Sunday 12 to Wednesday 15 April 2020
Kiev & Chernobyl, Ukraine
Flights from Brussels to Kiev
4* hotels in Kiev and Chernobyl
It is highly unlikely you remember the news report of Saturday morning 26 April 1986, the day of the world’s worst nuclear accident. It namely took 50 hours, a full 2 days, before the Soviet authorities officially admitted something had gone completely wrong at the Chernobyl nuclear power station. Many countries in Eastern and Western Europe were affected, from Norway to Italy, and from Ireland to Greece. One and a half days after the accident an exclusion zone of 10km around the plant was created, including the city of Pripyat, followed by a larger exclusion zone of 30km that also included the city of Chernobyl. This unique trip leads us right into the heart of the exclusion zone, and includes an exclusive visit into the Chernobyl power plant itself.
To pre-reserve, please send us an email at email@example.com or register first as a member at www.expatclub.org/register and come back to this page to click on the RSVP button.
We cannot yet confirm the exact program and participation fees. However, if you are interested you may want to pre-reserve your spot now. This is for free and comes without any obligation. Just leave your name and email in the special box or click on the RSVP button if you are logged in as a member. Once we know more we will inform you, and you will be able to enjoy a special pre-reservation discount. Although you will be the first to be notified, the actual reservation is still first-come first-serve. This trip is likely going to be fully booked again.
- Return direct flights from Brussels to Kiev
- 12kg carry on luggage + personal item (checked luggage optional)
- Accommodation in 4* hotels, with 3x breakfast
- 3 dinners and 2 lunches
- Kiev airport transfers
- Transportation to/from/within Chernobyl Exclusion zone
- 2-day privately guided tour through the Exclusion Zone
- Exclusive guided tour inside the plant
- A great group of international people
- A lifetime memory
Who can join?
- Everyone is invited to join this trip: member and non-members, expats and (international) Belgians, singles/couples/retirees/friends/colleagues.
- The minimum age is 18 years at the day of the visit (no exceptions possible under any circumstance).
- You must be in a normal physical condition. You don’t have to be an athlete, but we will be walking much through the abandoned city / area and climb stairs. Sitting anywhere is generally not allowed, so you will be standing most of the time.
- You have to check yourself whether you need a VISA for entering Ukraine.
This is certainly the most unique trip Expat Club has put on its calendar (so far, at least). But you are reading it correctly! We are organising a trip to Ukraine to visit the nuclear fallout zone around Chernobyl. This is one of the world’s most eerie places. With an entire city abandoned, it looks a lot like the apocalyptic scene from The Walking Dead (a popular post-apocalyptic series about zombies, in case you don’t know it). No doubt you are asking yourself now whether we have lost our minds. The answer is certainly not. Visiting the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is now safe with an official guide and under strict procedures. We are therefore organising a 4-day trip from Brussels by flight, including a 2-day tour to the Exclusion Zone.
The Ukrainian government allows regular tourists to visit the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Also the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) deems visits to Chernobyl safe. Entrance is of course under strict conditions (less than 50.000 visited it in 2018). One cannot go there without registering beforehand and without going through two police check points. Needless to say an official tour guide is always present and knows exactly what you can and not do, what you can and cannot see, and where you can and cannot go. Everybody will be checked for radiation when leaving the zone (no worries, you will be just fine).
Our trip is not meant to just visit a disaster area. As with any Expat Club trip it has different dimensions, including learning more about the environmental, economic and social impact of the accident. Also, we will learn about how nature developed after human beings moved out of the area, the potential dangers of nuclear energy and the future of Chernobyl. As with any other “dark tourism” destination (for the lack of a better term) we visited with Expat Club, such as Ypres, the D-Day beaches, Bastogne and Auschwitz, respect for the victims and those affected is an essential part. This is going to be a unique and educational trip, with a unique group of international people.
