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'Lake Baikal: the very name fills Russian hearts with awe'
Mike Carter, The Observer

'You have amazing nature and unbelievably warm-hearted people...

By Olga Gertcyk
10 February 2016

'And I really like borsch…': conclusion of the Chinese adventurer who drove solo to the Pole of Cold.

'I became the first Chinese to conquer, all alone in my car, the coldest place on the planet where people constantly reside.' Picture: Yakutia

We want to salute Wu Yu, 34, the Siberian-obsessed traveller who spent his entire life's savings to drive all alone - in his off-road Hover vehicle - from his home in China to Oymyakon, the coldest village on the planet.

'It's my fifth time travelling to Russia,' he explained. 'I love your country a lot and believe it's the best place to travel. And the people are very good - open, kind. Perhaps, there are some bad Russians - but I haven't met them.'

Proudly he boasted: 'I became the first Chinese to conquer, all alone in my car, the coldest place on the planet where people constantly reside.'

In Oymyakon


Heading to Yakutia


In Yakutia

Wu Yu poses in Oymyakon. Pictures: Yakutia, 吴郁

His epic journey was fulfilling a childhood dream to visit Oymyakon which he first learned about in a Geography class at school, but his plan was to reach Magadan on the Pacific coast - a target that would prove too far, at least on this journey. 

He had begun, armed with all the necessary documentation, by crossing the border from China to Russia at a checkpoint in Manchuria and headed to Zabaikalsk. Then he took the Russian federal highway Amur and drove to the remote village of Bolshoi Never, before going north to Yakutsk, the coldest city the he world. 

'Although I don't understand Russian, I feel safe,' he said. 'Traffic regulations are different from those in China but I'm okay with that. Beforehand, I study the traffic regulations of the country I am travelling to. 

In Yakutia


Cooking


In Yakutia


In Khabarovsk

He explained how he reinforced the windows, protected the engine, slept in his car, and cooked on an oil stove and in an electric steamer which he plugged to a portable power generator. Pictures: 吴郁, Vostokmedia

'The most important part is not to confuse which side of the road you're driving on. I also observe the locals. By the way, your drivers are very educated.' His reward as he drove to the Pole of Cold in Oymyakon and the village of Tomtor were temperatures of around minus 60C.

He survived: but his car didn't he was forced to detour back to Yakutsk to get it fixed. 'All the way I was singing a song of my favourite Russian singer - Vassya Oblomoff - called 'I'm going to Magadan'. But I failed. I will definitely make it to Magadan next time.'

On his way back he had a stopover in Khabarovsk to tell about his adventure. He explained how he reinforced the windows, protected the engine, slept in his car, and cooked on an oil stove and in an electric steamer which he plugged to a portable power generator. 

He concluded: 'You have amazing nature and unbelievably warm-hearted people. I really like borsch.'

In Yakutia


In Yakutia


In Mammoth Museum


Car in snow

Wu Yu already plans another journey to coquer Magadan and Chukotka. Pictures: 吴郁, Mikhail Potapov

Wu Yu is hoping to save enough money to return to Russia in two or three years. His aim then is to drive to Magadan, and from here north to the village of Uelen in Chukotka - after which he wants to head for Alsaka.

'All in all I spent about 100,000 yuan (around $15,200) on the trip, all my savings,' he said. 'By the way, it is now a lot cheaper to travel to Russia because of the exchange rate.' His trip was reported by several Chinese television channels. 

'Tourism is developing very actively in China, and tours to Russia are particularly popular,' he said. 'I want to share that nature is very beautiful in Russia - and the people are the kindest.'

Comments (1)

Quite an adventurer! As they say: "Follow your passion"! Keep on driving, Mr. Wu Yu. If you want more "cold", come and visit Northern Canada: Yukon, Northwest Territory and Nunavut. You will find the people as welcoming and openhearted as Siberians. Stay safe, and more happy trails!
E. Espinosa, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
11/02/2016 09:40
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