I’m exploring 90 degrees east longitude, better known as the 90th meridian east. This line falls right between the prime meridian and the 180th meridian on the eastern part of our longitudinal coordinates. This page is part of my Voyageography geographic series to help better understand all 360 degrees of the world. On each page of this project I take it one 1 degree at a time to uncover the entire world. This time I look at the 90th meridian east between 89.5 degrees east to 90.5 degrees east from 90 degrees north to south.
90°E runs across the Arctic north and Arctic bodies of water, down through the Siberian Russia, crosses vast parts of Asia, crosses vast bodies of water to finally end at the South Pole in Antarctica. You will discover the highlights of all the countries and territories located within .5 degrees of the 90th meridian east, including what’s there, some travel tips as well as travel information to plan a trip in case you want to explore any parts in the real world. Take time read and to interact with all the maps and links.
Arctic Ocean – 90°N to 81°N
On the Arctic Sea Ice News, we can see the ice sheet that sits over the North Pole goes down on the 90th meridian east. On average ice can reach around here to mainland Russia at around 76°N.
Starts: 90°00’00.0″N 90°00’00.0″E
Exits: 81°13’34.3″N 90°00’00.0″E
581 miles long
Given that this portion of the Arctic Ocean is located north of Russia, this area of the world is pretty tough to visit. It is possible to take tours, like Polar Cruises, Arctic Odysseys, Deutsche Polarflug, Icetrek, PolarExplorers, and North Pole Adventures to the North Pole. This part of the Arctic northern ocean is pretty remote and if you were coming from the 90th meridian east line you would need to go with a Russian ice breaking ship.
Kara Sea – 81°N to 76°N
At the extreme north the Kara Sea is mostly frozen year round. Situated just north of the Russian mainland the Kara Sea is a hard place to travel to.
Enters: 81°02’16.3″N 90°00’00.0″E
Exits: 75°33’22.9″N 90°00’00.0″E
379 miles long
Because the Kara Sea is located just north of Russia and doesn’t have a warm current, it remains frozen for around 9 months of the year. To get here you would need to take an icebreaker however even that’s no easy task. Mainland Russia below is mostly deserted so you would probably need to take a ship from a city like Murmansk.
Kara Sea is not exactly pristine either. The Soviet Union use to dump their nuclear waste in the Kara Sea and it has the potential to be contaminated.
Russia – 81°N to 50°N
The 90th meridian east covers vast empty land through Sibera. Although the 90th meridian east is in Russia for over 2,000 miles, it barely touches any major cities except in the southern parts of Krasnoyarsk Krai, Khakassia and Tuva.
Enters: 81°13’34.3″N 90°00’00.0″E
Exits: 49°59’05.5″N 90°00’00.0″E
2,158 miles long
The 90th meridian east starts in Russia near the the icy island of Komsomolets Island. It follows much of its time in Russia in the region known as Krasnoyarsk Krai, a region so large it covers land nearly one quarter the size of the entire country of Canada. The Krasnoyarsk Krai region is native to people and languages that resemble close to Native Americans however a vast majority today are of Russian heritage.
However, northern Siberia is very remote. In fact no town exists on the 90th meridian east for some 965 miles south of the Arctic Ocean. The land north of here is mostly covered in tundra, with then the eventual appearance of grass and thick forests. The first city on the 90th meridian east is Bor, Russia, and comes at around 61°N. It’s pretty rural and the only way to travel here reliably is by plane or by boat as it sits on the Yenisei River.
Further south there are more cities that pop up including, Jarcevas, Krivlyak, and Sopka. Theses cities remain rural, small and hard to access. Your best bet to travel through this region is by train or by air, usually starting from the relatively large city of Krasnoyarsk. At the city of Achinsk you will find where the Trans-Siberian Railway crosses, a possible tourist attraction for those who seek adventure on a train. Check out the Trans-Siberian Travel Company, On The Go Tours, Travel All Russia or use other resources like Seat 61.
After the large region of Kranosyarsk Krai, the 90th meridian east enters the region of Khakassia. The region is named after the Khakass people, who are more closely related to the Kyrgyz people of Kyrgyzstan. There are couple of villages that straddle the 90th meridian east including the town of Abaza. To get here you would first need to go to the capital of Khakassia, Abazan. The landscape is mountainous and scenic.
