Boutique Hotels: A Unique Experience

Among various types of hotel structures, there’s one that has gained particular popularity in recent years: the boutique hotel. Coined in the United States to denote small, luxurious hotels with a distinctive and intimate environment, the term “boutique hotel” emerged in the 1980s. These are known for their unique artistic styles and architectural designs. These hotels are small, chic accommodations characterized by highly distinct architectural styles and decorations, offering personalized and exclusive services.

Given their independent structures, each boutique hotel possesses its own unique character. It’s not uncommon for each room to be decorated differently or for there to be models of 5 to 10 rooms that are replicated. Boutique hotels offer an opportunity to stay in a place where one can fully experience and engage with the destination.

A boutique hotel must have a distinct feature that sets it apart from the rest. Often, a boutique hotel revolves around a theme, encompassing everything from furniture to services, and may offer personalized services that aren’t available in other hotels.

The furnishings of these hotels often include vibrant primary colors, antique furniture, diverse wallpapers, and colorful fabrics. Every detail is meticulously considered to create a unique blend.

Boutique hotels are generally distinguished based on five key characteristics:

Size: A boutique hotel is small and independent. It offers a cozy, intimate environment where guests feel somewhat at home. Unlike large chain hotels, boutique hotels are often family-operated. They typically have anywhere from 10 to 100 rooms. The experience guests should have been that of being in a familiar and organized home, complete with communal spaces for travelers to gather, interact, and share experiences.

Design: Everything about a boutique hotel is designed with attention to detail. Their design often draws strongly from the local heritage and traditions, interpreted in a personal and unique manner. The fusion of historical structures with chic and elegant designs creates a palette of warm colors. While some feature modern furnishings, others may lean towards more traditional styles. Yet, they all have consistent elements: richly decorated rooms, a mix of different elements, the use of luxurious fabrics, and exclusive amenities. These are often quirky, trendy, and unconventional, attracting customers seeking unique stays.

Services: In the world of boutique hotels, services are always personalized. Upon a guest’s arrival, the staff knows their name and is ready to cater to their every need, always attentive to their preferences. Hotel owners personally engage with guests, welcoming and, if desired, guiding them.

Hospitality: The specific hospitality related to the regional culture where the hotel is situated is another essential element. If a boutique hotel includes a restaurant or bar, it will be beautifully unique. Offering authentic cuisine influenced by the indigenous culture surrounding the hotel becomes part of its appeal, not just for tourists but also for locals, turning it into a local reference point.

Location: Typically, a boutique hotel is away from the hustle and bustle. Generally found in a unique and private location, far from mass tourism and major tourist flows, they are situated in the modern part of the city.

The world’s best boutique hotels have expanded worldwide, some standing out due to their remarkable and distinctive structures. For instance, there’s the Relais & Chateaux Hotel Heritage in Belgium, adorned in a classical and regal style. Not to overlook Twenty-Seven in Amsterdam: an ordinary building in the Dutch capital, yet its top-floor rooms boast sloping ceilings, creating a romantic ambiance. The most romantic boutique hotel is situated in Costa Rica: the Drake Bay Gateway Resort offers beautiful rooms with views of the jungle and sea.

In Iran, boutique hotels have historically been based on old houses. These were once secure havens and places for family gatherings. Retaining the identity and authenticity of Iranian homes, these have transformed into very chic and unique hotels. Despite the general definition of boutique hotels, their locations in the city center and historical and touristic fabric make them unique. They often pride themselves on preserving the local cultural heritage in which they are situated. Among the boutique hotels in Iran are Pahlevan Razaz Boutique Hotel in Tehran, Mollabashi in Isfahan, and Oscru in Shiraz, which embraces the Qajar-era architecture, allowing visitors to taste the life in old Iranian homes and become more acquainted with the style and art of Iranian architecture.

Chinese restaurants in Iran

We’ll talk about Chinese restaurants in Iran in this article. Why? Because if you’re a Chinese tourist planning a trip to Iran from China, you’ll probably want to consume both Iranian food and food from your own nation. So that you may get the most out of your vacation to Iran, we advise that you continue reading.

Are there any Chinese restaurants in Iran?

