If you haven’t watched it already, all of us here at Sick Chirpse recommend you check out HBO’s five-part miniseries Chernobyl.
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As you might’ve guessed, the drama delves into the 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and how it ended up being one of the world’s worst man-made catastrophes in history.
By evoking the chaos and terror of the disaster with unrivalled acting and incredible storytelling, the show has proved a hit with critics and audiences alike and has received a higher rating than Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad.
In light of the show’s success, it’s not all that surprising that visits to the site and its surrounding areas in Ukraine are booming, with adventure travel companies reporting a surge in requests for tours to Chernobyl.
Although there are certainly risks involved even beyond the 19-mile Exclusion Zone surrounding the plant, there are a number of official tours you can join if you’re interested in travelling to this area of the world to see for yourself the devastation caused by this catastrophic disaster.
One of the most reliable is Chernobyl Tour, a company that has been guiding people through the zone since 1986. Not only are they experienced, but they’ve got a range of packages on offer, including one-day and multiple-day visits, as well as private, river or air tours. And they’re not going to break the bank either, with prices starting as low as $99 (£78).
If you’re willing to spend a bit more, Explore’s Discover Chernobyl tour is a worthwhile investment. Yes, it costs £835, but this includes food, transport, accommodation and an unrivalled insight into the area around the plant.
You’ll discover the ghost town of Pripyat, the Red Forest and the ‘New Safe Confinement’ structure around the reactor. What’s more, you’ll get to explore abandoned sites reclaimed by nature in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone due to a lack of human inhabitants hunting and destroying the surrounding wildlife.
If you’re worried about mutant squirrels, however, there’s no need – apparently serious mutations only happened right after the accident.
The package also includes a walking tour of Kiev’s highlights including Mother Motherland and the Chernobyl Museum and a visit to the Lavra Reserve, a complex best known for its expansive catacombs.
Solo East also offers one-day and two-day Chernobyl tours from as low as £70, which includes a guided visit to the Exclusion Zone, alongside insurance, lunch and a minibus to the site.
As is the case with all of the packages mentioned above, it is essential to take a personal dosimeter-radiometer Terra-P for your trip so that you can continually monitor the level of radiation (and get the F out if it starts kicking off).
As Chernobyl Tour cofounder Sergii Mirnyi says, “To go to the Chernobyl zone without a dosimeter is like going to the usual tour with your eyes blindfolded.” You have been warned.