60 things you need to know before traveling to Iran

The list to end all lists of things to know before traveling to Iran. Grab a drink, get comfortable, and prepare to learn!

 

Iran has long been closed-off from the rest of the world, but times, they are a-changin’. Visa policies are relaxing, sanctions are ending, and Iran is gaining a reputation as the next hot destination.

The problem? The information available about travel in Iran has yet to catch up with the times. Guidebooks are outdated, and Iran doesn’t get the internet attention that regions like South America or Southeast Asia do. But don’t let that stop you! (I assume it hasn’t, since you’re reading this post.)

To make your trip to Iran a bit easier, here’s a master list of everything we learned through two months of backpacking in Iran.

 

Iran is an incredible country, but there are definitely things you need to know before traveling to Iran. Here's a list of 60+ things you need to know before traveling to Iran, to ensure you have a safe and memorable trip.

 

60 things you need to know before traveling to Iran

 

Things to know before traveling to Iran: visa information

Visas

  1. Visas on arrival are only available at airports, and they’re now valid for 30 days. Overlanders, you’ll have to get a visa at a consulate ahead of time.
  2. If you can’t get a visa on arrival, you need to get a visa at a consulate. Citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Bangladesh, Jordan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan need to get consular visas, and need to get an authorization number before applying for the visa.
  3. If there is proof of entry to Israel in your passport, you cannot enter Iran. This also applies if you have land border entry/exit stamps from countries neighboring Israel. Want to get around this? See if your country allows applications for a second passport for special circumstances.
  4. UK and Canadian citizens can travel in Iran without a guide. The rules have been loosened, though you won’t find any official statements. Some tour agencies acknowledge this, some don’t. For obvious reasons.

Check out our Iran travel guide for more information on visas.

 

I'm foreign so I must be rich

Rial rial bills, yo.

Money

  1. International cards don’t work in Iran. Forget ATMs–thanks to the sanctions, you have to bring all the money you’ll need in cash, and change money once in Iran. Dollars are best, but euros work, too.
  2. Exchange money at currency exchanges, not banks. Exchanges give better rates than the government-controlled banks. If not labeled “Exchange”, look for small shops similar to jewelry stores that have foreign bank notes in the window.
  3. Iranian rials are the official currency.
  4. Prices are given in toman, not rials. 1 toman = 10 rials. People will also abbreviate: for example, if someone tells you something is “5”, they mean 5,000 toman/50,000 rials. It’s confusing in the beginning, but you’ll get the hang of it! Just add an extra “0” to the price to figure out the price in rials. Luckily, people in Iran are very honest, and will let you know when you’re making a mistake. Tourist establishments are the exception to this–they usually list prices in rials.
  5. Keep your dollars close at hand, and don’t let people see how much money you have. Though theft isn’t very common, you don’t want to be trapped because something happened to your only supply of cash for the trip. Not all guesthouses and hotels have safes or lockers, so for god’s sake, please get a money belt. We can’t recommend them enough.
  6. If you do lose your money or run out of cash, carpet sellers in tourist areas can occasionally charge credit cards for a fee. The fee is around 10-20% of the transaction, so only use this as a last resort.

Don’t forget insurance: This one is so important that we have to tell you separately. Never leave home without proper health insurance! We use and recommend World Nomads.

 

Things to know before traveling in Iran: safety.

Does this explain the safety situation well enough? We left the car like this for half an hour, and nothing happened to it.

Safety

  1. Iran is extremely safe for foreigners. You won’t have to worry about violent crime, and petty theft is very rare. Let’s Go Iran’s safety page sums things up quite nicely. As for worries about ISIS? Um, ISIS has never occupied any space in Iran. You’ll be fine.
  2. Be careful when talking politics, and don’t insult the Supreme Leader. Speaking badly of the government is punishable by law, so be careful who you talk to. It’s best to pretend to be ambivalent, despite many Iranians being very open about their discontent.
  3. It’s okay to go to strangers’ homes. They just want to show you the famous Iranian hospitality! If someone invites you, do accept. Girls, take note: if a man invites you, it’s not proper to accept unless his wife or other women are present, or you’re traveling with a boy.
  4. Don’t take photos of power plants, factories, transportation hubs, or anything military or police. You don’t want to look like a spy. The government does not like spies.
  5. Hotels will keep your passports while you stay. However, you’re required by law to always have your passport on you. Either carry around copies of your passport while outside, or give the hotel copies and ask for your passport back. Make sure you have a copy of the information page and the page with your Iranian visa, including your entry stamp. You can do this once in the country–there are cheap copy shops everywhere in cities.

