Photo by Alisecmail
Frequently Asked Question about Travel to Iran:
We try to be as succinct and accurate as possible. You are encouraged to contact us with any specific question that you might have on your mind. Well, let’s start then:
Iranian psyche or let’s say “Who Are They”?
The most surprising people yet charming and warm; Sometimes a little too much warm, they like to talk to you and invite you to their house for a tea, dinner. It happens a lot that tourists end up staying in their host house overnight too. It is very safe and acceptable to stay with an Iranian family for a couple of days in you are invited.
They are tolerant and in love to talk politics and more than often you end up hearing things that you don’t believe in, such as O how much they love Madonna or Barak! But usually they don’t like American foreign policy toward their country, don’t take it as a sign of love to their rulers!!
They are proud to be who they are and in love with western icons mostly music and movies fascinates them. You will see tons of magazines with articles about the latest Hollywood movies , which ironically are banned at general movie theaters but you certain won’t have hard time to find them being sold in stores and on street.
Younger generation is curious about west more than their parents and wanted to know more about where you are coming from. Don’t be a stranger and don’t hesitate to respond to a lively and friendly chat. That short chat can go a long way. You see would see a new Iran under the skin of city.
Mostly urban; nowadays you can see Mercedes, BMW, and sometimes Lamborghini and Ferraris roaring in the street in the crazy traffic jams among dilapidated old cars. The rift between classes are becoming wider and wider. The more well offs are of folks close to power or those that have connection outside of country. Remember that there are about 4 to 7 million Iranians living outside of the country with considerable number in American and Europe, again and unfortunately, based on IMF about 160,000 highly educated Iranian leave countries each year to find a better life in Abroad.
Education is valued. Literary is more than 80% and English is thought throughout high school and university. So you won’t have hard time to find English speakers.
Unfortunately drug is a problem, especially since Afghanistan, #1 in drug production on in the world is right next door.
Football is the most popular sport.
There are lots of magazines out there. Iran-Daily is one of major English newspapers. Check www.Iran-daily.com for daily updates. Satellite receivers are so abundant, although illegal from the government point of view.
Mostly Shia; which is a more liberal branch of Islam, there are less than half a million Christian and Jews in Iran. Main cities have Churches and Synagogues that you can go and pray, if you need.
Women in Iran:
Women in Iran constitute the majority of students in universities (around 60% and above). They are perhaps the most progressive and yet suppressed part of society. They are a major factor for gradual political changes in the recent years with their own way of defying the rules and setting new precedents.
Iranian women, yet, have to wear full or semi full Hijab which is to mean covering the body, hair and skin. But you will be totally surprised when you see what they really wear. Check our picture gallery for some more insight.
What to Take Home as Gift:
Perhaps a nice carpet; prices are very good and mostly 5 to 10 times less than what you otherwise be paying back home in a gallery. In average you can get a really nice silk carpet for about 300 to 500 $. Kilims are about 20 to 50$ and wool one are in between
Mostly showing Iranian movies, but you can find ones that show movies in English. You can find the latest bootleg Hollywood movies on street and watch them in your hotel room.
Mostly heavy meals; less variety than what you would see in Paris! Yet very tasty! Don’t look for Vegetarian foods. There are small numbers of places that serve them. Just ask the restaurant to take out the meat for you. There are great Salads that you should try. Pizza parlors and sandwich places are all over the place. Foods would cost you around 2$ for a good meal. No tips are expected.
There are alcohols and wine produced moonlighting! Shiraz used to be famous for its red wine. That is where Shiraz wine started and ended up in Australia and France. But you would be much better off to not try any, unless you are a really curios kind of guy!
There are varieties of accommodations in Iran. Expect for a few ,most cities don’t have 5 star hotels, nor you would find them real deal five star!, So if you really are not a limitless budget, 4 and 3 star hotels are as good as 5 stars. Fares are different but you always can try to haggle for a 10 to 20% discount based on season. Worst time to try to book a hotel in Iran is during Iranian New Year which is 20 March through 2 April. So avoid it if you can or try to book way in advance, since fares would increase 100% or more in some places such as Shiraz, Isfahan and Kish.
Guesthouses are actually pretty decent and affordable. 1 and 2 star hotels are perhaps the best deals that you can find. Check out hotel lists for more info or just write to us and get back to you with our set of recommendations based on your budget and preference.
Home stays are rare, but if you really want to try then maybe you want to check the www.cauchsurfers.com
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