Traveling to less known parts of the world is always accompany by both questions and fears. Here you can learn about Iran and stroll inside a country like a local, choose your food according to your taste, keep in touch with your family and spend wonderful days in Iran.
From Shahi to Abbasi, from Toman to Naderi, from Dozari to Rial, right now rial is used as the official currency of Iran. While on all notes are marked Rial but Toman as an unofficial currency is used widely. However, it is not marked on any note or coin.
Toman is one tenth of Rial. To convert it to Rial, you simply add a zero. For instance, 1000 Toman equal to 10000 IRR. (One toman = 10 rials)
The first and main point about Iran is that day to day spending is totally cash based. Due to international sanctions, Iranian banks do not have any connections currently and thus access to the personal funds is completely impossible. So during your stay in Iran do not look for any ATM to use your credit or debit cards, instead you can bring Euros or Dollars with yourself. Practically though all types of cash are accepted in Iran and you may change them up into Iranian Rial at official exchange outlets, you can also change your money at hotels but it may be changed with the higher rate. It is also a good idea to keep and safe your money in a money belts, a key to your peace of mind.
The Second and noticeable point is that all prices in most of places are listed in IRR, but if you are confused with the rate, you can ask the vendors which currency has been used.
Simply, Iranians use Toman and they prefer to omit zeroes when you ask for the price of something. For instance, they say 2 Toman which means 2000 Toman and it equals 20000 Rials. You will get to use it after a short days and English side of Iranian banknotes will help you with that you with that as they are in Farsi on one side and English on the other.
Wearing loose-fitting garments, trousers and shirt with the scarf that cover hair is called Hijab.
You must wear a headscarf the entire time you are officially staying in Iran except the time you are on your own hotel room, so pack a headscarf in your hand luggage.
When the airplane enters Iranian air space, you have to wear clothes according to the Iranian dress-code.
Scarf helps you cover your hair, if it falls do not worry, put it back on again and pay attention to it all the time. Wearing your hair in a high bun, ponytail or even claw-style clips helps keep the scarf in a place but it is impossible for those with shorter hair. Hats, caps, hair clips and bobby pins may help with shorter hair to keep the scarf.
Hair must be covered but it does not mean you must have a tight scarf around your head. It is acceptable for women to let some of their hair fall freely. It should cover most of the hair and the back of the neck.
Make sure the scarf does not slip, this can work well with silk and cotton and it is better to wear light colors during spring and summer. Every color is acceptable.As you enter the country you may get a better imagination about dress-code.
You must wear loose-fitting tops or shirts. Wearing three-quarter length sleeves are accepted specially during hot weather. It is better to wear those with light and breathable clothes.
Notice that, tops should NOT be tight-fitting. As a foreign woman you will get less scrutiny than local women, but it’s still best to dress modestly and respectfully.
Trousers should be loose and full-length but it is acceptable if you wear tight leggings that cover all part of your legs to ankle. Wearing long skirts and long-sleeved dresses are acceptable. It is firmly suggested that wearing leggings with long, loose fitting tops. Jeans are acceptable too.
It must be note that, in more conservative cities such as Isfahan, Mashhad, Kashan and Qom, as well as in small villages and towns like Abyaneh two points are significant, respecting the values of the local and using loose fitting clothes.
Both sport shoes and sandals are fine in Iran. Open sandals in bright color could be used for short walks and it is better to pack sport shoes for longer day-trips and where you need to walk a lot like Naghsh-e Jahan square and Persepolis.
Note that in particular places like mosques and holy shrines all people even the tourists have to wear Chador (veil) which is available at the sites.
You can find desired out fits in local market and our tourist guide will help you with that. Apparently you can set your clothes such as tunics and long sleeves shirt with any tight and loose trousers and not buying any kind of manteaus.
Dress-code for men is easier than women; they just need to dress much the same as the way they do in western countries with some exception.
Shorts, no super short sleeves and extremely tight-fitting clothing are not acceptable in public. Wearing ties or bow and T-shirt is acceptable.
FOOD & BEVERAGE
Iranian cuisine is part of Iranian culture, enjoy various ethnic food in each part of Iran.
Iranian cuisine is considered as of the integral type in Asia and world, so Iran is well-known in terms of variety of food that is considered as the main part of Iranian culture. Appearance and colors are truly inspirable from Iranian food, bright and colorful ingredients are artfully arranged. As you can see exclusive differentiation in food from north to south. Among all regions, art of cooking rice is approximately the same in all parts of Iran. It is usually serves alongside kind of stews, chicken or meat.
Iranian women cook skillfully by using spices and fresh materials and try to make the originate of each dish. What make these foods popular in world, is the mixture of animal and plants productions that make them enrich and delicious.
For travelers with interest in culinary art, Iran will meet their needs because cuisines are varied from one region to another. Among these regions, Rasht regarded as a gastronomy city and officially registered by UNESCO as a creative city in 2015.
Local bazaars are first point of providing every product that is used for making delicious meals. These fresh materials are used widely cooked or raw for garnishing.
Through Dana tours we have organized lunch and dinner so that participants can sample the best food that Iran has to offer.