 

Taxis at night in the center of Zanjan, Iran.

Transportation

  1. Buses are the cheapest and most common form of transportation between cities. There are also domestic airlines, for those that want to save time and don’t mind paying a bit extra.
  2. Taxis have no meters, so you’ll have to decide on a price yourself. It’s difficult, especially when you’re not sure where your destination is. We wrote a guide on how to take taxis without getting ripped off, but a good rule of thumb is to haggle for 60-80% of the quoted price, unless it seems abnormally high. Taxis within cities should never be more than 50,000 rials or so.
  3. Want a comfortable bus ride? Get a VIP ticket. VIP buses have bigger seats that recline further, and you usually get a snack box for the road. They’re usually twice the price of mahmoolys, regular tour buses.
  4. Don’t sit next to people of the opposite sex unless you know them. It’s an unspoken rule, and people will often shuffle around on buses and in cars to get the order right. If there’s no other option, just sit–it’s not the end of the world.
  5. Any car can be a taxi. Enterprising locals will often act as unofficial taxi drivers. It’s fine to use their cars, and they’re a bit more flexible with their pricing than official taxis.
  6. Many city buses require transportation cards. The cards are sold at little huts next to bus stops. The price of a ride with the card is several hundred rials cheaper than without.
  7. Iranian drivers are insane. You’re going to see a lot of speeding, swerving, and sparse seatbelt usage. Prepare yourself.
  8. If the driving makes you nervous, stick to official taxis/savaris when traveling between cities. Official taxi drivers and bus drivers have to adhere to speed restrictions, which limits the stunts to a minimum. If that’s not possible… just close your eyes and pray to Allah.
  9. Don’t expect buses to stop for food. Roadside snack stalls are usually your only option, so make sure to stock up on food and drinks along for long bus journeys. However, most buses have a supply of water somewhere, and VIP buses usually give out snack boxes.
  10. You can ask a bus driver to take a toilet stop. They’ll occasionally stop for guys to take a roadside leak, but ladies have to be more vocal about nature’s call.

It has recently become possible to book and pay for buses and planes online with 1stQuest. Check here for buses, and here for plane tickets!

 

Things to know before traveling in Iran: all about the famous Iranian hospitality.

Being literally stuffed with love at a family’s house in Shush. We ended up here after the boy pictured invited us to stay at his home… right after we stepped off of a bus!

Hospitality

  1. Iranians love treating foreigners. People you meet are going to want to take you out and pay for everything. Do offer to pay yourself, but if they refuse you 3 or more times (see the explanation of tarof below), just give in and go with the flow.
  2. Watch out for tarof. In short, tarof is when someone offers something to be polite, not because they want to. It usually occurs in the form of someone offering to you something for free, but can also apply to invitations. To determine if it’s tarof, offer to pay three times. If the person still resists, the offer is legit.
  3. You don’t need to tip. Tipping isn’t common unless you’re at a really nice restaurant, or you were very, very satisfied with a service you received.
  4. Take advantage of Couchsurfing. It’s extremely popular in Iran, and an excellent way to meet locals/arrange homestays. Just be warned that many hosts will expect to be with you all the time. And we mean all the time.

For more on the famous Iranian hospitality, check out one of our favorite posts: Tales of Iranian hospitality.

 

Things to know before traveling to Iran: KEBAB

Be prepared to OD on kebabs while in Iran, possibly involuntarily.

