What motivates a trip differs from one person to another, that’s for sure. But as a head start, we’ve mapped out magnificent places with the kind of “it” factor for you to have the excitement to visit – IRAN. Yes, Iran. At recent years, Iran definitely is trying to make that push in order to promote and increase its inbound tourism. It is totally not difficult though as this beautiful country has attractions that fit all travel junkies’ desires; from ancient cities and beach resorts to its urban capital and skiing destinations. Known as Persia until the year 1935, Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979 after the ruling Shah was forced into exile. Although tourism declined significantly during the war with Iraq, it has subsequently improved. However, nothing has affected the perfect aesthetics of this precious gem that remains unknown for most travelers. Based on a statistic, about 1.6 million foreign tourists visited Iran in 2004 and 2.3 million in 2009 mostly from Asian countries which include the republics of Central Asia, while about 10% came from the European Union and North America. Over five million tourists visited Iran in the fiscal year of 2014–2015. The most popular tourist destinations in Iran are Isfahan, Mashhad, and Shiraz.
So, why Iran you might ask? Iran is full of stunning mosques, awe-inspiring museums and palaces, captivating ruins, and marvelous monuments and mausoleums. To top that off, even in terms of landscapes, sceneries, and activities, Iran gives most other countries in the world a run for their money. From the sandy beaches of the Persian Gulf and the blue Caspian Sea to the snow-clad slopes of Alborz, Iran is an enchantment.
To convince my beloved reader, let me state reasons for you to visit Iran for your next travel escapade. Are you ready?
1) Iranian Delicious Food
What better way to explore a country rather than trying their spectacular cuisines? You can expect different varieties like rice, various herbs (mint, basil, dill, parsley), cheese (feta or Persian panir, derived from goat, sheep, or cow’s milk), flatbread, and some type of meat (usually poultry, beef, lamb, or fish). Mostly these dishes will be perfectly balanced with Iranian condiment like saffron so that they are matched with numerous palates. In my opinion, Iranian food appearances are very appealing and a lot had jump into the wagon supporting that fact as they do agree that Iranian foods are the most delicious ones! Since Iran is an Islamic country, it is a no-brainer to seek for Halal outlets when you travel here. But, perhaps, you can try out a Halal restaurant named Shandiz Mashad as it is ranked as the no.1 restaurant in Tehran, Iran in Trip Advisor.
2) Iran is a four season landscape:
Heaven for seasons. This is what Iran is. I am pretty convinced that you haven’t experienced seeing the snow, the rain, or the sunshine at the same time anywhere in the world? Well, another reason for you to visit Iran is this. Possessing vast landscapes which are strategically bordered with the Caspian Sea in the North, Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman in the South this geographical location is what causing the north to be rainy most of the time and as for the South, warm and humid. As for the center of Iran, it has massive desert land which contributes to the hot and dry weather. As for the snowy part, Big Mountains in the West and North play an important role in creating cold and snow area in Iran. I simply like the fact that even snowy and cold, this area is still complemented by beautiful lush green nature!
3) Comparing to other countries, Iran is far cheaper to travel to:
This must be one of my favorite factors while traveling. With all of the costs are getting higher nowadays, to sustain a love for travel is quite challenging. Thus, being able to find a destination that is less expensive to wander around, is a definite plus, at least for me! Money devaluation in Iran has led to the country’s advantage of being affordable in terms of tourism. With affordable prices, mind me saying this, not compromising the quality, of course, you will still be able to purchase unique handicrafts, delectable foods, and cozy hotels to spend your nights. A friendly advice, do bring cash in US dollars or euro. In Iran, travelers can’t use credit or debit cards, travelers’ cheques or even the ATMs due to the sanctions. This is very important, so please bear this info in your mind. Repeat, bring all you’ll need in cash!
