FAQ

Is it safe to take a tripod for my camera with me and place it on the ground?

Yes, please take your tripod with you on the tour. In most of the places it’s totally safe to place tripods on the ground. The so called radioactive “hotspots” will be shown by your guide in advance. In any case, to prevent you from taking any radioactive particle with you from the Chernobyl zone, we advise you to thoroughly wipe the tripod legs with a wet napkin.

Can I fly my drone with a camera in the Chernobyl zone?

For drone flights you need to have a permit that we can help you to get. Once you have it, you can fly your drones with your camera in the majority of places in the Chernobyl zone. One place where the drones cannot be used is the territory of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Before you use the drone please ask your guide if it is appropriate to fly it and in which direction. For the drone permit we will need to have all specifications more than 10days before your tour.

How dangerous is the trip to Chernobyl? What is the dose of radiation that I could receive? Is it more dangerous for women than for men?

Visiting Chernobyl is safer than the majority of people think. Actually it is safer than flying in an airplane (radiation from the sun) or eating a lot of bananas (that’s the most radioactive fruit). The level of radiation in the Chernobyl zone is only higher in a few places which are avoided during the Chernobyl tour or the group will only stay near these places for a short amount of time (e.g. Red Forest, photo shooting of Chernobyl nuclear power plant – reactor 4). During one day in the Chernobyl exclusion zone the body receives a dose of radiation of 3 μSv (microSieverts, the safe limit is 100 microSieverts), that’s less than one X-ray scan or 3 hours spent in an airplane.

Women – if they are not pregnant – are also safe to visit the Chernobyl zone. There are many women working in the Chernobyl power plant and a majority of the official guides in Chernobyl are young attractive women.

The ChernobylPhoto.com guides and delegates are specially trained to lead you just via safe roads and paths. During the visit of the Chernobyl exclusion zone you will go through a dosimetric control several times a day – at the checkpoints. On top of that your group will be equipped with at least two Geiger-Müller counters (you can borrow them for free) which are measuring the radiation level non-stop.

I am 17; can I come for the Chernobyl tour?

In order to get permission to enter the Chernobyl exclusion zone you need to be at least 18. This restriction is due to the fact that the human body is still growing under this age and it is much more vulnerable.

I am driving to Kiev; can I get to Chernobyl by my own car?

Chernobyl exclusion zone runs under a special regime that only allows private cars to enter under special conditions. Please write to us with your car details at hello@chernobylphoto.com and we will do our best to help you.

What should I take to Chernobyl?

Every visitor has to have a valid passport at all times – this is obligatory. Visitors have to wear trousers (not shorts), long-sleeve shirts/jackets and closed shoes (not sandals or flip flops). During your stay in the Chernobyl zone, CHERNOBYLphoto.com will give you fabric respirators and closed overalls for your full body protection. It is only recommended to wear this, it is not obligatory. It is forbidden to take weapons, animals, plants, drugs etc. into the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Tourists are also not allowed to take artifacts that they have found in the Chernobyl zone out of the zone.

What photo equipment should I take for the tour/workshop?

Please bring enough memory cards for your camera with you, also an extra battery (usually the tour takes place the whole day and you are only able to recharge it in your hotel room in the evening). For the workshop please take your laptop with you for further editing during the evening classes.

Are there any restrictions on what one can do in the Chernobyl zone?

After entering the Chernobyl exclusion zone you will be instructed on what is and what is not allowed in Chernobyl during your visit. First of all, you will have to stick to these instructions and to the directions of your guide or delegate. For example, during your stay in Chernobyl you are not allowed to smoke, eat and drink in the open space, also you are not allowed to sit on the ground or put your belongings – mostly cameras and camcorders – on the ground. You are not allowed to eat any berries, drink water from open sources – wells etc. (tap water or bottled water is OK), touch vegetation or objects on the ground.

What is the best time for taking pictures in Chernobyl?