Food and drinks

  1. Tap water is safe to drink, unless stated otherwise. There are also plenty of water fountains all throughout the cities, so bring a reusable water bottle!
  2. Forget coffee, it’s all about tea. Tea is the drink of choice, though you’ll occasionally encounter tiny coffee shops, and coffee is more common in touristy areas. Coffee addicts, savor the black stuff when you can!
  3. When drinking tea, put a sugar cube in your mouth, then take a sip. This is the Iranian way of drinking tea. Yes, this means you’ll end up consuming a metric sh*t ton of sugar cubes with each cup of tea… also the Iranian way. Spoons for tea are only found in tourist areas.
  4. You can often peek in the kitchen to see your options if there isn’t an English menu. Just stare blankly at the Farsi for a bit, shrug, and point to the kitchen. It’ll help you find things other than kebab.
  5. Don’t feel pressured to eat kebab when out with Iranians. They’ll often order kebab for you because they assume that’s what you want, and it’s common choice when eating out, since not everyone has the luxury of a charcoal grill in the home.
  6. Don’t be surprised if you encounter alcohol. Just because it’s banned doesn’t mean you can’t find it, as prohibition has taught us. You’ll be fine drinking in private homes, but be wary about consumption in public places.

Don’t forget: Never leave home without proper health insurance! We use and recommend World Nomads. Lucky you, they cover Iran!

 

Things to know before traveling in Iran: smoothie culture in Tehran!

An important aspect of Iranian culture: an addiction to all things blended and delicious!

Culture

  1. Persian (Farsi) uses the Arabic alphabet, and is written right to left. Numbers will also be different, but confusingly enough, they are written left to right. Try to learn the numbers so you can understand prices and times. You can use bus rides to learn the numbers from road signs along the way.
  2. Persians are not Arabs. Iranians are very firm on this, and are offended if you mix the two.
  3. Everything closes between 13:00 and 16:30-ish. During this time people go home to lunch with the family, nap, and avoid the heat. Sights, restaurants, and ice cream places (most important!) will still be open, though.
  4. Everything also closes on Fridays. Friday is the holy day of the week, and many stores are closed for the whole day. Friday mosques close to non-Muslims as well.
  5. Lunch and dinner are late. People eat lunch around 14:00, and dinner can be anywhere between 21:00 and midnight!
  6. No public displays of affection. It’s illegal to kiss or hold hands in public, though people bend the rules for the latter in big cities. Of course, this doesn’t meant that all things sexual are off limits—dating is common, and there’s even an active Tinder scene in Iran!
  7. Don’t wear shoes on carpets. Pack shoes that you can easily take on and off!
  8. The portraits on billboards and sides of buildings are of martyrs. It’s a “great honor” to die as a martyr for Iran, and the government plays this up by putting their faces on billboards and having martyr murals painted throughout cities.

 

Things to know before traveling to Iran: foreigner price discrimination.

Attempting to haggle down the price of foreigner tickets… unsuccessfully.

Sightseeing

  1. The Lonely Planet (2012) is definitely outdated. Prices have skyrocketed since it was last published, but it’s at least still useful for transportation information. There should be a new version published in 2017.
  2. Foreigner price for sights is usually 6-8 times the local price. And according to locals, foreigner ticket prices are still on the rise. For the budget travelers, the ticket people sometimes bend the rules and give you the Iranian price if you charm them a bit (and it’s not busy). Otherwise, try going in with a local, and have them buy your tickets while you hide.
  3. Tour agencies often give out free city maps. Check them out–there’s usually interesting things on the maps that you won’t find in guidebooks.
  4. Visit sights at night when possible. Many religious sites are open in the evening, and are much more pleasant: less tourists, more locals, cooler weather, and beautiful lighting. Sounds good, right?

For more suggestions and stories about our favorite sights in Iran, head to our Iran archives.

Things to know before traveling in Iran: how to stay healthy.

When bedbugs attack: the downsides of cheap guesthouses. Not so healthy after all!

Health

  1. Carry toilet paper/tissues everywhere. Cheap accommodations won’t always have toilet paper, and public toilets definitely don’t. Alternatively, get used to using a bum gun! Remember, you wipe with your left hand, and shake hands with your right.
  2. If looking for a toilet, ask for a “WC”. In English, that is. It’s more commonly used than “toilet”. If you do want to ask for a toilet, try using the French pronunciation, “toilette”.
  3. Most toilets are squat toilets. Hotels will sometimes have western toilets, but you’ll be doing a lot of squatting away from home. Start building up those leg muscles!