It might surprise you to know, but the truth is that there are actually a lot of Chinese restaurants in Iran that are currently active. One of the reasons why there are Chinese restaurants in Iran is that Chinese tourists have always chosen Iran as their destination, and opening a Chinese-based restaurant has always been a great idea for locals. Moreover, Chinese food is a type of food that is very popular all around the world, and Iran is no exception, which means locals go to Chinese restaurants in Iran just for the sake of Chinese food.

How is the quality of food in Chinese restaurants in Iran?

It’s a known fact that when someone decides to open a restaurant to serve a kind of food from another land, the most important issue is the quality of the food they are serving. Therefore, all of the owners of Chinese restaurants in Iran have made sure to hire chefs who are masters at cooking Chinese food, so do not worry about the quality or taste of the food you will eat in Chinese restaurants in Iran since they are on the list of the best in Asia.

Where can I find Chinese restaurants in Iran?

Due to the reasons explained above, Chinese restaurants in Iran are widespread, which means finding a Chinese restaurant is easy in almost every big city in Iran that has tourist attractions. There are great Chinese restaurants in Tehran (visit tourist attractions in Tehran), Isfahan, Shiraz, Mashhad, and so forth, so no worries. You can eat the delicious food of your own country on your trip to Iran.

Please note that if eating Chinese food is vital to you as a Chinese tourist, you can request that we organize Tailor-made Tours of your choosing for you to cities in Iran that feature Chinese restaurants.

The most famous Chinese restaurants in Iran

Let’s start with the capital city, Tehran:

There are countless Chinese restaurants in Iran, and many of them are located in Tehran. We will give you the names of the best Chinese restaurants in Iran, their directions, and their phone numbers. The most famous ones are called:

TBI Chinese

With three active branches, two in Tehran and one on Kish Island (visit Kish Island Tour), this restaurant can be a good choice among Chinese restaurants in Iran as well.

Bamboo Express

This restaurant is located in one of the best regions in Tehran, Elahiye, where you can order high-quality Chinese food.

Monson Lounge

Located on Jordan Street, this restaurant serves every kind of Chinese food you might be looking for.

Golden Dragon Chinese Restaurant

Working since 1968, this restaurant is one of the best Chinese restaurants in Iran, with a complete Chinese menu.

Chinese restaurants in Iran

Tehran Chinese Restaurant

Established in 1961, one of the other old Chinese restaurants in Iran is this one, which is located on Valiasr Street.

It’s time to discuss Chinese restaurants in the beautiful city of Isfahan.

Celsius Suchi Restaurant

The best place in Isfahan where you can eat Asian food Every detail.

Shiraz, being an absolute destination for numerous tourists, has its own Chinese restaurants:

Dragon Chinese Restaurant

Located in one of Iran’s greatest cities, this restaurant serves various kinds of Chinese food.

One of the cities that annually hosts so many tourists is Mashhad. Some of the best Chinese restaurants in Iran are located in Mashhad. The best one is:

Sushi Nine

With a professional team, Sushi Nine in Mashhad is a place you can try and enjoy your stay.

What kind of Chinese food do Chinese restaurants in Iran serve?

Every kind of Chinese food can be found in Chinese restaurants in Iran. The ones that Chinese people like and the ones that locals can enjoy as well. Various kinds of sushi, fried rice, noodles, Chinese soup, Chinese salad, bao zi, and so many other types of Chinese food

How much does Chinese food cost in Iran?

Generally speaking, you won’t have any money problems in Iran because it is an inexpensive destination. We advise you to go to: Since you might wish to know what currency to bring with you to Iran: Which money is better to bring to Iran?

Do locals go to Chinese restaurants in Iran?

Among locals, Chinese restaurants in Iran are considered popular since Iranian people love to eat Chinese food once in a while. Also, so many of them know how to use chopsticks. So, yes. You will meet Iranians in Chinese restaurants in Iran as well as Chinese tourists.

How varied is the cuisine in Iran?

Not everyone gets homesick while on a trip to a new land. So, you may be among those who would like to try Iranian cuisine during their stay in Iran and take a break from eating Chinese food. In case you are not interested in going to Chinese restaurants in Iran but would like to know more about Iranian cuisine, visit Food diversity in Iran.