Our schedule for 2020 is currently being developed, but the below information gives you a good idea of what to expect since it is the 2019 schedule. The guided tours will be comprehensive, with visits to several parts of Pripyat, the cooling towers, the town of Chernobyl, the Duga Antenna and the Chernobyl power plant itself.
Sunday 12 April
09h30 – Meeting time Brussels Airport – Starbucks café
11h50 – Departure to Kiev on Brussels Airlines on SN2857
15h40 – Arrival in Kiev and departure to hotel
17h00 – Check-in 4* hotel and guided city tour
19h00 – Dinner in town
Monday 13 April (exact schedule follows)
Departure to Chernobyl by bus
Police check & controls
Full day tour in Chernobyl and Pripyat
Check-in to 4* hotel in Chernobyl
Tuesday 14 April (exact schedule follows)
Continuation of guided tours
Visit to control room 4 (very unique!)
Departure to Kiev
Check-in 4* hotel
Dinner in hotel (included)
Wednesday 15 April
Morning program in Kiev
11h15 – Departure to Kiev Airport
13h50 – Departure to Brussels on Brussels Airlines on SN2858
15h55 – Arrival in Brussels
The below accommodation was for 2019, but it is likely we stay in the same places or in comparable ones. For this trip we want to ensure maximum comfort for everyone. That is why we stay in the highly-rated 4* Park Inn hotel in Kiev at an excellent location, only 12 minutes walking from the Maidan Square (nights 1 & 3). Breakfast is already included.
In Chernobyl, we have decided to stay in the best hotel in the area, located just outside the Exclusion Zone. The best hotel within the zone is much less comfortable (the best one would mean sharing 1 bathroom with 5 other rooms). Our hotel is located is Strakhollisya, along a nature reserve on a huge lake formed by the Dnjepr river. The Zelenyy Mys hotel is a relatively new local 4* hotel with standard comfortable rooms.
- The flights will be with Brussels Airlines.
- This trip is carefully planned. Still, all timings are tentative and may change if required by circumstances.
- The trip is sold as a package. You cannot go with your own transportation and/or arrange your own accommodation. If there are specific things that you do or do not want in the package, please let us know and we may consider an up-sell or a small discount on a case by case basis.
- You are personally responsible for getting a good travel insurance that covers you for any unforeseen emergencies and medical expenses during the trip. We also advise you to get a travel cancellation insurance in case you cannot join anymore (e.g. due to illness or a family emergency).
- You are personally responsible for using the hotel room in an appropriate way. Any missing or broken items will be billed after the trip. If you share the room with someone else you are equally responsible for leaving it the way you found it.
- You are personally responsible to check whether you need a visa for entering Ukraine. For Belgians and other E.U. member states a separate visa is not required anymore, but for other countries this may be the case. Inform with the Ukrainian Embassy in Brussels or your home country about your visa requirements.
- Expat Club cannot be held liable for long delays that influence the program, for instance delayed or cancelled flights that lead to missed guided tours, neither can Expat Club be held liable for weather-related cancellations or any other unforeseen events that influence the course of the trip, including, but not limited to technical problems with the airplane, and bus. We are doing our very best to pro-actively avoid problems and possibly adapt the program in the most optimal way.
- Expat Club cannot be held liable for personal injuries during the trip, such as, but not limited to, things that happen during the visit to Pripyat and Chernobyl.
- If you do not have a room partner and you still would like to share a room (male/male, female/female), then we will introduce you to all other ladies or gentlemen in the group in the same position. During the outbound trip, we will connect you with others in the same position. If you opt for the room-sharing, you will not have to pay the single fee if there is in the end no one else to share the room with, unless you decide to take a single room during the trip. In that case you will have to fully pay for it yourself.
- The final cancellation date to receive a refund (minus a fee of 20% of the total ticket fee) is 8 weeks in advance of departure.
- If you book a double / twin room and your travel partner cancels, either from the same order or from a separate one once you indicated you want to share the room with him or her, you will have to pay the single room supplement.
Event picture: © Carl Montgomery (own work, upload through Flickr), via Wikimedia Commons