 

Travel blogging is ruining my travel experience for sure.

FYI: the internet in Iran will make you want to strangle yourself and/or other innocent things.

Internet & mobile

  1. The internet is censored. Many common social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest), Google services (except Gmail), app stores (for paid apps), and western news outlets (BBC, CNN) are blocked, so you’ll need a VPN if you plan on maintaining your internet existence while in Iran.
  2. Internet is slow, and can be hard to find. The government throttles internet speeds, and many cheap guesthouses and hotels outside of the main tourist track in the center of the country don’t have wifi.
  3. Consider getting an Iranian SIM card if you need regular internet. Mobile connections are often much faster than wifi and SIM cards are cheap. An Irancell SIM card is 200,000 rials (about $6-7), and 1GB of data is 100,000 rials. Less popular carriers are even cheaper–we got TCI SIM cards with one month of calling and 2.5GB of data for 120,000 rials in total (less than $4). Irancell’s coverage is faster and better, though more effective at disconnecting VPNs.
  4. Download Telegram. It’s the most popular messenger app in Iran, and you’ll want to use it to stay in touch with the billion and one Iranians that will give you their phone number.
  5. Iran uses European outlets. If your chargers don’t have the two rounded prongs, you’ll need an adapter.

 

Things to know before traveling in Iran: how women need to dress and act. Surveying the skyline in Kashan, Iran.

Rocking the demure Iranian ladydress (more formally known as a “manteau”) on the rooftops of Kashan.

Women

  1. Women have a strict dress code. Your head has to be covered, your shirt needs to cover your bum, and you can’t wear short sleeves–3/4 length max. Yay freedom! Tight pants are okay, though.
  2. Sit in the back of the bus on city buses. Always enter from the middle of the bus, and if you need to pay the driver, do so at the end of the ride by leaning in through the front door after getting out.
  3. Wear whatever you want at the beach when in the women-only area. Beaches are separated into separate sections for men and women, and a mixed gender area for families. Alas, you’ll have to cover up if you’re lounging in the mixed area. Don’t forget sunscreen to prevent strange tan lines!
  4. It’s often okay to take off your hijab in people’s homes or when hiking. Follow other women’s examples in homes. As for the great outdoors, if there’s no one around, who will get you in trouble? You’ll see many Iranian ladies doing the same.
  5. If a man harasses you, make a scene or firmly turn him away. Punishment for crimes against women is severe, and men are too afraid of being caught to let things progress. The tourist police are also very willing to help, providing you have information or photos they can use to track down offenders.

For more tips on traveling Iran as a woman, check out my female travel guide.

 

Iran is an incredible country, but there are definitely things you need to know before traveling to Iran. Here's a list of 60+ things you need to know before traveling to Iran, to ensure you have a safe and memorable trip.

 

Yay transparency: there are affiliate links in this post. If you buy anything through our links, we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. We promise we only recommend stuff we actually like, and it helps us cover the costs of running the blog!

Alex

American by birth, British by passport, Filipina by appearance. Addicted to ice cream. Enjoys climbing trees, dislikes falling out. Has great fondness for goats which is usually not reciprocated.

More about Alex

57 thoughts on “60 things you need to know before traveling to Iran

    EdelAli says:

    I have to correct you on number 52, Alex. Google services are not all banned by the Iranian government. Gmail is pretty popular and accessible. Also, you have to take Google policies regarding US sanctions into account, too. Google Analytics and Google Sites falls into this group, plus a few other services by Google. You mentioned Instagram by Facebook; Whatsapp messaging app also by Facebook is easily accessible, the second most popular after Telegram. Twitter and Facebook routinely shut down Iranian or affiliated user profiles with or without explanation and have officially collaberated with US government at times against the Iranian government, take 2009 elections as an example, so while that might be a reason, the main problem Iran has with social networks as such is their refusing to locate their servers in Iran like they’re required to do so in countries like US, thus raising concerns about user privacy and safety, not to mention their rumoured sale of user infomation to intelligence agencies. All said, Iran has its own Facebook-like social networks such as Cloob, and Google Apps has several alternatives like Café Bazaar and IranApps. Apple iTunes is accessible, too, though restricted by sanctions for paid apps. Sibche is the alternative to Apple iTunes, both for paid and not paid apps. Using a VPN is not a crime, though selling an unregistered one is. Theoretically, blocked websites are banned from activity in Iran, Iranians are not banned from using them.

