Hafez tomb of Shiraz, city of gardens, le grand tour de l' Iran

Is Iran a visa free country?

Yes, relatively recently our company discussed with MFA of Iran in order to well promote tours to Iran and all customers who buy any travel service from us, will be visa free by presenting documents in any Iranian international airports.


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Is Iran safe to travel now?

Yes, it definitely is. After all issues in late 2019 and early 2020, Iran is one of the safest countries in middle east to travel. You can simply contact your agent in order to get the details of any tours.


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Arrival Information

The rate of foreign tourists arose over the last few years and people like to visit Iran mostly in spring or autumn, however, some still prefer to travel during low seasons just to avoid crowds. This is the reason travelers in most of Iranian international airports such as in Tehran, Shiraz, Tabriz, Mashhad as well as Esfahan in busy season may wait a bit longer for doing arrival formalities or even those who are going to obtain visa may wait a bit longer but all are fine because of being exposed to very friendly officers in visa department and even those who work in different airlines.  As these airports are about 3o min away from cities, we would like to suggest people to arrange a private transport in advance and have a better feel of traveling to an ancient country.


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Traveling Solo

Traveling solo to every destination may create some concerns or thoughts for everyone in term of safety and security especially for female solo travelers who are going to experience an unknown destination and feel safe from the beginning.
We would like to inform everyone that Iran is one of the safest countries in Middle East and people are able to travel with no hassle. In addition to this, we have provided a group tour which is suitable for those females who prefer to travel in a group for a little while to get adopted the environment and then travel the rest of trip by their own in order to reduce their tensions and concerns.
It is well noted that Locals are very friendly and warm welcoming enough that solos won’t feel they are away from home.


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Keep in Touch with Home

Apparently one of the most important concerns for people who travel to Iran is how to stay in touch with home while they can’t use their own mobile phone due to additional cost of roaming.
Hereby we would like to inform travelers that they can take a local sim card which provides 4g internet connection  from our company in order to stay in touch with home while they are traveling in Iran, however, almost in every single hotel, travelers are able to use free wifi as well as using landline of hotels.


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Can a tourist buy a sim card in Iran?

Yes, all travelers are able to buy a sim card in Iran from beginning of the trip by having just a validate ID card such as passport. The cost of sim card may vary from any city to one another even if sim card is from the same operator. It will be activated very quickly for phoning or using internet. Since then as tourist you are able to use internet by pop up charge. We would highly recommend to purchase a package of internet stay which is more reasonable and effective.


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Dress Code

One of the frequently asked question is about dress code and what is acceptable in Iran since tourists would come to Iranian borders till departure. It can be always a concern what to wear and how it suites for societies.

According to Iran’s regulation, everybody has to be covered from head down to feet for both females and males however seems to be male’s dress code is not that difficult to pick different types of clothes but when it comes to details for both genders is important what to wear on.

Here we simply explain what everyone need to have for dress code:

Men:
Seems men have a bit more flexibility of wearing as they do not need to cover hair. Men have to wear a shirt or tee-shirt in any color with a trousers and shoes/sandals. Please consider wearing shorts are not allowed in addition to not having particular signs or personal believes on clothes.

Women:
All women have to be covered from head down to their feet. It can be a scarf or long shawl in any color, a proper long sleeves shirts that shouldn’t be thin and covering body down to thighs, long trousers that covers down to feet and can be with shoes or sandals.


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What if my visa is not approved

Iran is one of those countries that needs visa to travel and from a year ago Iranian government announced citizens of 160 countries are able to visit Iran by obtaining visa in one of Iranian’s international airport. This makes traveling a lot easier with less hassle.

Over the last 6 years our company has applied for visa authorization code for several tourists from all over the world and there was no even single rejection which sounds promising however, there is not still a guarantee to provide this code and Ministry of Foreign Affair has its own regulations to review all visa applications.

Regarding the payments; what we usually do is receiving 35% of total bill online through our bank account in Tajikestan which is nonrefundable as a confirmation of trip to Iran. If a traveler cancels the tour due to any reason, we have to pay penalties to hotels where made reservation and our guide. The only way we can refund travelers is their visa application is not approved by Iranian govt.


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Visa for Canadians

Almost everyone needs Iran tourist visa for visiting Iran especially Canadian passport holders. Based on Iran’s political regulation Canadians are not allowed to travel by their own and they have to sign up in a guided tour in advance through a local travel agency. They are not even allowed to obtain visa upon arrival and everything must be sorted out in advance.

