After the insanely popular 2019 Chernobyl show on HBO, millions more people now want to find out more and to visit Chernobyl, but what is it actually like? Is it anything like the HBO series?
I've been interested in Chernobyl, but more specifically Pripyat for years since I saw a documentary from the early 90s about the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster. The abandoned theme park in Pripyat is such an eerie looking place that a lot of people seem to take photos of, and it does look extremely eerie, but is it actually like that?
How can it be eerie with thousands of tourists visiting each year? Surely to be eerie, you need to be there alone, with the deadly silence causing the eeriness?
I decide to book a group tour to Chernobyl whilst in Kyiv to see what it was actually like on a guided tour, which most people would need to be on to actually see Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Pripyat Amusement Park, Reactor 4 and the other famous spots in Pripyat and Chernobyl.
I've decided to keep any music, fancy editing or anything else not needed out of the video to keep it as raw as possible to show you what it is actually like on a Chernobyl Tour 2019.
In the video you can see we visit The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Pripyat Hospital, Pripyat Ferris Wheel, Bumper Cars, Pripyat Abandoned Stadium and the very eerie Pripyat abandoned school, which still has all of the desks sat in line.
I'm not going to lie, it's very touristy in Chernobyl, there's even a souvenir stall at the exclusion zone exit. A private tour would be much better than a group tour, however, my group were really good, quiet and respectful, but I can imagine that's not always the case.
A few key things about the tour: You get picked up on a bus from outside of KFC near Kyiv's Central Train Station at about 7.30am. The bus looks good from the outside, but is a bit rundown inside. Whilst driving, they throw a documentary on the TV to give you some information, which is cool because Kyiv to Chernobyl is a couple of hours on the bus.
You need your passport to get into Chernobyl and you must wear long sleeves and trousers. On this tour you get given a Dosimeter to check the radiation levels. The big question people asked me when I got back was whether it was still radioactive. Well, yes, but actually no. In most parts it's just not at all, it's similar to other cities in the world. However, there are parts of the road that the bus drives through (which you can see in my video), where the dosimeter goes insane. Also, in the video you can see where the guide puts the meter on some soil and it flies off the scale. Do not touch these areas.
There's actually a piece of fabric at the door of Pripyat Hospital from one of Chernobyl's firemen's uniforms that is extremely unsafe to be near as it's so radioactive. You can see this in my video as the guide uses the dosimeter on the fabric.
The tour lasts for a fair few hours around Chernobyl and Pripyat with a lunch break at the canteen in between. The food is standard Ukrainian food. Make sure you bring a bag full of snacks, as you may get hungry and there's definitely nowhere else to get food from if you get hungry.