facts iran, iran facts, strange things about iran, iran iraq war, iran vs iraq, iran rial, rial, traveling in iran, travel to iran,

* This post has been written and curated by Mohammad Naderi, aka Mamallicaa.

When I travel around the world and they find that I am from Iran, they bombard me with questions such as what your country can offer to tourists, what are dos and don’ts, and etc. As you might know, Iran is a four-season country with more than 10 ethnic groups with their special music, costumes, dance, language and culture scattered through  Iran. This makes the country really unique, so it is worth visiting. Be sure to put it on your list. facts iran .

Here is the list of 29 things you need to know before traveling to Iran. If you have any more questions after reading the facts below, feel free to leave us a comment.

1. IRAN or IRAQ?
IRAN is NOT IRAQ. They are two different countries. Iraq is the west neighbor of Iran. There was an eight-year war between the countries during 1980-1988.

29 things you need to know before traveling to Iran, facts iran, iran facts, strange things about iran, iran iraq war, iran vs iraq, iran rial, rial, traveling in iran, travel to iran,

2. Iran is safe
Many travelers declare that traveling in Iran is much safer than traveling in Europe. There are many strict rules here, but if you obey them which is not difficult, the police and people are really kind to you as a traveler. So no need to be afraid. Also, nobody carries a gun, there is no war here, people live in peace and the only problem is pickpocketing or something like that in crowded areas of big cities just like other countries. facts iran .

Many people think that there are army forces everywhere and there is a civil war or chaos in Iran. There is no terrorist activity here. ISIS has no control or activity in any part of the country. Iran is exactly the opposite of what Hollywood portrays. Iraq invaded Iran in 1980 and it ended in 1988. So no worries, there is no war

Watch the video below to see what other travelers think about safety in Iran.

* If you are watching it while you are in Iran, you need a VPN to have access to Youtube.

3. Iran is one of the best places for solo traveling
Iran is a very good country for solo male or female travelers. There are good quality and safe buses and trains to travel across the country. You can also ask for a women compartment if you want to take a train.  However, it is advised not to go to remote areas alone or at night, the same as many other countries. facts iran .

Check the video to see what a solo female traveler think about her trip to Iran.

4. Hitchhiking is possible
Some say Iran is a dreamland for hitchhikers, but few of them didn’t have a good experience. Iranians are really hospitable and when they see you are on the road, they want to help, speak with you and take photos with you, but we do not recommend this way of transportation if you are not good at doing hitchhiking and you are worried about your safety, especially in remote areas. If you want to do that, and if you are a solo female traveler, try to take a car of a family. facts iran .

5. What is Taarof
There is a special behavior among people in Iran which you need to be aware of it to not become confused. Imagine that you want to buy something, and when you want to pay money, they say no need to pay, it is yours. But this is Taarof and people use it to show respect and kindness. You should say thank you and try to pay again, then they accept. Sometimes it happens for three times. I know it seems nonsense, but it is a part of our culture. It also happens when you are at the table to eat or in other situations. facts iran .

6. People are hospitable
Do not trust the media too much, especially when it comes to Iran. There good and bad people everywhere in the world, but most of the Iranians are kind and hospitable to travelers. They may invite you for a free tea, or to their houses to host you free or want to help you in big cities. Sometimes they are shy and just stare at you from distance and look for an opportunity to help you. And if you are lucky and hungry, maybe they invite you for lunch or dinner together, because Iranians believe that a guest is a friend sent by GOD to them 🙂 facts iran .

If people stare at you, there is nothing to worry about because most of them, both men and women, young and old do it out of curiosity. Sometimes they are looking for an opportunity to strike a conversation, and if they are brave enough, they will do, but many of them are shy or don’t know English well, so just looking at you with a smile on their face. Mostly they say hi, hello, or ask where are you from, how do you like Iran. facts iran .

