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17 things to know before travelling to Iran (update 2020)


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 When you are planning a trip to Iran you may have many questions about culture, do or not to do tips and so on. Traveling to Iran requires its own information and preparation.

Some tourists who have visited Iran before helped us to prepare a guideline about what should you know before your trip to Iran.

 

trip to Iran

1- Iran is safe

2- Check Iran Public Holidays

3- Get your Iran visa beforehand or on arrival easily

4- Dress code in Iran

· Female

· Male

5- Foreigner cards won't work, Bring cash in Iran

6- Currency can make you confused

7- Buy an Iranian SIM card

8- Ask the price

9- Tarrof

10- Be open for people who wants to talk to you

11- Coffee isn't such available in Iran

12- Don't just eat Kebab, look for different foods

13- Alcohol is prohibited in Iran

14- Be prepared and equipped to use a squat toilet

15- Be flexible

16- Traveling as a couple

17- Notice to security warnings

 

 

1-    Iran is safe

The most frequent question is if Iran is safe? Fortunately, the answer is always yes.

Honestly, Iran has many challenges out of its border due to its strategic location, political reasons, and relationships with other countries (the USA in general). But among all of them plus the propaganda, Iran in its border is really safe, one of the safest countries in the world.

And Iranian people really care about tourists, they want to get sure you have everything you need and feel comfortable in Iran.

is Iran safe?

2-     Check Iran Public Holidays

In Iran you have to check three calendars;

1.     The Persian calendar (Hijri calendar)

2.     The Islamic calendar (Lunar calendar)

3.     The Georgian calendar

There are many holidays in Iran base on Persian and Islamic calendars.

So you need to check the public holidays before planning a trip to Iran since some of these occasions might affect your trip plans.

Among all holidays in Iran (around 25 days per year), in six of them, attractions are closed and you can't visit anywhere. They would be like below list in 2020:

·        15th May: Martyrdom of Imam Ali

·        17th June: Martyrdom of Imam Sadeq

·        3rd  June: Demise of Imam Khomeini

·        28th August: Tassoua

·        29th August: Ashura

·        16th October: Demise of Prophet Muhammad and Martyrdom of Imam Hassan

In other holidays, for example, Iranian New Year, Nowruz holiday (20th March- 3rd April), it is better to book your transportation tickets and accommodations in advance.

You always can contact us to check holidays during your trip to Iran and limitations you may face.

3-   Get your Iran visa beforehand or on arrival easily

Getting Iran visa is the easiest steps of your trip to Iran. You can get the Iran visa in Iran Embassies, Consulates or on arrival.

Conditions and processes are explained clearly in How to get visa to visit Iran?

Check the article and if you had any other questions contact us.

To request for visa grant notice, the easiest way is filling the visa request here; Visa form

4-   Dress code in Iran

Tourists are asked to follow the Iran dress code, but no need to have stress about it. Rules aren't strict for tourists and you just have to follow a few important ones to respect local laws that aren't too tough to obey.

·     Female

Women need to cover up their hair and their body.

The headscarf in Iran can be a shawl or a scarf with diverse styles. You can choose what type of hijab suits you best. Some people hide their hair completely when others leave some out from front or back. Some people wear a small scarf and knot it under chin; others use a long Shawl and wrap it around the hair.

Some tourists wonder how Iranian women can keep the scarf long time on their hair when they find it slippery and always fall on their shoulders. To remove this issue use cotton scarves (shawls) and use scarf clamp to hold the scarf tight on your head.

Women are expected to wear a longer tunic or shirt, manteau, covers from shoulder to hip and a trouser underneath to cover from the waist to their ankles.

dress code in iran

Fabric and color don’t really matter. Of course, it can't be too thin that your body is visible. On some occasions like Muharram, you should wear darker clothes to respect.

If you travel to Iran in Muharram, this article will help you:

What do you need to know if you travel to Iran in Muharram

In winter or summer, women are not allowed to wear short-sleeve or sleeveless t-shirts. Sleeves need to be at least 3/4.

There isn't any restriction on the shoes. You will see many Iranian women wearing sandals in summer.

·     Male

Men don't need to cover their hair in Iran. As a male foreign tourist in Iran, you can wear either short-sleeve t-shirts or blouses.

Men are always required to wear long trousers, not shorts.

Color, Fabric and shoe style don't matter in Iran for men too.

** Rules aren't too strict for children, young kids are free to use a scarf or not, wear short-sleeve t-shirts and even short skirts or shorts.

dress code for children

5-  Foreigner cards won't work, Bring cash in Iran

Due to sanctions, credit cards are not accepted and won’t work in ATMs of Iran so you’ll need to bring along plenty of cash.

How much cash should I bring to Iran?

It depends on your travel style, your itinerary and services you've booked in advance.

And the equivalent rate of Rial and other currencies is changing constantly. But you always can contact us and our colleagues will calculate how much you should bring to Iran.

