Destinations _ IRAN _ GENERAL INFO
The climate of Iran is mostly arid or semi-arid with a subtropical climate along the Caspian Coast. Generally, the hottest month is July, the coldest months are December and January, and the wettest month is January. Tourists visit Iran during the summer months (June – September) for the sunshine and regional festivals, and during the winter months (November – March) for skiing. So no matter what time you choose to go, Iran is a great place to travel all year round.
What a traveller need to know about Iran, culture, history, weather, food, religion, dress code, alcohol, mixing with opposite gender
Explore the history of old Persia and the spirit of the new Iran and get fascinated by what this old country has to offer. Discover magnificence presented itself in mosques, mountain villages, and colourful gardens. Gain deeper insight into an ancient land. Wander the old streets of desert cities to witness spectacular Zoroastrian temples. Our tour will take the hassle out of planning and organizing, leaving you free to uncover the gems of Iran.
Here is more information you may need especially if you choose to travel alone.
Being one of the oldest continuously inhabited civilisations in the world, modern-day Iranian culture is enriched by centuries of tradition. Years of trade, conquest and invasion have created a distinct culture with myriad influences from far and wide, resulting in an overriding national identity and culture rich in symbolism. Religion plays an important part in many aspects of Iranian society – the legal and educational systems, dress, marriage, architecture, the arts and the media are all affected. As Iran is an Islamic nation, visitors can expect to see the hallmarks of Islam throughout Iran; mosques, the call to prayer, strict dress codes and the observance of Ramadan are the most easily noticed, although there is a complex network of rules, customs and traditions at play every day.
Although Iran’s population is largely youthful and urban-centric, rich Persian artistic traditions are alive in contemporary Iran, with much of the elaborate architecture, cuisine, handicrafts and popular poetry of Iran having their origins in ancient Persia. Iranian hospitality is world-famous; guests are often touched by the sincerity, politeness and generosity of spirit of their Iranian hosts. Accepting tea and food is considered polite if offered, as is acting graciously and modestly while visiting someone’s home.
Iran does have a dress code for female travellers. Most importantly – PACK A HEADSCARF IN YOUR HAND LUGGAGE. You MUST be wearing this the moment you exit the plane and are officially in Iran. You must wear a headscarf the entire time you are there in public (except when in your hotel room) and loose clothing that covers your body – see photos of Iranian ladies of Iran to get an idea of what to pack. As you see in the photo, you don’t have to wear a burka. Iranian women are stylish and proud of their appearance – fashion being a means to stand out and make a statement. If you plan to travel in southern areas (where it is hot in summer and warm in winter) or your travel is in summer time, select cloths with white colour. It is highly advised not to wear tight or transparent cloths in public. The ‘Morality Police’ you may have heard of do exist in Iran, but are not spending their time chasing down foreign visitors, especially the ones travelling with tour guides. If anything, you will simply get a polite mention.
Don’t volunteer in removing your headscarf in public but if your headscarf falls, don’t worry but put it back on again. Wearing your hair in a high bun or ponytail helps keep the scarf in place.
Tops are better to be loose-fitting. Leggings worn with a long, loose-fitting top are accepted. However, in the conservative areas such as Isfahan, Mashad and Qum, respect the values and use looser fitting cloths.
Open toes sandals are fine. Pack some sports shoes for longer day-trips where you might be walking a lot (such as at the Persepolis).
Once you arrive in Tehran or Shiraz, visit the bazaars or the local markets and shop away. There are plenty of options.
For men it’s simple – dress much the same as you do in western countries, except no short shorts, no super short sleeves and no extreme tight-fitting clothing.
You may or may not have access to your bank information from Iran due to internet filtrations so plan ahead of time.
It is advised that you take US Dollars or Euros with you to exchange into Iranian Rial at the local
exchange offices that your tour guide will find you. Credit/visa or your usual ATM cards can’t be used in shops of Iran.
While ALL notes state ‘Rial’ there is another ‘unit’ that is used – Toman – which is not listed on any note or coin. Toman is simply one tenth of the Rial price.
Dried Fruit & Nuts
Dried apricots, prunes, dates, raisins and figs can be bought from shops, street stalls and bazaars and make wonderful, healthy snacks. Also, you’ll be able to find a wide variety of nuts sold by the bag – pistachios, almonds and walnuts are usually the best picks.
Persian Ice Cream
Flavoured with orange blossom, rose water, honey, nuts or saffron, Persian ice cream is different to western-style desserts. Often made with chunks of cream and wedged between two waffles, don’t miss the chance to try this type of sweet treat.
This hearty Persian stew can be found everywhere in Iran and has many variations. Meat eaters will love the split-pea and lamb combination while the eggplant, mushroom and spinach options will delight vegetarians.
There’s no alcohol here. Neither are any bar nor clubs. There are non-alcoholic beer in a variety of fruity flavours like peach, lemon and strawberry.
‘Persian Time’ is much like ‘Asian Time’ – things may take much longer than you expect, service can be slower compared to home but you it does mean you can’t relax and enjoy the laid back culture..