A travel agency would apply for authorization code through ministry of foreign affairs website as soon as they meet all required documents such as valid passport (usually scan of front page is required), filled visa form, two ways confirmed flight ticket to/from Iran in addition to signed invoice. Usually it takes 30 working days to provide this code and travel agency has to share this code with Canadians traveler(s) as soon as it is received.

Then Canadians can refer to any of Iranian overseas embassies/consulates (that traveler will choose in visa form where to collect visa) to obtain visa which is valid only for tour’s duration. Approval may take few days. Please consider the nearest Iranian embassy to Canada is in Paskistani Embassy of Washington DC where Iran has a department and if this embassy has chosen for obtaining visa, Canadians must mail passport to this embassy in addition to other requested documents. 

Extending visa is almost impossible for Canadians unless return ticket is changed or airline announces it will be delayed or cancelled. Then to prove this in few days before departure, traveler(s) has to refer to visa department office in either of major cities to extend visa by having either printed email from airline or new flight ticket in addition to receipt of extension fee.


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Payments

Iran is one of those countries that any traveler needs to carry on some amount of cash for trip’s expenses as well as paying for tour’s bills. Travel agencies would ask clients to bring the bill all in cash which is mostly because of financial sanctions to Iranian banks that none of Iranian banks are connected to global banking system.

In order to make the trip and payment more convenient we would highly recommend everyone to pay 35% of total bill online in advance (which is nonrefundable in peak seasons) to our partner’s bank account in either of Turkey or UAE and bring the rest of the bill in cash to pay us kindly upon arrival through our tour guide and get a receipt from us then.

We know strongly that people who live in western countries are not used to carry on huge amount of cash and this is our competitive advantage comparing to other travel agencies to run our tours smoothly with higher quality however there is still a possibility to pay all amount in cash upon arrival to our guide.


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Hotels

There is no doubt that one of the most important items in tourism is having authentic hotel for tourist. In fact hotels do not play only accommodation role anymore. Hotels have become such as attractions especially in those countries that had a great ancient history, boutique hotels are hubs for everyone to stay even if travelers do not join any activities.

Iran, because of its history has been always a fascinated country for everyone to travel and stay with locals. Relatively recently tourism is growing in Iran which is very good for country and its people and even everybody from all over the world is able to come to visit Iran and enjoy the cultural event and traditions.

Part of this experience is staying in traditional hotels that are originally old mansions that have been converted to boutique hotels especially in major cities of central Iran such as Shiraz, Yazd, Esfahan, Kashan, Kerman and even in old Caravansaries. Staying in such places would be a unique experience for people as a hub to meet up, to chill out and exchanging opinions with locals or other tourists. Despite traveling to Iran is still unique and people would like to see the untouched country and get so excited.

Unfortunately because of financial sanctions, none of Iranian banks are connected to global banking system that makes everyone’s traveling slightly complicated. In order to this issue, hotels were mostly relying on travel agents to for all reservations in all around the year because this was an only reason to get paid with ease.

Apart from these hotels in Iran have different level of standard comparing to other part of the world in terms of facilities and location would make it a huge change however there are still very new fashion style hotels in major cities of Shiraz, Tehran, Yazd etc.

What we suggest you is staying in this hotel category that hotel variation would help you out to choose the nicer one among several options. Hereby we would categorize all hotels of Iran to give you a better image where to stay and enjoy your accommodation.

In Tehran, most of hotels are from early 1970s and they are located in city center or surrounding except 5* hotels that ar all far away from city center. When it comes to real life, we have to consider traffic jam and time consumption from hotel to historical sites back and forth which is really frustrating and waste of time. It’s better to make reservation of 4* o 3* hotel in city center that are all modern standards class.

In Esfahan it would be an slight more complicated as it is one of the main touristy cities of Iran unfortunately there are not enough 5* hotels and it becomes a serious problem in peak seasons. There are few descent 4* hotels and a bunch of three stars everywhere which gives everyone opportunity to make reservations.

In Yazd as it is recently registered a world heritage city, people would like to visit it most. There are many hotels and hostels in old district of city that very close to all historical sites. Again in this city there is not a wide-range of 4* and 5* hotels for everyone. It has been seen hotel would consider all reservations and high priority is for bigger group tours and then individuals even as an individual traveler you contacted hotel much earlier than those big group tours.

