sakhalin for more information on the northern connection between the Trans-Siberian railway and Japan.
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Airport Khomutovo (IATA: UUS) fields flights from major Russian cities as well as several Asian cities. Sakhalin's own carrier, SAT Airlines, has its main hub here and operates several domestic routes, as well as flights to South Korea, Japan and China.
Information: +7 4242 788390, +7 4242 788055 and the live flight information on the airport's website (in Russian). The airport is subject to long closures under bad weather conditions.
- Russia: Aeroflot and Transaero operate flights to and from Moscow (9 hours), while SAT and S7 (Siberian) have useful connections to the major far eastern cities of Khabarovsk (~1 hour), Vladivostok (2 hours), and Novosibirsk as well.
- South Korea: Asiana and SAT operate flights to Seoul-Incheon several times a week.
- Japan: SAT has frequent flights to Sapporo as well as less frequent ones to Hakodate. Vladivostok Air has charter flights from Tokyo, though they are not shown on the timetable on its website.
- China: SAT services Beijing and Harbin airports.
Despite its moderate size, the airport has a luggage room, as well as a cafe and a food store closed during the night. Airport closes during the night however police can let you stay overnight inside the terminal building if you have boarding card.
For towns close to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, it's often an easier and more convenient choice to jump on a bus, while the train is the main mode of transportation to destinations on the northern part of the island. It's a good idea to confirm these times as train schedules change fairly frequently.
- Korsakov: Various trains depart daily at 5:30AM, 1:45PM and 7:44PM except on public holidays.
- Okha: Daily train 1 departs at 6:50AM, and runs across most of the length of the island to Nogilki in the north, from where there is a connecting bus to Okha.
- Alexandrovsk-Sakhalinsky: Catch the train 1 above, and change to a connecting bus in Tymovsk.
The railway station is in the city center at Lenina Sq. The station is open 5:30AM—11PM; there is a luggage room (7:30AM—8:40PM). Information: +7 4242 712134.
The parking lot outside the train station doubles as a bus terminal, where both scheduled and leave-when-full minibuses regularly depart for other parts of the island. The minibus is often the best choice, as the public buses are often slow, uncomfortable, and worn out.
Information on public buses: +7 4242 722553, the (unofficial) timetable (in Russian).
- Kholmsk: Buses 516 and 518 depart on top of the hour, every hour between 8AM-9PM, the latter continuing onwards to Nevelsk for access to Moneron. The minibus alternative takes around an hour and costs RUB400.
- Korsakov: Bus 115 shuttles between Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Korsakov every 30 minutes between 7AM-10PM and takes around 90 minutes, and costs around RUB100. Double the price and you can catch a minibus that takes half the time.
Tour and travel agencies
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While frequently visited by workers in the oil industry, Sakhalin has a very undeveloped tourism sector. If you don't speak Russian and don't have an abundance of time, enlisting the help of a travel agency to see the sights you want to see is probably necessary for all but the most adventurous travelers.
- Bi-tomo (Би-томо), 1-1 Sakhalinskaya St, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A local travel agency specializing in Japan, and selling tickets for the Korsakov -Wakkanai crossing (note that Sakhalin-Fantastic, who used to sell tickets, no longer seems to be in business).
- Mishka Tour (Мишка тур), Khabarovskaya St 29-B, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. One of the very few agencies which arranges tours to the Vaida caves, which should only be visited with a guide and the necessary safety equipment. Can also help with fishing trips to the Lake Tunaycha region.
- Omega Plus (Омега-Плюс), Kommunistichesky Pr 86, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The most frequent operator of tours to the Kuril Islands, and probably your best bet for ferry tickets there as well.
Intracity transportation is provided by a network of a few public buses, running along the main avenues, and large number of minibuses running on set routes, but with no particular schedules. The convenient route map (in Russian).
Buses 8, 63, and 93 provide connections to and from the airport. For 500 RUB , you can travel between airport and centre by taxi.
The drab rows of Soviet-style concrete blocks that makes up much of the island's capital are really not that interesting for travelers, especially not the ones who have been adventurous enough to come here in the first place. On the other hand, there should be enough to entertain you for a day while you get your bearings and organize things to venture out into Sakhalin's great outdoors — and you really owe it to yourself to get out there if you have come this far. If you're short on time and only here to catch a ferry, skip these sights and hike up Chekov Peak — the trail head is a muddy dirt road just behind the Santa resort, the whole hike takes around 6 hours if you're in reasonable shape.