All in all, Iran is a must-see destination among Middle Eastern countries, and Chinese tourists have long travelled to this wonderful land. Visiting Iran from China can give you some first-hand information about how to travel to Iran, which can lead to you having the time of your life.

Our colleagues are always ready to answer any questions you might have. You can contact us via email at



The best currency to take to Iran

Iran, aka Persia, is one of the most visited countries in the middle east. Its ancient history alongside the spectacular nature, not to mention the eye-catching sites known as Iran’s tourist places, have convinced globetrotters to choose Iran as their destination since people have come to the conclusion that there are so many reasons to travel to Iran so, why not try it. And we can say from experience that tourists have the time of their life when they visit Persia.

As one of the Iranian travel agencies we feel obligated to guide tourists regarding issues they may face. One of the questions tourists always ask is regarding Iranian currency and the currency they should bring with them when they travel to Iran. In this article, we will be telling you everything you need to know about Iranian currency and its types, what currency is the best and easiest to exchange to Iranian currency in the country and so forth, which is why we recommend you to keep reading. This article can be considered as one of the most important ones since it gives you many important tips regarding money in Iran and Iranian currency.

What is the Iranian currency?

Although Iran is one of the cheapest countries to travel to, spending money in Iran can be a little bit of challenge for first time travelers who have no information about Iranian currency. The official currency in Iran is Rial, abbreviated to IRR, and pronounced Ree-aal, but the Iranian currency citizens use in their daily activities is called Toman. The number you see written on cash or coins or receipts is in Rial and to change it to Toman you only need to ignore the last number on the right and then read the number as it is now in Toman. Why is that? Because each Toman equals 10 Rials. This issue mostly confuses tourists since they are not used to this kind of system but rest assured, you will not face so many troubles as you can learn how to deal with Iranian currency easily and also, people are always there to help you. This is of course in case you choose to travel on your own. If you travel to Iran on a tour, you are good to go!

Let’s clear this thing about Iranian currency up with an example, shall we? Imagine you want to pay for your ride. The taxi driver will tell you that you must pay e.g., 15000 Tomans; this means 150,000 Rials. See? You only need to add a zero to turn the number into Rial. Also, a note you need to know is that Iranians tend to omit the word ‘thousand’ when talking about prices so, the taxi driver in this case might tell you that you must pay 15 Tomans which means 15000 Tomans. There! Now you can deal with Iranian currency easily!

Do note that prices, especially on manufactured products, are almost always written in Rial but when you go to pay for the product you want to buy the salesperson will ask you to pay it in Toman, the informal Iranian currency. You can make sure that you’re paying the right amount by using the way we taught you above.

Once more, do not forget that the number written on cash, coins, receipts and stuff like that are in Rial, the formal Iranian currency.

Can I use my debit card in Iran? Should I exchange my money to Iranian currency?

The first thing you need to know is that sadly, you cannot your use international debit cards in Iran which is why you need to bring cash with you to pay your expenses or maybe in some cases exchange it to Iranian currency. You do not always have to exchange your money to Iranian currency, but we’re on that later.

What is the best currency to take to Iran to use instead of Iranian currency?

Now let’s talk about the most important question regarding money in Iran. The best currency to take to Iran is US dollar (USD) and Euro since they are easily exchangeable to Iranian currency. As already mentioned, you don’t always have to exchange your money to Iranian currency because in some upper-class stores or restaurants or airports or hotels you can easily use your USDs or Euros instead of Iranian currency. Moreover, in case you intend to travel to Iran from Australia you might want to know that Australian dollar (AUD) is also acceptable and exchangeable to Iranian currency in major cities. The same situation is true about Canadian dollar (CAD), United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED) and British Pound (GBP).

What are Iran Tourist Card and Mah Card? Can I withdraw and then exchange my money to Iranian currency upon arrival?

As formerly mentioned, you cannot use any sort of international cards in Iran which is why there are Iran Tourist Cards and Mah Cards which function for tourists just as a debit card. Iran Tourist Card is a prepaid debit card only for tourists to add funds in preferred currency which can be Iranian currency, USD or Euro, usable in all stores and restaurants. Also, you can withdraw cash in all ATMs using your Tourist Card and then exchange it to Iranian currency.

