When many foreign travelers visit Iran for the first time, they get surprised by the real face of Iran which is much different from what they have been hearing and reading on western media. Almost every traveler find Iran a safe and friendly country with amazing architecture, beautiful landscapes, diverse cuisine and welcoming people, making it such a lovely destination that they wish to visit for the second time. But, just like any other country, there are some notes and tips that you might need to know before traveling to Iran that help you have a better time in Iran. Here are some do’s and don’ts while traveling in Iran:
Respect Iran dress code and hijab rules
One of the most important facts that you should consider while traveling in Iran is the drees code of this country. Iran is an Islamic country with mandatory hijab rules since 1979, and according to this hijab rule woman are required to cover their hair and body in public. This rule includes the foreign travelers who visit Iran as well, however it is not as strict as it sounds at first. As a female in Iran, women are wearing colourful scarf and fashionable outfits and unlike some what some media show they are not wearing black chadors. For more information about females and males dress code in Iran checkout this blog.
Hijab rules in Iran
Bring money in cash
As a result of political sanctions against Iran, international ATMs and credit cards do not work in Iran. Therefore, as a foreign traveler in Iran you need to bring all your money in cash. The best currency in Iran is Euro, US Dollar, and English Pound, as they are easily changed in all exchange shops called Sarrafi. You can find many authorized exchange shops in all cities in Iran. Also, the good news is that today many carpet shops and handicraft shops especially in Tehran, Isfahan, Yazd and Shiraz are working with credit cards and you can buy souvenirs with your personal bank account.
Try different Iranian cuisines
Iran is the land of verity of culture, nature and cuisines. Iranian cuisine is not all about kebabs and there are much more foods to try in this country. So, we suggest that while traveling in different cities and regions of Iran, try local foods and get acquainted with different food cultures. Traveling from north of Iran to south, you’ll enjoy tasting different tasty foods and desserts made with local ingredients.
Saffron icecream - Iranian cuisine
Learning Farsi phrases
Learning some essential words and phrases from the new destination you are going to visit is always a good idea. It helps you get a better connection with the locals and sometimes it is helpful to handle some affairs like buying something at a shop or finding an address. Farsi is the main language in Iran and some of the essential words and phrases that might help you while traveling in Iran are:
Goodbye: Khoda Haafez
Thank you: Mamnoon
My name is Karen: Esme Man Karen Ast
What is the price? (how much): Chande?
I want: Mikham
travelers talikng with locals in Iran
Don’t eat in public during Ramadan
Ramadan is a month of Islamic calendar, known as the month of fasting by Muslims worldwide, and they practice fasting from dawn to sunset during this month. Whether you are fasting or not, you are required to respect this religious ritual and avoid eating and drinking in public during day time while traveling in Iran during Ramdan. However, there are some restaurants and hotels that serve food during day time, so you can have a meal or snack.
Traveling to Iran during Ramadan
Alcohol rules in Iran
Buying and drinking alcohol in Iran is illegal and totally forbidden since 1979 revolution, and even as a foreign traveler you need to consider this rule. although this might happen behind closed doors and some suggest you to buy it from the black market, we highly suggest that you avoid drinking and buying any kind of alcoholic beverage in Iran as this is not safe and legal. While travelin in Iran, you can enjoy tasting traditional beverages of Iran like rosewater sherbet, orange blossom sherbet, quince-lemon sherbet, etc.
In many countries of the world, there are some places where photography is forbidden. The government buildings, military sites and totally any place with “No photography” sign are places where you should avoid photography in Iran. Also it is suggested that you respect the privacy of the people while they are saying prayers at mosques and avoid taking photos of them, and also ask for permission before taking portraits of locals or their children.
Photography in Iran