Getting there & away
From the often-quiet train station, facing pl Lenina, the fastest train is 1, which heads north at 6.55pm daily, stopping at Tymovskoe (R992, 12½ hours) and the end of the line Nogliki (R1193, 14½ hours). Train 2 comes back, leaving Nogliki daily at 3pm and leaving Tymovskoe at 7.40pm.
Boat services leave from various ports around southern Sakhalin. Buses (about R60) leave for the port towns regularly from outside the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk train station.
From April to December, ferries run to Wakkanai on Hokkaido (from US$182 one way, five hours) from Korsakov. Book tickets at Sakhalin Fantastic (/fax 420 917; www.sakhalin-fantastic.ru; ul Lenina 154, room 502; 9am-1pm & 2-5pm Mon-Fri). Bus 115 runs every half hour to Korsakov. Microbuses stop at the port; bigger ones stop inland, where you'll need to grab a local bus to the water.
Leave-when-full ferries head regularly to Vanino (and the BAM rail line) on the mainland from Kholmsk. For ferry information from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, call 8233-66098 or 8233-66516 a day ahead to snag a space and find departure times (R760 to R1021, 14 hours). It's not easy arranging this by phone. To reach Kholmsk, take bus 518. The bus continues on to Nevelsk, where (expensive) charter boats sail to Moneron Island. Boats need to be prebooked through an agent in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.
Bus 111 leaves regularly for Aniva, a kilometre from the water. A bay-direct summer bus leaves from 777 (ul Chekhova).
The airport is 8km south of the centre. There are daily flights to/from Khabarovsk (R4300, 1½ hours), Moscow (R8000 to R12, 000, nine hours) and Vladivostok (R5700, two hours), and to Kunashir on the Kuril Islands four times weekly (R6600 return) and once weekly to Komsomolsk (R4750, 1½ hours). There are also less-regular flights to Blagoveshchensk, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk and St Petersburg.
In addition to domestic flights, SAT (422 782; Kommunisichesky pr 49; 10am-7pm) flies three times weekly to/from Hakodate (US$360, two hours) and twice weekly to Sapporo (US$360, 1½ hours), both on the Japanese island of Hokkaido; and five times weekly to Seoul (US$390, three hours). There's an international departure tax of around R600, payable on check-in.
You can buy domestic or international tickets at Primorskoye Aeroagentstvo(437 474; Kommunisichesky pr 74; 8am-7pm).