How to get an Iran Tourist Card? Easy! You can ask you agency to apply for you beforehand or ask for it at the airport upon arrival so you won’t face troubles while shopping and dealing with Iranian currency. You will only need your passport and visa for issuance of the mentioned card. The Bank Melli Iran, Bank Pasargad and Saman Bank are the banks from which you can ask for a card.

Moreover, you can apply for a Mah Card which works same as Iran Tourist Card in order to pave the way for you in issues regarding money in Iran and Iranian currency. To learn more about Mah Card, visit the following link: .

Everything you need to know regarding exchanging your money to Iranian currency:

We recommend you to exchange your money to Iranian currency at the airport but not all of it, just enough to pay for the taxi and here is why. The exchange rates differ in the country, obviously it is better to choose the one that will decrease your expenses. There is open market exchange rate (free market), the official rate and NIMA rate. Which is the best for tourists? The open market rate is the best to exchange your money to Iranian currency since it literally means your money has more value in Iran in comparison to Iranian currency.

Where can you exchange your money to Iranian currency? There are bank branches and kiosks at the airport for you to do so and also, there are exchange shops in major cities which offer the service.

We do hope that this article works for you well, helping you in the best way to learn about money issues in Iran and Iranian currency. But we are still more than happy to answer any questions you might have. You can easily contact us via emailing Info@zhivar.Net. Have a nice trip!

PCR test for travelers to Iran 2022

With COVID-19 going on longer than expected, the tourism industry has suffered much damage in Iran as well as every other country throughout the tiring and difficult period. In many countries, tourism restraints have been lifted by now and the borders are open once again, welcoming tourists and thankfully Iran is one of them. After 20 months of lockdown and suspension, tourists from other nationalities have finally been able to apply for tourist visas since October 2021 and tourists have been able to travel to Iran in great numbers ever since. Air borders and land borders alike, are currently open and accessible for Iranians and other nationalities.

But of course, with re-opening of the borders came new rules and regulations to ensure the safety of travelers against the lethal (and fortunately disappearing) virus. It’s important to fully follow and respect the regulations to avoid endangering ourselves and the others in order to have an enjoyable time during our vacation and refrain from committing acts to cause distress for ourselves and others dear to us.

The regulations set by Islamic Republic of Iran regarding COVID-19 safety are discussed in this article.

  • Passengers over 12 years of age who are traveling to Iran are required to be fully vaccinated with the second dose of the two shots or the single shot of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine taken at least 14 days prior to their arrival at the airport. A third booster shot is also highly advisable. The passengers must also provide a negative PCR test or quarantine in Iran for 14 days as an alternative. The PCR test results are valid for four days (96 hours) and must be approved by an Iranian consulate.

For the test to be acceptable, the PCR test should come with a travel certificate. If your result is negative, you will receive an international travel certificate valid for the next 72 hours. The travel certificate is in the English language and internationally approved and will be sent to you by e-mail which you can print out before starting your journey.

For those travelling to Isfahan the certificate must include a QR code for passengers over 12 years of age who don’t have Iranian nationality.

All passengers must fill out and complete a COVID-19 self-declaration form before their arrival which is usually provided by airline operators either before or during the flights and the forms should later be handed over to agents of the airline.

  • There is a chance for newly-arrived passengers to go under health screening and in case any symptoms are detected they might have to be quarantined in governmental facilities.

Foreign tourists might even be prevented from entering the country if symptoms of COVID-19 (namely higher than normal fever and excessive coughs) are present despite having a negative PCR test and vaccine cards and be returned to their own country.

  • After entering the country, if PCR test results are positive, the tourists are obliged to be quarantined at accommodation centers at their own expense and will only be free to traffic in the city and public spaces after having received a negative PCR test in 14 days.

In coordination with the ministry of tourism, conditions can be provided in which tourists who catch COVID-19 during the time of their stay in Iran can return to their countries in case they are unable or unwilling to go through the 14-day quarantine period.

