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Things to do

  • Currency Information

    Currency Information
    Iranian Rial (IRR, symbol Rls).
    Currently, we use eight different banknotes (100,000, 50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000 and 500 Rials) and five different coins (5000, 2000, 1000, 500 and 250 Rials).

    Planning on shopping?
    When shopping, you’ll be happy to hear that Iranians are an honest lot. Double-pricing for foreigners isn’t widespread except in hotels where Iranians get a cheaper rate than tourists. In shops you generally don’t have to worry about being overcharged and bargaining isn’t common outside of the bazaars.
    The one challenge you will come across is that most Iranians don’t talk in Rials; which is a bit strange since it is the printed currency. At first this will be a bit confusing and it’s easy to think you’re being ripped off when in fact the price was just quoted in Tomans and not Rials. Ask if you’re unsure! Since you’re a tourist in Iran, some Iranians may try to make things easier and give you the value for your purchases in Rials or even in dollars to help you out.

    Credit Cards and Travelers Checks
    Due to the sanctions against Iran even common, major credit cards like Visa and MasterCard are not accepted in Iran; so bring cash or try credit cards issued by local banks in Iran. It is not possible to exchange travelers' checks either.

    What type of cash is acceptable? It is not important; US dollars; Euro; GBP are all accepted in Iran. You should change your money in a currency exchange, and you will have no problem finding them all around the country. Use Iranian Rials when you are wondering out and shopping or eating (most places only accept Rials). Like everything in Iran, things can change overnight so make sure you check the exchange rate.
    If you are fr0m a country (small African or South American countries, for example) whose currency is not a major currency, try to change your money to US dollars or Euros. It is very rare that you wouldn't be able to change your country's money, but why take the risk? Iranian Rial rate is changing frequently so please contact a trusty money changer or check on internet for currency converters, such as:
    www.mesghal.com and http://finance.yahoo.com/currency-con...
    Please note that yahoo currency converter shows the official rate of currencies (rate in banks only) while most of the money changers apply the rate presented in mesghal.com website which is usually higher!

    Although Iran has a functioning network of ATMs (cashpoint machines) all around the country and POSE machines even in many supermarkets, but you can only use credit/gift cards issued by local banks in Iran.

    Banking Hours:
    Sat-Wed 07:30-13:30, Thurs 07:30-12:30.

    Currency Restriction:
    The import and export of local currency is limited to Rs 500,000. Any amount larger requires authorization fr0m the Central Bank. The import of foreign currency is unlimited, provided that it is declared on arrival. The export of foreign currency is limited to the amount declared on arrival.
    Currency Exchange:
    The quickest and easiest way to change cash is at an official money-exchange office, where the whole deal is done in seconds, unlike in most banks where half an hour is considered fast. Exchange shops can be found in most cities, usually signed in English. Changing money in an exchange shop is much safer than doing so with a street moneychanger. It is advisable to bring hard currency for exchange purposes.

    Tipping is not a big deal in Iran. In upmarket restaurants (mainly in Tehran) a 10% gratuity might be expected but everywhere else any money you leave will be a pleasant surprise. It’s normal to offer a small tip to anyone who guides you or opens a building that is normally closed. If your offer is initially refused, you should persist in making it three times before giving up. It takes time till you adopt with concept of Tarof!

    Iran Duty Free
    The following goods may be imported into Iran without incurring customs duty:
    • A reasonable quantity of cigarettes.
    • Reasonable quantity of perfume for personal use.
    • Gifts on which the import duty/tax does not exceed US$80.hether you’re a backpacker traveling to Iran on a budget, or an all-the-frills luxury traveler, you’re going to need to plan

  • Dos and Don

    Dos and Don'ts
    •Do obey every law.
    •Do dress in a conservative manner, particularly when you are not in a big city, and not in a tour group.
    •Do take off your shoes when entering mosques or carpeted areas in private houses.
    •Do wear shoes when you are using the toilet.
    •In Iran men do not shake hands with women.
    •In Persian Taarof, it is customary to repeat everything at least two or three times to persuade the host to accept your “yes” or “no”.
    •Don’t discuss politics, family relations, the role of women, and other controversial subjects unless you are in the company of close friends.
    •Don’t stretch out your hand to be shaken by a member of the opposite sex, and don’t ever touch any member of the opposite sex apart from close family relatives. Intimate physical contact in public is likely to cause offense. Couples can only hold hands, but must absolutely never kiss or embrace. Women and men usually kiss each other three times at meeting and parting (women kiss women, and men kiss men). Members of the opposite sex can kiss each other only if they are the closest relatives, like parents/children and brothers/sisters.
    •Don’t show indignation if you are physically searched by customs officials in the airports.
    •Don’t stick out your thumb; it is considered vulgar.
    •Don’t take photographs of pilgrims, religious figures, and shrines unless you receive permission first.
    •Don’t forget to have the name of your hotel and/or destination written down for you in Persian script (many taxi drivers do not speak or read English).
    •Don’t accept alcoholic drinks that may be available through the black market because that these beverages may be a health risk.