The 90th meridian east finally enters it’s last region in Russia in the region known as Tuva. Tuva is actually pretty unique and has traditions and customs close to Mongolia including Tibetan Buddhism and Shamanism. Tuva is very mountainous and almost completely cut off from mainland Russia. There are few roads and no train service to the region however it is possible to take a train to Abazan and then take a bus into Tuva. One of the main reasons to visit is the unique throat singing called Khoomei. There are tours offered to the region like this Sayan Ring tour.
From here the 90th meridian east enters a mountainous region that borders right up to the country of Mongolia.
Mongolia – 50°N to 48°N
The 90th meridian east enters Mongolia in a remote mountainous part and continues through the extreme western part of Mongolia for around 150 miles. This area is remote but is accessible through roads and air service from Ulaanbataar. There are officially no border fences with both Russia or China so be careful with crossing as you do need visas and permits. The 90th meridian east exits into China around 48°N.
Enters: 50°03’01.5″N 90°00’00.0″E
Exits: 47°52’52.8″N 90°00’00.0″E
150 miles long
The 90th meridian east enters western Mongolia at around 50°N. Western Mongolia differs from eastern Mongolia culturally in that it’s predominantly more Islamic. Bordering Russia the landscape is barren and mountainous including mountains like Türgen Uul. Nearby is the city of Tsagaannuur. It lies much closer to the borders of Russia and China than Mongolias capital and has special privileges including easy trading with those two nations.
Ölgii lies below Tsagaannuur and is one of the largest cities in the region. It’s occupied by mostly Kazakh people and was a Kazakh village before Mongolia was formed in 1911. Ölgii serves as the starting off point for visiting Altai Tavan Bogd National Park and Tsambagarav National Park Inside it’s possible to see beautiful snow-capped mountains, glaciers, wildlife, nomadic herders still living in felt tents called gers, and eagle hunters just outside the city. It’s possible to see wildlife too argali sheep, ibex, snow leopard, rock ptarmigan and Altai snowcock.
It’s probably easiest to get to this area by flying into Ölgii from Ulaanbaatar or it’s possible to drive from Russia and China. It should be noted that it’s best to speak or at least understand Russian, Mongolian, or Chinese and to have a border permits if your within 100 km of the the border. There are no border markings marking the Mongolian / Russian border. It is possible to cross without realizing so make sure to stay aware. If you see red flags, that marks the border with China and you need to turn around.
China – 48°N to 28°N
The 90th meridian east enters China in the remote, arid, northwest mountains in the province of Xinjiang. It then continues through western China for 1,351 miles and through the provinces of Qinghai, and the autonomous region of Tibet. The 90th meridian east exits China at around 28°N with the disputed border of Bhutan.
Enters: 47°52’52.8″N 90°00’00.0″E
Exits: 28°19’56.2″N 90°00’00.0″E
1,351 miles long
The 90th meridian east passes through mostly remote parts of China. It first makes it way through the Chinese province of Xinjiang in a remote area filled with desert and beautiful mountains.
The 90th meridian east comes close to the major city of Turpan and goes directly over the cities of Mori, Shanshan, the Ancient City of Gaochang, and Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves. This area was a major stopping point for silk road travelers but destroyed by war in the 14th century. It’s possible to travel here through here via Ürümqi or Turpan.
Further south the landscape is barren and transitions to the most eastern part of the Taklamakan Desert. Around 40°N there is a former salt lake but recently has been used as a nuclear test site. It’s dry most of the year and can range from very hot to downright freezing in the winter. It would be advised to not cross this area alone or without help from experienced guides.
Near the northern border of Tibet the landscape becomes a high desert plateau with an average elevation of 13,000 feet. The landscape is barren with hundreds of lakes scattered throughout the land as well as beautiful mountains. The 90th meridian east then straddles the extreme western part Qinghai province and then fully enters into Tibet for the rest of China. This part of Qinghai is very mountainous with access to the area almost impossible.
