Join YPT for a tour in a land that we know and love, the nuclear wasteland of Chernobyl and celebrate New Year twice, as this tour takes in the Russian Orthodox New Year in the unrecognized country of Transnistria!
The tour kicks off in Kiev and finishes in Bucharest with much to see and do in between. We can help and advise travel arrangements to and from these two cities.
We have split the tour into two groups with the options of doing either one part or combining the two. Group One will be visiting not only Pripyat (Chernobyl), but also doing the extreme missile base tour, as well as sampling the night time delights on a bar crawl. Our contacts in Pripyat mean, we can usually sneak in some secret sites that we are not allowed to blog about! This is an exclusive private tour that will be strictly capped at ten people to ensure we see all that we are not supposed to.
After Group One leaves us in Kiev, Group Two will continue firstly to Odessa, then onto Tiraspol, Capital of the breakaway republic of Transnistria. If you do not know anything about the place, Google it. If you want off the beaten track, this is it. We really mix it up here by having one night in a very, very Soviet hotel before transferring to a slightly more luxurious offering in the countryside… a true Soviet time warp. Following a few nights here, we visit Moldova, the only ex-Soviet republic to vote the communists back in, before taking the overnight bus to Bucharest for a Ceausescu tour of one of our favourite cities. Bucharest is also a flight hub which will make it easier to arrange onward flights.
We offer discounts to all returning customers; contact us if you have any questions or if you would like to book your place today!
Arrival in Kiev at own time and check into Kiev Station Hostel.
City walking tour of Kiev followed by an optional trip to a shooting range where we are able to experience firing some high calibre Soviet-era guns (extra charge).
*Optional Tank Driving, this requires an early start in Kiev and is a full day tour. (extra Charge)
We go for dinner and drinks at Ward No 6 (Palata No 6), one of our favourite places recently featured in the “10 places to drink in before you die” list. Be sure to try the shot requiring you to wear a straightjacket and be set on fire…
Overnight in Kiev.
Thursday 10th January, 2019
Up nice and early to get on our comfortable AC minibus to the exclusion zone. On the way there, we stop for breakfast as well as watch a documentary on the disaster.
On arrival, we go through the entry procedure and processing of our permits.
Visit the village Zalissya, the main square of the town of Chernobyl, “Fukushima” memorial, Statue to Lenin, the abandoned Synagogue and the only active church in the zone.
Lunch at the Workers Cafe (no produce is grown on site).
Visit the Dock, local shops, Monument to the Firefighters, exposition of the remotely operated machines, hills of the buried village Kopachi, rustic kindergarten, panoramic angle of NPPA and existing sarcophagus, the construction site of the new sarcophagus, the Stone Road sign of Prypiat, Bridge of Death, Lenin Street, main square of Prypiat, supermarket, Amusement Park, School #3 (with gas masks), and swimming pool.
We transfer to Chernobyl Hotel for dinner, sampling of vodka, and stay overnight in the zone. Rooms are based on twin sharing.
Friday 11th January, 2019
Up early with breakfast in the hotel, before we head back into the zone.
Visit Duga 3, nicknamed the “Russian Woodpecker,” a Soviet “over-the-horizon” radar at its base “Chernobyl 2.”
Visit Barrack Cooling towers on the side of the unfinished reactors 5 and 6. Visit the Fish farm and “Red Forest”.
Visit the Panel buildings with Soviet emblems, Palace of Culture and “Jupiter” factory.
Visit the ruins of the School #1, hospital and morgue.
Pripyat passenger boats on River Port, “Prometheus” cinema, music school and athletic stadium.
Laboratory in the former kindergarten, greenhouses and bus station.
We board our bus for the drive back to Kiev.
Group 1 end tour in Kiev and depart via private arrangement.
Group 2 continue by night train to Odessa.
Saturday 12th January 2019
08:50 arrival in Odessa – check bags in at the train station.
Breakfast, followed by an optional city tour or free time in this historic city.
Early evening departure for the 3-4 hour train ride to Tiraspol, Capital of the breakaway republic of Transnistria.
On arrival in Tiraspol, we register with immigration at the train station before transferring to the local version of the Soviet Intourist Hotel. This is the quintessential Soviet experience in the region’s original tourist hotel.
We go for dinner locally, followed by drinks in the country’s only night club.
Overnight in Soviet Hotel.
