Iran is quite a special destination and it exceeded even my wildest expectations. Nowhere in the world I’ve felt more welcome than here. Iran’s Lonely Planet describes this very well: “If travel is most rewarding when it surprises, then Iran might be the most rewarding destination on earth”. My trip to Iran has been a journey full of pleasant surprises. When do you know you are in Iran?
Read here when you know you are in Iran and the 28 points that make Iran unique!
When you are in Iran
Iran is such a great and interesting place to visit. Seldom I have experienced such genuine friendliness from the local people! The word hospitality gets a whole new meaning and Iran is without a doubt the most hospitable country I have ever visited. 28 points how you know you are in Iran!
1. You are being surrounded by people with very polite manners, also towards themselves. For example, Iranians hardly ever honk in traffic, they don’t skip lines, even more they’ll let you get ahead every time.
2. “Tarof” is very important in communicating. This means you’ll politely refuse something twice, if someone offers you something and will only agree the third time. Iranians have “tarof” in high regard and as a tourist you will encounter this phenomenon more than once.
3. You will be busy posing for pictures and especially for selfies. Always in a relaxed and friendly manner. Iranians really want to take a picture with you.
4. It is also quite easy to snap pictures from Iranians themselves. Don’t forget to ask first, as they would like to tidy up their scarf. After that, they are happy to pose for you. Iranians are a vain people!
5. No one will stick his thumb up in Iran. That is a bad sign. I noticed that I stuck my thumb up quite often in Iran and luckily most Iranians understand where you are coming from and understand that you mean no harm by it.
6. Many addresses, prices, bus schedules, menus etc. are completely unreadable, because they are written in Farsi only. Iranians are happy to help you if they see you don’t understand anything.
7. Not all Iranians speak English. This is especially true for older people, the youth speak English just fine. Iranians are quite the pragmatic people and have a solution for this problem: many Iranians have a translation app on their phone. Genius solution, as it allows you to have a conversation with a lot of people.
8. The Persian name for a lot of mosques is completely different than the English name or what is mentioned in the Lonely Planet or other travel guides. This can cause some confusion, so be warned!
9. You’ll receive phone numbers from Iranians wanting to help you constantly during the day. Don’t worry, they have no other intentions than to actually help you. Iranians (in the bigger cities) all have an smartphone with WhatsApp.
10. You’ll be surrounded by smiling people with a great sense of humor. Something that really helps in achieving a relaxed atmosphere.
11. You’ll see ice cream stands literally everywhere. Iranians love their ice cream. Ice cream is very cheap and that resulted in me eating a lot of ice cream in Iran. Saffron ice is the flavor to pick!
12. You might not be able to buy Coca Cola or Pepsi, but you can buy the locally produced ZamZam. Also quite tasty and a good way to stimulate the local economy if you ask me.
13. Always pay attention whilst on a street crossing, as they don’t have any function whatsoever.
14. Most traffic lights flash for a while when they are orange. Only during rush hour will the traffic lights switched on.
15. On the street you will see a lot of women in chadors with a cap or sun visor on top of it, as extra sun protection. It looks quite funny, also many of them have funny texts and/or logos.
16. In Iran you’ll learn that there are several kinds of chadors and that there are many kinds of black. You’ll know by the women wearing or selling them at the local bazaar.
17. Carpets and rugs play an important part in the daily life of the Iranian people. You’ll see them everywhere and you can buy them everywhere. I’ve never been sitting on as many rugs as I have in Iran.
18. Iran is a very clean country and Iranians are a very hygienic people. The soap dispensers in the toilets are very remarkable. They are always, and I really mean always, completely filled up.
19. You’ll see little tents everywhere. Iranians love to camp and you will see people setting up their tent, whether that is in a park or near a mosque.
20. It’s hard to resist the temptation to buy several shawls in Iran. The best shawls are bought at the bazaar for a couple of Euros.
21. Of course Islam is omnipresent in this country where state and religion are one and the same. But not in a negative authoritarian way. That I’m not a Muslim wasn’t seen as a problem and I was welcome in every mosque.
22. Tourists pay in Rial currency, yet prices are in Toman. An 0 difference! In the beginning you will be a bit clumsy when it comes to handling money as a result.
23. A trip to Iran will result in you gaining a few kilos at least! During the day you will be stuffed with food and drinks by random strangers. Iranians love their sweets and you will get a lot of chocolate and candy. Such friendliness! But don’t forget to use Tarof! Even at cemeteries you will get handed candy. And praying people will stop just to say hello to you.
24. In restaurants you’ll usually get food from people next to you, or to be more precise, from people sitting on the rug next to you. Sometimes I was already completely stuffed before getting served my own food.
25. The most asked question you get is “what do you think of Iran”, often followed by an apology that you have to wear a veil.
26. You can’t get to Facebook without a VPN. Instagram and most other sites/ apps do work as usual. WIFI is available in most hostels and hotels.
27. Almost all museums and other sights have the same 200.000 Rial entrance fee (about € 6,-) and you’ll get the same entrance ticket everywhere.
28. Gasoline is only about € 0,25 per liter, meaning buses and taxis are very cheap.
These are my facts when you know when you are in Iran! Which facts do you like to share about when you know you are in Iran…. I’m interested in what you think about a trip to Iran!
Read more about Iran
- What do you wear in Iran
- Why I am going to Iran
- How to arrange a trip to Iran?
- How to arrange a visa for Iran
- 30 interesting facts about Iran
- Tips for women who travel to Iran
Read more about what you can do in Iran
- 7 must do’s in Esfahan
- Naqsh-e Jahan (Imam) square in Isfahan: the most beautiful square in the world
- 13 things you have to do in Shiraz
- The 6 best things to do in Kashan
- Nasir Al Molk mosque in Shiraz
- How it’s like to visit a mosque in Iran?
- Bagh-e Eram, the most beautiful Persian garden in Iran
- Persepolis, a must visit in Iran