How do you prepare for a trip to Iran? That’s a question I’ve asked myself a few weeks ago. The reason is because I am about to travel to Iran with a good friend of mine. We will travel independently across Iran and a (proper) preparation is part of the fun and important for that matter. Recent developments have made Iran more popular as a tourist destination. I described the reasons you need to add Iran to your bucket list previously. How do you prepare fot a trip to Iran?
Here are my tips to prepare yourself for a trip to Iran.
1. Best time to travel
It could be useful to check Iran’s climate before travelling there, to prevent getting caught up weird weather circumstances. Iran is an extensive country with large differences in climate. Summer could see temperatures rise well above 40 degrees Celsius. Spring (April and May) and autumn (September and October) are the best times to travel to Iran, but in those periods it could be difficult to find a restaurant open during daytime.
Withdrawing cash from an ATM is currently not possible in Iran. It will be possible in the future, when sanctions are being removed and Iran will get connected to the international banking system. Credit cards are also not working in Iran at the moment. Therefore is it very important to take cash dollars (or Euros), preferably in smaller notes. You can change them at banks or at exchange offices. You could also change money ‘on the street’. The currency in Iran is the Rial, but this can only be obtained in Iran itself. The term Rial is seldom used and often people use Toman instead. 1 Toman is 10 Rial.
3. Dress code
Women have different dress codes and out of respect for the country it is important to keep them. Practically this means that you ought to wear long pants and that your arms need to be covered. Loose-falling tunics are perfect, as you also need to cover your female shape. Underneath the tunic you could easily wear a skinny jeans and flip flops are allowed as well. The only thing you’ll show in Iran is your face. That means that you are obliged to wear a headscarf/ shawl when you are a woman, but you can loosely fit it around your head. If you are about to visit a sacred place where a chador is required, you can borrow one at the entrance. Tourists are largely left alone by morals police.
4. Internet (wifi)
Most hotels/ hostels in the cities have WIFI. But internet is slow and many sites are blocked. It would be useful to consider a VPN subscription, to circumvent those blockades (Facebook for example). VPN Express is recommended.
A visa can easily be arranged through the Iranian consulate in the Hague. You can also obtain a visa on arrival at the Teheran airport. Check iranianvisa.com for more information and read How to arrange a visa for Iran?
You are not allowed to take pictures everywhere, for example you are not allowed to take picture of the military and government buildings such as police stations. Certain areas best be avoided in regards to radical Islamic terrorism, like Sistan and Baluchistan province. Taking pictures of sights, people and daily life on the street can be done freely. However, it would be advisable to ask for permission before taking a picture of someone.
To learn more about Iran there are some very interesting books to be read and documentaries to be watched. These are my favorites:
“Daughters of Isfahan”, Anita Amirrezvani
“Veils of Teheran”, Nina Rasmussen
“In secret, everything is possible”, Eefje Blankevoort
I also became a Facebook group member of “See you in Iran” and you can find a lot of information about Iran there. There are a lot of Iranians in the group and the information they provide about the cities or areas they live in is rather interesting.
I always advice to learn some basic local language. In this case I’d advice to learn some Farsi. This makes travelling in Iran easier and of course more fun. It would also be useful to learn the Persian numbers by head, to compare prices and check bus timetables.
Hello – Salaam
Goodbye – Bèh oomiede diedar
Thank you – Taashaakkor
Yes – Bale
No – Naa
How are you – Chetori?
Great, thank you – Goebaam, mersi
0 صفر sefr
1 یک yak
2 دو do
3 سه se
4 چهار chahar
5 پنج panj
6 شش shesh
7 هفت haft
8 هشت hasht
9 نه noh
10 ده dah
These are my tips to prepare for a trip to Iran. If you have tips yourself how to prepare for a trip to Iran or questions you want to ask me, I am happy to hear them!
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