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Useful Information

  • 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.

  • Dress code in Iran

    Dress code in Iran
    Iran is a country with a dress code that respects Islamic rules including “Hijab”, the Islamic dress-code, which is a law in Iran. However such rules are not observed strictly, especially for tourists and foreigners. Basically, the rules are quite simple: for men, no short pants or extreme short sleeve and tight shirts. Women need to cover their hair and wear long sleeved and long pants A common way of dressing for women is wear "Manteu" which is long sleeved shirt that comes down to your mid- thigh or longer, paired with a simple scarf wrapped loosely around the head covering your hair

    What to wear in Iran
    Most people are shocked by the way people dress in Iran once they arrive, as the reality is far from the stereotypes. Iranian women are typically stylish and take great care in their appearance. It is not uncommon to see hair exposed under very small loose fitting scarves. Many Iranian women wear jeans or related clothes with a loose fitting long sleeve top which covers them down to the mid-thigh area. It is also common to see makeup and varnished nails.
    Yes, Iran is a country with dress code. However, very few people know that the typical stereotype of all Iranian women being forced to wear black chadors whilst in public is completely false.
    Currently in Iran, the Islamic dress code is still observed all over the country. The code calls for women to cover their hair, necks and arms. Modern women in Iran today, wear a "manteau" or overcoat, similar to a uniform. The overcoats have long sleeves and usually come below the knee, and a scarf or shawl is used to cover the hair. This can be worn by folding the two opposite corners of a scarf to get a triangle and tying the scarf around your head. Trousers or dark stockings are worn under the overcoat.
    For men, generally, shorts, T-shirts and ties are not worn in public. You will find many Iranians who dress in a very Western style for private functions and events. Therefore the fashions really depend upon the destination and purpose of your trip. When dealing with government agencies, schools, embassies, and the like, obeying the rules is highly recommended.

    So what is a chador? The chador is a form of dress, worn by some individuals in Iran, which consists of a full length semi-circle of fabric. Women are required to hold the material together with their hands or teeth as the garment typically does not contain any fasteners. Iranian women typically cover their bodies in full below the chador with loose fitting clothing / dress. The cover extends to a scarf or ‘Hijab’ which is worn to cover their hair.

    Here are a few tips to specify and describe the dress code in Iran:
    Gentlemen! Shorts are not acceptable in public. 
Wearing ties or bows and T-shirts is all right.
    Ladies! You don’t have to worry about maintaining your hijab all the time. Normally the maximum penalty for disregarding the Hijab rule is a simple request (usually in a kind way) by police or authorities to make it

    correct. There are some minimum requirements for female traveler’s dress-code in public places:
    1. Color: It's only a rumor that wearing must be dark in Iran. There is no limitation in this case and we recommend you use light colors especially in summer.
    2. Head: Although hair must be covered but it does not mean you should have a tight scarf around your head. It's quite acceptable for women to let some of their hair fall freely. You can also use appropriate hats & caps as well as scarves. The scarf is the most common covering for head and it’s called "Roosari" in Persian.
    3. Body: Body and arms should be covered by loose clothes called a Manteau which is similar to a light overcoat.
    4. Legs & feet: Legs should be covered down to ankles. Tight jeans are no problem and you can wear sandals with bare feet.

    Tip1: In winter time, apart from covering the head, the rest is the same as what you wear in your home country.
    Tip2: It is best to enter Iran with a coat and a scarf and then select your own style by watching the Iranian women in the streets.
    Tip3: In some holy shrines you need to have a Chador to enter and it will be given to you in the entrance.
    Tip4: In international flights to Iran, you need to respect the dress code rule as soon as the plane enters Iranian air space. Watching the flight attendants will give you a good idea of when you are required to put on your scarf and manteau.

