"Sakhalin in russian or Karafuto in japanese" Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk by jorgejuansanchez
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Travel Guide: 25 reviews and 45 photos
Sakhalin (Karafuto in Japanese) is a very long island, about 1000 km, but narrow.
In Korsakov, the port, the military wanted to impose me a fine and to sign a protocol and expel me, because in theory I need to justify every day in Russia through hotel vouchers and register. I cried “Mama mia, khochu domoi”, and finally I only signed a protocol, but no shtraf, or fine.
I waited for the ship to go to the Kurils islands, Kunashir, Iturup and Paramushir, and then will head to Vladivostok, then Yakutia republic (minus 60 degrees centigrade, the second coldest place on Earth after Antarctica!), then a Buddhist monastery in Kizyl (Tiva republic) where I have friends from Sikkim since the times when I was a budhist monk, and then, after spending Christmas with my daughter Anushka in Siberia, will leave Russia through the amazing Military Georgian pass, via Dagestan, Chechnya and Osetia. I must be in Lima the 5th February 2006, because I already paid for my boat Maxim Gorky to Pitcairn island.
Sakhalin was a forced labour place. I bought a book by Chekhov, where he explains about the conditions in Sakhalin. But people are nice, open, and helpful, and food, especially fish and red caviar is delicious and cheap.
Sakhalin was Karafuto in Japanese times.
It was very hard to get in Kurils islands. First of all, even Russians need a Propusk, or special permit. The islands are vindicated by the Japanese and are populated mainly by soldiers. There are some islands that are secret; you do not find them in the atlas. I was in one of them.
I went to the police in Sakahlin and after 3 days I was granted the Propusk. Then I waited during 3 days the boat in Korsakov. The boat was small and the conditions on board very different than the cruises in the Bahamas. I got tired of the boat because in the secret islands I was not allowed to get off the boat. I wanted to touch the Kurils, and not only see them. In Kunashir I could walk around the harbour. There are many japanese. Putin opened the Kurils to the Japanese, without Russian visa, and Russians can visit Hokkaido Island without visa also. There are even ferries between Korsakov in Sakhalin and Hokkaido island, weekly.
You can travel by ship to Hokkaido island or to Kuril islands. First travel to Korsakov. more travel advice
This is the hotel where the Japanese tourists lodge when they come to Sakhalin island to see their cemeteries since the... more travel advice
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