  • Iranian Foods

    Iranian Foods & Beverages
    Either you are a backpacker, interested in Iran local foods or simply a busy businessman, traveling can be challenging. With lengthy period on a plane or hectic hours on the bus and protracted meetings with coworkers, you barely have time to sleep, let alone think about how you will find healthy foods to eat. Strange names on the restaurant menu, different spices, smells and tastes? This article guides you to eat properly while you are away and answers some questions about Iranian foods and what to eat and drink when you travel to Iran.

    History of food in Iran
    Since the beginning of human civilization to today, series of invasions have been imposed to Iran by different countries and exposed the country to new beliefs, customs, foods and ideas as well as exporting Iranian customs and foods back to their countries. The ancient Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Turks and Romans are just some of the groups that have effected Iranian culture and cuisine.
    Due to the fact that ancient Persia was one the commercial powers of the world and Iran was the bridge between East and West, Iranians took their own products exclusively saffron, pomegranate and spinach to each part of the world. Some traded commodities including rice, eggplants and lemons are some of the main components in the national Iranian dishes.
    Similar to the style of cooking in Middle East, wheat is the main constituent of Iranian cooking where meat, yoghurt and rice are also common. Having a sour flavor in Iranian dishes is favorable in many of Iranian dishes which can be obtained by adding lemon, sour orange or pomegranate juice. Cooking Iranian dishes are often cooked slowly and time-consuming.

    Iranian Foods
    What do Iranians Eat? The delicious Iranian Foods are an indivisible part of Persian culture. Food in Iran is of a great variety due to the multiplicity of Iranian provinces and cities. At the same time that Iranian foods are colorful, scented and mouth-watering, they also tend to be healthy and nourishing.
    The Iranians generally eat three meals a day: a light breakfast in the morning, lunch at the noon which is the main meal and dinner at the night. It includes a wide range of dishes comprising different types of "Khoresht" (stew) like "Ghormeh Sabzi", Fesenjun, Gheymeh, Bademjan etc. which is served on Iranian rice, "Chelo Kabab" that is a combination of rice and roasted meat, "Kuku", a baked food whose main ingredients are egg and potato, "Ash" (Potage), different kinds of "Polo" which is the combination of rice and other ingredients (e.g. Sabzi Polo, Lubia Polo, Baghali Polo etc.) and varieties of sweets, salads and beverages. There is also a wide range of Persian recipes and starters in Iran.
    To taste Iranian food in true meaning, it is better to eat at an Iranian’s house, as many restaurants in Iran limit their menu to different types of kebab, thus the variety of foods is limited. However, traditional restaurants generally have wider ranges of food eating in them will invoke the feeling of living in old time Persia.
    Iranian restaurants take a great care to cook Iranian foods. To be clean and hygienic, plastic gloves are used to prepare food practically in every Iranian restaurant. Grilled liver and minced meat better be avoided in hot days of summer. Being clean and quite crowded can be good criteria when selecting an eating place. The food vendors also better be cleaner and healthier to be trusted.
    Putting it in a nutshell, food in Iran is meant to be healthy, colorful, delicious and simple. In order to add a pleasant flavor and scent to the dishes, usage of light spices, herbs and fruits are common in different Persian dishes.

    Water and Soft Drinks
    Iran pipeline system is broad all around the country with is cheap, fresh, clean water. Although there are different water filtration systems in Iran, it’s advised that tourists to drink bottled water and use tap water for washing.
    No matter the type of drink, whether it’s a coke, dairies, fruit juice or islamic beer, soft drinks in Iran are sold commonly in bottles and rarely in cartons. ‘Dough’ which is a popular and healthy drink is watery yoghurt chiefly drunk with meal and is similar to ‘Ayran’ (a kind of drink in Turkey).

    Desserts in Iran
    A lot of effort and time is spent on making sweet foods in Iran. Every Iranian province traditions of its own to prepare these appetizing desserts. Fruits like nuts and date are the regular ingredients. However, Iranians mostly consume desserts and sweet foods on specific occasions because of love they have for fruit. To welcome the guests at their home, Iranians bring fruit bowl, tea and sweets.

    Rice in Iran
    Rice (berenj) is the main component in many of Iranian dishes. The highest quality of fragrant Iranian rice is harvested in north of the country in month of "Mordad" and "Shahrivar". Generally the meals eaten as the main meal are rice-based. Preparation of rice is an art in Iran provided by saffron and barberry which stimulates your appetite when you are around the meal table!

    Hospitality in Iran
    In Iranian culture there are special traditions about guests and hospitality. As in Islam, the state religion of the country, it is emphasized to the Muslims to be hospitable toward the guests you will be surprised by the warmth and eagerness that your host has to make sure that you are well looked after and well fed!