Chukotka (Russian: Чуко́тка, choo-KOHT-kuh) is a region in the Russian Far East and is the northeasternmost region of Russia. Located along the Bering Strait, Chukotka is home to beautiful tundra scenery and the indigenous Chukchi people, butt of many Russian anecdotes. Chukotka was governed until 2008 by Roman Abramovich, one of the wealthiest people in Russia and the former owner of Chelsea football club. Never a province to fit in nicely, Chukotka is also the only region of Russia lying in the Western Hemisphere. It borders three Russian regions, Yakutia to the west, and Magadan Oblast and Kamchatka to the southwest.
- 1 Big Diomede — the easternmost island of Russia and the only place where you can see land across the International Date Line (outside Antarctica)
- 2 El'gygytgyn Lake — an impact crater lake
- 3 Wrangel Island — a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Chukotka autonomous district is notable as being the closest point that both Eurasia and Russia gets to North America and the United States. While Chukotka is as large as 285,000 sq mi (740,000 km2), it is one of the most sparsely populated regions in Russia, with a population of 55,000.
Chukotka has a large collection of natural resources, and although it has one of the highest average wages in the country, this hasn't exactly translated into development. This is largely due to a lack of infrastructure, which continues to be a major hurdle when it comes to accessibility.
The official language is Russian. Other commonly spoken languages include Chukchi and Yukaghir, which are mainly spoken in rural areas.
|Note: Entry to Chukotka is restricted. Even Russian citizens need to get special permission issued by the Government of Chukotka, in order to enter the region. A valid passport bearing valid Russian entry visa and propusk are required for foreigners. The permit is known as propusk in Russian and the issuance may take several weeks. Contact Border Service offices in Russia or local tour agencies for detailed information.|
The way of getting in would be by either boat or plane at any established points of entry. Passengers of cruise liners are allowed to land on Chukotka and stay for 72 hours without visa and special permission.
- Bering Air offers charter flights from Nome to Provideniya Bay Airport (PVS IATA) on either a Piper Navahoe, taking 80 minutes or a Beach King Air 200, taking 60 minutes. Flights are weather dependent and each airplane carries nine passengers. Charter flights can be arranged from Nome to Anadyr.
- There are flights from Moscow to Anadyr, but not every day. Transaero Airlines, VIM Airlines and Yakutia Airlines have such flights.
- In summer time some cruise ships go from Alaska and stop at Anadyr, Provideniya and more places. Search for "cruise anadyr" on Google. In 2014, Silversea Cruises has such cruises.
Air is the most used mode of local travel inside Chukotka. Anadyr is the main hub. Chukotavia operates local flights inside Chukotka.
There is a network of permanent roads, however no summer roads connect Anadyr, and the conditions of the roads, including river crossings, are not for normal cars. In winter there is a network of snow and ice roads, which likewise may not be suitable for normal driving. Local roads near settlements are scarce.
- Attend whaleboat or reindeer races
- Walrus watching (not hunting)
As Chukotka is one of the most sparsely populated areas in Russia, there is little crime and much of the region is safe for travel.
Perhaps the biggest danger is Cold weather. Be sure to cover yourself up with lots of protective clothing, and avoid running or brisk walking during times of cold weather.
To the north, the next destination is the North Pole, crossing to Alaska in the east would require hard-to-get special permits, and the Russian regions in the south and west (Magadan Oblast, Kamchatka Krai and Yakutia) are sparsely populated and extreme in climatic and natural terms, and unrealistic to get to from Chukotka by land.