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The TravelPod Iranian Starter Kit

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Why Iran? Many people choose not to go, but is this a correct decision. For some, yes, but for the ones who do venture across the border, they will be pleasantly surprised at the friendliness and hospitality that the people in the country have to offer. You will be asked to stay for meals, people will want to tell you about their country and there is no hatred towards the West. If you do get the chance, go before the masses discover the beauty and the charms that this country has to offer

This starter kit isnít meant to replace a guide book. Itís a collection of top tips and frequently asked questions about the region. If you are headed to Iran, make sure to have a glance.

Contribute if you can by replying to this post!

Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

Dress Sense

As Iran in an Islamic country, it is better to dress sensibly and gain the respect of the people. Women should wear either long skirts or long trousers and shirts that go down to at least their elbows. A hejab to cover your head is necessary but. Men should follow a similar guideline, but without the hejab.


Iran has exploded, the internet is everywhere. Maybe not the fastest, but you will have no problems.Most computers at Internet cafťís have USB ports which you can use to upload photos from your camera to your blog. The majority of PCís are running Windows XP, so there is no problem either uploading your photos or burning them onto a CD.
Taking a laptop is not a challenge, the people are very trustworthy and friendly.
Keep notes in your paper journal then write your entries when you get to a cafť.
If you would like to write your entries outside of a cafť, consider getting a small and sturdy PDA (handheld PC) or the like with a fold out keyboard.


Everywhere you go, people will be only willing to help you. There are no problems that you would encounter in other countries.
Keep your passport and valuables in a hidden money belt and never take it out when outside.
Walk with assurance, donít look lost, even if you are.
When arriving in a new city from your home country, try to book your first nightís stay before you arrive.
Donít draw attention to yourself, hide all of your expensive goodies.
Remove or obscure big name labels on bags and cameras.
If your day pack has a rain cover, use it when in cramped spaces to keep quick hands from opening zips.
Travel Insurance is a good idea and is generally cheap, make sure that it covers the types of activities you plan to do. TravelPod offers Adventure Travel Insurance.


You will need a visa to enter the country. Getting a visa can be an issue though. For citizens of the US, the only way you can enter the country is via a group visa. However, for everyone else, it generally isnít a problem. The best way to get a visa is to use one of two visa companies. Either Key To Persia or Iranian Visas. To apply, it is very simple. Fill in the forms on the web, scan your passport in, send it in. You will then receive verification, pay via PayPal. You will then receive an authorization code, which you then take to the Consulate that you have nominated. For this process, allow two weeks. At the Consulate, it should only take a couple of days.

Iranian Sights


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Tehran, is this the pollution capital of the world? Taking that aside, there are numerous sites to see. The Grand Bazaar, days can be sent wondering around. Azardi Monument, a huge concrete monolith on the edge of the city. The US Den of Espionage, which use to be the old US Embassy. The National Jewelry Museum is amazing. The diamonds are unbelievable. The Metro around Tehran cost $0.07 cents. Catch one all the way to the end to see Ayatollah Khomeiniís Mausoleum.


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Some say that this is the most beautiful city in the world. To stand in Naqsh-E Jahan Square, which legend has it use to be used for Polo. At one end, is the bazaar. Make sure you climb the stairs to smoke a Qalyan and drink tea as the sun goes down. Sheik Lotfollah Mosque is in the centre and at the end opposite the tea shop is the Imam Mosque. The colours are spectacular and not to be missed. There are also numerous palaces around, and the Si-O-She bridge is superb


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The closest city to where Persopolis is. Amazing ruins with nobody in site. There are various Mosques to visit as well, and the bazaar here is quite rememberable


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Home of a city built of mud. Try and get out of the city and see the mysterious Zoroastrian religions Towers of Silence. There are also tours that can be taken, taking you to the home of the Zoroastrianís main temple, and an abandonded mud town complete with a shaking minaret that you can climb


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On the 26th of December, 2003, Bam suffered a massive earthquake. The highlight of this place use to be the Arg. An old mud fort. It now looks a lot like melted chocolate. The majority of people who still live there are in either containers or tents. If you are on your way to Pakistan or this is your first stop, please take the time to see the town. Stay at Mr Akbars. Try and put something back into the community so we can get these people back on their feet


Generally Malaria isnít a problem malariafacts for more accurate info and if in doubt, take the meds.
The local water is pretty much safe to drink. In Tehran, there are cold water filters everywhere where you can fill your water bottes up.
It is a case of when you get sick, not if you get sick.
If you have bad diarrhea, avoid Imodium at all costs unless you absolutely need to travel somewhere that day. Imodium keeps your sickness trapped inside and can make you more sick.
If you do become sick, keep your fluids up



