Replies: 3 - Last Post: Sep 17, 2013 2:59 AM Last Post By: gillig
Jul 2, 2013 9:26 PM
Travel Agents++Here is a copy of the info I sent to Lonely Planet, as feedback for their Iran Book. The book is a beauty, and helped Lynn, myself and our guides, to travel around Iran.++
Lonely Planet Feedback.
Alan and Lynn Taylor, Jul 01 05:55 pm (PDT):
Book: Iran Edition 6, Aug 2012
Compliment: Pars Tourist Agency
Middle East/Iran/Central Iran/Shiraz
We contacted Pars Touorist Agency from Australia. We read some blogs etc, and, correctly, figured the complaints were from people who perhaps would never be happy in a place like Iran.
Pars modified an itinerary to fit our requests (smaller cities, hiking, country not city), but did get us a good look at Tehran, Shiraz, Esfahan etc we're 58, but very fit.
They had a guide/driver for us, good english, sometimes not the best driver, but you know what driving is over there. Most of the guides still maintain contact with us, which I think is awesome.
The Shiraz office is efficient, we paid after we had been on our trip for 2 weeks. Honesty, without conditions, is typical in this country. They are obviously well connected in Iran as we got good service wherever we went.
One of our guides' family are Nomads, and we met up with his family, up near Poolad Kaf, in the hills. Also, all the guides were clearly instructed to protect us with their own life! While we were never in any danger, they still were very careful in ensuring we didn't get run over or fall down a gully. They sought out fresh food, asking many shops for vegetable meals, like at their own home, rather than kebab & rice after kebab.
I express to friends that the Iranians are the best race of people I have ever had the privilege to be with.
Correction: Western Iran - Tabriz, p87/88 - Comment on Book contents.
In the Azarbayjan Museum, The Ardebil Carpet (top page 88), has a plaque that says the original was "cut in two"!, and 1/2 went to London and 1/2 went to Paris.
Suggestion(Content): Visas and Planning, p25
We needed to extend our Tourist Visa when in Iran. We did it at Shiraz, and the (Alien) Police were very helpful, continually putting us to the top of the pile. (It was quite a pile). There were 7 levels of officer we spoke to or dealt with us.
Our main mistake, and it might be good if you emphasize it in your book, is that when we went to pay the Fee, at the designated Bank, with a receipt, I paid 60,000 rials, in one piece, and got ONE receipt from the Bank. But, back at the station, the police wanted two receipts, 30,000 rials each, for EACH Visa extension. That way they could put a receipt in EACH file. They start a new file for the operation.
So, when couples extend, make sure they go into the Police with the idea of TWO separate Visa extensions, separately documented.
It took 3 hours.
The Bank teller took a chance, and re-issued two receipts, which was not a regular transaction. Our guide gave him his own personal details should there be a repercussion.
We got from 33,000 to 35,000 rials to the $US while there, April May 2013.
Suggestion(Content): Central Iran, p173
At Poolad Kaf, the big hotel, ground and first floor is open. I think the sliing would be similar to Cardronna in NZ.
There is about 30 - 40 rooms on the first floor, all very new, but some poor building practice, but not affecting a good response/report from us.
Also, there is a good looking Go-Kart track at the Hotel grounds, which would be fun in the summer.
Hope all this helps.
Jul 6, 2013 9:32 AM
1Thanks Alan and Lynn,
It's good to read a really helpful post such as yours. As you say there will always be people who would never be happy in a country like Iran, but for everyone else I'd say go there as soon as you can. BTW I just found the one country in the world where I couldn't be happy and it was Pakistan in May-end June 2013 unfortunately (didn't feel safe or happy for obvious political reasons) ... so can't wait to get back to Iran for a return visit this September, where I feel happy as a Western woman to walk around unaccompanied. Interesting that you commented: (in Iran) "all the guides were clearly instructed to protect us with their own life!" Really not necessary, but reassuring anyway.
Bureaucracy is a problem in many countries and it's just a question of being patient. In Iran the big difference is that ordinary people will help you without even being asked - they just come up to you and ask if they can help.
Sep 17, 2013 2:59 AM
Bandar AbbasBook now