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Magadan (Russian: Магада́н, mah-gah-DAHN) is the capital of Russia's Magadan Oblast, with a population of 100,000.


Magadan is one of the few ports in this remote part of Russia, kept open over winter by resident icebreakers. The town is quite isolated - there is no railway, and the only road out of town is impassable in summer to all but the most hardy of off-road vehicles.

Historically, Magadan served in large part as a gateway to the notorious Kolyma Gulags. Some souvenir shops at the airport and in town sell T-shirts and postcards of a convict against a background of a prison camp holding a sign "Welcome to Kolyma" - locals say this is a reference to a disrespectful Russian movie, and prefer that tourists do not buy them.

Get In[edit]

By plane[edit]

Magadan has an airport with regular flights to Moscow. Airport is actually at town of Sokol, some 50km along the Road of Bones, and as at July 2011 it was refreshingly free of rip-offs. Unusually for an airport, it has a fishmonger's counter offering fish and shellfish.

S7: Magadan to Novosibirsk - everyday except on Friday and Sunday. Magadan to Vladivostok on Fridays.

Rossia Airlines: Magadan to Moscow-Sheremetyovo on Monday, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Yakutia Airlines: Magadan to Andadyr' on Wednesdays, Yakutsk to Magadan on Wednesdays. Magadan-Yakutsk on Wednesdays.

KAP: Magadan to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on Wednesdays.

Ikar: To Khabarovsk on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays

Aurora: To Khabarovsk - everyday

And some local flights

By train[edit]

There is no railway to Magadan.

By car[edit]

There is a road, the Kolyma Highway a.k.a The Road of Bones, from Magadan to Yakutsk. However, the road is not passable year-round.

By bus[edit]

There are private marshrutkas running from Yakutsk to Magadan when their capacity fulls out. Ask at Avtovokzal (bus station, Oktyabrskaya ulitsa 24) in Yakutsk for a seat. You may have to end up waiting a day or two depending on time of year.

By boat[edit]

No ferries operating in and out of Magadan port. You may ask captains in port for purchase of cabin, however chances of success are slim as their company would have to approve and non-existant without fluent knowledge of russian language.

Get Around[edit]

See[edit][add listing]

  • DVS Tour, [1]. DVS-Tour can arrange tours to Gulag sites in the region  edit
  • Mask of Sorrow. The Mask of Sorrow is a huge concrete monument to the victims of the Gulags, for which this region was well known. Located on a hill on the outskirts of town, you will need transport to get here but it is worth the effort. free.  edit
  • Regional Museum. The Regional Museum has an extensive display devoted to the Kolyma Gulags and with many artefacts from them - annotations all in Russian, but interesting even without translation. Other galleries include interesting natural history displays, including a mummified mammoth. 50 rub.  edit
  • Lenin Statue. The Lenin statue was recently moved from the site where the local Russian Orthodox Cathedral was rebuilt. It now sits in pride of place in a park, alongside which (fittingly perhaps) is the local headquarters of the FSB.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Magadan Beach. When the weather is warm, it seems that half the town heads for the beach, so it's a great opportunity to mingle with the locals. Hardy individuals might care to try a swim in the sea of Okhotsk, but while the weather might be sunny, chances are the water will feel crisp.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

There is a relatively plentiful supply of Mammoth Tusks unearthed in the area, and these are made into interesting carvings which can be bought in souvenir shops - but cheaper at the workshop, if you can find it. Price of raw Mammoth Tusk was approx USD600/kg as at July 2011.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Steak House (Steyk Khaus). American owned, good western and tex-mex food and free wi-fi. Go to the top of the hill on Lenin St and turn left, the steak house will be on your right beside/behind an apartment block. There are 2 sections, the Sports Bar offers much the same fare and is cheaper.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Okean Hotel - has an interesting pole-dancing bar, admission 200-250 Rubles, beers 150 Rubles, definitely worth a visit if this is your thing, or even if this is your first experience. Ladies welcome, very non-threatening.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • VM Centralnaya hotel Magadan Said to be the best hotel in town, well located on the main street and with a lively bar, but plagued with plumbing problems when visited in July 2011.
  • Okean Hotel. Said to be a good second choice hotel (but having sampled the first choice, I'd be looking at this one next time).  edit

Get Out[edit]

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