- [dead link]Chekhov Literary and Art Museum (Городской литературно-художественный музей книги А.П.Чехова), ☎ . Tu—Sa 10—18. Housed in a 1954 building somewhat reminiscent of Chekhov's house, there are some items from the everyday life of Anton Chekhov and his family, a collection of some of his artworks, and naturally copies of Chekhov's book "Sakhalin Island" in various languages from all over the world and a Facsimile edition from 1895. RUB20.
- Railway Museum, Vokzal'naya St 34 (near the train station), ☎ . M—F 8:30AM—5:30PM. An open-air exhibition of old locomotives and railway trucks, including Japanese machinery operated on Sakhalin. The tunnel boring machine is also on display here. The museum does not really follow the declared schedule, so arrange in advance or glance through the fence.
- 1 Sakhalin Regional Art Museum (Сахалинский областной художественный музей), 137 Lenin St, ☎ . Tu-Su 10AM-6PM. Opened in 1989 in the building of the former Japanese bank "Hokkaido Takushoku" from the 1930s. The three permanent expositions are: "Copies of Ancient Russian Frescos", "Art of Japan", and "Art of Korea". RUB60.
- 2 Sakhalin Regional Museum (Сахалинский государственный областной краеведческий музей), Kommunistichesky Pr. 29, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 11AM-6PM except Tu 11AM-5PM. (pictured) Housed in the former Japanese building dating back to 1937, the museum hosts exhibitions about the island's natural and climatic features, the history of Sakhalin, and a quite good ethnographic collection of the island's indigenous peoples. Don't miss the outdoor exhibition that includes Japanese steles and border stones, the houses of indigenous people, local plants, and old cannons. Foreigners RUB60.
- 3 Sakhalin Zoo (Сахалинский зооботанический парк), Detskaya St 4A, ☎ . 11AM—5:30PM daily. Russian zoos are depressing, and this one founded in 1993 is no exception; though they seem to be genuinely interested in improving conditions, limited funds have thus far prevented any major improvements. They have 145 species up for display, mainly fauna related to Sakhalin such as wolves and brown bears. RUB80.
If you are interested in the Japanese heritage, consider the regional and art museums, the house of the garrison court (1908; Nevel'skogo St 44), and the small bridge on Sakhalinskaya St. Other Japanese buildings were destroyed before the 1970s.
- Chekhov International Theatre Center (Сахалинский театральный центр Чехова), Kommunistichesky Pr 35, ☎ . Really not that much "International" about it, this theatre is in a rather unusual (for a frontier region) building covered by mosaics in the socialist realism style (1964). The theatre has roots back to the 1930s. It sometimes has musicals and concerts on the repertoire, if sitting through 2 hours of incomprehensible Russian is not your thing.
- Gagarin Park (Парк им. Ю.А. Гагарина). Scrappy but loved, the 220-acre Gagarin Park is a nice place for a stroll, supposedly the largest in the far east and something of a leisure center for the local population. The park features athletic facilities, adventure playgrounds, a lake with small boats, a miniature railroad for kids, a zoo and a run down amusement park. On the eastern corner of the park there is a trail head leading up the hill for a nice view over the city.
- Gorny Vozdukh Ski center (горнолыжный комплекс 'Горный Воздух'), Gorkogo 7/1, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. noon-10PM. An alpine complex located within Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk city proper. It has nine runs (1 black, 5 reds & 3 greens) and three lifts, including a spanking new 2.5 km gondola lift. There is also a bit of English information on the local snowboarding federation's website . From RUB100 for 1 ride, to RUB750 for 6 hours or more.
- Sakhalin Diving (Сахалин Дайвинг), 77/71 Chekhova St, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. This PADI dive shop can help with tours to Moneron island, listed in the Sakhalin guide. There is also a diving club on Kommunistichesky Pr 19 (DKS@sakhalin.ru/42-26-91)
- [dead link]Sakhalin Regional Puppet Theatre (Сахалинский областной театр), Karla Marksa St 24, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. While mostly geared towards children, some of their shows are actually quite extraordinary, so it might be an option for a rainy day, even if you don't have kids. They are quite renowned within Russia and even booked abroad occasionally.