Entering Tibet the 90th meridian east makes its way through several large lakes and mountains. There are more villages located in southern Tibet like Nyemo and Nagare which are really only accessible through Lhasa. Tibet is really only possible by taking a guided tour and it’s essential to always have a permit from the Chinese government. Tibet has always been a hot button issue and ordinary Tibetans have set themselves on fire in protest. Sometimes the borders are completely closed and no outside foreigners are allowed in. If you can get in, try to soak up the remaining elements of Tibetan culture that hasn’t completely been stamped out by the Chinese.
Bhutan – 28°N to 27°N
The 90th meridian east enters the country of Bhutan at around 28°N from the mountainous region of Tibet. The 90th meridian east then goes for another 111 miles until the Indian border at around 27°N. The entire country of Bhutan lies in mountains and hills and has some of the most picturesque scenery in the world.
Enters: 28°19’56.2″N 90°00’00.0″E
Exits: 26°43’43.1″N 90°00’00.0″E
111 miles long
The line first enters a disputed territory with China in the extreme northern region of Bhutan. Here the elevation is among the highest in the world and certainly almost impossible to navigate to unless you have special permission. One mountain, Gangkhar Puensum, on the border of China and Bhutan is just right of the 90th meridian east and is probably the highest mountain to have never been climbed.
Further south the 90th meridian east enters the center part of the country where most travelers will begin their travels in Bhutan. The capital city of Thimphu falls within the 90th meridian east’s range and is the jumping off point for all of Bhutan. In fact if you’re traveling to Bhutan you will need to go through a tour company before entering the country. The tour is always the same price for everybody, unless you want more luxury, and it comes with food, hotel, and a guide.
Bhutan is the worlds only truly Buddhist country. Life is measured by happiness instead of wealth and the goal for the country is to keep the landscape as pristine as possible. Some of the things to do here include hiking, and one of the most famous hikes is from the city of Paro to the capital of Thimphu. Thimphu itself is home to a small capital city tucked away in the mountains and is the place to find unique festivals, weekend markets and traditional pharmacies selling all types of herbal compounds. Thimphu is also known for it’s crafts and you can find many stores that cater to selling authentic crafts.
Further south the mountains become more like hills until closer to the Indian border the hills almost disappear. There are several animal sanctuaries worth considering including Phipsoo Wildlife Sanctuary and Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park.
There are many tour companies that offer service to Bhutan. Remember you have to use a legal tour service to even get in the country! Lonely Planet list many different types of tours and different tour companies. You could also use Bhutan Travelers, GeoEx, Boundless Journeys, Swallowtail Tours, and Raven Tours and Trek.
India – 27°N to 25°N
The 90th meridian east comes out of the Himalayan mountains and onto a tropical flat plain into India at around 27°N. Here the climate is hot, and wet; stark contrast from the chilly mountains and high plateaus further north. The 90th meridian east only stretches for a 100 miles into India before exiting into Bangladesh at around 25°N.
Enters: 26°43’43.1″N 90°00’00.0″E
Exits: 25°16’42.5″N 90°00’00.0″E
100 miles long
কা কতিয়েন খাশি (Khasi)
The line first enters into India at a remote jungle, however there are several tea gardens in the 90th meridian east range and some major cities like Alipurduar, and Dhubri which lies on the Brahmaputra river. This part of the 90th meridian east comes right on the border of the states of Assam and West Bengal. Both are known as tea states and mostly grow black tea.
Alipurduar in West Bengal has the Buxa Tiger Reserve to see wildlife up close including tigers, leopards, elephants, Himalayan black bear, pangolin and pythons. Jayanti, near the Bhutan border, has amazing overview of the hills, mountains and exotic wildlife native to this part of India. The nearest airport would be in Bagdogra, where you then could take a train.
Further south, in the state of Assam, lies the city of Dhubri on the great Brahmaputra river and the Gadadhar rivers. Assam itself is worth a visit for the tropical birds, rainforest, grasslands, bamboo orchards and the numerous wetlands it contains. Dhubri is known as the city of rivers being surrounded by 3 rivers. To get to this region there are no direct flights. You would have to travel to a major city like Guwahati to fly in and then either take a train or a car.
The 90th meridian east crosses the Brahmaputra river into the state of Meghalaya, one of the rainiest and most mountainous states of India. The western part of Meghalaya passes through mostly remote jungle, mountains and hills and the only major city the 90th meridian east passes is through is the city of Tura. Near the city of Tura is the Nokrek National Park, an area concentrated with biodiversity and is an UNESCO world heritage site. The park has a range from wildlife like red panda, elephants, tigers, marbled cat, macaques, hoolocks, and all types of tropical birds.
