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Sakhalin Island
SOUTH SAKHALIN
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Contents

 Day 1 Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk
Arrival in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Meeting at the airport. Transfer to the hotel, accommodation.

14:00 – 17:00 City tour with guide of the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk with a visit to Victory Avenue, Victory square, Railway History Museum, monuments, busts of discoverers of the Sakhalin island, Communist Avenue, the Memorial complex "Victory".
The end of the tour on the territory of the Regional Museum.
Visiting Museum (Monday – day off) – optional.
The entrance ticket cost: 150 RUB.

Return to the hotel by yourself.
Dinner.

Day 2 Cape "Velikan"

9:00 – departure from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

Tour to the Cape Ptichiy and the Cape Velikan. Cape "Velikan" is a natural monument, one of the most beautiful and amazing sea coasts of Sakhalin. Bizarre rocks, the outlines of which someone sees the lion coming up out of the sea, someone sees mysterious castle, and someone sees the head of the hero-giant, dozing at the water's edge, towering along the coast from Cape Ptichiy and the Cape Velikan. Stone arches, created by Nature, amaze with their greatness. On the cliff tops and arches bustle of noisy gulls, proudly scurry cormorants and Swifts. Along a narrow strip of sandy beach stretches fir-fir forests on the sea terrace. And here you can see one of the most amazing phenomena of nature-spawning Pacific salmon, namely pink salmon, if your trip falls on the period from July to August.

Lunch on the beach (lunch-box).

18:00 Departure to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.
20:00 Arrival to the city.

Dinner (on your own).

Day 3 Rock "Frog"

Route: Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk-p. Vestochka-rocky outlier "Frog" - Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (southern part of Sakhalin island) 

09:00 - Breakfast in the hotel restaurant. 
09:30 - Departure to the route, 30 minutes (12 km) by transport to the village Vestochka, then departure to the route on foot.

It is believed that the area of Vestochka is the energy center of Sakhalin. Rock "Frog" - the unique nature of the age of 70 million years, a very unusual energy place. The ecological path to the foot of the mountain takes about 20 minutes. Next, a short, but steep climb to the outlier "Frog", which takes 20-30 minutes. From the top offers an amazing landscape and in good weather you can see the Gulf of Aniva, lake Tunaicha and Changeable. You will see the magic stones in the form of the Sphinx, "Solar" and "lunar" clearing stones "questions and answers" and can swim in the "energy" the river Iicca
13:30 - Snack (lunch-box) 
14:00 - Departure to the city. 
14:30 - arrival. Free time

Day 4 Tikhaya Bay and Maguntan
Departure to the Tikhaya Bay (by road, travel time – 2 hours)

Walking tour of the Tikhaya Bay, where your eyes will appear rock formation created by mother Nature: rock-arch "Magic window" stone "Elephant" and the island Zametny.

Lunch on the beach (lunch-box)

14:00 – Departure to the Pugachev mud volcano “Maguntan”
The Pugachev mud volcano (Maguntan) is the second largest volcano of its kind on the island. It looks like a group of mud circles (large Central and two small ones in the neighborhood). In fact, under heterogeneous vegetation hides a field with a diameter of 4 km. At its core and is the main mud field. The surface is flat and only slightly raised to the center. On the vast grassy marshes grows a huge number of herbs, flowers and miraculously clinging saturated with moisture the soil is trees. On the volcano grows several interesting plants, including Tsvelev's Pike, which occurs exclusively in the Sakhalin region.

18:00 – Departure to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

20:00 – Arrival to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Accommodation in hotel.
Dinner (on your own).

Day 5 Gastronomic tour of "harvesting oysters and lunch with seafood on the lake Busse"

08:00 - Breakfast at the hotel
09:00 - departure to Busse lake

Places of visit: Korsakov Observation platforms, Russia's first plant for the production of liquefied natural gas, oil shipment terminal and Russia's first suburban port, built specifically for servicing Russian and international ships carrying liquefied natural gas and oil tankers, a walk along the shore on lake Busse. Optional and weather conditions access to a small vessel on the lake (Seating for 10 people) to collect oysters on the oyster island. The cost of services 3 000 rubles / 1 person.

