On April 26, 1986, the world saw the worst nuclear accident as clouds of radioactive particles swarmed in the sky due to a failure in the routine shutdown of a power plant in Kiev (Formerly part of Soviet Union; now in Ukraine).
Best Time To VisitDue to lack of electricity, tours to the ghost town of Pripyat are held only before sunset, making the spring and early fall months of May to October the best time to visit the site.
What To ExpectInterestingly, a mishap of the past is now an attraction luring tourists from all parts of the world. Who knew that 30 km radius of wasteland could attract tourists in large amounts!
However, visits are governed by several restrictions and security checks. One can't enter the place without a registered guide. There are even hotels inside the area if you wish to stay for more than a day and explore the place thoroughly. A two-hour bus ride from Kiev will take you to Chernobyl. After reaching the site, there are various rules to be followed such as signing a disclaimer against interacting with any objects or even sitting on the ground during the tour. Exiting the site follows a procedure too, including body scanner tests that check for radiation on your body. If the scanner buzzes, the site officials check and dust off radioactive particles that might get stuck on your suit during the tour.
So here's a tip: make sure to wear full-sleeved clothing with pants to avoid getting radioactive particles on yourself.
Desolated City of Pripyat: The Ghost TownThe pay-off is best realised when you visit the barren city of Pripyat, which was once inhabited by over 50,000 residents but evacuated after the disaster. A rustic Ferris wheel stands motionless in the middle of the city, amidst creeping vegetation. It was part of an amusement park which never opened to the public as the city was depopulated before its inauguration. There are other elements inside the park which catch a visitor's eye, such as a bumper car with paint chipping off slowly. In addition, empty boats lie in the river, hospital rooms look like a set of a James Wan film, oxygen masks remain in the debris of a broken building, and decaying textbooks can be found on classroom floors.
It's a paradise for photographers as the place's post-apocalyptic vibe speaks loud and brings out the emotions of the visitors.
There are myths and fears about the site stating that it is highly radioactive, which is untrue. However much surreal your experience may be, be assured of the fact that the tour guarantees 100% radiation safety.
A brief observation of the whole Chernobyl area would make you come to the conclusion that nature is slowly reclaiming the Chernobyl site. Lush green vegetation crawling out from cemented floors and window frames will soon cover the barren land with untended greenery. A decade or two from now, the site might just be a mere jungle.
But currently, the contrast of a traumatic past and present is what intrigues everyone the most. Except for criminals who came back to loot what's left in the city, no residents revisited the dead city. However, fresh cigarette stubs and empty beer bottles are a sign that drifters still turn up once in a while – maybe to re-live their lost lives.
People who wish to visit or people who have already visited Chernobyl as tourists are usually the ones looking for an offbeat adventure, which the site doesn't fail to provide. With new statistics rolling in about the deformities and diseases caused by the radiations emitted in the blast till date intimidate people, there are still a few who are enthralled by the thought of giving Chernobyl a visit.
So if you are among the few, what are you waiting for?