  • Every passenger of two years of age and older arriving to Iran is obliged to wear a mask on the airplane and at the airport and other indoor public spaces the whole time and it is strongly advised for them to get travel insurance with COVID coverage before they are issued with their visas in order to cover all overseas medical costs, if need. The whole cost of PCR COVID testing and other measures of quarantine are paid by the tourist through the insurance coverage.

Get updated with your vaccines before travelling and if you’re not, and may have issues accessing healthcare, you can postpone your trip to Iran until the problem is solved.

You can see the list of vaccines approved for travelers to Iran in the following:

  • AstraZeneca (SK Bioscience)
  • AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria)
  • Moderna (Spikevax)
  • Sinopharm
  • Sinovac
  • Janssen
  • Covidshield
  • Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty)
  • Sputnik V

The idea of having to deal with sickness and diseases whether the person affected is you or someone close to you is admittedly not ideal. particularly during a vacation which is initially supposed to lift your mood and distract you from your mundane life. This is why both the passengers and those working within tourism and hospitality industry try their best for everyone to stay healthy and take on the responsibility to stop the COVID-19 virus from spreading any further as well as they can.

Thankfully the healthcare system in Iran is highly educated, adaptable and fully equipped and has been presenting marvelous effort and admirable results during the peak of COVID-19 and in case you are affected during your time in Iran, you can be sure that you are in good, professional hands.

There are Medical tours offered on our website in case you are curious on the matter and would like to know more.

Make sure to stay safe during your trip to Iran so you can fully enjoy the numerous astonishing historic monuments and the eye-catching landscapes without stressful events to spoil the fun for you.

Fortunately, we provide very safe Classical Cultural tours for history enthusiasts and Eco tours, Desert tours and Island tours for those who prefer the nature. There are of course Tailor-made tours available if you’d like to have a hand in planning your own trip and CIP/VIP services as well as our MICE tours for those who would like to explore more options.

Iran’s Flag

As you might already know, Iran’s history dates back to thousands of years ago. The first people who can be considered as rulers of Iran were the Medes which date back to seventh century BC.  After the Medes, Cyrus the Great founded the Achaemenid Persian Empire in the sixth century BC, which has been one of the greatest empires in the history of time ruling over 44 percent of the world’s population. He seemingly had his share in choosing Iran’s flag. The Parthian Empire was the second greatest empire ruling over Iran in the third century BC. The Sassanid Empire conquered the previous empire in the third century AD and ruled over Iran for 4 centuries until Arab Muslims defeated the Sassanid Empire and Islamization of Iran began and the Abbasid dynasty ruled over the region for almost 2 centuries. They burned Iran’s flag after they won the war. A series of Muslim dynasties appeared over the next centuries such as Tahirids, Saffarids, Samanids, Sallarids, Ghaznavids, Seljuk Turks and Khwarazmian. In the 13th century the Il-khanate and then the Timurid dynasty ruled over the region until in the 15 the century the native Safavids established a united Iran once again recognizing an official flag as Iran’s flag. In the mid-18th century, the Afsharid dynasty began, then the Zand dynasty ruled over Iran for almost 30 years and then for almost 130 years the Qajar dynasty was in charge of affairs. During these periods, each house changed Iran’s flag according to their desires. The Pahlavi dynasty, the last royal dynasty of Iran, then took power from the Qajar royal family and ruled over the country for almost 54 years. The 1979, the Iranian Revolution ended the Pahlavi dynasty as a result of which the current Islamic Republic of Iran was established.

As it is obvious, Iran has faced so many different monarchies which clearly has had effects on Iran’s flag since anyone who rules over a country will change the flag according to their own standards and ideologies. Flag of Iran has not been an exception either.

The oldest Iranian flag that can be considered as the first flag of Iran is a square-shaped made of bronze and is said to be dating back to the Bronze Age showing some trees, some animals such as two lions and snakes and 5 humans which seem to be telling a story. This ancient flag of Iran is also one of the oldest flags ever discovered in the world. It is called “Derafshe shahdad” meaning the “Shahdad flag” in Persian which is named after the city of Shahdad where it was first found.

