Out trip so far...
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Nov 1, 2012 3:40 AM Last Post By: ahmd
Oct 21, 2012 12:57 AM
Out trip so far...Hi All
We are 2 weeks into our trip to Iran (this is the start of our Honeymoon!). We thought we would give some comments on our trip so far.
1 - Visa
We are Australian and we got our Visa through Key2Persia. The process was relatively simple. It took about 10 days to get the approval number we then sent our passports to the embassy in Canberra to get our visa.
2 - Currency
We have found that if you pay in Rials you will generally get a better rate for accommodation and travel due to the fluctuating currency. For example we have paid sometimes half as much as the amount quoted in USD when paying in rials. We have been getting around 35,000 rials per 1USD. We have found that prices are cheaper than what is quoted in the LP guidebook.
3 - Tehran
Highlights of Tehran were the Jewel Museum and the Artists Park and Vegetarian cafe which was a lovely place to chill out in a very busy city.
4 - Trekking in Alumut and Caspian
We organised a tour with Farzin of Caspian Trek. This has been one of the hightlights of our trip. Farzin has a great knowledge of the local region and was able to introduce us to many local people in the mountain villages. We most enjoyed eating the goats cheese straight off the shepherds in the mountains! We spent 3 days with Farzin and over those days covered the high mountains and villages, the lower forests as well as an amazing secret waterfall.
The start of our first days walk was in a place called Pichebon. We first got a private taxi to Gazor Khan (where we stayed the night) from Tehran which cost us about US$70. Cheaper (but potentially longer) way to get there would be transport via Qazvin.
5 - Esfahan
Not too much to add that other posts haven't already mention. Point to note - the actual travel time from Esfahan to Yazd was only 4 hours from the Jey terminal (not 5-6 per LP). Buses run hourly to Yazd from this terminal from 6am to 12pm.
6 - Yazd
We did a tour of the Chak Chaks and Meybood with a great guide Amir (can't remember his last name). He gave a good explanation of the historical and cultural features of each of the sites. He also introduced us to Dizzi which was delicious!
From Yazd we decided to stay over one night at the Farvadinn Inn (in the LP) in a small desert town called Fharaj. The guesthouse is run by Masoud and his wife. We intended to stay only one night but ended up staying on for two days to enjoy the desert offerings as well as chilling out in the modern (yet traditional) style guesthouse. We did a desert hike right through the sand dunes over to the nearby mountains where we camped overnight in a cave. It seems we bring rain everywhere we go but it was a really fun experience and another highlight of the trip!
7 - Security
No issues :-) As noted in many posts, Iranian people are the most hospitable and friendly people we have come across. Whenever we looked a little confused there was always someone there to help...lots of offers for dinners too!
8 - Transport
Buses are really efficient and roads are good. Recommend travelling by bus!
That is it from us, hope you have found some of this information helpful in planning your trip.
Oct 21, 2012 4:50 AM
Oct 23, 2012 1:35 AM
2Thanks for the great post. I'm leaving for Iran tomorrow and I was wondering about the currency: I read the official and blackmarket exchange rates differ quite a bit ($1/16.000 rial vs $1/35.000 rial). I also read that using the blackmarket exchange is illegal.
Did you run into any problems using blackmarket exchanges (I assume that's what you did considering you got that rate for exchange) and do you have any place to advise for using around Tehran?
Oct 23, 2012 1:22 PM
Oct 24, 2012 7:32 PM
4Sounds great, thanks for the tips and hints.
I am going on Nov 24th for about 3 weeks - do you think it being colder/possibly snowy would make things difficult for me if I want to wander around in the Alumut? And for a single traveller, would it be a bit pricey/not necessary to get a guide?
(On that note, if anyone's in the market for a part-time travel buddy.. I'm here).
Oct 25, 2012 2:43 AM
Language - there was a reasonable level of English spoken throughout Iran. We did not know any Farsi before we came and learnt the very basics along the way.
Exchanging Money - we used the exchange shops (which you will find in most cities). There were not considered to be black market and gave a much better rate than the banks. Today we changed money at a rate of USD$1 for 31,000 rials.
Not sure what the weather will be like in Alumut in November but it will certainly be cooler. The first snowfalls were happening when we arrived but only at the peak of the mountain.
Oct 25, 2012 2:45 AM
6Oops missed the question on places to exchange money in Tehran. You can exchange at the airport, but the rate is very low, but you will need to change some money to pay for your taxi. We found the best place to exchange money in Tehran was at Ferdowsi Square, the shops are just outside the metro station.
Nov 1, 2012 3:40 AM
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