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Dec 232017
 

With a history dating back to the 5th century, Ukraine’s capital city of Kiev is one of the oldest and most fascinating cities in Eastern Europe, and the birthplace of Russia as well as Ukraine.

When making your way to join our ‘Triple K’ tour of Kazakhstan, one of the easiest ways to arrive into Astana is via Kiev in Ukraine.

So why not stop over in Kiev for a day or two (or three) and see a very different country and culture.  This gives you more of an appreciation of the extraordinary diversity of the 15 different nations that were, for a while, forcibly combined into the Soviet Union.  We’ve put together an optional pre-tour experience in Kiev, accordingly.

You could arrive into Kiev on (or before) Saturday 19 May, or for a shorter tour skipping the Chernobyl day tour, on Sunday 20th, or for the shortest stop, on Monday 21st.

Here’s how we will spend our time in and around Kiev.

Kiev Option Day 1 – Arrive Kiev (Saturday 19 May or earlier)

Kiev’s Golden Gate, originally built in 1017, and reconstructed in 1982 to commemorate Kiev’s 1500th anniversary.

In order to arrive into Kiev today, you’ll probably fly out of the US the previous day, ie, Friday 18 May.

We’ll arrange a private car transfer from the airport to our city hotel for when you arrive.

Kiev Option Day 2 – Day Tour to Chernobyl (Sunday 20 May)

A before and after contrast of a street in Pripyat.

Also at Chernobyl, a mysterious huge radio antenna array.

This is an extraordinary opportunity to view the abandoned remains and ruins of the Chernobyl reactor and adjoining region, some 100 miles from Kiev.  This was urgently evacuated when the nuclear reactor suffered a catastrophic nuclear accident arising from a series of errors and inappropriate responses, on 26 April 1986.

The closest town to the reactor was Pripyat, with a population of 49,360.  A long two days after the event, it was summarily evacuated, with the residents being told it was a temporary measure for perhaps three days, so they left almost everything behind, creating an extraordinary land version of the Mary Celeste.  But it wasn’t a temporary evacuation, the town has never been resettled due to residual levels of radiation.

Subsequently, in an abundance of caution, an additional 300,000 people in a wider area were also evacuated and resettled, with an exclusion zone of 20 mile radius around the reactor remaining in force.  High levels of radiation spread across Europe all the way to Scandinavia in the northwest, Austria in the south, and Romania in the east.

Now, 32 years later (when we visit) radiation levels have subsided to sufficiently safe for short visits, and tourist visits have been possible since 2011.

It has been suggested that the Chernobyl incident was one of the root causes of the collapse of the Soviet Union, highlighting official inadequacies, bringing about more open disclosures in the press, requiring international cooperation, and the cleanup costs almost bankrupting the Soviet Union.

Included meals :  Breakfast

Kiev Option Day 3 – Kiev City Touring (Monday 21 May)

 A Google Earth view showing some of the 70+ planes on display at the State Aviation Museum.

Independence Square, where crowds formed for the ‘Orange Revolution’ in 2004 and the more recent revolution in 2014.

Today we’ll enjoy a half day city tour of Kiev in the morning, with the afternoon free to see any of the many other sites and sights in this city, filled with a treasure trove of fascinating attractions dating back to its founding 1500 years ago.

Perhaps you’d like to visit the State Aviation Museum to see one of the finest collections of Soviet aircraft, anywhere.  Or, for something very different, the Toilet History Museum.

Another choice might be the Museum of Corruption for a stark look at some of the uglinesses in Ukraine’s recent past.

Or maybe see more of one of the many amazing churches and monasteries around the city, or just hang out and absorb the atmosphere in Independence Square.

There is lots to see and do in Kiev.

Included meals :  Breakfast

Kiev Option Day 4 – Free day in Kiev, Fly to Astana (Tuesday 22 May)

A mixture of old and new buildings in Kiev.

You’ve most of the day to catch up with more sightseeing as you wish, and then you’ll probably choose to fly on the Ukraine Intl Airlines flight to Astana at 7.25pm.

We’ll arrange a transfer to the airport for you and the other group members mid/late afternoon accordingly.

This is a 5 1/2 hour nonstop flight.

Included meals :  Breakfast

Kiev Option Day 5/Main Tour Day 1 – Arrive in Astana (Wednesday 23 May

The easiest flight from Kiev to Astana is the nonstop red-eye on a 737 operated by Ukraine Intl Airlines.

Your flight from Kiev arrives early today into Astana (at 4am).

We suggest you request your Astana hotel room for the previous night so you can immediately check-in and freshen up.

Later in the day we’ll meet up with other group members and have a welcome dinner in Astana.

Please now click on to our main tour itinerary for information about our time in Kazakhstan, or to the Main Triple K Tour Page for more general information and to register your interest in joining the tour.

 

Please also visit our master tours listing page for a complete listing of all currently scheduled
Travel Insider Tour opportunities.

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