Eastern terminus of the Trans-Siberian Railway and a major Pacific port
Vladivostok in the Far East, like Ekaterinburg, was a closed city during the Soviet era – even Russians needed permission to visit friends and relatives who lived there. It opened up to tourists in 1992 and since then there has been a slow but steady increase in numbers. Vladivostok, the city of seven winds, is often compared to San Francisco.
The mountain range of Sikhote-Alin has a rich biodiverse culture and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit one of the Wild Life Preserves and maybe you’ll see one of the main endangered species like the Siberian Tiger, the Amur Leopard, the White Naped Crane, the Hooded Crane or the Black Faced Spoonbill.
For those of you who have been living and working in Japan, Vladivostok is a great place to start your Trans-Siberian trip and the start of the longest single train ride on the planet.
Moscow is 9,288km from Vladivostok. The idea of a railway to connect the two was conceived in 1877. By 1891 the station at Vladivostok was being built and to highlight the importance of this the heir to the Russian throne, Nicolas II, participated in the stone-laying ceremony. The first station building was simple. The current, more impressive construction was constructed in 1912 and is regarded as one of the best stations along the whole of the Trans-Siberian route. In the 1990’s the station was extensively refurbished. At the terminal is an old steam engine with the number 9,288 on its side to represents the distance to Moscow.
Vladivostok Fortress Museum: (Muzey Vladivostokskaya Krepost). This place is full of all sorts of military hardware such as sea mines, torpedoes and supersonic missiles. Inside are informative displays about the defenses of Vladivostok (the fortress was once thought to be the best maritime defense structure in the world) as well as a good selection of old photographs.
Arsenev Regional Museum: (Kraevedchesky muzey Arseneva). This is the biggest and best of Vladivostok’s museums and covers everything from the flora and fauna of the region to the development of the city. A must to have your picture taken next to are the life sized Siberian tiger and bear locked in an eternal brawl! Besides this there are art displays and a small shop selling souvenirs.
Submarine Museum Submarine Museum: Down on the waterfront next to the war memorial and eternal flame is an old S56 submarine parked up on the pavement. Inside (and not for the claustrophobic) is a small museum as well as some engine rooms and torpedo hatches and an abundance of opportunities to crack your head open on low doorways. You’ll be left wondering how on earth people could spend more than half an hour inside such a vessel.
The Railway Station: Despite the fact you will definitely see this at some point on your stop in Vladivostok it is well worth going to look at it without your baggage and when you have a bit more time to appreciate it’s location by the water (and right next to the ferry terminal).
Views: The best view in the city is from the lookout at the top of Ulitsa Sukhanova and next to the DVGTU State Technical University. It’s a 20-minute walk up from the waterfront or for 10 cents you can take the funicular railway from next to the Pushinsky Theatre. The view from here at night is also worth a look.
Wandering: Many of the old buildings along the streets of central Vladivostok have been restored and walking around with the occasional stop in a café and in conjunction with a stroll along the waterfront with all it’s military and commercial shipping whilst getting it into your head that you are actually in Vladivostok! is an excellent way to spend a sunny summer afternoon in this most unusual of Russian cities.
‘I am back home from my grand adventure and just wanted to let you know – it was absolutely fantastic! Thank you for all your help organizing my crazy ideas and various extras and putting up with all my changes! I had an awesome time at each and every stop! All the guides were wonderful – Demi in Beijing, Sergey in Vladivostok, Nastja in Severobaikals, Lena in Irkutsk, Anatoly in Krasnoyarsk! (I hope I did not forget anybody!) I had so much fun with all of them. Please give my best to each and every one! All hotels were top choices and transfers were always reliably on time! Yet another trip of a lifetime! Thank you very much for making it happen! Best regards from Germany’
Guided city tour (4 hrs – by car)
Available: year round
Meet guide at hotel mid-morning and tour the city with your insightful and knowledgable local guide, who will explain the history of the City. You will learn about the mysterious Bahai and Djurdjeny and stories of myth, legend and Russian humour. You will visit the Central Square, city quay – Sportivnaya Gavan, Eagle Nest view point, and the ‘Millionka’ historical part of the city.
The tour lasts around 4 hours and there are options to have a Walking Tour, or with Driver Assistance – especially useful during winter!
No lunch is scheduled, but your guide can suggest a lunch spot if you wish.
City Sightseeing – Landmarks and Museums
4 hours – Available all year round
This four hour tour is based on the same itinerary as above, but you will have more time at the sights so your guide can explain in more depth the areas that are of most interest to you.
You will be able to deviate from the main route and see extra memorials and sights that are less well known. You can choose a Walking Tour, or by car – prices vary.
No lunch is scheduled, but your guide can suggest a lunch spot if you wish.
City Sightseeing – Landmarks and Museums
8 hours – Available all year round
This is a full day tour, to gain an indepth knowledge of the City and surroundings.
The tour will follow the same itinerary as above, but you will have time to visit all three museums (The ‘Regional Museum of Arsenev’, ‘Fortress of Vladivostok’ and the ‘Submarine C-56 Museum).
