Despite a size similar to India, The Sakha Republic (or Yakutia) is a place most of you probably never knew existed. Yakutia is one of the Russian sub-national governing bodies of Siberia. Despite a size of almost three thousand square kilometres, it is inhabited by less than a million people. That makes The Sakha Republic one of the least densely populated places in the world. Large areas of Yakutia are literally unpopulated. If you were ever dreaming of travelling to a truly remote place with untouched nature that is virtually unknown to tourists, The Sakha Republic may be a destination worth visiting for you. One of the most stunning natural sites in Yakutia is The Lena River and Sinaya river with pillars which I would like to present to you in this post.
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What you need to know before travelling to The Sakha Republic
There are only a few poorly developed roads connecting the city with the outside world. To get there you will need to take the plane. Despite its remote location round trips from the larger European airport hubs via Moscow are available for less than a thousand dollars. The flight from Moscow to Yakutsk takes some seven hours and will give you an idea of why Russia is the largest nation in the world.
Whenever travelling to The Sakha Republic, the city of Yakutsk will be your first destination. Yakutsk is the capital of The Sakha Republic and actually a quite modern city that is inhabited by almost 300,000 people. You will have no problems with finding modern and comfortable hotels with all the comfort you know from travelling other more developed travel destinations.
Check out – A hotel loved by various travellers – Hotel Sozvezdie in Yakutsk!
The Sakha Republic is inhabited by a number of indigenous nations with Yakut being the largest of them. Hospitality is one of the main traditions of the indigenous nations of Russia’s east. To get in touch with their absolutely unique culture you may consider staying at homes of locals instead of booking a hotel. Foreigners are always warmly welcomed by locals.
Tip – You should be aware that the region is one of coldest inhabited places in the world with temperatures regularly dropping to 50 degrees below zero during winter months. The summer is quite comfortable with temperatures averaging around 25 degrees and not too much rain.
Pillars on The Lena River Ine The Sakha Republic
A true off the beaten path travel destination
The Lena River and Its Tributaries – Sinaya River
The Lena and Sinaya pillars are located some 200 kilometres south of the city of Yakutsk. They are stunning stone formations on the banks of the Lena and Sinaya rivers.
The Lena River
The Lena River is one of the greatest rivers on this planet and together with the Ob and Yenisei rivers one of the great three Siberian river routes. Originating in the mountains of the Baikal range the Lena river flows more than four thousand kilometres towards north into the Arctic ocean. Some of its tributaries such as the Vitim, the Aldan or the Vilyuy are larger than some of the main European rivers.
The Sinaya River
The Sinaya river is one of the many tributaries of the Lena river. Sinaya is the Russian word for blue, referring to the clean water of the river. As a result of the extreme climate conditions, the Lena and Sinaya rivers are frozen for more than seven months a year. The thickness of the ice crust reaches more than a meter. The river has sustained its natural appearance and basically flows the same as it did ages ago. Also, the nature surrounding the river is virtually untouched. I believe there are not many other places in the world where you can see that untouched nature. Nature is rich in flora, fauna and wildlife. An absolute must see!
The Pillars on the Lena River
The pillars on the Lena River in The Sakha Republic are huge, tower-like sandstone formations, looking like formations from another planet. Also, the UNESCO included them in the world’s heritage list has recognized the beauty of this spectacular site. There are many ways how to get there. You may take one of the comfortable ships cruising the Lena river and travelling the main site of the Lena Pillars. There are single or two and four-bed cabins available.
Check out – A hotel for its exceptional location – Hotel Randevu in Yakutsk!
Tips for Sailing through the Lena River, The Sakha Republic
In general, your stay will be comfortable though that the ships have still preserved the ‘Soviet’ style to a certain extent. Nevertheless, I would highly recommend not to travel there with such a ship but to book a local guide. There are many locals having small motor boats who will be happy to bring you to the site. This will allow you to get in touch with indigenous and will also allow you to see much more as you would see otherwise. Many of them know some secret spots. And you will also have the possibility to see the pillars on the banks of the Sinaya river which are even more stunning than the official Lena pillars site.
Another alternative is to kayak the Lena river till the Sinaya river. If you are more into camping you may start up the Sinaya river next to the source and then kayak down to the village of Sinsk where the Sinaya and Lena rivers meet. Kayaking from Sinsk down to the official Lena pillars site takes another three days. The entire trip will take ten days.
Whatever way you choose to travel to The Sakha Republic, and visit the Lena River for its gorgeous pillars, I am sure that the journey will leave you with a true once in a lifetime experience. So what are you waiting for, book your stay in Yakutsk here –
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Lena is a guest writer for The Wandering Core. She is a travel blogger born in Yakutsk, Russia and apart from specialising in The Sakha Republic, she organises travel groups around her country. She writes at Trip to Siberia. You can also follow her on Facebook.