The two most important things when taking pictures in Chernobyl: you do not want to have a lot of people around you (that is why the tours and workshops are mostly weekdays) and you do not want to be totally sweaty in the first 15 minutes after you leave the bus. This happens mostly in summer, as you are not allowed to wear shorts and shirts with short sleeves. That is why professionals from ChernobylPhoto.com recommend visiting the zone in spring, when there is not a lot of vegetation and the sunlight is very decent for a majority of the time. Autumn is not bad also, as the zone starts to acquire this shabby atmosphere of lost places, however the light is worse, but still good for interiors. Winter is a great time for outside photo shooting, however due to the snow and cold the group cannot see a lot of places in Pripyat because it’s hard to reach them on foot. Also, the sun sets very quickly – this on the other hand offers some great panoramic photo shootings.

Where will we stay during the night and during our workshop classes?

ChernobylPhoto.com expeditions spend the night in the rooms of the newly reconstructed hotel in Chernobyl city (this city is also clean, all the workers of the zone live there). One person will stay in a single room, if you want to share a room (2, 3 or 4 people), we can manage that as well. Every room is equipped with warm water, heating, refrigerator and cooler, TV, shower and toilet. There is clean linen, towels, shampoo and soap ready for you. The workshops (editing sessions) will take place in the newly built office building next to the hotel, where the canteen is also located. There is also a buffet, in case you need a snack or drink anytime of the day.

Is there Internet connection in the Chernobyl zone?

There is a free wi-fi in the canteen and bar (next to the hotel) available at anytime for you.

How many people will there be on the tour with me?

The maximum number of people on the Chernobyl photo tours is 14. This ensures both very good, smooth organisation and execution of the whole program. It also allows the guide to show you places and buildings that you will never see on other tours. Workshops, however, due to their focus on learning and coaching, have a maximum number of people that is limited to 7.

In what language is the tour to Chernobyl conducted?

The basic language of the Chernobyl tour is English. But sometimes, particularly at your request, a ChernobylPhoto.com delegate/guide as well as the workshop leader can help you in German, French, Czech or Polish.

Can we enter buildings in Pripyat?

Since April 1, 2012 it is officially forbidden (due to safety reasons) to enter buildings in Pripyat. Despite this fact ChernobylPhoto.com can assure you that you will get almost the same experience from the Pripyat tour as before. As a part of a small group you will definitely have the chance to take a lot of pictures within the interiors. Adding some unique buildings and places (outside the borders of Pripyat) into the program is definitely a good replacement for some of the buildings in Pripyat that are currently out of reach.

How can I pay for the trip to Chernobyl?

A booking fee of 10% of the price (50% when booking workshops) is paid at the time of booking. This booking fee is refundable, if you cancel your tour at least 10 days prior to the tour. Otherwise, the booking fee is retained until you come to Chernobyl at a more suitable time. In case the tour is cancelled by government foreclosure or in the case of some unlikely events, ChernobylPhoto.com will automatically refund the booking fee.

The remaining price is paid in USD or € when leaving the meeting point in Kiev, where you will also get a receipt (invoice). If you wish us to invoice your company or some third party, please contact us with the company details at hello@chernobylphoto.com.

Can you help me with the flight and hotel in Kiev?

ChernobylPhoto.com can help you with ordering your air ticket to Kiev, Ukraine. Just provide us with your departure airport and the dates that you would like to arrive and then leave Kiev. We can also recommend a hotel (or flat) in Kiev for you and book it on your behalf. ChernobylPhoto.com can also help you with planning other photographic experiences in Kiev. You will receive further information after you have made your Chernobyl photo tour booking.

Do I need a visa to visit the Ukraine?

The citizens of following countries do not need a visa for a stay of up to 90 days:

Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea (South), Kyrgyzstan Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Mongolia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal Russia, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Vatican City, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan

If you are a citizen from a country not listed here, you should not have a problem obtaining a tourist visa. The invitation is automatically issued by any of the Kiev hotels by booking. Or ChernobylPhoto.com can also issue the invitation. You can check the government page about your country here