Beside food, fresh dates, dried figs, pistachio nuts, hazelnut, almonds and dried berries are known as right substitutions to remove hunger whenever you need to eat something. Surely, Iran is one list of best destinations for nuts. Try them, they will not let you down and purchase as a souvenir.
Alcoholic drinks, any wine or bear are not served in any public places in Iran, instead you can find different types of non-alcoholic drinks and taste Dough (salty yogurt drink with dried mint), local drink of Iran in any city. Dough serves in all type of restaurants and you can also make it on your own. Whenever eat Dizi or Kebab, dough completes your delicious meal.
As you cannot drink any alcoholic drinks why not taste one of those distillates? You can find the fresh and best one in many regions but surely Kashan and Shiraz are dreamily places.
Since long time ago Shiraz is known as the land of distillates and blossoms because of abundance of gardens, so in every store you can find bottle of distillate in bulk. You have the chance to taste them and choice those that tend to your taste. Beside the good taste of these distillates, they have medicinal properties. Distillate of mint is one the famous that if you ask its property from everyone, you encounter the correct answer and that is it; best cure for distension. Like to get familiar, continue with the part!
Why not learn a bit Farsi before travelling to Iran, even during the time you are in Iran. Start with some key words and numbers, then you will see how your travel becomes more charming. You will see that people will like to communicate with you more and help you in any cases.
Try not to use a complete Farsi sentence, which is not easy for you at first, so just learn keywords that lead to better communication and understanding in cases that your own language or English might not be useful. Whether you travel with a guide or not, it is better to communicate and say some Farsi, it is interesting both for you and anyone who tries to talk to you. You should take into consideration that this is conversational Farsi level not the formal.
Every quick, long, emotional, business and etc. communication starts with greeting. In Iran it is common to hear Salam almost everywhere, this word is equal to Hello. Khoobi? Or Chetori?, it is only one word but it is equal to one whole sentence: how are you? If you want to be formal, use these two words khoobid? Or chetorid? It is simple. If you want to answer in Farsi, you should say Khoobam that means I’m fine. Now you know the first step, you can have a complete greeting with anyone. Here is the conversation.
B: Salam, chetori?
A: Khoobam, to chetori?
B: Merci, khoobam, kheyli khoobam.
Notice that to the same as you, merci means thank you and kheyli means very. So kheyli khoobam means I’m very good.
For instance, you are at a store to buy items. You need to know numbers and one word. Chande? Again this word is equal to one sentence; how much is it? And when you want to say, I want this one, you should say, Ino mikham. With these short sentences and words, actually you are ready for a stroll in bazaar and purchase souvenirs and food as much as you want.
When you go shopping, you need to know numbers. Numbers are not as easy as previous steps, but with some training you can get familiar with them. Let’s get into them.
One = yek | two = do | three = se | four = chahar | five = panj | six = sheesh | seven = haft | eight = hasht | nine = noh | ten = dah | zero = sefr
These are 11 main numbers, putting them beside each other give you the price of items. Surely, for better understanding you need to know multi-digit numbers.
If you need to know about Iran currency, read currency section in learning tips. In case you want to learn any specific word, just leave a comment we’ll answer it within 48 hours.
As you want to stay in touch with your friends and family during your stay in Iran, there are two main providers in Iran MCI & Irancell, both are reliable and provide international calls. Among these two Irancell is a better choice because you can purchase it at a suitable price; it is also easier to register. The first and most accessible place to get Irancell could be IKA airport otherwise you can get it from any Irancell service centers all round country or mobile-phones shop. By using 3G or 4G SIM, you can access to the internet. You need to charge it daily or weekly for using internet or making calls.
The accessible speed for internet is 128 kbps which you can check your mail and send text via Skype or WhatsApp. You can use internet after activation.
Network coverage in big cities is good but in smaller cities and intercity the signal is limited, mostly there is no accessibility to the network.
As you know for using SIM card you need to charge it for a period of time. You should put credit in it. You can buy credit mainly from newsstand. It is a narrow piece of paper with a 16-digit pin on it. First you should scratch the ink that covers the pin, and then enter the pin on your cell phone. Remember to keep the card case as the PIN is printed on the case and you need it in some cases.
Let’s consider the following steps to get a SIM card:
You need a phone.
For using Iranian SIM card, you need an unlocked phone. Surely, you cannot switch SIM card if you have a locked SIM card.
You need a SIM card.
Now you need a SIM card that connect you to the world. Your first place is at the IKA but you can get one from Irancell service centers or mobile-phone shops. Ask the seller about rate of SIM card and data. For instance, when you get an Irancell SIM card, you should get a prepaid SIM card. So that you pay before calling and you are always in control of your mobile phone costs.
Charge your SIM card.
As soon as the registration is complete, your cell phone is activated. First, you should buy the amount of credit you want and pay for it in cash before you make calls, in this way, Pay As You Go, you will not pay any additional charges. Second, you are possible to make or receive calls. Consider that any time you want to check your account credit dial *141*1# and press call. The credit on your account does not have any expiry period.
If you are run out of credit, you can buy credit card from buying another card for several days. To charge your cell phone, first you need to scratch the ink that covers 16-digit pin and then enter the code on your cell phone.
Note: you can change the language of your SIM card into English by dialing *555*4*3*2# [Yes/No] and to manage your account dial *555# that leads you to the main menu.