Sunday 13 January 2019
Early wake up to celebrate New Year in the PMR, we grab breakfast near the hotel before we do an action packed city tour of Tiraspol starting at Pobedi Park. Chance to ride the rides at the 50’s style amusement park!
Walk down October 25th street (the main drag) which has a large billboard of former President Smirnoff (real name) standing with the Presidents of two other Soviet breakaway Republics of South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
University of Tiraspol to speak with students learning English.
October 25th St. to City Hall (government). It has a large bust of Lenin for great photos.
Visit Russian Orthodox Church of Tiraspol. Newly renovated with golden domes. Guests can buy inexpensive Russian Icons here. We will go inside – girls must wear a scarf on their head and men must take their hats off.
Statue of Russian General Suvorov.
Visit the Eternal Flame Independence War Memorial.
Visit Parliament, housing the biggest statue of Lenin outside Russia.
Leisurely walk to the river park. There is a walking bridge here for great panoramic photos of the river and downtown Tiraspol. There is also a beach here where we can stop for ice cream.
Lunch at Andy’s Pizza, somewhat of a PMR icon of a restaurant.
Convenient store in the city center with $3 for a bottle of one of the most prized Cognacs in Europe (outside France of course). During Soviet times, this was the brandy.
Pobedi Park. There is a famous 24-hour beer and vodka stall here. A great place for people-watching.
Pobedi Park Disco.
We celebrate the Old Orthodox Russian New year seeing firework displays and celebrate and we party into the New Year (again) until the early hours.
Overnight at Soviet hotel
Monday 14th January, 2019
We leave the hotel for Bendery, the journey takes 20 minutes.
We arrive in Bendery center. We enter one of the largest outdoor markets in all of Transnistria. Guests will be able to shop and buy anything they want at very, very low prices. Also, many opportunities for old world type photos.
We leave the market and continue walking down the main street until we reach the big white church in the center, well renovated and a favorite place for couples to get married.
We continue walking down the main street until we arrive at Lenin Park. We view the main fountain and the bust of Lenin.
We continue to walk down the main street until we reach the train station, renovated and well maintained. It seems like a ghost town because only a few trains stop here, and there are almost no passengers.
Beside the train station is an old Soviet train from WWII with the hammer and sickle on the front. Inside is a museum of the civil war between Moldova and Transnistria.
There are many war relics and great photos to take. (It is 100% free.)
When finished with the museum tour, we walk back past the park until we arrive at the city hall. The city hall has been left exactly as it was during the civil war and still filled with bullet holes. Great for photos.
Lunch in the town.
We continue our walk to the river. There is a huge and very beautiful river walk. There are statues and old amusement rides including bumper cars here. A scene right out of the 1950’s, but the rides are still operating and are very cheap. After a stroll down the river, we walk back to the bus stop to catch our mini-bus back to Tiraspol.
We check out of our hotel and go to the train station for the short ride to Chisinau.
Check into centrally located Chisinau Hostel.
Free evening and overnight.
Tuesday 15th January, 2019
City walking tour of Chisinau taking in the World War II Memorial and Military Museum, Central open-air market, great place for kitsch souvenirs, Government buildings and parliament, Main Square + Central park, History Museum.
Traditional Moldovan Dinner at La Plicente.
Night of bar crawling in the city.
Overnight in Chisinau Hostel.
Wednesday 16th January, 2019
Morning trip to Cricova Winery to see the winemaking process and to of course sample some of Eastern Europe’s best wine! This is one of the most amazing wine cellars you are ever likely to see.
Free afternoon in Chisinau before we catch the later afternoon train to Bucharest.
Thursday 17th January, 2019
06.00 arrival in Bucharest (depending on customs).
Check into the hotel for a short rest.
We conclude the tour in true YPT style, what else but a day tour of Ceausescu’s Bucharest! No trip to Romania would be worth any salt unless we went and looked at everything and anything Ceausescu related, the don of Eastern Bloc extreme. We will do a local walking tour, seeing all the must see sites from “revolutionary” times such as Parliament Palace (the big palace), Revolutionary Square, and the old centre. We’ll even sneak into his final resting place to “pay respects”.
Dinner at Care Cu Bare; easily YPT’s favourite restaurant on the planet.
Drinks and a last night pub-crawl in Bucharest’s old town.
Friday 18th January, 2019
End of tour – Own transport to be arranged from Bucharest.
•All Transport (except transport to Kiev before tour, onward travel from Kiev after group 1 and onward travel from Bucharest after the tour finishes)
•Some local tours (unless otherwise stated)