This article appears in SUITCASE Volume 19: The Wild Issue.

To sail to Russia’s Far East is to bid farewell to the modern world and say hello instead to active volcanoes, hungry grizzly bears and playful orcas. This part of the planet is so wild and remote that only the vicious Bering Strait lies between the end of the land and Alaska.

Order Volume 19

We embarked on a month-long voyage with L’Austral, a new high-tech expedition ship owned by Ponant, the luxury French cruise company. The unknown region of Chukotka was on our itinerary, along with the Kuril islands, Sakhalin and the Kamchatka peninsula. If Russia on a world map looks a bit like an animal on the run with its tongue sticking out, then Kamchatka is the tongue. This 1,250km stretch of land is caught between the Pacific and the Sea of Okhotsk.

There are few people here, and nature is at its most grand and impressive. The peninsula has one of the most dynamic landscapes in the world – home to glaciers and more than 300 volcanoes, of which 29 are active.

While our ship took care of our every need – we were offered plates of salmon caviar and cups of vodka – Kamchatka itself proved to be a rugged land of adventure. Our expeditions involved scrambling across craggy rocks to visit indigenous settlements, keeping a watchful eye out for whales, walruses and bears along the way.

Get an Annual Subscription

Four titles delivered straight to your door, £24

You May Also Like

City Guides

You know how you have that one incredible friend who knows their city inside out? That’s us. We take the world’s most dynamic destinations, hand-pick the best bits and give them to you in one place. This is the kind of guide that you don’t need to run by a local – it was written by one. Eat your heart out, shop until you drop, drink like a fish, dance your socks off, sleep – then repeat.


Curate your bookcase with the full SUITCASE library. From Volume 2 through 29, we've been around the world, explored uncharted landscapes and reexamined travel perceptions along the way. We invite you to do the same; grow your collection today.

Download Suitcase App
Learn More