In Kerman, good news is Kerman is under development and it grows fast however there are not still many hotels and almost one in each category would cause some problems. For example there is only one 5* hotel which looks like really 3*, one 4* hotel, no three stars and there a few 2* hotels. People have been always taking kerman as a place where to accommodate easily however they need to take a day trips every day to different destinations. What we suggest our client is staying in city of Mahan in boutique hotels which is located in the middle of all destinations. This would help everyone to save time and run tours with higher quality.

In Shiraz relatively recently people decided to convert historical mansions into boutique hotels and nowadays there a few of them ready that are located in city center and surrounding. There are many 5*, 4* and even three * hotels everywhere that are located mostly nearby historical sites.

In western Iran especially in major cities such as Kermanshah, Sanandaj, Ahvaz or even Tabriz the quality and standadd of hotels are quite different than central Iran and everyone has to bring down a lot all expectation as most of these cities have excellent potential in tourism but being as a seasonal destination have made no motivation for locals or even everybody else to invest in hotel business. What we would suggest is taking 4* hotel mostly in this wide region to have a slightly better stay than others.

In Persian Gulf cities and islands is the same story to stay in higher class of hotels especially in Bandar-e Abas or Bushehr. In terms of hotel categories Kish and Qeshm islands would have better facilities as they are both free islands.


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Exchange

Iran is one of those countries that any traveler needs to carry some amount of cash for trip’s expenses even travel agencies would ask clients to bring the bill also in cash which is mostly because of financial sanctions to Iranian banks that none of Iranian banks are connected to global banking system.

We would highly recommend everyone to bring enough cash and change in exchange offices that are also named among locals as Sarrafi or Outside market in order to  change money with better rates than banks however they can’t give any receipt to any traveler. In order to avoid any misunderstanding or having issues with money, please ignore changing money with those individual exchangers right in front of these offices who may not have enough cash or they would Bargen to change with lower rate. We would highly recommend to change inside the office where the rate is fixed.

Also, we would like to inform you there are possibilities of changing money almost everywhere in Iran especially in major touristy cities of central Iran including Tehran, Shiraz, Esfahan, Yazd, Kerman and Kashan. It is better to go with few hundreds from the beginning.

Iranian currency officially is called Rials as there are several bills of existed among locals from years ago till now but there is another currency which is quite common among locals, that is Called Toman. Basically every 10 Rials is 1 Toman however there is not any particular bill or coins for Toman in Iran and all this calculation has to be done in our head but still people would rather to use this currency in their markets. 


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Visa for Americans

Almost everyone needs Iran tourist visa for visiting Iran especially Americans or in general speaking all USA passport holders. Based on Iran’s political regulation Americans are not allowed to travel to Iran by their own and they have to register in a guided tour as well through a local travel agency. They also are not allowed to obtain visa upon arrival and everything must be sorted out in advance.

A travel agency would apply for authorization code as soon as they meet all required documents such as a valid passport, filled visa form, two ways confirmed flight ticket to/from Iran in addition to signed invoice. Usually it takes 30 working days to get this code and travel agency has to share this code with American traveler as soon as it is received. Then Americans can refer to any of Iranian overseas embassies/consulates (that traveler will choose in visa form where to collect visa) to obtain visa which is valid only for tour’s duration. Approval may take few days.

Please consider extending visa is not possible for Americans unless return ticket is changed or airline announces it will be delayed or cancelled. Then to prove this in few days before departure, traveler has to refer to visa department office in either of major cities to extend visa by having either printed email from airline or new flight ticket in addition to receipt of extension fee.


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Where to Exchange money in Iran?

Iran is one of those countries that any traveler needs to carry some amount of cash for trip’s expenses even travel agencies would ask clients to bring the bill also in cash which is mostly because of financial sanctions to Iranian banks that none of Iranian banks are connected to global banking system.

We would highly recommend everyone to bring enough cash and change in exchange office that are also named among locals as Sarrafi or Outside market which has better rates than banks however they can’t give any receipt to any travelers. In order to avoid any misunderstanding or having issues with money, please consider several individual exchangers right in front of these offices who may not have enough cash or they would Bargen to change with lower rate. We would highly recommend to change inside the office where the rate is fixed.

Also, we would like to inform you there are possibilities of changing money almost everywhere in Iran especially in major touristy cities of central Iran including Tehran, Shiraz, Esfahan, Yazd, Kerman and Kashan. It is better to go with few hundreds from the beginning.


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