7. Iranians are not Arab
Iran is a neighbor of many Arabian countries like Iraq, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Oman, etc. Also, in the south of Iran, some Arab groups live, but they are just one part of Iran. Most Iranians are Persians, and also we have many other ethnics which together make Iran. The main language in Iran is Persian or Farsi and the alphabet is almost the same as Arabic, but the meaning of the words are totally different. All in all, we have many words in common.

8. A perfect country for backpacking
Besides historical monuments and cultural destinations, Iran has many things for adventure seekers. To name a few, rivers, mountains, desert, jungles, wildlife, canyons, beaches, islands, amazing roads, ski resorts, you name it. To sum up, Iran is an ultimate backpacking destination. facts iran .

An American backpacker in Iran

9. Iran is suitable for traveling with children
Everywhere you go you can take your children with you. There are many public baby changing rooms in cities and on the main roads. Also, your children can wear whatever they like, as there is no strict dress code for them.

10. One currency, two names
The official currency in Iran is Rial, and you will see everything in Rial, but there is something really confusing here! Rial is rarely used in our daily life, and Toman is prominent. One Toman is Ten Rials , so when somebody says it costs 1000, you should pay 10,000 Rials.

29 things you need to know before traveling to Iran, facts iran, iran facts, strange things about iran, iran iraq war, iran vs iraq, iran rial, rial, traveling in iran, travel to iran,

11. Visa card, Mastercard, and other international cards have no use
Actually, it is not possible to use a Visa card or Mastercard in Iran. You have to bring cash with you and exchange here. These days it is possible to get special debit cards for tourist. Anyway if you can’t get those card, you need to have cash everywhere.

12. Do women have to wear a black veil?
The black veil, aka chadur or whatever you’ve heard is not mandatory in Iran. Just some women who care too much about their Hijab wear it. As long as you dress modestly and do not show too much skin, it is ok. A scarf or shawl to cover some part of your hair is enough.

Travel Tips: Hijab Dress Code For Women Traveling To Iran

13. Iran is not just a desert
Iran is one of the oldest civilizations in the world and has a lot to offer. As a four-season country, you can go skiing in Tehran and at the same time fly to the South to enjoy the sunny weather. Also, there are famous deserts such as Mesr, Vazaneh, and Maranjab in the center. There are forests in North and many historical and archeological sites such as Persepolis, Alamut Castle, Neghsh-e Jahan Square and so on.

14. Inexpensive good quality public transportation
You can go to most cities by buses, trains and domestic flights. The price is very reasonable. Also, you don’t need to worry about safety. Sometimes you need to book tickets in advance, especially during high seasons or Iranian holidays. We can help you in this regard and give you free advice.

15. Best time to travel to Iran
You can travel to Iran whenever you want. For example, in winter, in the north part of Iran, it snows while in the south you can swim in the sea and sunbathe on the beaches and islands. And in the summer, the south is too hot and humid, while the north and the west have moderate weather. Anyway, the best time is late Sep, Oct, Nov, March, Apr, May. It is a bit tricky to make a plan because depending on your destinations, you can choose the best time of the trip.

16. You should try home-made Iranian foods
As we have many ethnics in Iran, you can find different foods in different parts of the country, and most of them are super delicious. There are many restaurants serving Iranian cuisines, but the best thing to do is to taste home-made cuisines. You need to be lucky and local families invite you to their houses for lunch or dinner. Also, If you stay at homestays in the villages, you can try home-made foods.

17. Visit Bazaars
In most big cities and also small cities you will find Bazaar which is worth visiting. There is a variety of thing to buy at good prices. They are also good places just to explore, walking and enjoying and photography.

18. Iranian toilets
In Iran and some other Islamic countries, you will experience a different kind of toilets which are different from western toilets. Some call it squad toilet. There is no paper towel in most of them as people wash themselves by water and they have their own papers. But in touristic restaurants or hotel, you will find both Iranian and western toilets.