    EdelAli says:

    I should also note that “news sites in English are blocked” is a broad exaggeration, too. You must have meant to write “some main Western news outlets are blocked in Iran.” CNN, Sky News, NY Times, Wall Street Journal and Guardian are amoung the ones that are not blocked in Iran.

    Thank you very much for your in-depth explanation of the the rationale behind blockages, calling out my over-generalizations, and for providing the correct information! I appreciate it, and will update the article shortly. I will leave out the Iranian alternatives, given that this article is directed at foreigners who I imagine won’t be in the country long enough to want to take advantage of the Iranian social networks.

    Regarding the blocked news outlets–while in Iran, I was unable to access CNN and the Guardian without the use of a VPN. Has this been changing recently? I am no longer in Iran and thus unable to check, but I would like to include a more thorough list, now that I’m fixing things.

    hadi says:

    hi this is Hadi from Iran
    i can help you to enjoy your time in Iran as i did so far for a Canadian family

    my number is 00989151246243

    Josephine says:

    Hi, I’m Chinese Singaporean. I plan to travel Iran in Dec 2017. I just to explore Iran beauty and their cuisine and nice people hospitality. Any female tour guide ?

    Sebastiaan says:

    There are female tour guides, but we’re not sure which agency to recommend. Perhaps you can check the Lonely Planet forum.

    Fateme says:

    Hi. I’m not a tour guide and i can’t spend much time out for i am a student
    But i can give you my number so i can give you some information or something

    Tamara Shintani PI says:

    Enjoyed with blog very much, thanks. I’m planning on traveling to Iran to visit friends, I’m a Canadian woman. I’ve been researching for hours and hours and I’m having quite a hard time nailing down what’s accurate when it comes to travel requirements. I noticed that you said that Canadians can indeed go to Iran without joining a tour group. I just wondered where you found this information and if you can refer me to any resources regarding this subject? Thank you!

    Tamara

    Hi Tamara,

    Thanks for checking out our article! We mentioned that Canadians can go to Iran without a tour… if you’re willing to take a bit of a risk.

    We give more details in our post about independent travel in Iran (http://lostwithpurpose.com/travel-independently-iran-uk-citizen/), but basically you’d have to find an agency willing to give you an authorization number, and then just fly under the radar while in Iran. It sounds suspicious, but we know of multiple Canadians that have done it…

    You can always email us with more questions about it!

    Thanks for sharing this guys! We’re headed to Iran next week and this list just cleared up a bunch of questions. Excellent work! 🙂

    Have fun on your trip guys! We know you will 😉 If you ever have more questions, you know where to find us!

    Vince Randhawa says:

    great blog on Iran! could u please recommend some accommodations in Tehran? I’m been searching all over and it’s expensive. Thank you!
    -Vince R.

    Hi Vince, glad you liked it. We stayed in Khazar Sea. It wasn’t the most comfy place we stayed at, but it was among the cheapest we could find in Tehran (600,000 rial for a double).It is close to Mellat metro station.

    ZH says:

    this is a good one! very comprehensive!!

    Thanks a lot. Glad it’s helpful!

    Brenda Brown says:

    Wow,thanks for the comprehensive info! Am going to Iran this April and your infos help alot! Was thinking of getting a ground tour but changed my mind after reading this. Guess I can do the trip on my own. Any suggestion where to stay in Tehran and Shiraz?

    Glad you like it. Unless you really want to, a tour is not necessary at all. We actually published a two week itinerary just now, in which we cover Tehran and Shiraz, too. Check it out at https://www.lostwithpurpose.com/two-week-iran-itinerary/. We have a bunch of other useful (we think) info, too. Including info on taxis (really confusing in Iran), and an off the beaten track itinerary. Check it out if you want. Cheers!

