Everything about our tours

General Questions

We are IPO "Center "Pripyat.com" — legally registered public organization that unites those, who have Chernobyl Zone in their hearths. We are NOT a travel agency, but a team of experienced and skilled explorers that for almost 10 years work in the Zone. All tours are bing held upon state-issued permit we obtain from Department of the Zone of Exclusion.

Despite we use the word "tour" as more understandable for general public, it would be much more correct to call them "explorations" or "expeditions".

Contrary popular beliefs, the Chernobyl NPP Exclusion Zone is not a simply abandoned barren land, but a strictly regulated secured area under the rule of Ministry of Ecology of Ukraine, where numerous nuclear facilities are still operating. Therefore, you must confirm that you have read and agree with rules described below.

  1. You must be at least 18 years old in order to obtain a permission.
  2. You take all the risks related to your visit to your own and will additionally sign appropriate written confirmation on arrival to the Zone.
  3. You must follow designed route, orders and recommendations of your guide;
  4. You must follow the rules of nuclear safety regardless of weather conditions:
    • You must wear long-sleeve clothes that covers your body. Any kind of t-shirts, skirts, shorts are strictly forbidden. You have to wear convenient shoes that cover you feet and have no huge holes (everything close to military boots is the best option, sandals, casual women shoes are forbidden);
    • You must not drink or eat outside the bus or structures;
    • Smoking within the Zone is not forbidden, but really not recommended;
    • Drinking alcohol beverages during the tour, as well entering the Zone in alcoholic inebriation condition are strictly forbidden;
  5. You must not take any things ("nuclear soveniers") originated from the Zone, e.g. debris, things from structures, stones, etc. This is illegal and can cause criminal responsibility. However, you can freely take back goods you can buy at the stores at Chernobyl;
  6. You must not enter structures at the city of Pripyat;
  7. Photos and videos are welcome, however, there are some objects or locations that are strictly forbidden for shooting or filming:
    • Any checkpoints and their staff (police, guards, etc.), as well any security systems, structures and vehicles;
    • Chernobyl NPP main structures and security systems, excepting shots:
      • From distant locations;
      • From the Main Observing point of Object Shelter (the "Sarcofagus") in forward direction to it;
      • V and VI units site and cooler towers;
      • Open-air power grid transmitting field (ORU).
      • The Arc construction yard.

Violation of these rules can result in an immediate tour termination for entire group of visitors (without any refunds), and/or legal responsibility. Your guide will advice and aware you, if something will go wrong.

 

We offer 3 types of transportation to and within the Zone

  1. From Kyiv — we will pick you up in Kyiv and return back to same point after the tour.
  2. From Dityatky village — you have to come on your own to Dityatky village, where the master checkpoint of the Zone located. That could be done either by regular bus from Kyiv or by rented car. We will pick you up at checkpoint and return back after the tour.
  3. By your own/rented car — you come by own car to Dityatky, reserving at least one seat for our envoy officer (guide) and pick him up. All expenses for fuel are yours (please note there are no gas stations within the Zone available for visitors). Also please note that this option is available only if you know the brand and number plate of the car 10 days prior to the tour, as we need to obtain a vehicle entry permission. Vehicle must have Ukrainian number plate.

Contrary popular beliefs, Chernobyl is a small ancient town (15,000 of population before the disaster), that located around 18 kms far from Chernobyl NPP, and was never related to it in any way. Currently, Chernobyl serves as administrative center of Chernobyl Zone and a staypoint for around 3,000 employees of its different departments, who come on shift basis. Radiation level at Chernobyl is generally normal.

While Pripyat is a much bigger (55,000 inhabitants, now abandoned) city created in 1970 directly near NPP as its satellite. Currently, only very few facilities that serve the NPP still operate in city. It has no population and heavily contaminated with long-living nuclear substances.

Average radiation exposure during 1-day stay at Zone roughly equals to that average human can get during regular flight. It is around 2 μSv (or 200 μR in microRoentgens). Just for comparison, it is less than when you make a X-ray check. If you will follow safety rules and recommendations by your envoy officer (guide), risk will be reduced.

All our routes planned in such a way to avoid contamination of visitors. However, you have to clearly bear in mind that visit to Chernobyl Zone means a visit to the territory of nuclear disaster which followed by radiation exposure and/or physical contact with radioactive sources.

 

The cheapest option is to take a bus Kyiv-Chernobyl from 3rd platform of Polissya Bus Station of Kyiv (located at T. Shevchenko square), which starts on 7:30, 11:40 and 15:30 and arrives to checkpoint Dityatky within 1.5-2 hours. You will have to purchase a ticket at bus station (~50 UAH). Return buses start from checkpoint to Kyiv on 15:20 and 18:00, fare is to be paid to driver.

Please note: as a visitor, you cannot enter or exit the Zone via bus, even if you have a permit, as passing the checkpoint is tied to particular vehicle.

