Iran is completely different when compared to what is heard through mainstream media. Blame that on the media, politics or rare marketing surrounding the country, tourists always overthink traveling to Iran. Ask world travelers who have visited Iran and you will get an exact opposite picture of the country to what is normally seen and heard all around. Friendly people, amazing architecture, modern cities, fascinating landscapes and much more, make Iran a truly wonderful travel experience. Like any country there are some things every traveler should know before visiting Iran and in this post we shall review the top seven things to know before traveling to this country.
1- Iran is a safe country
Unlike all the negative propaganda that is heard, Iran is a very safe country and actually might be one of the safest in the world. The local people are very welcoming and friendly; they will even step out of their way to assist tourists. Tourists will feel safe walking on the streets of most cities, even at late hours.
2- Travel Visa is required for visiting Iran
Most tourists will require obtaining a travel visa for Iran although as of now the citizens of more than a hundred countries can get their visas done on arrival at most of the international airports. Citizens of some countries such as the US, UK and Canada must book their travel plans through an authorized tour company and get their visas approved prior to their arrival.
3- Clothing customs should be taken into consideration
As Iran is an Islamic country, there are some moderate dress codes tourists should honor. For women Hijab is required but unlike other Islamic countries, the Hijab is translated into something much more moderate. A thin scarf should cover most of the hair and a long sleeve top and pants are enough. Men should just consider wearing long pants as although it is not a rule, short pants are not commonly worn around the city.
4-Cash comes in handy
Your credit cards will not work on any ATM machines in Iran and shops do not accept them so keep cash in hand. There are many currency exchange offices around the major cities and tourists can also convert their cash at the international airports.
5- Don’t confuse the currency name
The official currency in Iran is the “Rial” but the currency name the people commonly use is the “Toman”. Every 1 Toman equals into 10 Rials, so do not get confused when they ask you for toman and you only see rial on the money note. Just multiply the Toman into 10 and you get the Rial. It can be confusing at the beginning but after a day getting used to it is pretty simple.
6- Weekends are not as everywhere
Tourists should take into notice that unlike most countries of the world, Saturday and Sunday are working days in Iran and the weekend days are Thursday and Friday. Most offices are opened on Thursdays as a half-day but Fridays are closed. Most of the museums and attractions are open on the weekends but you should always check the working hours before visiting them.
7- Plan your daily trips and take the traffic into consideration
Traffic can get heavy in the major cities especially in the capital, Tehran. Therefore, tourists should plan their itineraries accordingly to fit in any delays. The most important thing to consider on the roads in Iran is the driving culture, travelers will find it scary at the beginning as the concept of driving space is much narrower on the roads of Iran.