    Brenda Brown says:

    Can’t thank you guys enough for publishing the 2 weeks itinerary. You guys have helped to narrow down my choices, no thanks to my limited days in Iran. With 6 days to spare, would definitely include visit to Persepolis and Necropolis in this trip as they are indeed one of the reason why I want to visit Iran. Do you guys happen to know if there is any public transport going to and fro both Persepolis & Necropolis? Thanks so much in advance!

    You’re most welcome. There are public transport options to Persepolis, regardless of what guest house people will tell you. The problem is that we only found out after we went there, so we never bothered finding out exactly from where the bus goes. Most Shirazis don’t even seem to know, but it should definitely be possible to get there by public transport.

    We’re not sure about options to the Necropolis, since it’s a bit further down the road. You might have to take a taxi from Persepolis to get there. Perhaps check out the Lonely Planet forum.

    We ended up going with a tour, organized by Niayesh Hotel. The value is okay, at $30 per person, and they take you to both Persepolis and Necropolis with a guide who’ll tell you some of the history.

    Valentina Clerici says:

    Dear Alex, thank you for the long and very exhaustive post. I have one question, though, that I guess you did not mention: Since you travelled for quite a long period, how did you manage with the laundry? is it possible to find token laundry, or is it possible to wash at the hotel/hostel/houses where one sleeps? I will travel to Iran in aprox 3 weeks, and I intend to travel with only a small backpack, that is the reason of my question…

    Hiya. Laundry can often be done by your hotel or guesthouse, especially at the ones catering to foreign visitors. There also laundry places around town in most cities. If not, you can always ask for a bucket and do it yourself.

    Alicia says:

    Thank you so much for this article! Absolutely amazing and it’s made me feel so prepared and excited about my upcoming trip to Iran! <3

    You’re most welcome. Glad it’s useful. Have fun on your trip!

    Athar says:

    I’m iranian and i got surprised by this artical! Take it easier! something like bedbug i’ve never seen that i want to be worry about. Or internt is common in houses and sometimes in the resturants and caffeshops; but for example in the parks you can use internet data and there is not wifi. Afterall, thank you!
    (Sorry for my english skills! It will get better!)

    Sebastiaan says:

    What’s so surprising? Plenty of people find the information in this post very useful. And just because you haven’t seen bedbugs, doesn’t mean they’re not there. I was covered in bites 😉 This post is just here so people can visit your beautiful country well prepared 🙂

    Hayden says:

    Awesome list. I totally agree with no. 22 Iranian drivers are insane. I grabbed a taxi to my hostel at 2am. He went like a bat out of hell down the highway. As soon as he went over 120km/h his car started beeping at him. I think the beeping was meant to make him slow down, but I feel he used it more as encouragement that he was going nice and fast :/

    Sebastiaan says:

    Haha, that sounds like an Iranian driver for you!

    Ali says:

    As an Iranian, I would say it was a fairly accurate depiction of what a tourist needs to know about Iran. However, there are some inaccuracies, specially about transportation and prices which have changed during the last 2 or 3 years.
    In big Cities (Specially Tehran) the first choice for transportation is urban train known as “metro”. With the same transportation card mentioned in this article (No. 21), and only with that, you can use metro. It covers most of Tehran and is expanding fast. The second choice in Tehran would be a specific type of bus called “BRT” which also accept only transportation cards. The third option would be regular urban bus that accept cash as well as transportation card. In cities other than Tehran (and maybe few other big cities), the first choice would be regular buses. All of the mentioned transportation systems are very cheap (around 15 cents for each trip).
    On the other hand, Taxis in Iran might be very surprising. regular taxis, also called “taxi khati” are the cheapest type of taxi in Iran witch only travel in specific routes. They take 4 passengers and using them means you are OK with other people sitting beside you. Other type of taxi, also called “darbasti” take you wherever you want (just like other countries) without taking other passengers, but charge you a lot higher. I never use them because they may overcharge me (as an Iranian), let alone you (as a tourist). The best alternative to that is a very popular mobile app called “Snap” which allows you to choose your location and destination on a map on your smart phone and sends a car to pick you (usually takes less than a minute in Tehran to “take a Snap”, as Iranian would say). The price is very reasonable and you will be sure no body is ripping you off (for a regular route in Tehran it costs around 70,000 Rials. However, Using a “darbasti” taxi might cost you 10 times as much !!!!). So, I strongly recommend you to download the app and learn how to use it. it is now only working in big cities, but will be soon available in most cities.