- [dead link]Kinopanorama (Кинозал «Кинопанорама»), Mira Pr 231, ☎ .
- Komsomolets (Культурный центр молодёжи «Комсомолец»), Sakhalinskaya, 52, ☎ . (voice message)
- October (Киноконцертный зал «Октябрь»), Kommunistichesky Pr 45, ☎ . (ticket office), (voice message)
- [dead link]Premier (Кинозал «Премьер»), Kommunistichesky Pr 20, ☎ .
There is a sizable market at the corners of Lenina & Sakhalinskaya, where you can stock up with fresh fruits and vegetables, an outfit for your next eighties party, or cheap Chinese goods. A bit more useful are the electronics stalls for new batteries and the like.
- Kolobok Café (кафе «Колобок»), 220a Lenina St, ☎ . 8.00—19.00. Lunch RUB150—200 (2009).
- Minute Café (кафе «Минутка»), corner of Khabarovskaya and Kryukova. M—F 10AM—7PM, Sa 9AM—4PM. Lunch RUB200 (2009).
- Rus' Café (кафе «Русь»), 24 Marksa St, ☎ . M—F 10AM—5PM. Lunch RUB150—200 (2009).
- Sakhalin Café (кафе «Сахалин»), cnr of Sakhalinskaya and Lenina (4F of 'Sakhalin' department store). M—F 10AM—7PM, Sa 11AM—6PM, Su 11AM—5PM. Lunch RUB150—200 (2009).
- Smak Café (кафе «Смак»), 84а Khabarovskaya St, ☎ . 9.00—19.00. Lunch: 200 rubles (2009).
- University Canteen (Столовая Сахалинского университета), 33 Kommunistichesky Ave (corner of Kommunistichesky and Mira). Open during lunch time (except for student holidays).
- Black Cat Café (кафе «Чёрная кошка»), 34A Chekhov St (Just off Popovicha ST hidden away in an alley, look for a sign with a black cat), ☎ . Dishes out Russian and European meals, in a pleasant atmosphere with jazz music on the stereo. RUB250-400.
- Coffee and Cigarettes Café (кафе «Кофе и сигареты»), 74 Kommunistichesky Ave, ☎ .
- Domino Café (кафе «Домино»), 65 Popovich St, ☎ . The place to go for a cup of cappuccino or espresso. Has a reasonably priced menu, and a playground for kids outside.
- Lagoon Café (кафе «Лагуна»), 321 Lenina St, ☎ . Korean cuisine.
- Nihon Mitay Sushi Bar (суши-бар «Нихон Митай»), 28v Pobedy Ave, ☎ . , Self-service sushi bar and Japanese restaurant.
- Opium Café (кафе «Опиум»), 43a Chekhova St, ☎ . Korean cuisine, stylish design. Live music in the evening.
- Pacific Café (кафе «Пасифик»), 32 Kommunistichesky Ave (inside the Sakalhin center), ☎ . Daily: 8AM-8PM. An expat hangout, reputedly offering the best burgers in town, and some European dishes on the menu. Meals from RUB300, Espresso from RUB50.
- Stake Bar 777, 71 Chekhova St, ☎ .
- [dead link]Taj Mahal Restaurant (ресторан «Тадж Махал»), 38 Antona Buyukly St, ☎ . M-Th 11AM-11:30PM, F Sa 11:30AM-12:30AM, Su 11:30AM-10PM. Something as odd as an Indian cuisine from a Japanese franchise, which offers the usual popular Indian dishes, in Russia! To further add to the oddness, it's also the sole outlet of the only Sakhalin guidebook, "Sakhalin Unplugged".
- 1 Bagration Restaurant (ресторан «Багратион»), 44a Dzerzhinskogo St, ☎ . , An expensive restaurant combining different cuisines, including rather distant (Mediterranean, Caucasian, Korean, Japanese). Meals from RUB600 (2010).
- 2 Furusato Restaurant, 179 Lenina St, ☎ . noon—3PM, 6PM—11PM. A pretentious Japanese restaurant.