There are not many train lines in this country, but when traveling by train, only take first class. An overnight journey from Tehran to Esfahan costs as little as $3.00. Very cheap and comfortable


There are two types of buses. The luxury, which are called Volvos, and the old Mercedes type. There is not much price difference between the two, so take the luxury bus. You will be fed and watered on these. If traveling alone, you will be forced to sit with a person of your own sex. Man/man, women/women. Couples are permitted to sit together. As petrol is really cheap, buses are a great way to get around


Wherever you are in Iran, a Paykan, or a copy of the old Hillman Hunter will be there to take you places. There are city and country taxis. There are also private taxis and shared taxis. If traveling long distance in a taxi, always ask for Nah de Baste. Shared taxi


Iranian food can be quite bland. There tends to be no spice to write about. Lamb, chicken, camel kebabs are normal. They also have various dips and breads


Black tea is the favored tipple here. Place a sugar cube on your tongue, and drink the tea. You will not get a spoon, so this is the only way to drink.


The official currency is the Iranian Real. Changing money is easy. There are black market money changers but their rate is not as good as the bank. You can change only cash. Currently, The USD and the Euro are the two best currencies to take. There are no cash machines for Western cash point cards. You can use a visa card to buy carpets, but there is a huge mark up on the cost


In Iran, the official language is Farsi.

Here are the basics:

Hello / Salam
Goodbye / Khodafez
Thank you / Motashakkeram

1 / Yek
2 / Do
3 / Seh
4 / Chaeha:r
5 / Paenj
6 / Shesh
7 / Haeft
8 / Haesht
9 / Noh
10 / Daeh


Iran is an Islamic country. The majority of the people are Shias. There are a few Sunnis and then there are the original Zoraostrians. When entering any religious place, treat it with respect

If you found this useful, once you return from your trip please take the time to help by contributing to the FAQ and also by replying to posts.

And Finally

Iran receives a lot of bad press. Yes it has had its problems with its neighbours. Yes it is having problems about nuclear power/weapons at the moment, but if you ignore these facts, you will have a great time. The people are trying to fight back, and with you going, you can only take the goodness out of the country. You will be asked your name, where are you from and your religion. The locals love to make conversation. Sit back and take it in, you will be pleasantly surprised. So go before the masses arrive!
I think this is really great too! Good job! Great info. I would really love to visit Iran as well. Very much actually. This makes me want to go even more. One thing; I know you mentioned some things about women travellers, but I would personally like to know alittle more in depth info on this subject. Thanks David!
Thanks. Was thinking along the lines of mentality toward woman travellers. Seems like a very friendly place anyhow. Just curious. Sometimes there are just those little things that are good to know. Cheers.
uncle great info!!!
Nice work Unc. Iran's always been high on my list. This has just emphasised things further. Good on yer.. thumbsup.png
QUOTE(uncle_davros @ Oct 17 2006, 03:43 PM) *

Actually, if you read this blog - Single Woman in Iran this will explain a lot. Currently, she is out of the country on business, but she states that when she gets back, she will come in and hopefully put her point across as a single woman in Iran

Thank-you David!
Definitely on my list of where to travel next. Thinking overland from Turkey to Indonesia. They really don't like people from UK/USA though judging by the visa price. $65!

Unc D: you went to Bangladesh as well right? How much is the visa there as I've heard it's a right pain in the ass and costs a fortune! Is it even worth the effort?
HI uncle davros!
i have just come back form Iran and i loved it!!
i can give an advice for accomodation in Isfahan, i stayed in a beautiful traditional guesthouse called dibaihouse, very centric to the main square, and! the price includes the meals, which is very practical
the lady running it was very kind and helpful to guide me around the city
by the way they have good prices!
this is her site
I like to pick up visas as I go so having to plan ahead and apply for visas is a bit of a pain in the arse. Depending on the time of year I may choose to enter via Pakistan instead of Turkey. How feasible is it to pick one up in Pakistan or would it be really difficult?
Maybe even further east. I may start in Indonesia and make my way up to China, through Tibet and Nepal into India and make my way back to Blighty. Just an idea. I kinda want to get back to China for a few months or 6 lol.
Oh well, it's all up in the air at the moment and I won't be going for a couple of years so I can forget about it for the moment. Cheers anyway, something to think about.
Maybe even further east. I may start in Indonesia and make my way up to China, through Tibet and Nepal into India and make my way back to Blighty.

Rich, this sounds like a great trip! I was thinking, for further in the future, that I would love to start in SEA, travel north through China up to Mongolia and overland through the Stans to Iran, and maybe trip down through India and end in Sri Lanka. I think that would make for a very interesting time. Surely there are loads of different routes to take and Ihave not done too much research really, yet, but someday I will definitely make the journey!
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