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Introduction

Magadan is a seaport city on the Sea of Okhotsk in the far east of Russia. It is the gateway to the very remote Kolyma Region and has around 100,000 inhabitants. 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.

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Sights and Activities

  • 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.
  • Regional Museum - pr. Karla Marksa 55. 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.
  • 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.

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Weather

With a subarctic climate, Magadan is known for its long, dark and cold winters and short cool summers. Temperatures in summer rarely rise above 15-18 °C with chilly nights and winters are below zero from October to April. Still, because of its proximity to the ocean, Magadan has in general less severe temperatures compared to places more inland, although summers are cooler again.

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Getting There

By Plane

Sokol Airport (GDX) is about 70 kilometres from Magadan. There are flights to Moscow, Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Khabarovsk, Vladivostok, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Yakutsk, Krasnodar and Anadyr.

Bus 111 connects with town centre every 45 minutes during daytime (55 RUB, 70 minutes).

By Car

The unpaved M56 Kolyma highway leads from Magadan to the gold-mining region of the upper Kolyma River and then on to Yakutsk. This road, also called the "Road of Bones", is actually best driven during the late winter season, when temperatures are not as extreme anymore, days are longer, but the rivers which need to be crossed (bridges are washed away sometimes) are frozen. Still, with a motorcycle or 4WD-vehicle the road is passable at all times.

By Bus

All regional buses departs and arrives at the central bus station located at the corner of pr. Lenina and ul. Proletarskaya. Most villages and towns has daily connections. There's no public transport that traverses the whole journey from Yakutsk on the Kolyma Highway but there's a service from the gold mining town Susuman which lies about 1/3 on the route.

By Boat

There are no passenger ferries to Magadan but SASCO runs regular cargo shippings from Vladivostok that can accommodate passengers. Knowledge of Russian is essential for inquiries.

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Eat

  • Steak House (Стейк Хаус) - 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.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Russia is a huge country, and excess to the internet varies a lot. The main cities and tourist places have (free) wifi excess at lots of places, like restaurants and cafes (McDonald's is always a safe bet). Internet cafes are present in larger places as well. Rural areas and especially if you venture into remote and/or mountainous areas have little excess at all. Most travellers will find connections though when using their phone or tablet.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The emergency number is 112. The country code for Russia is 7. Russian phone numbers have an area code with three, four or five digits (according to their province), followed by an individual number with, respectively, 7, 6 or 5 digits, always yielding 10 digits in total. The three digit code 800 is used for toll-free calls. Mobile phones always have three-digit "area" codes and seven-digit numbers. Calls within any one area code may omit the area code (except in Moscow). Inter-area code calls within Russia: 8 (wait for tone) full Russian number including area code. The international access code for dialling outwith Russia is the sequence of 8 (wait for secondary tone and then) 10. International calls to Russia, as always, replace the plus sign (+) in the international phone format with the local international access code for the country you're calling from, followed by Russia's country code of 7 followed by the individual Russian phone number including area code.

You will require a SIM-unlocked GSM 900 / 1800 compatible international cell phone when buying a Russian SIM card. If you do not have your own international cell phone, it's best to buy a cheap cell phone with some value on the card. Foreigners can purchase a local SIM card by showing your passport. BeeLine is considered to be the best in terms of reliability and connections quality. However Megafon's services can be a bit cheaper.

Post

Russian Post is the national postal service of Russia. It's English version is currently under construction, but mainly involves the track&trace system. The domestic post is reasonably reliable, and sending international mail is fairly reliable but slow, taking at least a few weeks to European countries, longer to the USA or Australia for example. The delivery of mail sent from abroad to Russia is highly unreliable, and people or companies tend to use foreign adresses, from where a private carrier sends it to Russia. Alternatives like poste restante are non-existent with Russian Post. Most cities and large towns in Russia have a Central Post Office (Glavpochtamt), which also sells stamps and envelopes, and usually has fax services and Internet availability, though the latter mostly not in smaller places. Also, many hotels have postal services, including mail boxes. Post offices tend to keep long hours, usually from 8:00am or 9:00am until 8:00pm or 9:00pm Monday to Friday, and closing earlier during weekends. The main central post offices in the biggest cities keep even longer hours. For sending parcels, you can also try services by DHL Russia and FedEx Russia. For all mail you can use the regular alphabet, though maybe include the country's name in Cyrillic. For sending post to Russia (or trying to receive it) note that addresses should be in reverse order: Russia, postal code, city, street address, name.

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Accommodation in Magadan

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Magadan searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Magadan and areas nearby.

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This is version 3. Last edited at 11:28 on Nov 24, 17 by Utrecht. 7 articles link to this page.

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