Iran’s Flag

Also, the Zoroastrians religious book, the Avesta, has talked about a flag shaped as a cow to be Iran’s flag. However, with the beginning of the Achaemenid Empire, Iran’s flag probably changed to a golden eagle known as “Shahbaz” in Persian with wings that are widespread being placed on a spear. Some believe that “Derafshe Shahbaz” was used by Cyrus the Great as the official Iran’s flag. Persepolis, located in Shiraz, was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire. In 1948, a tile with the same feature on it was found in Persepolis. Aside from all this, Persepolis is one the greatest historical places you will ever see in your life so make sure to visit this ancient place in case you ever travel to Iran.

Iran’s Flag

“Derafshe Kaviani” was the next flag in the list of Iran’s flags. It was made of leather which was covered with a thin layer of silk decorated with jewels. There was a star on Iran’s flag pointing to the four corners of the rectangle-shape leather. There are references to this star in Ferdowsi’s epic book, Shahnameh, where he is talking about Iran’s flag. There were also some tassels in the colors of yellow, magnet and scarlet hanging from Iran’s flag. Derafshe Kaviani which is known to be Iran’s flag in the Parthian empire’s time as well, was destroyed by the Muslim Arabs when they conquered the Sassanids.

Iran’s Flag

sThe Seljuk Turks used various emblems and banners as Iran’s flag. The official flag of Iran in time of their empire was probably a black flag.

It seems that the sun and lion motif was first brought into Iran’s flag by Ghaznavids or the Khwarazmian Empire. Also, this motif has been seen in the flag of Iran recognized by Timurids in the 15th century.

Kings of the Safavid dynasty used different types of flags. The first Safavid king used a green flag with a golden full moon as Iran’s flag. In 1524, the moon was replaced with a sheep and a sun which was recognized as Iran’s flag until 1576. Then a green flag with the already said motif, lion and sun, was considered to be Iran’s flag until the end of Safavid era. During this time, the lion and sun in the flag of Iran stood for two pillars of the society; the state and religion.

Some say the royal flag of Iran in Safavid era and Afsharid era was three-eared and some say it was four-eared and the truth is that we can never be sure of this. The first king of the Afsharids recognized two flags as the official flag of Iran. One of them had red, blue, and white stripes and the other flag known to be Iran’s flag had a yellow stripe added to the other three.


The Zand dynasty chose a white triangle-shaped flag with a green border and a gold lion and sun in the middle as Iran’s flag. Some say the border in Iran’s flag at the time the Zand dynasty were green and red.


Probably you are now thinking about the fact that how many time Iran’s flag has been transformed through time. Let us tell you that we are not even close to the end yet. So, keep reading!

It is worth mentioning that the Qajar dynasty ruled over Iran for almost 130 years which makes it pretty understandable to declare different flag as Iran’s flag. The first king of this house probably chose a red flag with a gold lion and sun inside of a pale, yellow circle as Iran’s flag.

The next king declared three different flags as Iran’s flag. One had the picture of a lion on a plain red field which was considered the war flag of Iran. The main emblem was a lion sitting in front of a sun with a white background which was used as Iran’s flag for diplomatic purposes, when a standing lion holding a sword with a green background was used as Iran’s flag in time of peace.

During the reign of the next king, the two different flags were combined into a single one showing a standing lion holding a sword in front of a sun which was declared as Iran’s flag.

The next king of the Qajar dynasty who ruled over Iran for 50 years, declared a flag with a green border on three sides and the previous lion emblem in the middle as Iran’s flag.

In 1906, after the Iranian Constitutional Revolution took place, the first tricolored flag was represented as Iran’s flag. The flag had the three colors of green, white and red together with a lion and a sun in the center.

In the time of the Pahlavi dynasty, Iran’s flag changed twice and finally it turned into a tricolored flag with the lion and the sun shrunk to fit within the white stripe while the crown was changed into the Pahlavi Crown and the sun had no face.

After the revolution in 1979, for almost two years ran’s flag did not change. Then the Islamic Republic regime declared the following flag as Iran’s flag.

As you can see, the current flag of Iran is tricolored with the emblem of “Allah”, an Arabic word for God, written in red on the white stripe and the takbir, which is a name for an Arabic phrase meaning “God is the greatest”, written 22 times in white at the bottom of the green and the top of the red stripe. The colors of Iran’s flag are traditional and it is believed that green represents religion, white stands for peace and red is for showing courage.

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