9 most important questions about travelling to Iran
We all know there’s a big difference between what we hear about another country from the locals and what the media represents about that country. This difference is noticeable. Here we answer 9 important questions which might occur to be your concern too.
1. Is it safe?
YES! Despite all the crazy going on in the middle-east, Iran has been very safe for many years. If you think there are bombings and terrorist attacks in Iran, you’re completely wrong! Some people simply take Iran for Iraq by mistake. Maybe that’s why they think Iran is not safe. I quote from one of our guests “Iran is even safer than most parts in Europe” .
2. Do people in Iran hate foreigners?
MOST DEFINITELY NOT! It’s quite the contrariwise. Iranian people are super kind, super friendly human beings just like you, and they really like tourists. I promise, you’ll be fascinated by Iranian people’s hospitality! Don’t be ever afraid of getting lost, someone will certainly help you voluntarily. You don’t speak Farsi? Don’t worry at all, you don’t need to find someone who speaks English, someone will find you.
3. What should I wear?
As you might guess, women MUST cover themselves properly in Iran. This doesn’t mean you have to wear a burqa! There are different interpretations of what is proper for a woman to wear. As a tourist you only need to make sure that you cover your hair with a big enough scarf, wear long pants and a long dress with long sleeves. As long as your clothes are not too tight, you’ll be fine.
What about men? Just make sure you’re not wearing shorts in the street. If it’s hot out there, you can wear a t-shirt or flip-flops, but only with long pants.
4. Do I have to bring all the money I need in cash?
Yes. At least for now. International bank transactions are not possible in Iran yet. So you’re not going to be able to use your credit/debit cards. So make sure you bring all the money you need in cash. Depending on your travel style, your daily expenses can vary between 20 US$ to 300$. To have a common sense of how expensive Iran is, it’s good to know that a bottle of mineral water is 5000 Rls which is about 15 dollar cents. Or a normal, nice and healthy meal is about 190000 Rls which is about 5 US$.
5. Is there a good public transportation?
Yes. If you’re thinking about Metro or buses, Tehran is very well-equipped. You can almost go everywhere with metro in Tehran, and it’s very cheap. Buses are also very useful and run all day along.
If you’re thinking about trains, buses and airplanes between different cities, you must know that buses are really nice and comfortable (especially the VIP ones) and almost cheap. Trains are also working well, but airplanes are a little expensive (like everywhere else I guess).
6. Can I get my VISA on arrival, at the airport?
Yes. People from different counties can apply for a tourist VISA when they arrive to the airport. BUT there are exceptions. If you have a passport from one of these countries, it’s better to get your VISA from the Iranian embassy in your country:
USA, UK, Canada, Colombia, Somalia, Bangladesh, Jordan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India
7. Can I take pictures?
You can take photographs in touristic places. You’re a tourist, so as long as you act like one, you’ll be fine. You have to note that taking pictures of some buildings or areas are not allowed, but in these cases there’s always a sign showing that photography is not allowed. And there’s no harm in asking, make sure you’re not breaking a rule.
8. Is it possible to reserve a hotel or hostel online?
As you might have found out by now, there are a few hotels or hostels with a website. But there are some websites which you can make a reservation online. The problem is the bank transactions. If you’re looking for accommodation and you want to pay a deposit to make sure your reservation is confirmed, you won’t have many options. But in a hostel like Denj Hostel you can easily book a room without paying a deposit.
Some people think it’s not possible for a couple to stay together in a room in a hotel. Well, by the rules only married couples are allowed to stay in a room. BUT, sometimes it’s different for foreign tourists.
9. Is it worth it?
Finally, the most important question can be “is it worth it to visit Iran?”. It certainly is! Iran is a vast country with many exciting attractions. For nature enthusiasts there are lots of beautiful fascinating places to visit. You can find seas, lakes, rivers and waterfalls in different parts of the country. You get to see the high mountains, the low meadows and the mesmerizing deserts. For athletes, there are Alborz mountains to climb. Damavand summit is extra ordinary with an elevation of 5’610 m. If you love skiing, come to Tehran, you can find snow almost 6 months in year in Tochal, Dizin, Shemshak, Abali resorts. And also in other cities. If you’re into culture and history, just remind yourself how awesome Persia was in its time. You can visit the ancient Persepolis, or Zigorat, or Hegmatane. You’ll be thrilled by the Islamic art in mosques and shrines. You can take a glance at the royal fancy palaces and mansions of former Persian kingdoms or go to small villages to experience their way of living. And above all these, you can meet with lots of awesome, kind, helpful people in Iran. Mark my words, you won’t regret coming to this beautiful promising country.
DENJ HOSTEL TEAM