- 3 Slavyanka Restaurant (ресторан «Славянка»), 45 Sakhalinskaya St, ☎ . noon-10PM. Serves up Russian and Ukrainian Cuisine, and is a good place for local dishes, even with an English menu. For something this remote, it's interesting to note that this restaurant was actually reviewed and praised in Time magazine . From RUB600.
- 4 Toyohara Restaurant, 246A Lenina St, ☎ . noon-10PM daily. A nice place if you fancy some Asian cuisine. Good Chinese-style stir fry and a mainly Japanese menu.
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk is a rather youthful town, so the nightlife is rather happening considering its size. If the weather is nice, an alternative to the bars listed here is hanging out with the locals in the beer tents dotted around Gagarin Park. Don't miss the local beer!
- Dive Club, 66 Mira Ave, ☎ . Th—Su 9PM—6AM. Disco, bar, billiard.
- Ice Glass Bar (бар «Ледяной стаканчик»), 113 Sakhalinskaya St, ☎ . Fresh beer from the local brewery.
- Jump Club, 56A Mira Ave, ☎ . Is a night club with a young crowd.
- Khameleon Club (ночной клуб «Хамелеон»), 24a Pogranichnaya St, ☎ . Disco, live music.
- Mishka Pub, 45 Chekhov St, ☎ . noon-midnight (weekends till 1AM). Located in the basement of the same building as the Rubin hotel, this is a local expat hangout, mainly people from the oil industry. British style pub with the usual range of alcohol and pub food. Staff speaks English.
Due to the large number of visitors connected to the booming oil industry on the island, there are a substantial number of good hotels in the city. Room rates, however, are very expensive, even by international standards: expect to pay at least RUB3,000 for a single room at Western style hotels.
- Far Eastern Hotel, 179 Lenina St (на пл. Ленина), ☎ . An old and shabby Soviet-style hotel, the cheapest accommodation in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Common shower (charged). Single from RUB500, Double from RUB800 (2009).
- Moneron Hotel (гостиница «Монерон»), 86 Kommunistichesky Ave, ☎ . , Another budget, but a bit cleaner accommodation. Conveniently located next to the railway station. Common shower (charged). Singles from RUB700, doubles from RUB1,200 (2009).
- Belka Hotel, 29b Khabarovskaya St, ☎ . A modern hotel decorated in the wooden style. Single and double rooms en-suite. Additional facilities include restaurant, bar, sauna, and spa. Single RUB2900, Double RUB3,400 (2010).
- Eurasia Hotel (гостиница «Евразия»), 54 Vokzal'naya St 54 (next to the railway station), ☎ . , En-suite rooms. Single RUB2,500, Double RUB2,800 (2009).
- Fisherman Hotel (гостиница «Рыбак»), 51 Marksa St (next to the railway station), ☎ . Single, double, and even triple rooms. Shared facilities. Singles from RUB1,700, doubles from RUB2,400 (2009).
- [dead link]Jubilee Hotel (гостиница «Юбилейная»), 10 Altayskiy Per, ☎ . , A new hotel in the suburbs. Single rooms en-suite, two-room suites. Breakfasts and Internet for additional cost. Single RUB1,950 (2010).
- Lotus Hotel (гостиница «Лотос»), 41a Kuril'skaya St, ☎ , e-mail: , email@example.com. A modern hotel in the city center, en-suite single rooms only. Free Internet access, free parking. Singles RUB2,400/2,700 (2010).
- Neptun Hotel (гостиница «Нептун»), 14 Dzerzhinskogo St (угол с Сахалинской ул.), ☎ . A small hotel in the city center: five en-suite single rooms. Single RUB2,000 (2009).
- Oriental' Hotel (гостиница «Ориенталь»), 2a Sakhalinskaya St (next to Gagarin's park), ☎ . , , Plain, but convenient en-suite rooms, breakfast included. Single RUB2,200, two persons in a single room RUB2,900 (2010).
- Panorama Hotel (гостиница «Панорама»), 231 Mira Ave, ☎ . Single and double en-suite rooms, central location. Breakfast additionally charged. A large entertainment area with cafe, sauna, swimming pool, and cinema. Single RUB2,300, Double RUB2,700—3,000 (2010).
