Earth : Europe : Russia : Russian Far East : Khabarovsk Krai
Khabarovsk Krai (Russian: Хаба́ровский край, khuh-BAH-ruhf-skee krigh) is a region in the Russian Far East, which borders Amur Oblast to the west, Magadan Oblast to the north, Sakhalin Oblast across the Nevelsky Straits to the east, Primorsky Krai to the southeast, and Birobidzhan and China to the south.
Khabarovsk Krai occupies a long swathe of Russia's Pacific coastline, a full 2000 kilometers of it, going as far south as Sakhalin and north to Magadan Oblast. At nearly 800.000 km², it's Russias forth largest province. In the north, taiga and tundra prevail, deciduous forests in the south, and swampy forests in the central areas around Nikolaevsk-on-Amur, as a testament to it's size there are more than 50 thousand lakes to fish in, more rivers and streams than you would care to count, and several mountain ranges intersect the region, including the northern reaches of the Sikhote-Alin mountains shared with Primorsky krai. The highest point is Mount Bery, towering nearly in fact, three quarters of the area is occupied by mountains and plateaus.
Eastern softshell spiny turtle (Trionix). The animal is listed in the Red Book of indangered species.
Japanese director Akira Kurosawa's 1975 film Dersu Uzala, based on a book by Russian explorer Vladimir Arsenyev, describes the friendship of a Russian explorer and his Nanai guide named Dersu Uzala. (Wikipedia)
See Russian phrasebook.
From China there are two entrance routs: one starts at the Heihe-Blagoveschensk crossing point, the other from Fuyuan town on Amur river. Another possible way is one from Sakhalin, where international ferry operates between Russian Korasakov and Japan's Wakkanai. A one-night bus trip along the federal highway Vladivostok-Khabarovsk is an option for a traveller, if the train carriage is not used.
Vast, rugged and sparsely populated the krai is not big on roads. Too cold for regular ferry service, since much of the region goes into a deep freeze during the harsh winters, add the presence of Russia's most important aircraft plant to the mix, and you are pretty much left with Soviet era Yakovlevs, Antonovs and helicopters to get you around, making exploration an expensive and fairly unnerving proposition. On the upside this also means you'll have some of the planet's most spectacular nature all by yourself if you take on the effort.
The local government have plans on merging these two regional airlines, but so far no concrete plans has surfaced.
Fishing and hunting in the wild are the major attractions for tourists as well as hiking routes to the mountains absolutely untouched by humans are favourite activities for city-dwellers and escapists. Khabarovsk and Komsomolsk mountain bike clubs are all at it. Taiga forest is always abuzz with mosquitos in summer and the best seasons for visiting are May and September when the air is not stifling and the sun is warm. Winter attracts local skiers and snowboarders to the ski bases "Holdomi", "Amut Snow Lake" near Komsomolsk and "Spartak" near Khabarovsk.
Local food follows traditional Russian cuisine featured with salted bracken, mushrooms, Korean and Chinese dishes. Don't forget to taste pancakes with one of linden, wildflower, buckweat honeysuckles or salmon caviar.
The regions major distillery is appropriately called Khabarovsky Distillery (Ликероводочный завод Хабаровский, ), besides the ritual vodka - a full 16 different brands of it - they also make sweet liqueurs, bitters and cognac, check their website with neat pictures of the bottles to spot them in the shops. If you haven't yet acquired a taste for vodka, the local (but Heineken owned) Amur-Pivo (Амур-пиво) is not bad. The (Carlsberg owned) competitor Baltika's main local brand is the ДВ (DV) beer, which is also brewed in Khabarovsk.
Vipers, bears are rare attackers in the wild, lest provoked. More dangerous are infectious ticks which are active most of all in spring. Use spray against ticks.
Khabarovsk is the hub for regional air travel with important flights to Russian destinations Anadyr, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Magadan, Moscow, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Yakutsk, and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, as well as international flights to Niigata, Japan and to Seoul, Korea. There are no direct flights to/from the US.