Iran travel information are available here
You can find information from city phone codes to exchange rates and even watch this youtube (https://youtu.be/CYoa9hI3CXg)
The country now known as Iran was known as Persia for hundreds of years and has been occupied by people for many centuries. Archaeological evidence suggests that people populated the land here as long as 7,000 years ago, with civilisations and societies developing as the surrounding nations and areas evolved. Persia’s fate was very much tied up with the destinies of neighbouring countries, so as empires rose and fell (and leaders came and went), Persia was affected by invasions and confrontations with the Greeks, Mongols, Romans, Arabs, Turks and others. Under the reign of Darius the Great and Cyrus the Great (during the Achaemenid Empire), the Persian Empire expanded to be the largest empire of the time. During this period, coins were first introduced as a form of currency, building works on Persepolis began and a system of far-reaching highways and canals were built. Islam was brought to Persia around 637 AD; the population slowly adopted the religion and by the 11th century, the majority of the population was practising Islam. Despite adopting the religion of the conquerors, Persian culture, style and art was largely preserved, which led to the ‘Islamic Golden Age’ – a time where Persian literature, philosophy, science and art blossomed (750-1258). This time of creativity and prosperity was brought to an end by the Mongols, who invaded in 1219. This invasion proved devastating, with a monumental loss of culture occurring due to the widespread demolition of infrastructure, libraries and mosques. Famine and violence accounted for a steep decline in population, which was worsened by the arrival of the Plague during the 14th century. Persia was in better shape by the 16th century, with the Safavid Dynasty (1502-1736) establishing the modern nation-state of Iran.
The Great Persian Famine of 1870 and 1871 accounted for up to 2 million deaths in the region, but Iran’s fortunes changed with the discovery of oil in 1908. This discovery also increased interest from other nations wishing to capitalise on this precious commodity. Iran endured many changes in leadership due to invasions and coups during the 1940s, 50s and 60s, leading to the Iranian Revolution. The Iranian Revolution (also known as the Islamic Revolution) took place between 1978 and 1979 and resulted in the birth of the Islamic Republic. Ayatollah Khomeini served as leader until his death in 1989, after enduring the Iran-Iraq war, which was waged between 1980 and 1988. The Iraqi use of chemical warfare during this time caused international fury and lead to the deaths of many of Iran’s people. More recently, Iran has been lead by Hasan Ruhani since 2013.
Destinations _ IRAN _ 10 BEAUTIFUL BUILDINGS OF IRAN
With ancient bazaars, handicraft centres and modern boutiques, there are a huge variety of ways to shop in Iran – from bargaining with a bazaar vendor to buying fixed-price items from a museum gift shop.
It’s a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring certain items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand generally have strict quarantine laws.
Also known as Persian New Year, this is one of the most important traditional holidays on the Iranian calendar. Heralding the advent of spring, this celebration with Zoroastrianism roots is a time of feasting with family, celebrating in nature, springcleaning the home and purchasing flowers and new clothes for the New Year. Many different types of rituals are performed during this time and can vary from family to family, area to area.
Ramadan and Eid
The ninth and holiest of months in the Islamic calendar, Ramadan is observed by most in Iran and is thought to be a time of spiritual rejuvenation. For this month, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, refraining from eating and drinking during daylight hours. Eid marks the end of fasting with three days of feasting and celebration.
SAFETY IN IRAN:
Is Iran safe to travel?
In a word, yes.
This question will be asked of you many times before you arrive in Iran and long after you return. One of the biggest misconceptions is that Iran is an unfriendly country – this couldn’t be further from the truth. You are likely to be greeted with salaams (hello) by the many friendly faces that you’ll see during your time here. The Iranian people are famous for their warm hospitality and welcoming nature so don’t be surprised if locals invite you into their homes where you’ll suddenly find yourself reclining on a Persian carpet with your smiling hosts, drinking tea and sharing food and plenty of laughs. Tourism is in its infancy in Iran and you’ll find that the local people will show a genuine interest towards you and want to try out their English on you. Of course, petty crime does exist but probably the only danger you’ll face while here is the country’s chaotic traffic, especially when crossing the road or even while walking on the footpath.
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
Some hotel balconies don’t meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It’s expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.
TRAVEL ADVICE & TRAVEL INSURANCE:
We recommend that you check your government’s advice in relation to the areas you will be visiting for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers.
NZ Travel and Tour takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
From New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
According to the regulations of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a Tourist visa is issued for foreign nationals who are interested to travel to Iran individually or with a group for the purpose of visiting Iran, or their friends and relatives. This visa is issued for a maximum stay of 30 days with option of Extensions in Iran. The visa remains valid for a period of 3 months from the date of issue.
Depending to your nationality and the consulate which you refer, it is possible to submit your documents and receive a visa after some days without any reference from Iran. But it can be a time-consuming or even fruitless attempt, specially when you are applying out of your country. Most consulates need an authorization letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran. Getting this authorization is the most important step in visa application and there is not much left when you have it. You will have your visa in few days.
