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From BAM to Sakhalin

BAM completists will end up in the grey Soviet port town of Vanino (actually the BAM ends 15 minutes beyond Vanino, in Sovetskaya Gavan-Sortirovka). From Vanino, there is a Sakhalin Shipping Company ferry around three times a week leaving at varying times of day to Kholmsk on Sakhalin Island (tickets R1950 to R4200 depending on class, 18 hours). Do be aware that the two ferries working this route are very old, cramped and break down frequently. Despite this, your biggest obstacle is the unpredictable and fast-changing weather in the Strait of Tartary. Call the ticket office in Vanino the day before to reserve a seat and to check if the next day’s ship is likely to sail, as it's far nicer to be stuck in Komsomolsk-na-Amure than Vanino.