Advance Planning

  • Chornobyl is located 110km north of Kyiv city centre as the crow flies, around two hours' drive.
  • You can only realistically visit Chornobyl as part of a guided tour from Kyiv. Expect to pay US$80 to US$110 per person to join a group day tour, or $240 to US$350 to join a two-day tour including full room and board. Private tours are much more expensive.
  • Prices vary from operator to operator and are influenced by the number of people in your group, whether it's a weekday (cheaper) or weekend, and overall level of comfort and amenities of the tour.
  • To join a tour you must be over 18 years of age (no children are allowed into the exclusion zones).
  • The earlier you book your trip, the cheaper it will be. Five to seven days prior is usually the minimum, although three days might be possible on weekdays.
  • Day tours leave Kyiv early morning, returning in the early evening.
  • On multiple-day trips you can sleep with the dragon, so to speak, or at least pretty darn close to the dragon, in the town of Chornobyl near the outer limits of the exclusion zone.
  • You can visit any time of year; however, as most of the tour takes place outdoors, warmer months are better.

Resources

Visit Kyiv (www.visitkyiv.travel) The best of several websites run by the city tourism office. Extremely informative and includes events listings.

Kiev Check-In (www.kievcheckin.com) Useful website of a popular local entertainment-and-travel magazine.

Kyiv Tourist (www.visitkyiv.com.ua) Heaps of city-related info.

Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/ukraine/kyiv) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.

Top Tips

  • Do remember your passport – you won't be allowed on the bus without it.
  • Do wear clothes that cover most of your body – no shorts, T-shirts or sandals (gloves, hat or gas mask not required!).
  • Do not sit on the ground or let personal items touch the ground, especially in contaminated zones.
  • Do not enter any buildings without the permission of your guide.
  • Do take bottled water and a snack as lunch is sometimes served very late in the day.
  • Don't take photos of anything you're told not to by the guides, especially around checkpoints.
  • Don't pocket 'souvenirs' from the buildings in Pripyat – much of the junk strewn around the place is radioactive.
  • Don't eat berries, mushrooms or anything else you may find growing in the forests around Chornobyl, and never drink any water except in the lunch canteen.