    As a comment on No. 13, It’s completely true that Iran is an extremely safe place to travel. But, don’t just accept any invitation from any person. There are bad people everywhere. However unlikely, but you may encounter some of them in Iran.

    No. 48 about toilet paper is also not clear enough. We use water stream and left hand to clean ourselves and use toilet papers to absorb the moisture. in all private houses and I guess most hotels there is toilet papers.
    Also about bedbug, what the hell??? I’ve lived all my life in Iran and have no such experience. You may have chose your accommodation poorly. I recommend to use hotels with 3 stars or more, or instead, make some friends on your first day in Iran and use their private houses. It will be much more easier than you imagine in Iran cause, as mentioned, Iranians love to interact with foreigners. I think it is mostly because the world tries to show a bad face of Iranians and we try to prove them wrong :). It might be a little hard to find people who know English. Try young people (20 to 30) who you seem to be students. They mostly know English.

    At the end, thanks again for being fair about us and special thanks for No. 37. We are not racists but hate being confused with Arabs.

    Sebastiaan says:

    Thanks a lot for all the extra information. As for the bedbugs, let me assure you, they exist in Iran, as they do almost anywhere. And we choose budget places because we’re budget travelers. We simply can’t afford 3 star hotels 🙂

    Saleh says:

    Hi ALI
    You said about subways and (BRT)
    And many thing else it would be perfect if they refreshed this page

    Joanna says:

    Hi,
    Plenty of useful info, thank you. I am planning to spend 10 days in Iran in one month. Either alone or with my partner. So two questions: what is the best way to travel in Iran, including to remote places? And in case I go alone, even though as you say it is perfectly safe to travel in Iran, is it ok for a woman to travel solo? I like travelling alone and hence I would prefer not to join a guided tour. Unless it is advisable in Iran.
    Many thanks in advance, Joanna

    Sebastiaan says:

    Hi Joanna, thanks for reaching out. Best way to get around is either by bus or shared taxi (savari). Buses go to most cities and towns, as do savaris. Our guides section has a lot of info on transportation and getting to/from places: https://www.lostwithpurpose.com/travel-information/iran-travel-guide/

    Traveling solo as a women is fine. Plenty of girls do it. Just make sure to adhere to standard safety practices, and don’t be overly friendly with men you don’t know well. Alex wrote an article about female travel in Iran: https://www.lostwithpurpose.com/female-travelers-code-conduct-iran/

    Hope this helps. Have fun!

    Alireza says:

    Hi to you.
    My name is Alireza.
    I can not speak English very well
    But I wanted to say.
    I am an Iranian and it is surprising to me that you know so much from Iran.
    It is an honor for us Iranians who care about our country and our culture.
    I wanted to say, come to our city, Isfahan.
    I really respect the foreigners who come to our city and I would like to talk to them.
    I hope good luck in your work.

    Thanks
    Bye.

    Sebastiaan says:

    Hi Alireza, thanks for reaching out. We did visit Iran for 2 months. We had a great time and absolutely loved the people. Isfahan is a beautiful city. Hopefully we can visit again one day!

    Arif Mehmood says:

    Assalam o alaikum Athar, Alireza n all. Hi to Sebastiaan. Aam Arif from Pakistan. I’ve planned to visit Turkey via iran by road. But after reading all this, great work by Sebastiaan , the way how you express what u observe, Aam planning not to just pass the Iran , but to spent some time to explore The Great Country IRAN.. I’ve a question from Iranians that I’ve come to know that due to some political issues, Pakistanies are not welcome by heart by the people of Iran . I strongly condemned all these rumors but a statement of Iranians may help me to accomplish this trip.. Regards. With love and Respect for u all. Arif.

    Saleh says:

    I am iranian and I used to read false informations about iran, but this page is different and its true,by the way if you have questions about my country ill be glad to answer. Telegram ID:@saleh_alirez

    Sebastiaan says:

    We’re super happy to hear that!