Other than the museums, you will visit the Scott Peninsula viewpoint, the ‘Two Bridges’ Construction Site, the city market and local shops.
The tour lasts around 8 hours and you will be accompanied by your driver and guide, as this tour includes places on the edge of the City it is not suitable as a walking tour.
Lunch is not included but your guide will suggest a suitable lunch spot as you prefer.
Russki Island – Military Tour of the Island
8 hours – Available all year round, weather permitting
A full day tour to the fascinating Russki Island. Your guide will meet you at the hotel for transfer to the the Sea Terminal (not not Morskoy Vokzal), where you will board the public ferry to Russki Island across the Golden Horn Bay which takes around 1 hour.
You will meet the local guide on the island who will show you military objects found on the island and you will visit the Voroshilov Battery. You will travel by car to different areas of the island. Picnic lunch is included. Return to your hotel in the afternoon.
Boat Cruise – Golden Horn Bay
3 hours – Available all year round, weather permitting
Your guide will meet you at the hotel for transfer to the the Ferry Terminal, where you will have a public boat tour to Russki Island across the Golden Horn Bay and the Amur Golf in the Sea of Japan. You will learn about the history of the region, enjoy the exhilarating sea air. You will spend around 2 hours on board, but do not have the chance to get off at Russki Island.
Golden Horn Bay is one of the essential sights of Vladivostok. The route takes you under the Golden Bridge, with panoramic views of the skyline, passing the base of the Pacific Fleet and Vladivostok port. You continue under the Russki Bridge, one of the world’s longest cable-stayed bridges, and pass the island with a colony of gulls and cormorants. Next, you’ll have a unique opportunity to see Barargina lighthouse from the water – the only way to view it as it’s located in the military area.
During this sea voyage you will also enjoy the magnificent Primorsky Oceanarium, the furthest point of Vladivostok – Tokarevsky lighthouse, pass by the city port before you return to the central pier.
Home Visit – Day with a Russian Family
2-3 hours – Available all year round, except major holidays
Experience typical Russian family life. Your guide will introduce you to a local Vladivostok family who live in the City. You will learn about everyday living, Russian culture, Russian traditions and take lunch with the family, which is normally prepared by the mother of the family.
3 to 4 hours – Available through every season
One of the largest research and expo facilities in the world is open since the 3rd of September 2016, with Vladimir Putin, Sindzo Abe (prime minister of Japan) and other high-ranking officials present. The building of 37,000 sq meters is in the shape of a seashell and almost the size of five football fields.
The expositions tell about the birth of the universe, the evolution of life in the oceans, as well as modern variety of life on our planet, both in fresh and marine waters. Most of the exposures are alive. Visitors have the unique opportunity to get acquainted with life in Russian waters of the Japanese Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk, the Bering Sea, Lake Baikal, the Amur River and Lake Khana. The expo covers cold polar seas, warm tropical rivers and seas, as well as the inhabitants of the open spaces of the ocean.
The exposition ‘Rainforest’ is an excellent opportunity to see the life of the inhabitants of the tropics. Sensations are amplified by sound, moist and juicy greens.
Transfers by car, guide and entrance tickets are included.
Kravtsovsky Waterfall Tour
6 hours – Available through every season
You will visit five waterfalls located near Kravtsovka village on the Kravtsovka River, in beautiful countryside and wild Russian Taiga forest.
Meet guide at hotel early morning and transfer to the Kravtsovka region around 2 hours drive.
Kravtsovka Falls are a series of five waterfalls, each different and beautiful their own way, ranging from a few metres to six metres drop and with plunge pools and stepped pools.
Skazka pool (Tail) – Kamennaya Chasha (Stone Cup) – Dikaya past (Wild mouth) – Stypenchatyi (Stepped) – Hrustalnyi (Crystal).
In Winter the river is frozen with amazing frozen ice columns and in Summer you see the cascade of coolness in a forest of green. The area is also beautiful in Autumn when the autumnal colours of the forest are a beautiful backdrop to the waterfalls. In Spring, the falls are at their fastest as the frozen waters thaw.
A picnic style lunch is included.
Safari Park Tour
4 to 5 hours – Available all year round
Safari Park is a recreation center founded as a shelter for abandoned or injured animals and open to visitors. There are three areas: ‘Siberian tigers and hoofed animals’, ‘Birds and wild animals of Primorye’ and ‘Amur Leopard Park’, where you’ll have a chance to see the Amur, or Far-Eastern Leopard, an endangered species with only 86 individuals left in the wild.
The park offers home and shelter to many animal and bird species of the Far-Eastern Russian taiga. Some are tamed, but many are returned to the wild after rehabilitation. Living conditions are very close to those in the wild.
You’ll be able to watch Siberian or Amur tigers, wild boar, sika deers, roe deers and red deers, asian black bears and other beautiful and rare animals.
Car transfers, guide, tickets and lunch are included.
