Travel to the Russian Far East – Episode 406

categories: asia travel

Hear about travel to the Russian Far East as the Amateur Traveler talks to freelance travel journalist Robert Reid about his numerous journeys to this remote part of Russia.

Robert says, “Russia is big. It’s a very big place and I have spent a good chunk of my life there. I studied Russian in college and lived in Moscow and St Petersburg. This is at the other end of Russia. We are talking about going 7 time zones east of Moscow to the part that is really the Siberia of Siberia. In Russian, that’s Dal’niy Vostok, the Russian Far East. We are talking about an area that’s about the size of the lower 48 that is east of Lake Baikal which is a famous natural attraction in Russia, curving over the border with China and extending almost to Alaska, down to Vladivostok which is just a little east of North Korea.”

“A handful of your listeners are going to do the once in a lifetime trip of the trans-Siberian [railroad] and of those only a trickle of those will make it to the far east even though that’s where the trans-Siberian ends going 9,300 km from Moscow to Vladivostok. If you keep going east of Lake Baikal into towns that were built just to justify a railroad out there in the tsarist era and also the soviet era you have these towns that were created to look like European towns. It’s Russia at its edge.”

Robert draws us into his adventures in the Russian far east with tales of shirtless adventure guides standing on snow-covered volcanoes, beautiful geologists that now run Italian restaurants, grandmothers offering you tomatoes and cucumbers from their gardens as they share a compartment with you on the railroad, and people searching all over town to find the rumored visitor from the U.S.

Robert drinks vodka with strangers, takes a steam and is beaten with birch branches with the locals, and visits the remote hometown of actor Yul Brynner. Robert does not describe a country that is easy to see or necessarily always approachable, but one that can still be seductive. Learn why Robert has “Russia Love”.

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Show Notes

Reid On Travel
Russia Travel
Lake Baikal
Trans-Siberian Railway
The Bam Railroad
Russky Island
Sakhalan Island
Nata Tour
Jewish Autonomous Zone
Lost World Tours
Intelligent Travel

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

3 Responses to “Travel to the Russian Far East – Episode 406”

Robert Morales


What a great episode. One of my favorites for sure, and I’ve been a long time listener. Your guest is a great storyteller. I found myself following along on Google maps. This trip has been in my “bucket list” for a while but I’m still a hard working American citizen with not nearly enough vacation time, but some day… I grew in Cuba during the Cold War so I have vivid childhood memories of all these Soviet era artifacts, the awful architecture, and the cartoons. I really look forward to taking the Trans-Siberian some day, and this podcast will be a useful guide. Thank you!




Chris– fur hats off to your guest for the Russian Far East episode. I spent two years there as a Peace Corps Volunteer. The podcast brought back the good, the bad and the ugly. In this part of the world– it’s a packaged deal. While he was right that this is not a destination for everyone, it is still chocked full of natural wonders, unexpected happenings around every corner and the most hospitable people in the world. Whenever I found myself worn down by the challenges of living there, it was always the kindness of some random Russian that would turn me around make me glad to be there. It definitely grows you you. Up until now, the Russian Far East was noticeably absent from the Amateur Traveler roster. I’m really glad you introduced this region to your listeners! Thank you!



Great show, thank you very much this is one of the very best episode so far for me too.
I visited Sakhalin, the Kuril Islands and Vladivostok, but never went further inland. That’s next on my list tpoo, but I agree this place is so huge you need 5 lifetimes to explore it.
I also found Frasier’s ‘Travels in Siberia’ very inspiring.

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