Built by Kazakhs, Novaya Chara is about half way between Severobaikalsk and Tynda, and has a population of about 4000. There are several large copper deposits in the region, and it is a common stopping point for expeditions into the Kodar Mountain ranges and several local gulag sites.
By train on the Baikal-Amur Mainline.
The city can be covered on foot. Taxis and minibuses make the trip between Novaya Chara and Staraya Chara (Old Chara), about 18km to the north west.
The railway station, with a peaked aluminium roof.
The regional museum, with an interesting section on natural history, local history, the gulag, the railway, the original town plan, and so on.
Make a visit to the Chara sands, a mysterious 37 square kilometre patch of sand dunes about 7km north west of the town.
There are souvenirs available in the train station. Also, there's a deep purple rock that occurs only here called 'charait', someone might try and sell you a bit.
There's a shop not far from the railway station, though fresh produce is sometimes difficult to find, even in summer.
The Novaya Chara hotel, opposite the railway station, is a common stopping off point for travellers in the region, and has rooms available for between 1000 and 2000 rubles. It is always possible to sleep in the station's waiting room, but the station does not have a hostel.
There are no public internet facilities, but mobile phones work.
There are several excellent trips in the area.
The Chara sand dunes are most easily accessed from an old road behind Staraya Chara, use a GPS or local knowledge to find the trail, then walk about 4km on very boggy terrain and across a river, and you'll find them. It's also possible to walk in a loop via the southern mining branch line/access road. Sand dunes on 600m of permafrost - it's a bit odd!
The Kodar Mountains to the north are an ideal location for a hike lasting several days to several weeks or longer. Accessible in this way is several reasonably well preserved gulags that originally mined Uranium. They are also accessible by helicopter. Photos and artefacts from an expedition there are visible in the museum.