Another option is to drive by taxi or rented car (~110 kms from Kyiv) and park it at parking lot near checkpoint.

Depending on availability and your wishes, we may stay at hotel at Chernobyl, or in guesthouse in Orane village outside the Zone. Please note that since Chernobyl is a town under special security regulations, visitors are not allowed to leave territory of the hotel without being accompanied by envoy officer. In case of Orane, no restrictions applied, but we will have to exit the Zone on each day's evening and enter it again next morning.

We always recommend to come one day before the tour to meet in Kyiv for a coffee — to discuss all questions, check gear and documents and just to let us know each other closer. Moreover, it is a good idea to have a day of a rest before the adventure :)

Must-know rules, restrictions and recommendations

Well, it is not recommended. Really.
Please don't forget that most structures at Zone stay without even basic maintenance for almost 3 decades, so you cannot be sure that particular object won't collapse just behind you.

No, you can not. Since all substances within the Zone considered the nuclear waste, taking some artifacts from Zone may cause criminal responsibility. For sure, this not related to your personal items, clothes, etc, and things you legally can buy at sttores at Chernobyl.

Yes, you can, but not in open areas — only in the bus or within permitted facilities. You can take food and water with you, but keep in mind that, well, we have a problem with toilets at Zone :)
Before you eat or drink, check that your hands are clean (it makes sense to take a pack of wet wipes).

Please note that drinking any kind of alcoholic beverages is strictly prohibited, as well as entering the Zone in intoxicated condition.

NO. Drinking any alcohol (even beer) is strictly forbidden by legal order of Zone's administration. Entering the Zone in intoxicated condition is also banned. Violation of this rule will result in immediate termination of a trip for the entire group without compensation of payment and/or legal actions.

In order to reduce the β-radiation, you must wear long-sleeved clothing — your body should be covered as much as possible, especially when you are at the 10-kilometer zone. This means that regardless of the weather conditions, no T-shirts, tops, shorts, skirts, etc. allowed. It is desirable that you choose the clothes made of durable fabric, so you could not break it if we pass through extensive vegetation. However, basically to at least minimally fit requrements it is enough if you wear long-sleeved shirt and jeans long enough to cover your shoes 1-2 cms. When traveling in the wet season it is reasonable to have a waterproof jacket. In the dry season, some participants wear "Tyvek" suits, that are lightweight and comfortable enough and meet all the requirements set out above.

As for the shoes, keep in mind that you could meet virtually anything on the surface while at the Zone. This can be gravel, stones, branches, rusty metal, barbed wire and so on. In the summer it is hidden with grass, and in the winter with snow. Additionally, it can be contaminated with radioactive substances. Inside buildings there are lot of broken glass, tiles, bricks. Adding frequent rains, it may turn to sticky mixture of mud, clay and plaster. Therefore, use only a comfortable closed shoes with strong soles. The best shoes for all parameters are military or hiking boots. It will be just fine, if the shoes are high enough that you can tuck into your trousers.

Remember that even during 1-day trip you will have to walk about 5 hours at a time. It makes sense to take a change of shoes. We remind you that the visitor that does not meet requirements on clothes and shoes may be denied for entry to the Zone at checkpoint.

It is a good idea to have at least basic means of personal protection against dust:  cheap cloth gloves, dust mask, protective gloves. Normally, there is no need to wear all of this, but sometimes that may be handy in case of contact with high-contaminated objects. Also we recommend to bring a pack of wet wipes to clean your hands.

Going to Ukraine

Yes!

We offer airport transfers, hotel booking and even sightseening in Kyiv upon individual request. Contact our customer support to discuss this along the tour plan.

All foreign nationals may enter Ukraine with their travel document (passport). Please, check if you need a visa before travel.

No! Your border control stamp in passport is a proof of your legal stay — no further actions needed.

Most foreign nationals are not required to have a visa to enter Ukraine, however, normally stay is limited to 90 days per every 180 days in a year. Please check visa information section at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine for actual information.

Booking and payment

During the multi-day tours an obligatory service charge for accomodation and meals for driver and envoy officer added for each night. The exact amount of charge is being determined in every particular case, normally it is around $25-$35.

We require 20% advance payment as a proof of your visit. Once it received, we start preparations for your visit. All the rest is to be paid once you come by cash.

When you book a tour, we requre a non-refundable advance of 20...50% of overall price in order to cover processing charges. This payment acts as a proof of that you will come and allows us to start obtaining a permission for you. When you come on boarding, you pay the rest by cash or with credit card.

In case if you decided to cancel the tour, the advance won't be refunded. However, sometimes it is possible to select another date, in this case we may transfer your advance to it.

You must specify the details of the document that certifies your identity in Ukraine, and to have this document with him on the trip.

For Ukraine nationals: internal passport only or temporary certificate of citizenship.
For foreign nationals: travel passport only. NO driver licenses, ID cards, etc. allowed.