- [dead link]Tourist Hotel (гостиница «Турист»), 2 Sakhalinskaya St (NE from the city center, next to Gagarin's park), ☎ . Single rooms en-suite and two-room suites, wooden-style design. In house a Thai spa, a karaoke bar and a Japanese restaurant. Breakfast included for additional cost. Single RUB3,000 (2016).
- Gagarin Hotel, 133 Komsomol'skaya St, ☎ . A business hotel with two restaurants, sauna, and other facilities. From RUB3000 (2010).
- Mega Palace Hotel, 4 Detskaya St (рядом с парком им. Гагарина), ☎ . A massive, spanking new, 10-storey luxury hotel located just north of the city center. Wi-Fi for additional cost (probably, free in the lobby), two restaurants, and many other facilities. Double RUB4,600 (2010), discount web rates possible.
- Mira Hotel (отель Мира), 255 Mira Ave, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Free Wi-Fi in the lobby, on-line booking system. Double RUB4,800 (2010), discount web rates possible.
- [dead link]Mytos Hotel (гостиница «Митос»), 5 Tisovaya alleya (south from the city, the road to the airport), ☎ . Two nice houses with en-suite singles, suites, and a restaurant.
- Natalya Hotel (гостиница «Наталя»), 38 Antona Buyukly St, ☎ . Double rooms only. Double RUB3,500—4,000 (2010).
- Pacific Plaza Hotel, 172 Mira Ave, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. (Previously Ramada Plaza) A central 4 star business hotel, which opened in 2006. Rooms have satellite TV, and separate bath and shower. WiFi via scratch cards purchased at the reception. Also has 2 restaurants, a couple of bars and business centre, all with English speaking staff. Double from RUB4,000 (2010).
- Rubin Hotel (гостиница «Рубин»), 85 Chekhova St, ☎ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Reputedly one of the best hotels in town, has a decent British style pub downstairs. Wi-Fi in the lobby. Singles from RUB4,000 (2010).
- Sakhalin-Sapporo Hotel (гостиница «Сахалин-Саппоро»), 181 Lenina St, ☎ . One of the longer running hotels in town, centrally located. Looks Soviet on the outside but has been upgraded to Japanese standard on the inside. From RUB5000.
- [dead link]Santa Resort Hotel, 3 Venskaya St (next to Gagarin's park), ☎ . Nice hotel located outside of Yuzhno in a beautiful and peaceful landscape, features numerous sport facilities. Very close to Gagarin Park. Has two overpriced restaurants with good European and Japanese cuisine though. Wi-Fi internet for additional cost and free Hotel-City-Hotel shuttle service. Double from RUB6,000 (2010).
- Strawberry Hills Hotel (гостиница «Земляничные холмы»), 2 Sunlight St (south from the city, the road to the airport), ☎ . A modern hotel in the expat settlement, right outside the city. From RUB4,000 (2010).
Desktop connection is available at certain post offices (see below) and in the following places:
- Central library, ул. Ленина, 244, ☎ . , Tu—F 11AM—7PM, Sa 10AM—5PM. RUB26/hour (2009).
- Dal'svyaz Internet access point (интернет-пункт «Дальсвязь»), 220 Lenina St, ☎ . 8AM—8PM. RUB60/hour (2009).
- Internet сafé, 153 Komsomol'skaya St (crossing with Komsomol'sky Ave.), ☎ . Open 24/7. RUB50/hour (2009).
- Uspeh.ru Internet café (интернет-салон «Успех.Ру»), 164 Lenina St (crossing with Severnaya St), ☎ . , 9AM—9PM. RUB50/hour (2009).
- Web Internet café (интернет-салон «Паутина»), 41 Sakhalinskaya St (between Chekhova and Dzerzhinskogo St.), ☎ . 10AM—10PM. RUB60/hour + RUB2/Mb, each hour first 10 Mb free (2009).
Wi-Fi connection: there is free Wi-Fi in the Royal trade center (Emel'yanova St. 36). Throughout the city (hotels, café, restaurants), you also find charged Wi-Fi internet from Sakhalin Telecom or Dal'svyaz companies. The connection is paid by access cards which are sold at service centers and may also be available from waiters/receptionists.