Bangladesh – 25°N to 22°N
From India the 90th meridian east enters Bangladesh at around 25°N. It goes 227 miles until the Bay of Bengal at around 22°N. The line crosses for much of central Bangladesh and crosses near Bangladesh’s largest city, Dhaka. On the western side of the line the Brahmaputra river also makes it’s way down central Bangladesh.
Enters: 25°16’42.5″N 90°00’00.0″E
Exits: 21°59’45.7″N 90°00’00.0″E
227 miles long
The 90th meridian east enters Bangladesh in the Division of Mymensingh which is about 100 miles north of the capital of Dhaka. There isn’t much here tourist wise except a few temples, tea plantations and the fact that it’s slightly cooler because of it’s proximity to the Himalayas.
Following the Brahmaputra River further down south the 90th meridian east hits the central part of Bangladesh. The city of Dhaka is by far the largest city on the 90th meridian easts path with a population of just over 14 million. If you’re heading to Bangladesh you’ll most likely fly into Dhaka and it’s the jumping point for the rest of Bangladesh. Dhaka is a huge sprawling city and there is much to see in the area. Bangladesh is a Muslim country and there are many mosques and temples around the city.
Dhaka is really known for it’s wide variety of shopping and food. In every neighborhood you can find bazaars and huge shopping malls. For food it’s wise to actually find legit restaurants. Unlike other places in the world, foreigners can’t buy street food or is unwise to do so. Dhaka isn’t particularly unsafe but it’s best to schedule your taxi or car in advance and make sure to have a hotel scheduled. Bangladesh is relatively cheap so it should be easy to find a reasonable hotel for not that much money before you arrive.
The 90th meridian east continues through the Dhaka Division to the more balmy southern Bangladesh. From Dhaka the line enters into the Barisal Division and the last part of Bangladesh before the Bay of Bengal. Kuakata is the main tourist spot in this region and home to one of the few beaches that have both a sunrise and sunset position. It is a spiritual place for both Buddhist and Hindu. Getting here is a task as you would need to take a bus to Barishal and then either drive or take a ferry to Kuakata.
Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean, Southern Ocean – 22°N to 67°S
From massive Asia the 90th meridian east enters it’s longest stretch until hitting Antarctica.
Enters: 21°59’45.7″N 90°00’00.0″E
Exits: 66°47’30.4″S 90°00’00.0″E
6,135 miles long
After Bangladesh the 90th meridian east travel for over 6,000 miles through several bays and oceans. First is the Bay of Bengal, just off the coast of Bangladesh. Here it’s possible to see coral reefs, dolphins, mangroves, sea snakes, endangered sea turtles, tuna, marlins, hogfishes, whales, and all types of exotic birds. Cruises and cargo ships frequently visit these waters so it is possible to visit this part of the 90th meridian east.
From the Bay of Bengal the waters open up to the vast Indian Ocean. The Indian Ocean stretches a little north of the equator to the border of the Southern Ocean which is around 60 degrees south. Of course many ships pass through this ocean, including passenger ships, as Asia is the most populous part of the world. Tuna and shrimp are the most common species that are fished here and it’s also possible to see dugong, seals, turtles, and whales. This is pretty polluted and unfortunately many animals face a decline in their population.
Antarctica – 67°S to 90°S
Enters: 66°47’30.4″S 90°00’00.0″E
Ends: 90°00’00.0″S 90°00’00.0″E
1,617 miles long
The 180th meridian actually hits Antarctica pretty far south in longitude at around 78 degrees south. However that’s only the official land since ice can extend well north of that point. Nobody owns Antarctica however this region is claimed by New Zealand.
One of the many highlights of this area of Antarctica is definitely the Ross Sea Ice Shelf and the Transantarctic Mountains, both stunningly beautiful in their own right.
Countries and Territories on 180 degrees
6 countries and 1 territory
Notable Bodies of Water
Bay of Bengal
Total Languages Spoken
Time Zones Covered
GMT +5:30, +6, +7, +8
Longitudes of the World Archive