I visited Iran twice in 2018. and I found it unexpectedly beautiful and amazing. during my trips to Iran, I visited the capital Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, Rasht and Astara. I’m going to put together a complete guide on Iran which may help someone who is about to start their journey to this wonderful land.
First Thing: Iran Visa
Iran visa is easily obtainable from Iranian consulates and embassies around the world. Iran has a large network of missions abroad. citizens of many countries can also get visa on arrival. for Muslims, there is also a visa called “Pilgrimage Visa” which is very easy to obtain and is cheaper than tourist visa.
I obtained “Pilgrimage Visa” both the times and it cost me PKR 4000 in Pakistan. However, you can also get tourist visa from the embassy/consulate which will cost some Rs8000. for USD, I think it’ll be around $50 to $60 but depends on embassy/consulate.
Always contact the embassy/consulate for updated requirements for tourist visa or Pilgrimage visa because they change rules all the time.
What Doesn’t Work in Iran?
Due to US sanctions on Iran, there are many services which don’t work in Iran. so you must know these things before traveling to Iran. first of all, VISA and MASTER Cards will not work in Iran. secondly, booking.com and agoda.com or any service which require payment through visa cards and master cards will not work in Iran. Your international cards will not work at ATMs in Iran. and any US company will also not work in Iran.
Therefore, you must bring HARD CASH with you while visiting the Islamic Republic of Iran. you can bring USD, GBP or EURO these are popular currencies in Iran. it’s not easy to exchange currency in Iran everywhere, but with the help of your hostel/hotel guys, you’ll exchange it easily.
A few rules for women: local women and also women who visit Iran have to cover their head at public places in Iran at all times. Women can’t shake hands with men at public places and other love affections in public between men and women are also not allowed. this is because of the Islamic Regime since 1979.
The Iranian Currency
Iranian Rial is the currency in Iran which is one of the weakest in the world. last time when I visited Iran, 1 USD was equal to 150,000 Iranian rial. it’s not a stable currency, so always get updated exchange rate before dealing in Iran. secondly, there is one confusing thing about Iranian currency which is “Toman” the virtual name for Rial.
People in Iran call the currency “Toman” but in fact the official name of the currency is “rial“. when you deal with people, they’ll ask for “Tomans” and one toman is equal to 10 rial. for example, if you eat a meal, and the bill is 50,000 rials (which is the actual currency), people will ask you to pay 5000 tomans. actually, the toman is just a virtual name for the actual currency Rial. it simply means that if someone ask you 1000 tomans, you have to give them 10,000 rials.