    Misha says:

    Iran is a very beautiful tourist place. I like travelling but I never visited in Iran. I am planning a trip with next month. Thanks for sharing.

    Sebastiaan says:

    Hope this was helpful then. Have fun in Iran!

    Hossein Sarailoo says:

    about money
    You can use Mah Card which is an Iranian debit card.
    to find out more visit https://www.mahcard.com

    Sebastiaan says:

    Thanks for letting us know. Very useful!

    Milad Shadifar says:

    Greeting from north of Iran.
    My name is Milad Shadifar. I am working in tourism and hospitality industry in Iran. As an Iranian it’s an honor for us to be your host. Generally, Iranian love their host, especially who are come from outside the country because Iranian loves to show their respectful and rich hospitality culture. If you know some one in Iran, be sure he or she will invite you to his or her own home to have a lunch or dinner. It’s common and they usually invite and a Persian mother cook local food for you. Don’t miss it….
    In addition, you can keep in touch with me for more question in Iran (especially north of Iran, Mazandaran province):
    +989111270867
    [email protected]

    Laiq Ahmad says:

    Downtown Tehran is an over crowded and polluted city where traffic crawls at snail’s pace. Your safety is compromised by bike riders using the foothpaths. Money changers at Fardousi street don’t change foreign currency, rather strange. Arrival at IK airport hardly depicts the picture of an international airport.

    Sebastiaan says:

    Tehran is certainly not for everyone, and it’s definitely not our favorite city. Having said that, we still enjoyed being there for a bit, and think that the traffic is something you get used to 🙂

    carlo_carlos says:

    And one thing :Taarof, This is a polite exchange that takes place in all aspects of life in Iran, in shops, in streets, in businesses, at homes. saying thanks twice is enough to finish the Taarof process. FYI in some places in Iran delengo is also synonyms to Taarof.

    Sebastiaan says:

    Thanks for the info 🙂

    Omid says:

    so I read this page, many of the things have been changed lately.

    I’m 28 and I am living in Iran. feel free to ask any kinda questions. I’ll be glad to answer. 🙂

    *sry for my bad ENG

    Anthony Nnaji says:

    Thanks Alex for the wonderful information. Concerning this issue of ATM cards, I need clarification. Is there any way out incase one gets stranded. I’m a Nigerian coming to Iran for an official assignment for two months.

    Omid says:

    You can go to a bank, and get Iranian ATM card. you’ll have too many options but trust me, there is no difference between banks! lol

    as soon as you get an ATM card, you will be access it from ALL ATMs all over the country.
    any other questions? my email: [email protected]

    Alex says:

    Some of the carpet vendors accept credit cards (for a high fee) and can give you cash in return. Otherwise, it’s good to bring the cash you need. If you’re really in a pinch, you can probably contact the Nigerian Embassy in Tehran for assistance. And I’m sure whoever is sending you on assignment can help you if necessary!

    gaurav kumar rathi says:

    iran is a good country to visit for having a different kind of tour. there you can experience a different kind of thing you cant find in another country, like the old market, bathhouse, mosque you will enjoy your trip. if you need any kind of help, I would happy to help you

    julia says:

    this is by far the best informations i found about iran. thanks so much for sharing all this

    Ahmed R Khan says:

    Woooww great information shared about IRAN, now i will fix a 30 days tour with my family in to IRAN. And you are well comes to Karachi, Pakistan, everything will be free of cost for you because i am own your trip to Pakistan.

    Robin says:

    Thank you for this article, super useful information!

    Also, something that could really help although it is quite new it is the mobile app Fairswap. It allows to exchange cash currency in real-time by connecting people and let them meeting with each other at a pre-agreed location. 
    Widely, you can post your need in foreign currency and if there is someone nearby facing the reverse need, then he/she can contact you and you will meet him/her and make the swap. That would have been helpful in my case when out of big cities.

    Could also be a good way to get rid of some leftover after holidays

    Farooq says:

    I am Farooq from Pakistan. I want to travel to Iran. But I have no friend in iran. Anyone want to guide me especially Iranian. My Whatsapp number is 00923017739766.

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