It isn't unsafe to carry cash but tourists can also get a tourist-card where you can put your money and use it as an ATM card, that will avoid carrying a lot of cash all the time.

6-  Currency can make you confused

The official currency of Iran is Rial but Iranians often use Toman in their speaking, dealing and so on.

When the seller asks you 20,000 Rial, he means 2,000 Toman.

1 Toman= 10 Rial

Another confusing part is Iranian usually simplify their talking by ignoring 3 zeros.

When the seller asks you for 50 Toman, he means 50,000 Toman which equals to 500,000 Rial.

currency in iran

It is good to know numbers in Farsi, so you can check price labels 

numbers in iran

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 7-    Buy an Iranian SIM card

Iranian SIM card is very cheap and useful. You can buy them easily at the airport or any Telecommunication Offices near your place.

Besides contact with your Iranian friends in an easier way, the Internet of these SIM cards will help you a lot. Internet in hotels isn't such good and fast so you will use your SIM card to check Instagram, Whatsapp, your emails without any issues.

Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are blocked in Iran, so you’ll need to install a VPN (a virtual private network) in order to access a certain website.

8-   Ask the price

Another bit of advice I would give in your travel to Iran is not to look at something and decide it is too expensive.  Ask the price - nearly always you will be surprised at how cheap it is.

And before you buy anything and use any services ask the price to avoid misunderstanding and unpleasant shock.

When buying survivors, ask the price at a few places, out of the tourist squares you always can get better prices .

price in iran
 

9-  Tarrof

Tarrof is a part of Iranian culture to be hospitable and not accept the money immediately. When you use a service or buy something the seller will tell you don't mention it (don't need to pay anything), It is just Tarrof and you should refuse it and pay.

It seems confusing but very common in Iran the clue is you always have to pay for the services you use even if who offered you that service refuses to receive the payment when you asked if you ask the price again you will get the answer this time.

10-  Be open for people who wants to talk to you

As a tourist in Iran, you’ll be the center of everyone’s attention, especially in small cities. Many people want to catch up with you, know where you are from, practice their English skills, and take a photo with you. Be prepared for all of them and let your guard down and see it as an opportunity to visit real Iran.

It is good to know even some words in Farsi like Salam (Hello), Khodafez (Goodbye), Mamnoon (Thank you) to start the communication.

visit real iran
 

 11-   Coffee isn't much available in Iran

The most common hot drink in Iran is black tea, not coffee. I would say that both instant coffee and coffee beans are available in Iran but many hotels don't have kettles in rooms so I would suggest that if coffee is really important to you, bring a travel kettle and whatever means of making coffee suits you. And when you are out of the hotel, try to find a good coffee shop

coffee in iran
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12- Don't just eat Kebab, look for different foods

Persian food has its own culture and importance.

Even though foods are meat-based in Iran but if you search you can find different types of vegetarian foods and in restaurants, you can order different stews without meat.

** If you are Vegan, double-check with waiters the ingredients since a spoon tab of sheep oil in rice can ruin your diet

persian food
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13-   Alcohol is prohibited in Iran

Drinking Alcohol is illegal in Iran for everybody. So don’t look for it anywhere. Wherever you found beer on menus it means non-alcohol beer. If you are caught drinking alcohol or even having it, you will face legal troubles and punishments so NEVER recommended to search for it in Iran.

14-  Be prepared and equipped to use squat-toilet

In some places like petrol stations, most restaurants, some accommodation in villages and small cities and so on you will need to use Iranian toilets (Turkish/Asian style, meaning squat toilets).  Mostly they are clean.  I recommend practicing squatting before you leave so your leg muscles are strong.

And keep your pockets empty when you squat since what's in your pockets can fall down into the black hole.

It is recommended to have a roll of toilet paper and liquid soap or sanitizer with you since they are not always prepared in those places.

15-  Be flexible

It is a tip for traveling everywhere in the world not just Iran. Have an itinerary, a good plan includes what you are going to see or do BUT leave some rooms just in case things don't work as you planned.

Iran has 7,000 years of history.  If you are not a history buff the different dynasties can get confusing. Try to research beforehand to make the most of your time and you don’t miss anything, but if you end up not visiting some places don't be depressed. It always happens.

16-  Traveling as a couple

Unmarried Iranian couples have some issues in public but rules aren't such strict for tourists.

As an unmarried couple, you can stay in the same room in hotels, holding hands, walking close to each other but kissing, hugging, dancing in public isn't accepted in Iran for couples (married or unmarried).

couple in iran
 

17-  Notice to security warnings

Notice to security warnings can make the trip less stressful for you.

For example, you can't bring a drone to Iran and under some circumstances, you need a permit to fly the drone. NEVER take photos of military establishments or personnel.

If you are British, American or Canadian you have to inform your guide if you want to leave the hotel, you can’t stay with locals and accept their invitations for parties.

iran tours
 

 

 

To get Iran visa check: Iran visa
To book tours to any of these destinations: Iran Tours 
 If you have any question don't hesitate to contact us: Contact