Contrary to the negative propaganda of some Western media, Iran is a safe country and does not pose any threat to citizens and tourists. In recent years, despite the rise of terrorist groups such as ISIS and the Taliban in the Middle East and some of their attacks in the heart of Europe, Iran has been immune from such Anti-human rights practices and is renowned as the safe island of the Middle East. Despite the relatively insecure situation that there is in the world today , not one single serious terrorist incident has been reported in the country.
In Iranian touristy cities, it is cummon for natives to rent their homes to travelers. This type of residence may cause problems with accident insurance. So stay in places that operate under the Iranian Tourism Organization. Certified hotels, guesthouses, and local houses are among the approved venues. If you are traveling on a tour, trust your travel agent or tour guide about accommodation.
There is internet in almost everywhere in Iran (except for the depths of mountains and remote villages) and it is very easy to access. As soon as you get off your plane, buy a SIM card at a very reasonable price (less than $ 15). Once you have activated your SIM card, you will be provided with high-speed Internet access and will be able to stay in touch with your family and friends with audio and video applications. Carrying a passport to buy a tourist SIM is necessary.
In Iran, three operators are providing telecommunication and internet services. "Hamrah Aval" and "Irancell" offer exclusive services to tourists and you can use this service by purchasing a product called "Tourist SIM". Remember that these SIM cards are only valid for 30 days. If you want to spend more time in Iran, ask the seller to provide different types of SIM.
You can use Euro, Pound or Dollar to pay for some travel expenses, such as your Hostel accommodation fare or a taxi that will take you from the airport to the hotel or souvenirs. But for most costs, you need to exchange your money into Iranian Rial (IRR). There are currency exchanges at Iran's international airports. Hotels also have this facility. Authentic currency exchanges are also available in all major Iranian cities where you can use their services. You can read more about Iranian money and travel expenses to Iran.
Iranian Toman: When talking money in Iran you may hear the term “Toman” instead of "Rial" . The toman is an old term but is no longer an official currency. Although the "Toman" is no longer an official unit of Iranian currency, Iranians commonly express amounts of money and prices of goods in "Tomans." For this purpose, one "Toman" equals 10 rials. Despite this usage, amounts of money and prices of goods are virtually always written in rials. For example, the price sign in a store would state the price in rials, e.g., "20000 Rials," even though the salesman, if asked, would say the cost "2000 tomans" or simply 2000.
Please note: international credit – Debit cards do not function in Iran due to sanctions. Only some souvenir shops in Tehran, Shiraz and Isfahan which have connections to Emirate banks accept them. So it's highly recommended to take cash money with you.
Staring at people, especially Iranian women, kissing, and hugging in public places is incompatible with Iranian public culture. Also, shaking hands with opposite sex is not very popular in conservative cities of Iran. When photographing people, especially if the subject is an Iranian citizen, it is best to get permission. Like many people in the world, Iranians like to respect their privacy.
Alcohol Is banned in Iran, and don’t try to bring alcohol into the country.
Persian Gulf, Historically, due to long lasted vast Persian Empire, the most important and strategic Gulf of the Middle East has been called "Persian Gulf" in all documented geographic evidences. Since 1970s some Arab nations located on the opposite side of the Hormuz strait started to call it the Arabian Gulf. But do not try to do so in Iran, since people are sensitive about it. As Iranians say, it’s the “forever” Persian Gulf!
In the Iranian culture, mosques, shrines and cemeteries are respected and their visit, like all other religious sites around the world, requires respectful behavior and humility. Prayer halls of mosques are usually covered with carpets where wearing shoes is not allowed.
Laws on Iranian shores
According to Iranian law, swimming or sunbathing on beaches of Iran is allowed for men and women have special separate sections on beaches. Walking on the beach, of course, is not subject to gender segregation. There's also the issue of using the hotel pool, they have different time tables for men and women.
In Iran, it is not mandatory but is becoming common to tip people who provide service, such as waiters at restaurants, hotel bellboys, guides or tour drivers. At the airport the luggage carts are free for anyone to use but if you get assistance from someone with the cart, you should tip him. People generally leave 10% Tip in fancy restaurants.
Toilets in Iran
There are western type of toilets in many hotels and tourist destinations and you will not have any problems. But in most public places there are no sitting toilets and you have to use a squat toilet . squat toilet (also known as a squatting toilet) is a toilet used by squatting, rather than sitting. There are such toilets at public restrooms on the roads and restaurants. The toilet is set on the floor and has no seat. Today, all toilets have a water hose. Keep in mind that in most public toilets in the city and between roads, paper towels do not exist
According to Iran clothing law, women must wear hijabs. However, the Iranian veil differs greatly from what is used in some other Islamic countries and is more variable and colorful. Any type of dress that is not too thin and covers the arms, legs and hair of the head is considered to be an Iranian veil and there are no restrictions on the color and design of the dress. This hijab is enough for a trip to Iran. In other words, in Iran, the veil is not treated excessively and you will find out by watching the coverage of Iranian citizens.
Under Iranian law for men, wearing shorts is not legal and trousers that are too short, though not legally prohibited, is not accepted in public places. It is necessary to cover some of the hair for tourist women in Iran. It is advisable for female visitors to have a head scarf in their handbag to be used as soon as they arrive in Iran.
Women: All females over the age of nine must wear a hijab, the Islamic dress. There is no uniformity, however, regarding its type and the amount of coverage it provides. The black chador (the loose head-to-toe covering) isn’t compulsory. the most common wear is manteau , a full-length, usually long-sleeved overcoat, an overwhelming array of which is readily available in the shops. If you don’t want to buy any, bring a knee-length, loose tunic that can be worn with a long skirt or trousers (jeans are acceptable). Hair must be covered with a scarf. The colors of the clothes do not really matter. If you travel in summer, light fabrics and sandals are strongly recommended.
Men: There are few restrictions about men’s dress. Only shorts, even knee-length, are unacceptable. Shirts with short sleeves are fine.
photo from againstthecompass.com
Under Iranian law, the transportation and use of alcohol and drugs, including Marie Joanna, is prohibited in public places, and there is no official service center for its customers. However, in Iran, as in many countries, the trafficking and distribution of banned items is a significant social disadvantage.
Halal food in Iran
According to Iranian regulations, only halal food is offered in Iran. Halal food is not served with alcoholic beverages. The meat and chicken that is to be used for cooking meat is slaughtered in a special Islamic way. Also meat of some animals such as pork, dogs, mice, etc. are not used in Iran because of being not Halal.
Iranians are proud of their country, nationality, history and their traditions. Kind , warm, friendly, helpful, proud, and generous people that only one thing ties them all together, and that's Iran. Although they have not had a great number of visitors in most parts of Iran since 1979, they remain respectful and curious towards tourists. They would welcome you, thank you for visiting and ask you questions.
Hospitality and the expression of friendly feelings is the most prominent moral characteristic of Iranians. So if you come across Iranians who invite you to their home, give you something as a reminder, get excited about seeing you, take a picture with you, , shake your hand And give you a hug, don't be surprised.
Taarof: This is a polite exchange that takes place in all aspects of life in Iran, in shops, in streets, in businesses, at homes. Simply stated, it is a form of one person making an offering and the other, refusing it. This ritual may repeat itself several times before the individuals finally determine whether the offer and refusal are real or simply polite. Be very careful how and with whom you taarof so that it does not interfere with your stay. Use common sense as to when to do it and when not to.