33 Tips for traveling to Iran

I was just in Iran. One of those countries that you leave with the feeling that this is not what you were told. Here are 33 tips or better suggestions (like say The Traveler Dissatisfied) if you want to repeat more than advisable experience to discover the country of the ayatollahs on your own.

33 Tips for traveling to Iran

  1. You can get the visa at the airport (the story in this post), which eliminates the cumbersome, long and expensive process before.
  2. I recommend flying with Turkish Airlines because it has connections via Istanbul with eight cities ironies s, including most tourists (Isfahan, Mashhad, and Shiraz). This way you can organize a circuit with input and output in different places, so you save time and money. No need to go through Tehran, which is the least touristic of Iranian cities. Also the connection via Istanbul is quite direct.

3. Most hotels have (although very basic) website and e – mail through which you can make reservations via internet. What you cannot do is pay online; but my experience is that they are very honest, if you confirm the booking by mail, your room will be waiting, but always good to call one or two days before , once in the country, I reconfirm .

  1. I traveled during the Norris, the Iranian New Year (the story in this post), which begins on March 21. It is the super high local tourism season and I was forced to book hotels in advance because everyone was really full (I do not advise travel on these dates without prior reservation). But other travelers who came out this season have said that it is easy to find day-to-day accommodation, even bargaining for prices at the front desk.
  2. It does not work any credit card or debit western, so you cannot pay by card or withdraw money from ATMs numerous. Everything must be done in cash.
  3. The good news is that both the dollar and the euro are widely accepted in almost all tourist services. There are enough exchange offices in major cities.
  4. The bus network Iranian is very good and almost ridiculous prices when compared to Europe (between 5 and 15 Euros each way). Those of VIP service carry special seats (three per row, instead of four) and are much more comfortable for a small price difference to normal. In the hotels they usually facilitate the procedure making the reservation for their clients; then you pay when you get to the station.
  5. Flight interior: Iran should be the country with cheaper domestic flights in the world. A trip can cost between 25 and 40 Euros. And you can easily book them through local travel agencies, from one day to the next. You cannot book and pay via the internet from abroad.
  6. Another comfortable and economical way to get around is by hiring a car and driver. It is very easy to do. A 500 kilometer journey – between Isfahan and Shiraz – costs about 40 Euros.
  1. The Iranians drive like the legionaries: without fear of death. Not often have accidents, but scares. Nothing new if you’ve let yourself is driven by a local chauffeur in Cairo, Kenya or Kathmandu.
  2. across the country reins Islamic dress code, also for foreigners. This means that women must always wear cover the head in public places. But without paranoia. It is not necessary to go completely covered with the chador and rigorous black. Simply a handkerchief, colorful everything you want, to cover neck and hair part. It serves the same western clothes you have at home: a pair of jeans or denim dresses and shirts or long – sleeved covering preferably hip pants. But it is not necessary to wear even the Islamic overalls. The feet can be uncovered (necessary in summer!). As for men,
  3. The Islamic code says nothing that woman cannot go painted and made up, as much as you want. In fact, the young and urban Iranians make up as if they were going to a wedding
  4. Bring toilet paper and wet wipes; is scarce in public toilets.
  5. Friday is the holiday and Islamic prayer and everything is closed; some bazaars open in the afternoon.
  6. The Iranian currency is the rail. To date one euro equals 38,500 rails. But the Iranians give prices tomes (1 take = 10 rails); That is, the quantity in rails with a minus zero. That, coupled with everything costing hundreds of thousands of rails, complicates the conversion to Euros considerably. Although they do not do it between them (they know innately if the amount they tell you is in tomatoes or rails) usually have mercy on tourists and clarify if they are giving the price in one measure or another.
  7. The monuments are open from 9 to 17h and virtually all mosques are open also to non – Islamic public. Photos and video can be made without problems, except in some very holy places, such as the She Charged mausoleum of Shiraz, where you can do them, but accompanied by a guide. The monuments have gone up in price in the last year; the average ticket costs 200,000 rails (about 5.5 Euros).
  8. The Iranian hotel has a long road ahead of improvements. That is, the hotels are usually bad, old and expensive. Although some 5 standard stars are already emerging, it is normal for Westerners to be from the time of the Shah, without anyone remembering to give them a hand of paint ever since. They are more pleasing the many traditional houses Iranians converted into small hotels that are opening in the most tourist cities. Because of the structure of the house, it is difficult to have private bathrooms; are usually shared. But the deal is more familiar.
  9. The toilets often have Turkish coffee (a hole in the ground). Even when they are of western cup, they share space and floor with the shower. It is better to wear a rubber flip flops
  1. The public bathrooms are even worse. Some would have to carry more than flip-flops, stilts Toilet paper is a nonexistent luxury in them.
  2. The best time to visit Iran is spring or autumn. The summer is very hot, which does not remove to make it the month of greatest influx of Spanish tourists for obvious reasons. Winter can be very cold in mountain areas.
  3. For a traveler or traveling is very easy to get around by Iran. It has good infrastructure, efficient public transport systems and is very safe; Much more than other western destinations.
  4. Gastronomy is not the strong point of a trip through Iran. I do not doubt that in the different regions there is a rich and varied cuisine, but this is only done in the houses, rarely in the restaurants. Also, there are not too many hotels. The custom of eating out, as it happens in Spain, is not so ingrained here. In the few restaurants that you find the menu is almost always the same: meat and white rice. Chicken or lamb kebab and white rice. For breakfast, lunch and dinner. In some offer also dizi , a national stew made with beans, meat and vegetables. Do not be afraid to take salads and vegetables.
  5. The Iranian people are lovable. Always ask what you need: they will go out of their way to help you even if they do not understand your language. Rarely do you enter a restaurant and do not end up making photos with diners at neighboring tables. .
  6. There is wi-fi in all hotels of varying quality, but free.
  7. Internet is censored in Iran. No one can access most social networks (Twitter, Face book, YouTube) and many other general information pages.
  8. At least during my stay if it worked Instagram and Whatsapp , through which you can make free international calls using wi-fi in the hotel. You could also go to Spanish newspapers and a network of bloggers.
  9. The Iranians are always contriving software programs to circumvent censorship of the Internet, but are not always effective. Better than being burned all day because you can not access your Facebook, it is that you relax and enjoy . You will answer your return.
  10. The spirit does not exist throughout Iran . Do not search because you will not find it. Yes there nonalcoholic beer cheap -very, about 70 cents the can, plain or flavored. They call malt drinks .
  11. In spring the nights are cold . Wear a good jacket or sweater.
  12. You do not have to take your entire scheduled and closed trip. Iran is a country very easy to go improvising on the fly .
  13. tourist attractions and hotels there is always someone who speaks broken English . In any case, it is always easy to get along with them.
  1. The greatest danger for a tourist in Iran is to cross a zebra crossing . What the pedestrian has a preference does not apply in this part of the world. So watch out: bungee jumping is a big deal compared to crossing an Iranian street.
  2. There are usually no curtains in hotels. If you are someone who you do not like early, bring a mask.

 

 

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