DURATION: 15 DAYS
(July 29th to August 12th, 2014)
PRELIMINARY ARRIVAL: TEHRAN
FINAL DEPARTURE: TEHRAN
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES TO VISIT: GOLESTAN PALACE (Tehran), MEIDAN EMAM ESFAHAN (Esfahan), MASJED-E JAME ESFAHAN (Esfahan), THE PERSIAN GARDEN (Shiraz), PERSPOLIS (Fars Province), PASARGADAE (Fars province)
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE TRAVELING TO IRAN:
When traveling to Iran, forget all the things you hear from the media. Iranians are friendly, generous and warm people. Hospitality is an integral part of their culture. In Iran people are proud of their culture and history; they would be happy to talk about the country, history and its culture. Go to Iran with an open heart!
Check the visa regulations from the Iranian embassy in your country before traveling to Iran.
Iran’s official currency is “Rial”, however in the shops you will hear of an unofficial unit of currency; “Toman”. Normally all the prices are written in Rial, but if you ask a shop owner of a product price he/she will tell the price in Toman! There is nothing to be confused! Here is the trick: 1 Toman is equal to 10 Rials and that’s it!
More information on foreign currencies (July 2014):
1 US Dollar is equal to 31200 Rials
1 Euro is equal to 42800 Rials
1 British Pound is equal to 53200 Rials
1 Indian Rupee is equal to 550 Rials
When traveling to Iran, it is advised for women to bring a head scarf with themselves otherwise they have to use the ones in the airport. Fashion and women dressing in Iran is quit different to other parts of Middle East or other Islamic countries. Iranian women and girls dress in the modern fashion using colorful clothes and scarves; it is totally different to what you might have seen in the media. Here is a very good link to check: http://www.iranianvisa.com/dress.htm
You can find international cuisine in each city easily, however it is highly recommended to try Iranian dishes. Here is a very good guide to Iranian food and drinks: http://www.iranianvisa.com/food.htm
ARRIVAL FROM THE AIRPORT
The best and fastest way to get from Imam Khomeini International Airport to Tehran is to use the airport taxis. The taxis are mostly Nissan Maxima cars or vans for big groups. The price range is from 300000 to 500000 Rials based on the destination and type of the transportation you choose. You can easily find the taxis outside the airport building.
TEHRAN (July 29th to August 3rd)
Stay in Central-Iran Hotel which is located in ‘Lalehzar Now’ street. The location is very central and close to the Golestan Palace World Heritage Site. It takes 25 minutes to walk from the hotel to Golestan Palace or 10 minutes car ride. The room price is 26$ per night for a single room with shower and other facilities.
The visiting hours of Golestan Palace are from 9 AM to 5 PM everyday. The entrance fee to Golestan Palace is 20000 Rials per person for locals and 150000 Rials for international tourists. In addition to that international tourists must pay 50000 Rials and locals pay 10000 Rials for visiting each museum inside the palace. (Photo Credits: http://www.golestanpalace.ir/en/virtual-visit/pictures.html)
Visiting Golestan Palace will take a whole day to see every museum of the Palace. Except this World Heritage Site, Tehran has lots of other attractions; from mountains, historic neighborhoods and bazaar, art galleries to delicious food and drink experience.
If you want to have a perfect panorama view to the city, the best place to go is up the Milad Tower. The ticket to the viewing platform costs 90000 Rials. However there are other packages that you can choose from; viewing platform plus the art galley cost 140000 Rials and if you want to add the coin museum to your package you pay 270000 Rials for the viewing platform, the art gallery and the coin museum. (Photo Credits: Amir Sadeghi http://tehranlive.org/)
Among other suggested activities is a whole day mountain climbing in Darband or Darakeh. You have to wake up early, take a taxi to the climbing station and start you morning climbing. There are many resting spots with access to services, restaurants and cafes. Don’t miss the breakfast experience in the fresh mountain air! (Photo Credits: Amir Sadeghi http://tehranlive.org/)
You can spend the last day shopping and visiting galleries in Tehran. The Iranian Artists Forum is also a good choice for art lovers. There are temporary art exhibitions, performances and galleries in the Forum.
TEHRAN TO ESFAHAN
There are many ways of travel from Tehran to Esfahan. You can reach Esfahan by car, bus, train or airplane. Bus and train are the cheapest choices of traveling between Tehran and Esfahan, however since this is the high-season the train tickets are hard to get so the easiest way is to travel with bus. The best bus company is “Seiro Safar”.
August 3rd, 7:30 AM, the Volvo bus with 25 seats will cost you 230000 Rials.
The distance from Tehran to Esfahan is approximately 450 kilometers which will take 6 to 7 hours with bus.
ESFAHAN (August 3rd to August 8th)
If you want to have an amazing living experience in one of Esfahan’s traditional old houses then the Dibai House is the best choice for you. The room rate is 50$ per night for a single room including all the services and visit to most parts of the house.
The World Heritage Sites you like to see in Esfahan are Meidan Emam (Naqsh-e Jahan) and Masjed-e-Jame. In addition, Baghe-e Chehel Sotun is one of the properties of The Persian Garden World Heritage Site which is located in Esfahan.
Esfahan is a large city and obviously four full days cannot be enough to see everything. After resting for the first day you can spend time in Meidan Emam square where you can find two amazing mosques, Ali Qapu and Chehel Sotun Palaces and Hasht Behesht Garden. There are many restaurants surrounding the square which are good choices for Iranian food and tea. There is also connection to Esfahan’s Grand Bazaar from the Emam Square.
Other days can be spent visiting Siosepol (33-bridges), Vank Cathedral and its museum and Masje-e Jame Esfahan. Please expect to pay entrance fees in the palaces and museums. (Vank Cathedral – Photo Credits: Wikipedia)
ESFAHAN TO SHIRAZ
Seiro Safar Bus Company has bus services between Esfahan and Shiraz. The bus ride costs 140000 Rials and the journey starts at 8:00 AM. The distance is around 480 kilometers.
SHIRAZ (August 8th to August 12th)
Shiraz Eram Hotel is a nice choice with a reasonable price of 35$ per night for a single room with all the facilities; internet connection, shower, air conditioning, refrigerator, TV, telephone, etc. The hotel is located in Zand Ave.
The Persian Garden World Heritage Site in Shiraz includes nine properties in different provinces and cities, out of which Ancient Garden of Pasargadae and Bagh-e-Eram are located in Fars province, Shiraz. (Photo Credit: Ayda Ayoubi)
The other World Heritage Sites you like to see are Pasargadae and Perspolis in Pars province. Please expect to pay entrance fee in the Eram Garden, Perspolis and Pasargadae. (Photo Credits: Ayda Ayoubi)
Shiraz is a beautiful city with lots of cultural attractions but on the other side food and drink experience in Shiraz is an amazing experience. Don’t forget to try herbal drinks in Shiraz Bazaar and Sofre Khaneh restaurants throughout the city.
SHIRAZ TO TEHRAN
Similar to your previous trips, Seiro Safar Bus Company is a good choice for travelling back to Tehran and preparing for your flight departure. The ticket fee from Shiraz to Tehran is 475000 Rials and the distance between these two cities is 940 kilometers. It is advised to take the bus early in the morning.