Lunch of freshly caught seafood (scallop, oyster, sea urchin) skillfully prepared by our professional chef.

Busse lagoon is a natural monument located in the Korsakov district of Sakhalin island. The lake in the form of a lagoon is connected by a channel to the Gulf of Aniva of the sea of Okhotsk. This place is a storeroom of natural gifts. It generously shares everything: magical views, generous catch, rich blooming shores, new sensations. Only here you can catch and eat fresh oysters, sea urchins. Also in the lake, you can see mollusks such as: RAPAN Sakhalin Spisula, scallop. In addition to shellfish, shrimps live in the lake, called Sakhalin Chilim.

Day 6 Free day.
Optional visit to the fish market or excursions to choose from.

Day 7 Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk
Breakfast. Transfer to airport.

Overview

Route: Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk – Cape "Velikan" – Rock "Frog" – Tikhaya Bay and Maguntan – lake Busse

Number of Days: 7 days / 6 nights

Group: min. 2 people.

Schedule

Tour dates in 2019: 16.06, 23.06, 14.07, 28.07, 11.08, 25.08. 

Fees

Tour price per person, USD

With Russian-speacking guide:

½DBL - 900

SNGL - 1000

With English-speacking guide

on request

* Tour price can change without prior notice.

* The operator reserves the right to substitute hotels in the program to other relevant category. The order of the excursions can also be changed.

* The guide-wire, all the services and hotels are confirmed at time of booking.

Fees include

Price included:

- Russian-speaking guide;

- Transfer according to program;

- Accommodation in hotel Santa 4* in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk;

- Support for instructors or guides-conductors on the routes;

- Accident insurance.

Fees exclude

Additional charges:

- flight to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and back;

- English-speaking guide;

- optional excursions;

- personal expenses.

Travel tips

Sports and adventure tourism routes of the Sakhalin area involves physical activity, and a number of areas (eg, climbing a volcano) require good physical fitness, as well as the availability of the right clothes, shoes and other items listed below.

Also, be sure to get vaccinated against tick-borne encephalitis!

List of needed items:

Headgear (lightweight hat for sun protection)

Sport Sandals (Daubney sports sandals, firmly seated on the leg, which can comfortably walk on water and rocks)

Trainers (trekking, with a thick corrugated soles, preferably with a water-repellent + removable dry shoes)

Towel (small travel towel various needs)

Sunscreen (SPF (the SPF) of at least 30 units).

Photographic

Backpack (small backpack for day hikes (your hands should be free!) For the transportation of water, photographic, swimwear, etc.)

Warm clothing (jacket, sweater and warm clothes like)

Jacket (wind and comfortable WATERPROOF jacket)

Bathing suit (bathing suit and swimming trunks for men)

Means from mosquitoesGloves (x / cotton gloves to protect your hands from small works).

Shirt or jacket with long sleeves (light clothing with long sleeves necessary for the ascent of the Mendeleev volcano, not to cut yourself on the bamboo and, at the same time, do not suffer in hot weather)

First-aid kit (travel kit with first aid and personal hygiene)

Fishing gear (for avid fishermen desired to have their fishing gear)