19.  Dress code
Women should cover their hair, hand, and foot in public, and it is not acceptable for men to wear shorts in public. It is not that much strict especially for tourists and also not that much difficult, so it is highly recommended to obey the rules.

20. Alcohol and drug are illegal and prohibited
You can’t find a place to buy alcoholic drinks in Iran, and also drinking in public, as it is against Islamic rules of Iran. It applies to drugs too. If you are a beer lover, you can find non-alcoholic beers called Delester, with classic taste, lemon taste, and other tastes.

29 things you need to know before traveling to Iran, facts iran, iran facts, strange things about iran, iran iraq war, iran vs iraq, iran rial, rial, traveling in iran, travel to iran,

21. You can trust polices
Besides this fact that there are bad people everywhere, most policies in Iran are kind and helpful especially when it comes to tourists. The only problem is that many of them cannot speak English, so you need someone to translate. For example, if you do something wrong or against the rules, they first inform you about that. So if you are worried about your dress code and Islamic rules, there is nothing to be that much worry about. They will tell you the right things.

22. Visa on arrival
Most countries including European countries can get visa on arrival at international airports. If you want to enter from land borders or from the sea, you need to get visa in advance. Citizens of USA, Canada, and Britain have to come to Iran by the help of an agency and get a visa in advance. Also, they need full time licensed guides. People from Israel are not allowed to enter Iran.

23. Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube are blocked
We have two main operators in Iran from which you can buy sim cards and connect to the world. The internet speed is good and 4g coverage is available in most cities and main roads, but the problem is that some websites and applications have been blocked by the government, so to use Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter you need a VPN. If you buy it before traveling to Iran, it would be better for you. Instagram and Whatsapp work with zero problems.

24. Learn numbers in Persian
The language in Iran is Persian or simply Farsi. It would be better to learn letters from 1 to 9 in the below.

29 things you need to know before traveling to Iran, facts iran, iran facts, strange things about iran, iran iraq war, iran vs iraq, iran rial, rial, traveling in iran, travel to iran,

Also, learning some essential phrases in Persian might help you to communicate with locals. As you know, locals like the people who try to communicate with their language.

Essential Persian Phrases Before Traveling to Iran

25. Rate of exchange is confusing these days
From 2018, Iran has experienced significant economic issues and the rate of Rial fell down about three to four times during one year. Now the government issues the exchange rate according to 2018, but it is not the real rate. You need to check the exchange rate with trustable locals. For example, it is about 150,000 Rial for oned USD (May 2019), but it changes every day. facts iran .

26. Couchsurfing works in Iran but is illegal
If you are a backpacker and want to stay with locals via Couchsurfing, you need to know that many people offer you their place but you should consider this fact that according to the rules (which are not new) it is not legal to host foreigners without government permission. It seems stupid, but it is a very old rule when there were no internet and Couchsurfing. And nobody checks people houses and many policies also don’t know we have this rule, but in case that something strange happens, maybe the owner of the house will be in trouble for this, and nothing special happens for the guests. Also, the website is blocked. facts iran .

27. Shared taxies
If you want to take a taxi in big cities as locals do, you need to know some words and tricks. When you stand on the street and want to go straight, just shake your hand a bit, then maybe somebody stops, and you can say “Mostaghim” which means go straight. If he says Ok, you can take it. And ask the price first by saying “Cheghadr mishe?” Many people work by their own car as a shared taxi.

28. Traveling during Ramadaan can be challenging
There is a Ramadaan month according to Arabic calendar during which Muslims do not eat or drink from dawn to dusk. As Iran follows Islamic rules, so it is not legal to eat or drink in public during this month. So check the calendar in advance. Anyway, these days the government is not much strict same as before. Also, some restaurant may serve food for people who are not able to fast. facts iran .

29. Ask permission before taking photos from locals

To take photos especially from women in a rural area, you must ask for permission. In big cities, people are not very conservative, but in small cities and rural areas, they are more conservative. facts iran .

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.