  • Getting There and Around

    Getting There and Around

    In Iran Getting Around
    Iran has a well-developed transport system. All public transport is frequent, reliable, relatively safe and very cheap. But it's worth considering getting airborne for the following reasons: your Iran visa probably won't last long enough for you to use public transport to remote cities; fares are very cheap; the country is vast, and flights are frequent and reliable.
    If you can't get somewhere in Iran by bus (or minibus), chances are that no one wants to go there. There are lots of different bus companies offering competitive and mostly comfortable, services. Transport can be a problem for about ten days before, and especially after Nowruz, the chaotic Iranian New Year, which starts on or about 21 March. Foreigners are rarely hassled at roadblocks - the worst that might happen is asking you to show your passport and endure a delay.
    Trains are fairly efficient, reasonably fast and certainly cheap, but they are often not as convenient as buses, although they are safer and more comfortable (especially for overnight trips). The most exciting trips are between Tehran and Tabriz (for the scenery and excellent service) and between Tehran and Gorgan (for the number of tunnels and the scenery). The great Iranian Railway, was built in the 1930s to connect the Caspian Sea at Bandar-é Turkmen with the Persian Gulf at Bandar-é Imam Khomeini, is one of the great engineering achievements of the 20th century.
    Driving your own vehicle is a gutsy call. The distances are long, the traffic is appalling and it is hard to find secure parking or simply a parking place in many streets. The upside of driving is that the road surfaces are generally excellent and petrol is ridiculously cheap. Shared taxis are a better option between major towns. A seat costs about three times as much as a deluxe bus, but can be worth it if you want to hurry through the countryside.

    In Iran by Air
    Regular domestic flights are not uncommon in Iran. They also are not too expensive. Iran Air and Mahan Air usually offer cheap flights from Tehran to most regions in the country, while regional airlines like: Caspian Air and Kish Air provide short inter-region trips in Iran. Taking plane rides when traveling around Iran will save you the time and effort of long-distance commutes.

    In Iran by Bus
    The Iranian Domestic Bus Network covers a lot of ground within the country and has plenty of cheap seats to go around. Buses in the country usually come in two classes. The VIP class is more luxurious, while the second class is more frequent and economic. But since first-class tickets are reasonably priced, it is always easier to opt for the air-conditioned buses especially when you are in the Middle East. The only downfall when riding buses in Iran is the long trips due to 80 km/h speed restriction.

    In Iran by Car
    If you opt to ride a car in Iran, hiring a taxi cab is always a viable alternative due to the cheap fuel costs in the country, which leads to cheaper fees. There are many variations of taxis around the country. Taxis in Iran are colored in Yellow and Green.
    Renting a car is an attractive option also because of the low cost of fuel. You should also be aware and wary of the unfavorable traffic conditions and sometimes, the lack of road discipline especially in busy cities like Tehran.

    In Iran by Train and Subway
    Getting around Iran via railway trains will get you to your destination point faster while making your trip a more comfortable one compared to cars in Iran and buses In Iran. The RAJA Trains operate on five regional routes that pass through cities such as: Tehran, Mashhad, Jolfa, Gorgan, Khorramshahr, Yazd, and many others.
    In Tehran subway is also a good substitute for many routes. It operates from 6:00 - 22:00h with a detailed schedule.

    In Iran Disabled Visitors
    Iranian cities have few facilities for disabled people. Most mosques do not allow wheelchairs inside, and few places of interest have special access for the disabled. In hotels and the restaurants in Iran it is in reverse order. All the staff and the public are always ready to help the disabled and welcome them.

  • Health

    Health, Safety and Security:
    Crime is not a problem for travelers in Iran, though foreigners occasionally have been victims of petty street crime. Bag-snatching and pick-pocketing are the most common crimes, so it is wise to always be alert. Avoid isolated and unlit urban areas at night. In view of possible thefts, passports and other important valuables should be kept in hotel safes or other secure locations. In the event of any trouble, go to the nearest police station. The report process may take much time but you will need a full police statement for any insurance claim. If your passport is stolen, contact the police and your embassy. If traveling late at night, it is a good idea to stay within busy, well-lit areas.

    In general, Iran is a healthy country to travel in, and you are unlikely to catch any exotic diseases here. No vaccinations are required before entering Iran. The main problems for tourists are stomach upset and heat exhaustion. Ask your doctor what medicine should be in your medical kit, and bring them with you. Make sure you are healthy before you start traveling. Iranian pharmacists are able to diagnose minor health problems and to suggest appropriate treatment. In case you need a doctor, do not hesitate to contact one. The quality of medical care is reasonably high by international standards. Some doctors have received training in the West, and speak European languages. If you get seriously ill, inform your embassy immediately. Treatment is never free, so it is wise to have travel insurance with health coverage.

    In summer never go out without a hat or sunscreen (women can wear a hat over their headscarf). Always apply a lip salve and a barrier cream, and protect your eyes with good quality sunglasses. There is a real risk of sunstroke or heat exhaustion during midday hours. Avoid excessive exertion in the hottest time of the day, drink extra fluids, and eat more salt with your food.

    Some of Iran’s large cities suffer from terrible air pollution. Asthmatics and others who are particularly sensitive to air pollution should wear masks that are available in drugstores.