At WildLives, we love hearing about interesting accommodations around the world. This is the reason we published an article about a hostel in Stockholm on a 19th-century ship, and a hotel in Tanzania where the rooms are underwater. When it comes to accommodation in strange places, however, a new hostel in Ukraine has to take the cake. This new hostel is located in the most radioactive place on earth: Chernobyl.
Back in 1986, Chernobyl was completely fried as the result of an accident at a nuclear plant. This disaster killed multiple people immediately, dozens later as the result of acute radiation poisoning, and turned the surrounding area into a barren, radiation-riddled wasteland of dust-covered streets, empty buildings and carrion. Thanks to this new hostel, you can now sleep in that wasteland.
The hostel was opened by the Ukrainian government in a clear attempt to capitalize on Chernobyl’s 2011 registration as a tourist attraction. The hostel currently includes 50 beds, but will apparently be expanded to include room for 102 guests in the near future.
Guests of this hostel – a procession of curious adventurers and urban explorers – are actually allowed to venture into the heart of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, which is located some nine miles away. That said, they’re only allowed to do so with special permission, and under a very clear list of rules.
Expeditions into the Exclusion Zone are kept brief. Guests are screened for health problems before entering the Exclusion Zone, and for hitchhiking radioactive particles before leaving it. They are not allowed to sit down on any surfaces inside the Exclusion Zone, or pick anything up. The list goes on, but you get the picture.
Back in 2016, Telegraph Travel writer Chris Leadbeater took a tour of the Exclusion Zone.
“Visitors are screened before they enter the Exclusion Zone – the restricted space, 19 miles in radius, which surrounds the blast area,” Leadbeater said of his visit. “They are told not to sit down, or touch items within this cordon – and are checked for radioactive particles when they leave again.
“Simply, Chernobyl is 1986, in all its suspicion, frisson and atomic fear. Wander the dead streets of Pripyat and you are entering the realm which caused Bonn, Washington DC and London to gnaw their fingernails – still in thrall to Lenin and the ghosts of 1917. It is all still there in its rusted swimming pools and dusty gymnasium; in the giant ferris wheel which has become a symbol of the disaster – a motionless circle which was never permitted to turn. The amusement park of which it is the most visible ride was due to open four days after the explosion. It has never welcomed a paying guest.”
Surprisingly, this new hostel is not the only accommodation in Chernobyl. Those who wish to explore the grim wastes of the Exclusion Zone can also stay at the Hotel Pripyat. The Hotel Pripyat is a half-destroyed building that has been partially restored to accommodate adventurous guests.
So, will you be spending a night in the dark, decaying sprawl of Chernobyl, or would you rather play it safe and stay in Kiev or Lviv?
What did you think of this article? Let us know in the comments and be sure to give us a like on social media!