Map

Comments

Thank you for tailor made the tour and coordinating everything to make the group a memorable trip.
Despite I do not want to focus on a single person, as a foreigner's tour group, performance of the English speaking guide plays the utmost important role in the tour. Unfortunately, our guide did give us a very negative impression. You may refer to a detail review attached for your reference.
Day 1: Tatiana, local agent, met the group punctually at the airport arrival gate. Taisiya, English speaking guide, was late about 10 minutes. Bus was big and good enough for the group with luggage. Tatiana left and Taisiya stayed with the group. Group had lunch at a local Russian Restaurant. As requested and as a matter of courtesy, bought lunch for the guide. Group was transferred to hotel after lunch. City tour started at 14:00. Finished city tour and transferred to a local Japanese restaurant at 17:22. Guide said that city tour only covered time from 14:00 – 17:00, and requested a half hour overtime Rub 600 to pay the driver. Passed Rub 600 to the guide before leaving the bus.
According to the program, there should have a seafood dinner arranged for the group at US$45 / person. The guide asked the group to order direct from the menu, and paid the Japanese restaurant dinner in rubles. Seafood choices at this restaurant were very limited. There was nothing being arranged, and also the group did not expect for the extra amount of rubles to spend here. Clarification was immediately made via WhatsApp to Irina, Latina Travel at Moscow. Guide left. Group finished a casual meal, not seafood dinner, and returned to the hotel by taxi arranged by the Japanese restaurant.
Day 2: Guide & lunch boxes arrived. Instead of going to Tikhaya Bay, group started journey at 09:00 to Kholmsk, Cape Slepikovskogo & Nevelsk. Bottled drinking water was provided on the bus. Generally the itinerary was good, and the group was happy with the lunch box provided. Group returned to hotel at 2000. Requested guide to advice details about Day 3 itinerary. And when would the group visit Tikhaya Bay. Guide expressed no information and had to call local agent for details. She said that she was act as an interpreter.
Day 3: A local travel specialist, local agent, guide and lunch boxes arrived the hotel at 09:00. It was explained that there was storm at the Tikhaya Bay area, and the group was advised to visit the southern Sakhalin instead. The travel specialist joined the group, and started journey to visit Korsakov, Lake Busse, a private reindeer farm, and trekked the blue water lake. Despite the travel specialist could not speak English, with the help and his guidance, the group enjoyed very much on this replacement itinerary. The travel specialist was very informative and the group appreciated his participation on this day. Group returned to hotel at 19:30.
Day 4: Two vans picked up the group from the hotel at 05:30, and traveled to Norikovo. Group had booked 12 pairs of rubber boots when arranging the tour with Latina Travel, and asked the guide several times about its arrangement. Same question on lunch arrangement for the boat journey raised too. Guide expressed no knowledge and emphasized that she was an interpreter only. Boat journey operator later took out 12 pairs of rubber boot. The guide approached and took a first pair for herself immediately, and 1 of the 12 persons group had NO rubber boot for the whole day sea journey. Group paid direct to the boat operator 11 pairs x 300 Rubles, total 3300 rubles rubber boot rental fee. After completing the Aniva lighthouse visit and the boat anchored at Marble Bay for lunch, the guide took her own lunch box. Two persons noted that they had no lunch boxes on the boat. Group insisted the guide to locate the 2 missing lunch boxes. The guide later found the 2 lunch boxes were placed in the second boat. Group returned to the hotel at 18:30.
Day 5: Guide and three 4WD vans picked up the group and started journey to Cape Velican at 09:00. The group joined Tatiana, the local agent with her family, and all parties going to have a BBQ lunch at Cape Velican. It was an upgrade from the programmed lunch box!! The group had a good time on the itinerary, and especially the joyful moments for singing and playing with Tatiana and her family. Group returned to the hotel at 19:00. Day 6: Guide advised a day before that a bus would come at 0845 to transfer the group to the airport. The bus arrived at 0830, and driver urged the group to leave immediately. Without the sign of the guide, the bus left the hotel at 08:38. The guide appeared when the group was queuing for the airline check-in at 09:22.

Overall comments:
The tour group members all consider that the tour itineraries were generally good and attractive. Everyone is happy with the Sakhalin trip, especially at Day 3 & Day 5.
However, as mentioned at detail reviews above, there were unhappy or disappointing events, crucial ones are:
- A pre-arranged seafood dinner should have been organized at Day 1.
- Rubber boots poor arrangement at Day 4. Guide took away 1 pair of rubber boot for herself. A group member, despite booking was made ahead, got wet shoes & feet the whole day, because NO rubber boot provided for her.
- All tour members are not satisfied with the performance, response, and sense of responsibility of the English speaking tour guide.

Desmond, 24/07/2018 – 29/07/2018

Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

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