There are many mysterious, little-known and unique places in Russia: one of them, the Putorana plateau, is often called the northern miracle of Russia. The mountain range, on the territory of which the Putoransky Nature Reserve is located, is not for nothing recognized as a World Heritage Monument.
What is the uniqueness of the plateau, its characteristics and features of relief, climate, nature
The Putorana Plateau is a beautiful and harsh place, located in the very north of the Krasnoyarsk Territory beyond the Arctic Circle. On the one hand, the plateau borders with Taimyr, on the north and west of the plateau there are quite steep ledges. On the southern and eastern sides, the Putorana mountain range has more gentle slopes. The area of the plateau is about 250 thousand square kilometers, its highest point is 1700 m – Mount Kamen. Norilsk is the largest city with an airport closest to the plateau.
There are a huge number of waterfalls on Putoran: they flow down in thin streams and majestic cascades. There are also giants among them – for example, the Kandinsky Waterfall.
The Putorana plateau is perhaps the oldest basalt plateau, scientists have calculated its age of formation after the eruption of a super volcano – more than 252 million years ago.
The climate on the plateau is sharply continental: winter here lasts three quarters of the year, and the air temperature sometimes beats all sorts of cold records. The nature of the plateau is striking in its diversity . In winter, the temperature here is usually 40 degrees, on the warmest day the air warms up to + 16 degrees. Putoran is the geographical center of Russia – Lake Vivi.
Despite the cold belt, amazing deep lakes, cascades of falling water, mountains with deep canyons and stormy rivers are waiting for travelers here. In winter, waterfalls freeze and form an amazing spectacle of bizarrely frozen streams of water.
A feature of the Putorana protected area is a ban on the construction of any economic facilities and construction works here. It is not for nothing that the Putorana Plateau is called the Russian Pole of inaccessibility: you need to enter or fly into the territory of the reserve only accompanied by its employees.
The uniqueness of Putorana is also in the fact that almost 10 thousand lakes and waterfalls (the highest in the country) are concentrated on the plateau. The main feature of the plateau is the mountains without peaks, which is why the locals dubbed the Putorana plateau (translated from the Yukagira people Putorano — “mountains without peaks).
There are no well—trodden trails and excursions on the plateau – the reserve staff strictly monitors the preservation of the unique atmosphere of the place. By purchasing tours to the Putorana plateau, you can you can see the amazing landscapes of the northern region only as part of a helicopter tour or a scientific expedition.
The dream of seeing waterfalls has stuck in me for a long time… The prelude was a trip to northern Laos six years ago.
Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Pakse (central and southern Laos).
I heard about the waterfalls of the plateau from a cheerful and slightly drunken group of backpackers huddled on the poop of a slowboat that was heading along the calm Mekong to Luang Prabang in October 2014 … And since then it has turned from a dream into an irresistible desire, in fact, like any other … to places I have not explored in Southeast Asia.
Having traveled through the countries of almost the entire Southeast Asian region during this time, I finally got to travel to Laos.
The route through Laos included: Vientiane, the tourist village of Vang Vieng and then a 13-hour transfer to the capital of southern Laos, Pakse, from where it was planned to rent a scooter and go on a cruise along the plateau with a length of about 400 kilometers.
As always, after landing in Bangkok, and most of my routes start from the city of Angels, I took the subway and flew over the city to Makkasan station ‒ there is a connection with the underground branch leading to the central railway station of the capital Hua Lampong.
There, before settling into the guest, I wanted to buy tickets in advance for a night reserved seat to the Nong Khai border with Laos. The tickets cost me 900 baht. The train started three days later at 20.00 from the 5th platform. Three days were spent on a visit to shaman Ajahn Kobu in Ayutthaya.
The Thai reserved seat is a fairly comfortable train, clean and modernized according to the latest … Well, the Thai conductors who make your bed shock you by politely bringing warmed blankets to the night, because the car split systems work conscientiously. In general, by the early morning of the next day, the train arrives at the border with Laos, and by lunchtime, overcoming the familiar procedure of filling in and crossing border control, I am driving over the Friendship Bridge across the wide Mekong separating the two countries.