- Receiving the Authorization Code
After we receive your booking, you will be asked to send us the first page of your passport scan with the name of Iranian Embassy that you are going to collect your visa, the formal application will be submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and will go under the official procedure. The output will be an authorization letter which will be faxed to the Iranian Consulate which you have indicated in your email . We will give you this letter’s reference code with which you will be able to collect your visa. This code is only valid to the mentioned consulate and only for 3 months from the date of issue.
- Collecting the Visa from The Consulate
Once you have received your emailed authorisation code and letter, immediately apply for your visa with your nominated Iranian embassy. You will need to provide a visa application form (usually you can download it from the embassy website), your passport, the visa fee, photos and insurance policy. Some consulates may have different requirements. You must check this before submitting your application. The cost of an Iran visa is approximately US$110 depending on your nationality. Please check with your nominated embassy for visa costs. We recommend all women provide a photo with their hair covered by a headscarf (not a hat). If you wish to personally collect your visa at the designated embassy you must also arrive wearing a headscarf. In order to collect your visa from the consulate, you must carry your travel insurance policy that covers you whilst in Iran. In our experience the turnaround time for your visa to be stamped in your passport and returned to your home address is normally within 3-4 weeks, but can take longer.
Please check with your nominated Iranian embassy for their opening times and processing times for visas (some embassies will say that it takes up to a month). Please note that Iran embassies and consulates worldwide may only open for 3 or 4 days a week and have very limited opening hours. If possible, visiting the embassy personally can speed up the process (even to one day). Visas are valid for three months from the time of issue. We will do our best to secure your authorisation code, however the final decision rests with the government of Iran, therefore we cannot guarantee when and if a visa will be granted.
Please check that the embassy issues you with a tourist visa and not a business visa (the stamp in your passport must state that it is a tourist visa). If you are issued with a business visa, hotels will charge you business traveller rates, which are often far higher than the tourist rates.
While not common, there are occasions where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejects a visa application for a variety of reasons (usually unknown to us). Unfortunately we have no control over the success of your application and have little recourse if it is rejected. It is not uncommon for Iran authorisation codes to be submitted very close to the actual time of travel. Obviously this can be an anxious period but again unfortunately we have little authority to speed up the process.
A visa will be flatly refused if your passport contains evidence of travel to Israel. Note: this is not confined to just an Israeli stamp in your passport. You will be refused an Iranian visa if there’s an Egyptian entry or exit stamp from the Egyptian/Israeli border (at Taba or Rafah) or a Jordanian entry or exit stamp from the Jordanian/Israeli border (at Wadi Araba near Aqaba, Sheikh Hussein bridge or King Hussein bridge, otherwise known as the Allenby bridge) in your passport. Even without having an Israeli stamp in your passport, these exit or entry stamps prove that you have visited Israel and entry into Iran will not be allowed.
Upon arrival in Iran, women not wearing an Islamic headscarf, long sleeves, covered shoes and a loose fitting skirt or loose long top and pants may be refused entry into the country. Men must also be conservatively dressed, wearing long trousers upon arrival, or they too may be refused entry.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry usually closes over the Iranian New Year period (approx 12 March to 2 April) and will not receive visa applications over this time. Please have your visa application in well before this date.
Please note that US, British and Canadian passport holders will need to book this trip at least 2 months before departure as this is the length of time it takes to get the visa processed for these nationalities.
In addition, the following travel restriction applies: Passengers of the above nationalities must visit Iran on a guided tour and must pre-book all extra accommodation (up to one night pre accommodation and one night post accommodation only) and airport transfers with the same operator. Additional sightseeing can only be booked through Urban Adventures on either the day before or after the trip start/finish date. Return airport transfers are mandatory and they will only be issued with a visa authorisation code once all services are confirmed and only for the exact time they have booked the relevant services. Passengers of this nationality must also remain the in the trip leaders company at all times whilst in Iran.
Please note that any cancellations after the authorisation code paperwork has been lodged, will incur a $100USD cancellation fee. This is to cover the application lodgement fees.
Destinations _ Iran _ Iran travel FAQs
2 Mar Martyrdom of Hazrat Fatemah
19 Mar Oil Nationalisation Day
21 Mar Noruz (Iranian New Year)
22 Mar Noruz
23 Mar Noruz
24 Mar Noruz
1 Apr Islamic Republic Day
2 Apr Sizdehbedar (Nature Day)
11 Apr Imam Ali's Birthday
25 Apr The Prophet's Acension
12 May Imam Mahdi's Birthday
4 Jun Demise of Imam Khomeini
5 Jun Khordad National Uprising (1963)
16 Jun Martyrdom of Imam Ali
26 Jun Eid Al-Fitr
27 Jun Eid Al-Fitr
20 Jul Martyrdom of Imam Sadeq
1 Sep Eid Al-Adha
9 Sep Eid Al-Ghadir
30 Sep Tassoua
1 Oct Ashura
10 Nov Arbaeen
19 Nov Martyrdom of Imam Reza
6 Dec Birthday of Muhammad
At a glance
|Capital city:||Tehran (population 7.2 million)|
|Time zone:||(GMT+03:30) Tehran|
|Electricity:||Type C (European 2-pin) Type F (German 2-pin, side clip earth)|