Helicopter trip over Vladivostok
2 hours – Available all year round
The helicopter ride provides you with a truly unique view during a thrilling and entertaining experience.
Vladivostok is a remarkable city, with two of the largest suspension bridges in the world. The flight will show you the best view from the sky along with an adrenaline rush. You’ll see the Pacific Ocean in its true glory and endless size. This is where the sun rises in Russia, according the people from Vladivostok. Great views over Russky Island and twenty other islands of the Bay of Peter the Great. Maybe you’ll even be able to spot a whale!
The heli will take you over the most beautiful bay and heart of the city – the Golden Horn Bay, and see the Golden Bridge from an exclusive angle. A truly unique, exciting and memorable trip with great photo shoot opportunities.
Car transfers and 1 hour flight are included.
City Pub Crawl Vladivostok
4 hours – Available all year round
Vladivostok is a city of young people who know how to have a good time. At night it transforms into a city of lights, laughter, bars, restaurants and nightclubs.
Do you want to experience how Russians have fun? Would you be interested to see how the most beautiful cocktails are made by professional bartenders, and be surprised by their skills and creativity?
Visit the most popular city bars and night club; meet interesting people and have lots of fun. A great opportunity to see Vladivostok’s nightlife from the inside. We finish the unforgettable tour with a fascinating drive over the bridges with a view over the city at night, while having a nice cup of hot coffee.
Car transfers, guide and entry fees to the night clubs.
Various winter activities are available:
- Husky Sledding
- Ice Fishing
- Winter Hiking Tour
The ferry ‘Eastern Dream’ runs between Vladivostok and Korea / Japan. This is an ideal start to your overland trip home if you have been living or working in Japan or Korea. It’s also an option if you are travelling with a motorbike or vehicle! What, no train…?
Otherwise you can fly into Vladivostok via Beijing, Korea or Japan. The train service from Harbin to Vladivostok has been cancelled.
Sakaiminato <> Donghae <> Vladivostok Ferry
The passenger ferry ‘Eastern Dream’ makes a trip between Vladivostok (Russia) and Donghae (Korea) then Sakaiminato (Japan) once a week. This is a good standard and reliable service which has been running since July 2009. The ferry has a bar, restaurants and convenience store on board.
The schedule is disrupted every February / March when the ferry spends extended time in Japanese docks for annual maintenance.
We recommend contacting the DBS Cruise Ferry company directly for latest information and booking, though we can help arrange these e-tickets for you. Please contact us for exact dates and fares. We do not arrange extra booking services such as this unless you also book a Trans-Siberian train trip with us.
About the Ferry
Ferry Russia / Korea / Japan
Eastern Dream DBS Cruise Ferry
The ferry “Eastern Dream” was built in 1993 and is operated by DBS Cruise Ferry, Seoul.
Vessel length – 140 meters. Width – 20 meters. Full speed – 22 knots. Capacity – 500 passengers, 66 vehicles and 130 containers.
The decks are equipped with comfortable rooms with beds or with mattresses; there is a restaurant, recreation room, game club, shop, night club and sauna.
There are five types of guest rooms from Royal Suite (1 room with 2 passengers, equipped with double bed and ensuite bathroom) to Economy Class ‘C’ (4 rooms with 20 passengers and 1 room with 104 passengers; with futons and public bathroom).
-Royal Suite – 1 room with 2 passengers, with bathroom. (bath & toilet)
-Junior Suite – Double 1 room with 2 passengers, with bathroom (shower & toilet)
-First Class – Rooms with 4 or 6 passengers, with bathroom (shower & toilet)
-Second class – Rooms with single bunk beds, wider beds for 8 people or eastern style cabins with mattresses (futons) on the floor for up to 4 people, with public toilet room and bathroom.
-Economy class – with bunk beds for 72 or 20 people or tatami cabins in Asian style with mattresses (futons) on the floor for 24 or 12 passengers, with toilet room and public bathroom.
-Economy class – restrooms on each deck and shower rooms on C-deck and bathes on A-deck.
All cabins are spread over A B C Deck and all have tv’s and either mattresses (futons with bedding and pillows) or single / double beds as indicated. Suites are all on A Deck.
Most Family Class and all Suites are on the outside of the ship with windows. The main lobby and reception is on B Deck.
Korea / Japan <> China
There are regular passenger ferries travelling from Korea and Japan to China.
Fushiki (Japan) <> Vladivostok
The ‘Rus’ Ferry that plied the waters from Fushiki to Vladivostok has reportedly been sold and transferred to the Baltics.
Japan <> China
The journey only takes two days and is quite a relaxing way to arrive in China. There are a number of ferry companies and different routes available. The cheapest tickets (on Tatami mats) go for around ¥20,000 Yen.
Osaka / Kobe to Shanghai
Kobe to Tanggu Ferry Port near Tianjin.
Shimonoseki (West Honshu) to Qingdao.
Check out Seajapan for useful information on International ferries to China and travel information to Japan in general.
Korea <> China
Visit Korea has a wealth of ferry information on the ferries to China.