Kazakhstan Polygon Budget Tour

Start
Jul 8, 2024
Semey
End
Jul 9, 2024
Semey
Duration
2 days
Price
US$830.00



TOUR OVERVIEW



Heard of Chernobyl? You know, possibly the most famous accident in recent history, so disastrous that it’s almost unbelievable. Well this is Kazakhstan’s answer to Chernobyl – but it was done on purpose. The test site at Semeypalatinsk, or the Polygon, is where the Soviet Union did the majority of their nuclear testing, performing 456 nuclear tests between 1949 and 1989, with a total of 2,500 times the power of the bombs dropped at Hiroshima. The area used to be closed off, but is now open to those with permits.

Beginning and ending in Semey, this tour is for those who are very specifically interested in seeing the Polygon.

View the full itinerary


If you'd like to see some more of Kazakhstan as well as exploring the Polygon areas, check out our more extensive Kazakhstan Polygon Tour , and if you want to see even more of Central Asia, have a look at the 5 Stans Summer Tour .


Kazakhstan Polygon, Saiga Tours
Kazakhstan Polygon, Saiga Tours

If you like the look of this tour but the dates don't work for you, or you'd like to do part of the tour, please get in touch and let us know. All our tours are able to be split into smaller sections, we're always scheduling new tours and your dates might work for one of them, or we can always organise an independent tour.



INCLUSIONS:

Accommodation in twin share at roughly 3 star hotels/guesthouses, breakfast included

Permits for Polygon Test Site Area

Transport as per itinerary, including internal flight between Almaty and Semey

Entrance fees to most sites (as per itinerary)

SAIGA guide and local guides


SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: $250






EXCLUSIONS:

Visa fees if necessary

Visa support if necessary

Meals other than breakfast

Transport to and from the start and end of tour

Personal expenses such as souvenirs or any optional activities

PCR Tests and any other COVID related expenses


Kazakhstan Polygon, Saiga Tours
Kazakhstan Polygon, Saiga Tours


TOUR HIGHLIGHTS


Explore the other worldly area of the Polygon

See for yourself the famous Atomic Lake

Urb-ex in the almost abandoned town of Kurchatov



Itinerary
Day 1Mon Jul 8
Semey, Atomic Lake, Kurchatov
  • This is when we finally see the nuclear sites themselves. Our first stop is the famous atomic lake. This lake was made by an explosion 25 times greater than Hiroshima. While it might look like the lake was an interesting consequence of the testing, it was in fact an intentional side effect, as the experiments were designed for earth-moving purposes to artificially create lakes, harbours and canals. Unbelievably, locals fish in the lake, despite warnings by authorities that it is hazardous.
  • In the afternoon we’ll check on the Chagan abandoned airbase. During the Cold War this was home to one of the Soviet Union’s main air force bases for the deployment of long-range bombers carrying nuclear weapons. The location is interesting as it’s on the Chinese border. Part of the reason for its location was the rising tensions due to the Sino-Soviet split.
  • We’ll then head to the town of Kurchatov, a formerly closed city, named after Igor Kurchatov, the founder of the Soviet nuclear programme, where the headquarters of the nuclear testing was based. Most of the town is derelict now as there is no employment to sustain the town’s population, providing an opportunity to explore the old Soviet apartment blocks.
  • The accommodation tonight will also be a very Soviet experience.
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Day 2Tue Jul 9
Kurchatov, Polygon, Semey
  • Before leaving Kurchatov, we’ll visit the Museum of the Semipalatinsk Test Site, which not just anyone can visit – they require a permit organised in advance, but don’t worry, that’s what we’re here for. This small museum gives you an idea of the history and effects of the nuclear testing done here.
  • We’ll then continue on to more of the nuclear test site – known as the Polygon . 456 Nuclear tests were conducted here, and the effects can be witnessed first-hand with the destroyed surroundings and large craters caused by the explosions.
  • We’ll explore the bunkers used by those performing the tests and the epicentres of the explosions.
  • In the afternoon we’ll check on the Chagan abandoned airbase. During the Cold War this was home to one of the Soviet Union’s main air force bases for the deployment of long-range bombers carrying nuclear weapons. The location is interesting as it’s on the Chinese border. Part of the reason for its location was the rising tensions due to the Sino-Soviet split.
  • We'll arrive in Semey in the evening, and end of tour. If you'd like to continue on to Astana to see some more of Kazakhstan, check out our more extensive Kazakhstan Polygon Tour .
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