IRAN General Information – Trip Notes

Dress Code

The Islamic dress code for women requires wearing a headscarf (of any color or pattern) and clothes covering their bodies outside hotel rooms. They can wear the regular ‘Islamic manteau’, easily purchased here at around $20-40, or a long-sleeved knee-length tunic/dress over long loose pants or skirt.

Please note that women should wear a headscarf as soon as they leave the aircraft on arrival, so we recommend you pack a headscarf in your purse or handbag for convenience.

Men can wear T-shirts/short sleeves, but they should refrain from wearing shorts.

Money

The currency in Iran is the Rial, and you can exchange Dollars or Euros as specified by the daily exchange rates, which vary from time to time. Most prices you will see in shops and that shopkeepers will discuss with you will be given in Tomans. One Toman equals 10 Rials. Therefore, an item that costs 24,500 Tomans is actually 245,000 Rials.

You should change money at the airport or hotel bank to cover expenses not included in the tour cost and personal expenses. You can pay Dollars/Euros for any purchases of handicrafts, carpets, etc., and for tipping drivers and guides. There are no preferences between Dollars and Euros, and both are equally accepted.

You can bring cash US Dollars/Euros, and there is no restriction on the amount.

Credit Cards

Please note that no credit cards are accepted here for any purpose. Some of the more prestigious carpet shops in Isfahan, with overseas accounts, might accept credit cards for substantial purchases, but we cannot commit to this.

Voltage & Adapters

The voltage in hotels and everywhere in Iran is 220V, but it is best to have a universal adapter. European-style sockets and plugs with two round pins are used in Iran.

Photography & Video

People should refrain from photographing government offices, airports, military depots, police stations, and any place that is ‘deemed’ off limits! They should always check with their guide to ensure what is allowed and what is not, or they would get themselves, our guides, and, eventually, the company (Zhivar Tours) in trouble!

When photographing people, especially women, it is customary to ask for their permission, but most Iranians are happy to take their pictures.

Cuisine

Traditional Iranian food is mainly rice (with barberries, saffron, raisin, herbs, and plain) with various kinds of sauce (or “khoresht”) made with vegetables and greens (like aubergines, carrots, beans, lentils, onions, and tomato), and meat such as lamb, beef, chicken or fish. Most popular are the various kinds of “kebabs” which are more readily available in smaller restaurants on the roads. Western dishes (modest selection) are available in hotels and major restaurants.

Food is generally made with fresh ingredients and is healthy. Rice and cooked vegetables could be arranged for vegetarians but there is no big choice of vegetarian dishes. Persian cuisine is not hot or spicy.

American fast-food chains are not allowed in Iran but Western cuisine and fast food such as burgers, pizza, and fried chicken are very popular and can almost be found around every corner throughout the country.

Alcohol

The import, possession, or consumption of alcohol is strictly forbidden in Iran and no alcohol is sold or served in hotels, restaurants, and cafes.

SIM Cards

Visitors must have mobile data and must be able to make a voice call when they`re traveling aboard. Instead of becoming concerned to find free Wi-Fi, which is often very slow and insecure, you may get a SIM Card either on arrival or before leaving your home country. It is better to have an internet connection to keep yourself entertained, check your navigation, and search to find a nice restaurant, discover places, and stay in touch with your family.

Fortunately, the existing mobile network provides 3G and 4G cellular data coverage in all the small and big cities around the country.

You can buy the SIM card directly at the Imam Khomeini Airport or ask your Zhivar tour guide to assist with purchasing a local SIM card which requires registering with your passport at the time of purchase.

You can also skip the SIM card purchase process and stay connected to the internet and stay in touch with family using your free Wi-Fi when you are at your hotel.

English literacy

Many Iranians are schooled in second languages like English and French. Younger Iranians are particularly likely to speak English, and older generations are likely to have some French abilities.

Local shop owners in big touristic cities like Tehran, Shiraz and Isfahan are likely to speak a few words in English.