Monday 4 March 2013

Booking your trip to Chernobyl

Ever wanted to visit Chernobyl and Pripyat ?? It's comes across little daunting for most prospective travellers, so here is our little travel guide of what we did to get to see Chernobyl and Pripyat.

The plan was a party of three to the Ukraine, stopping off at Kiev for a night, two days in Chernobyl and Pripyat with a return to Kiev for the final day of the trip.

A good number of travelers to Chernobyl and Pripyat are from the Urban Exploring fraternity, group trips are organized via the various exploring forums and websites, but if like ourselves your not wishing to travel on mass you can book via specialist travel agents such as Lupine Travel - Lupine's prices do exclude all travel costs to get to Kiev.

The alternative is do it yourself, which we did.

Traveling from the UK and being UK passport holders we did not need to purchase or obtain a travel visa from the Ukrainian Authorities, travelers from other counties do need to check this, as a travel visa may be required. 

First off our flights, we booked 3 months in advance via KLM with the flights from the UK coming in at £200. per person (return). We could have booked cheaper via UIA with flights for £178., but to be honest I'm a bit of a fan of KLM and well I love the dutch cheese they dish out inflight with a bit of devil you know having flown with them on a number of less adventurous trips over the years.

So far, so good -  next the tour guide or tour company, who to choose ? A good number to choose from, but we went for Chernobylwel.com

Opting for the two day tour, including a nights accommodation and meals in Chernobyl itself the cost came in at 270€. One of the plus points for us being that unlike many guides who wanted up front payment via Paypal or similar Chernobylwel.com just wanted payment on the day of the trip. The website looked good, they have Facebook page, a few good reviews from fellow travelers, additionally they are referenced in a couple of guide books and a big bonus for us was they didn't want to run off with our money never to be seen of ever again.

I cannot praise Chernobylwel.com highly enough, from our initial inquiry back in December to being dropped off after our trip they could not do enough for us 10/10.

So a  flurry of emails later, all very helpful, passport details handed over for the authorities - meet at McDonald's, Kiev Passenger Railway Station on the day of the trip.

On to the accommodation, we first looked at Airbnb for our stay in Kiev, but we thought this would have best suited a party of two, 3 snoring blokes really don't want share rooms and this really should be avoided at all times if possible. Getting a larger apartment was inflating the budget from £30-50 per night to nearer £100. and even split 3 ways a cost we could do without - add that to us only needed an apartment for two days with the trip into Chernobyl sandwiched in between.

Hotels are expensive if running on budget (Kiev prices are not that expensive to be honest) or shabby or out of the city, so we opted for Magic Bus Hostel with private rooms, the total cost for 3 rooms being €62 per night split 3 ways.

The added benefit of the a place like Magic Bus, is friendliness and a flurry of emails later, we had a lift from the airport to the hostel sorted, 20€ - just what you need for a relaxed entry into distant country where English is very rarely spoken and signposts in English are equally as rare.

I can't praise Magic Bus enough to be honest, hey its not the Ritz but what do you get is a warm bed for the night with a very warm welcome and you leave as friends.



Finally, Kiev like many cities is a tough city, I would recommend against travelling alone if possible.

We have plenty more reading including Tin Dogs much viewed ramblings.  and a 5 part guide


  1. Was hoping to get to Pripyat someday and this will really help a lot. Thanks for sharing!