Vanino (Russian: Ва́нино, VAH-nee-nuh) is a town in the Russian Far East, and an important Pacific port, with ferry connections to and from Sakhalin. The city has a population of 18.900 people. It is also the easternmost city on the Russian railway network, although the Baikal-Amur Mainline has one more stop 10 minutes south of Vanino in Sovetskaya Gavan.
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
Vanino Station, located on the hills above the port, is on the BAM line (Baikal Amur Mainline), However, the main connections to and from Vanino (trains #943/944) actually run south on a branch line to the major far eastern cities of Khabarovsk (23 hours) and Vladivostok (40 hours) on the main Trans Siberian line. Railway enthusiasts can travel on the badly serviced, but exotic BAM line by switching trains in Komsomolsk, where there is a daily train (#363э/364э) to Tynda.
Kholmsk, Sakhalin – Daily overnight ferries plow across the Tartar Strait to Kholmsk on Sakhalin Island (18 hours, from 600 RUB). Tickets are bought at a ticket window inside the railway station. Beware! Issuing the tickets is a slow and tedious bureaucratic procedure, and the queues are long and loud – be prepared for long waits. People have reported being stuck here for half or sometimes even full days. One option is to have a travel agent (e.g. in Khabarovsk) prebook your tickets, which allows you to bypass the queue. Once all tickets have been issued, a bus shuttles passengers to the ferry from the parking lot north of the train platform.
Otaru, Japan – According to various sources, the monthly freight service between Vanino and Otaru on Hokkaido, Japan via Kholmsk takes on passengers – but very little specific information is available. It is probably not worth the hassle, since there is a regular passenger service one-to-two times a week during the summer between Korsakov on Sakhalin and Wakkanai. To get more information contact SASCO tel.: +7 (42433) 66109 or consult their website, .
Port – A bus shuttles passengers between the station and the ferry through the off limits port area. The bus departs from the parking lot north of the train platform, but there is no fixed timetable; it seems to leave whenever the queue for ferry tickets has been emptied. Tickets are bought along with your ferry tickets, and are mandatory.
Vanino is a quite pleasant town by regional standards, with hills and good views of the harbour. However, other than a couple of lighthouses, there is little to offer the casual tourist. One option is to catch a Marshrutka bound for Sovetskaya Gavan for some good views over the jagged coast.
Sakhalin, and more specifically Kholmsk, would seem the most obvious choice.
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