Do you want to visit the abandoned buildings inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone?
You may have already seen my photos of Prypyat and Chernobyl. Well, now I’ve also compiled my footage into a 3 minute video showing you what it was like to be there.
I’ve had many people ask questions about the tour, so below you’ll find some FAQs about how we travelled to Chernobyl from Kiev.
FAQs about visiting Chernobyl:
Q. How do you get into the exclusion zone?
You must book a tour to visit the exclusion zone as independent travel to the area is not allowed. There are a handful of tour companies offering trips to Chernobyl for tourists visiting Kiev.
Q. Which tour company did you go with?
After reading some online reviews, we chose to go with SoloEast Travel on a day tour. It was fairly fast-paced but we managed to fit in all the main sights.
If you want to explore the area in depth, you can actually do a multi-day tour through the exclusion zone. This would be a great option for anyone wanting to do some photography and see more of the sights that might get skipped over on the day tours.
Q. How much did it cost?
Most day tours cost between 100-150 USD per person. For our booking, we paid a 10% deposit online, and paid the remainder in cash (local currency) on the day of the tour.
Q. What was the transportation?
Our tour was in a mini van.
Q. What was the group size?
There were about 10-12 travellers on our tour from a number of different nationalities, plus an informative English speaking guide and a driver. You can also book private tours if you want a more personalised experience.
Q. What was the tour itinerary?
We departed Kiev at about 8:00 am and returned around 6:00 pm. It’s a 2 hour drive to the exclusion zone, and on the way a documentary was played detailing Chernobyl’s history.
Once we arrived, we went through various checkpoints then explored some abandoned buildings inside the township of Chernobyl including the kindergarten. In Prypyat we went inside the high school, a sports centre, and around the amusement park. We also stood outside the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and saw the sarcophagus surrounding the damaged reactor.
Q. Were there other people in the exclusion zone?
We ran into one other tour group about the same size as ours when we stopped to take photos of the Welcome to Prypyat sign, but that’s about it. For the most part we were the only people in sight, aside from the guards at the checkpoints and workers at the power plant.
Q. Is the radiation safe?
This is the main question I get asked when telling people about our trip to Chernobyl. We were told the level of radiation is quite safe for short term exposure. You can actually rent a geiger counter for the trip to test radiation levels, which I would highly recommend doing. It’s super interesting to find random spots of radiation so many years after the accident.
There are plenty of people (around 300 I think) that actually live in the Chernobyl township inside the exclusion zone and work in and around the power plant, decommissioning the retired reactors and constructing the new sarcophagus to cover Reactor No. 4. They only spend a few days there per week, and have to take longer periods of time away from the site so that their bodies have time to recover.
On the way out of the exclusion zone we had to go through an old soviet radiation control checkpoint. Not sure if it actually did anything as it looked fairly basic but they were adamant the device worked!