Currency Conversion: RM 1 = Iranian Rial (IR 7347.12)
USD 1 = Iranian Rial (IR 30179.00)
How affordable can it be traveling to Iran? Below are the examples:
Examples of hotels prices
- Double room can costs 23,2 – 39,7 USD = 700 000 – 1 200 000 IRR
- Guests house 5 – 8,3 USD = 150 000 – 250 000 IRR
Prices for tickets to mosques and museums in Iran
- Tickets to the Imperial Palace Ali Kapu 0,17 USD = 5 000 IRR
- Mosque of Sheikh Lotfulla 0,17 USD = 5 000 IRR
- Sign in to a tomb or the mosque usually costs 0,17 USD = 5 000 IRR or 0,33 USD = 10 000 IRR
Examples of food prices in Tehran
- Freshly squeezed juice at street vendor 0,10 – 0,13 USD = 3 000 – 4 000 IRR
- Hot dog 0,66 USD = 20 000 IRR
- Slice of pizza 0,83 USD = 25 000 IRR
Buses and taxi fares examples
- Taxi around the city can cost 0,66 – 1,99 USD = 20 000 – 60 000 IRR
- Bus to Tehran 0,07 USD = 2 000 IRR
- Trip outside of the city by taxi costs 3,3 – 13,2 USD = 100 000 – 400 000 IRR
- Taxi to another town 350 km 19,9 USD = 600 000 IRR
- Rent a taxi for a day 33,1 USD = 1 000 000 IRR
- Ticket to an intercity bus 2,6 – 4 USD = 80 000 – 120 000 IRR
- Tipping is not a big deal in Iran. In high-end restaurants, mostly Tehran, a 10% gratuity might be expected, aside from the 10% service charge, that’s often included in the bill. But in most other places any tips left would be a surprise for them! It’s normal to offer a small tip to anyone who guides you or opens a building that is normally closed. If your offer is initially refused, you can always persist.
4) Iranian Handicraft:
Iran is without a slight doubt is an amazing place to buy souvenirs. Here, I have to admit that you will find it difficult not to indulge yourself. What makes the handicrafts in Iran more personalized and unique? It is due to its ancient civilization, geographical location, and wealthy cultures which play a vital role in the world of arts and crafts in Iran. What’s amazing about the stuff you can buy here is that the chances of people getting the same item as yours is very likely as mass production are unusual. The prices are low and the quality? Top Notch! I highly suggest that you will explore the bazaar to start looking for the perfect Iranian souvenirs to bring back home. Kerman, Kashan, and Hamadan is more likely to suit local tastes, as for the foreign expectations, places like Isfahan and Shiraz is the place to visit. If you are not keen on bargaining and probably have limited time to look around, the government of Iran has provided handicrafts shops with fixed price in most provincial capitals.
Some examples of Iran’s handicrafts are:
5) Iran is really safe:
I don’t know about you but knowing what the world is about now is quite scary thus as for a traveler like me, I prefer putting ‘SAFTEY’ as one of my reasons for visiting a country. Fret not, when visiting Iran, it is rest assured that Iranian people are very respectful of religion and moral values, thus, it is a very safe country to take a vacation to. Whether you travel alone or in a group, whether you are a woman or a man, or whether you arrive day or night time, based on personal experience, Iran is a safe country!
6) Iran’s Rich cultural history:
There are over 1 million ancient monuments and approximately over 200, 000 historical sites across Iran. This intrigues me to learn more about this country as I believe in the fact that, “To know about a country, go back to its history.” Embrace yourself with many places to visit that describe in details about the human civilization from hundred years before the birth of Christ’s.
7) Friendly Iranian!
On a general overview, the Iranians are very warm, friendly, respectful, and well-educated too. To put it into a word, they are extremely ‘Hospitable’. It is not only greeting you by saying ‘Hello’ or ‘Welcome’ kind of hospitability but, it is rather the trust they give you even as being an outsider in their home country. They will do whatever it takes just to help you and make you have a great memory about their country. I think this reason alone, is pretty convincing for anyone for you out there to put Iran in your travel bucket-list.
8) Iranian transportation facilities:
Traveling around Iran is very easy and safe because in every city you can find at least one of the transportation facilities: Airway, railroad and bus station. One thing I hate the most about traveling is when it is difficult to find transportation as it is one of the many reasons that will indicate whether or not my travel will go smoothly. Well, in Iran, that will not be the reason, rest assure. This is an easy access to transportation facilities in all the cities.
9) World Headline
Just in case, you didn’t know, Iran was listed by many publications as one of the most famous travel spots in 2014. Even though it used to be declining in terms of tourism due to the dispute, they are definitely catching up and yes, it is another reason you should visit Iran and see it with your own eyes what this awesome west Asian country has to offer.
All I have to say is that the architecture in Iran is S-P-E-C-T-A-C-U-L-A-R! A palace, a bazaar, a mosque. You name it. The Iranian buildings are intricately decorated with ornamental elegance. The combination of colors being used in their architectural designs will make your jaw drop, it worked for me. Just be ready to marvel at the exterior and interior of buildings in Iran. P/s: Take as many photographs as you can, I would say that it might be one of your greatest possessions while traveling in Iran.
After reading all of the 10 the reasons elaborated, I guess it is safe to say that it’s okay to probably put off your plan on visiting the cliché destinations of the world like Eiffel tower in France or the Niagara falls in Canada; at least, for a while. Instead, be amazed at the undiscovered beauty you can stumble upon in a nation that doesn’t exactly fall on the typical tourist map. A simple ancient nation like, Iran.