- Sakhalin Telekom — access cards 100 rubles/hour (2010). Service centers:
- 213а Komsomol'skaya St
- 32 Karla Marksa St
- Dal'svyaz — access cards 90 rubles/hour (2010). Paying with SMS is possible, but more expensive. Service centers:
- 220 Lenina St — 8AM-8PM
- 78 Purkaeva St — M-F 8AM—7PM, Sa 9AM—4PM
- 198 Lenina St, M-F 9AM—8PM, Sa Su 10AM—6PM, +7 4242 46-32-21.
- 52 Esenina St, M-F 9AM—7PM, Sa Su 9AM—6PM.
- 32 Karla Marksa St, M-F 9AM—7:30PM, Sa Su 9AM—6PM.
- 87 Chekhova St, 9AM—9PM (central office)
- 180 Lenina St, 9AM—8PM
- 245 Mira Ave, M-F 9AM—8PM, Sa Su 1AM0—7PM (central office).
- 165 Komsomol'skaya St, 9AM—9PM.
- 172 and 281 Lenina St, 9AM—9PM.
The postal code of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk is 6930**. Post offices in the city center:
- Office № 6, 29 Emel'yanova St, ☎ . , Internet access. M-F 8AM—8PM, Sa 9AM—6PM, lunch break 1PM—2PM.
- Office № 7, 157 Mira Ave, ☎ . M-F 8AM—8PM, Sa 9AM—6PM, lunch break 1PM—2PM.
- Office № 8, 268 Lenina St, ☎ . M-F 8AM—8PM, Sa 9AM—6PM, lunch break 1PM—2PM. Internet access.
- Japan, 234 Lenin St, 5F, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 10AM-11:30AM except Th 3PM-5PM.
- Netherlands, Chekhova St, 80, Sfera Bldg, 1F, Royal Bank of Scotland's office, ☎ . M-F 3PM-7PM.
- International SOS Medical Clinic, Kommunisticheskyi Pr 32, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 9-16,Sa 9-noon. Professional outfit with emergency room and a wide range of English speaking specialists
- Abandoned railway to Kholmsk, one of the strange landmarks of the region. The road was built by the Japanese in the 1920s and abandoned by the Russians in the 1990s. The railway tracks, bridges, and tunnels are mostly preserved and suitable for walking. The road is a good hiking trail that combines amazing landscapes of the Sakhalin mountains with interesting technical sights of the historical mountain railroad. Take a lantern for tunnels and be careful on the bridges.
- Getting there: the abandoned part of the road begins at Novoderevenskaya station which has two daily trains from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. The next opportunity to get off is 35 km to the west, at the crossing with the road to Kholmsk.
- Aniva Bay is a popular recreation area on the southern coast of Sakhalin. Most of the seashore as well as the lower part of the Lyutoga river are good for swimming, fishing, and other activities.
- Getting there: via Korsakov to the seashore. Alternatively, take the road to Kholmsk with regular buses/minibuses and reach the Lyutoga river. The most quiet places are, however, on the seashore and further south. Travelling by foot, you will finally reach Сrillon Cape, the southernmost point of Sakhalin (but be prepared for a long hike!).
- Lake Tunaycha. The Lake Tunaycha area is a string of shallow lakes, including the islands largest fresh water lake, which runs along Sakhalin's western coast line. In summer, Tunaycha may be overpopulated, and it makes sense to explore smaller (as well as more distant) lakes in the area. The coastline is also sandy and beautiful, although the ocean is too cold for swimming. Come here to watch the sunrise and enjoy the scenic landscape. Finally, there is a salt lake Izmenchivoe (Changing), the place of mud baths.
- Getting there: Ohotskoe village, the largest settlement in the area, is located between Tunaycha and Izmenchivoe. It is reachable by car, by bus (#174), and by minibuses.
- Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Mud Volcano. This sight (20 km north-west from the city) consists of several cones within a 15-acre (6 hectares) site of volcanic mud which erupt periodically. In many places you can see fumaroles bubbling through the mud.
- Getting there: arrange with a tour operator or try to reach this place on your own. Take one of the two daily trains to Novoderevenskaya station and follow the abandoned railway track in the western direction (9 km; to pass through tunnels, a lantern would be helpful). Alternatively, take the bus to the village Klyuchi and then another 9 km walk. Detailed description of the route is here (in Russian). The road directly to the volcano may be very dirty and impassable for regular cars.