Checking into one of the many hotels in sluggish Vientiane, I immediately rent a bike and go to see the sights, packed in advance in my Garmin pedestrian.
I need to do as much as possible, I have only a day before leaving for Vang Vieng, the schedule is tight…
I will note right away that a detailed description will be prioritized only directly for the section of the waterfalls of the Bolaven plateau, because the whole route is very voluminous and requires a separate story … I will note only significant, from my point of view, moments…
After visiting the temples of Laos and the Putasai Arch, I had lunch, and rushed to the Buddha Park 25 km from the city along the Mekong River. And in the evening at the guest, karma bumped me into one extraordinary person ‒ his name was Pavel, and as it turned out, it was a fairly well-known guide to Laos and Myanmar in the Russian-speaking space. We chatted until morning and agreed to meet in Vang Vieng in a day. He left earlier in some kind of clunker, bought for cheap the day before.
The next morning, a mini-bass picked me up from the guest house and four hours later, passing the mountain serpentines, I drove up to Vang Vieng…
What can I say about Vang Vieng?!
It’s worth visiting here at least once, it’s a very beautiful place! It impresses with its uniqueness and primitive novelty!
After visiting everything possible to go around by bike and climbing the local hills, I bought a ticket Vang Vieng-Vientiane-Pakse and 3 days later, in the morning I went to the next point of my trip.
The journey from Vientiane to Pakse was quite painless… Waking up at 5 a.m. and finding that my neighbors got off somewhere at night, I sprawled on the second floor of the slip-bass, settled down at the huge windshield and began to absorb the sights.
In Pax, we drove into the middle of the afternoon in the heat… We had to take a tooker and go to the center on the street where the main bike rental offices were located.
In short, thanks to the Asian red tape of slowness and bureaucracy, I started two hours later and after leaving the city (about 10 kilometers later) I saw a sign of arrival at the first waterfall.
To say that this spectacle fascinates, hypnotizes, leads to a stupor is not to say anything… You can look at water and fire for a long time. To the waterfalls of Bolaven – ENDLESSLY!
After the first waterfall of Laos, I decided to stop by the local coffee plantation. The small town of Paksong – a magnificent variety of Robusta is grown here (the climate of the plateau helps) … And here you can also buy it and take a sample.
On the first day I drove around about 10 waterfalls and after a 200 km run I was exhausted. It was getting late and it was necessary to look for housing, but it was not “BOOKING.lumpy” coverage area, so an internet search didn’t give anything…
It is clear that the BUDDHA took pity on the tired Russian backpacker on a Japanese moped whistling with a bearing and … at the entrance to the next village, an advertisement for a local guest (unaccounted for on the World Wide Web) was drawn.
I drove into a wide courtyard and immediately took off my backpack, which corrected my posture so much that I walked the rest of the evening with my shoulders turned back…
I was so tired that sleep overcame hunger, and taking a “Lao shower” instantly fell into nirvana.
The departure was early… I said goodbye to the owners and drove slowly along the route, which had already rounded off to the northern border of the plateau. There were several more cascading waterfalls along the way, but not as big as the previous ones, but also memorable!
In the morning, villages came to life, students in national uniforms and pioneer ties hurried to school. The peasants were harvesting rice…
And everyone was staring at me like I was a miracle… And if I had to make stops, then I turned into a museum exhibit.
When I got to Pakse, I handed over the moped and went to look for a bus station from which I could get to Bangkok. The move cost me 950 baht and 15 hours of travel with a restless Thai woman in the neighborhood. In short, I arrived in Tai at 4 o’clock in the morning at the Wet bus station, completely killed, and having reached the hotel by the first metro, in the Ratchatevi district, I fell asleep.
Then there was a week-long stay in his native Bangkok, but that’s another story…
Author of the article: Oleg Basov – organizer of tours in Asia
VK account: vk.com/basovole
Photo: Oleg Basov
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