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Iran: off the beaten track

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 4
reviews: 51
Iran: off the beaten track

Hello everyone!

By way of background, I’m a 23 year old female from Australia heading to Iran mid-February 2013 for roughly 15 days. I’m planning on flying into Shiraz, and then travelling up through Yazd, Esfahan, Abyaneh, Kashan and finishing in Tehran.

I have a few questions:

1. Is it possible to travel by bus between all those locations?

2. I know most of these places are “touristy” and quite cosmopolitan. I would really like to get a taste of a different side of Iran by staying in a more remote town or with a nomadic community. Is there any way to do this without going on a tour? Are there any places you would recommend?

3. Would people recommend joining a tour? I’m very hesitant because they’re expensive and I’d like to do my own thing, but they seem to provide valuable knowledge and access to interesting places...

4. Are there any homestays or traditional accommodation options in the towns mentioned above? I’d like to steer clear of hotels if possible.

I’m keen to experience some more unusual, authentic Iranian experiences although it may be difficult as a young woman travelling alone. If you have any recommendations for special places to visit or things to do, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thank you in advance for your help!

Tehran, Iran
posts: 4
1. Re: Iran: off the beaten track

Dear Ch,

our iran is not like any other countries. traveling alone, for a 23 year old woman is not easy at all. but, of course it totally depends on the person. these days tours are not very expensive for foreigners. and there is many tours that can plan your trip individually. i'm suggest you to at least have consultation with a tour organizer in iran. if you want i can introduce you some.

but, about your questions:

you can travel by bus but reserving ticket is practically impossible in internet, but you can easily buy it in the cities.

we have not Hostels in iran, but we have plenty of historical country accommodations, specially in yazd, kerman, shiraz and other places.

if you want more nomadic countries you should change your plan, you can visit some less famous places that are incredible. specially if you like natural sites too. such as Meymand, Natanz, Varzaneh, Anarak, Zeyn-e-aldin, Mesr and so many other place.

i will be so glad to answer your further questions. you can message me.

Shiraz, Iran
posts: 293
2. Re: Iran: off the beaten track

Dear CountryHopper

Happy to read of your adventurous trip.

Iran is a safe country even for a solo female traveler, but just do not take the private cars as the taxis.

All the mentioned places are among the main Iran cities with the most visited rank.

There is just no bus from and to Abyaneh, but for other cities it is completely possible. taxi can be found difficult in Abyaneh as well.

It is a small village with red walls and the traditional old people.

The nomads are around Darab area in Fars province at this time.

Mostly you cannot find the group tours to Iran because of limited number of the travelers.

There are traditional hotels in almost most of the cities.

Hope that I could guide you.

Bests,

Parisa

Shiraz, Iran
posts: 188
3. Re: Iran: off the beaten track

Hi

Yes there is public transportation between stated cities except Abyaneh.

One of the best places for nomad tour is a region near Shiraz called Bavanat but in your date of travel the weather will be cold and nomad tribes stay in village house. But it is worth visiting there.

For finding a group you can ask travel agencies in Iran to join you in case they have had in your stated date.

I don’t think find home stay but Niayesh hotel in Shiraz, Silk Road or Malek-o-Tojar in yazd, Bekhradi house in Isfahan, Noghli house in kashan and Abyaneh hotel in Abyaneh can be good options for you .these stated hotels are 2 stars but clean.

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 4
reviews: 51
4. Re: Iran: off the beaten track

Thank you so much everyone for your help - I'll certainly look into all these options. It's interesting you recommend not taking private cars, Parisa. I've seen in Lonely Planet some private guides you can hire to take you out to certain locations - would you recommend avoiding these as a solo female traveller?

Thank you once again!

Kyiv
Destination Expert
for Kiev, Ukraine
posts: 21,232
reviews: 296
5. Re: Iran: off the beaten track

Hi CountryHopper,

Well, I hired private drivers all over Iran, including those I found on spot, and was totally fine. But I'm a seasoned solo traveller, have a strong gut feeling and try to “feel” people I deal with.

If your safety barrier is high i.e. you want to feel top secure all the time rather than take up an adventure, better address an agency for a driver. Otherwise, there’s nothing wrong with hiring private drivers in Iran.

I assume what Parisa could have meant was the “moonlighting” drivers, i.e. not licensed taxi drivers.

Kyiv
Destination Expert
for Kiev, Ukraine
posts: 21,232
reviews: 296
6. Re: Iran: off the beaten track

Back to your original questions, what gave you an impression these destinations are cosmopolitan, please?

While I can certainly think of Tehran in this manner, there’s nothing cosmopolitan about little authentic (even though actively promoted) Abyaneh village, or laid-back Kashan, in my eyes. And even in larger Esfahan, Yazd and Shiraz I have surely been to the places a rare tourist seems to ever go.

All you need to find yourself there is to throw your LP away :) All foreigners follow the routs it suggested! Not only this is boring, it creates an impression of being deceived and taken to THE most beaten track even when you think you are off it :)

There are ample non-touristy villages you can get to from these main destinations on your way. My personal faves were those around Yazd, including Abarku, Taft, Meybod, Kharanak, Ardakan, Fahraj as well as Zoroastrian sight in Chak Chak. Some of these are often visited by other travellers, the others less. For those less visited, better learn local culture and customs before you go, to avoid troubles.

But then if it’s your first trip to Iran, and you only have 15 days to spare, these main destinations you defined will keep you busy enough. I’d recommend you to avoid being too ambitious.

As for the buses, travelling by bus in Iran is very convenient. Bus network is well developed, and there are overnight buses, if you look into sparing on accommodation and saving the daylight time for sightseeing.

But buying bus tickets can sometimes be a challenge in Iran :) In some stations there isn’t enough English, and the atmosphere might seem a bit hectic to an unprepared traveller. But there will always be someone willing to assist a foreigner. Finally, you can always ask your hotel/guest house to help.

If you don’t have enough time to examine the richest Persian history and culture before you go, I urge you to use the service of a guide in Iran. There isn’t too much information available on spot, even in the most touristy places, so a knowledgeable guide will enrich your experience significantly.

As for accommodation, indeed, as been mentioned above, look for the so-called “traditional” houses or hotels in each city. But make sure you at least read reviews of some of them, to be ready for this experience :) Say, take a look at a few of mine, if you wish (there are newer reviews by now; read those, too):

Shiraz tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g316021-d191…

Yazd tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g303962-d117… (but this is rather a fine hotel stylised as a traditional one). Also perhaps these will give you a clue: tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g303962-d197… and tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g303962-d106… and tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g303962-d938…

Kashan tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g680023-d152…

Edited: 4:54 am, November 22, 2012
Shiraz, Iran
posts: 293
7. Re: Iran: off the beaten track

Hi my friend

I did not mean that taxis as the private cars. The taxi cars are the yellow ones.

You will see many many Iranians in all the cities that take the cars which are not public taxis but as there are short distances inside the cities, it is more acceptable. But I think you should be careful to take the cars which are not the yellow taxis for longer distances (outside the cities) or between the cities.

Even if they get the lower rates.

Bests,

Parisa

Mechelen, Belgium
posts: 1
reviews: 1
8. Re: Iran: off the beaten track

Dear,

I'm from Belgium and travelling to Iran in February 2013, for three weeks. I have some contacts in Iran. Let's get in touch to exchange ideas.

Regards,

Cedric

Kyiv
Destination Expert
for Kiev, Ukraine
posts: 21,232
reviews: 296
9. Re: Iran: off the beaten track

Hi Cedric,

Why not to share your ideas on the forum so that more people could benefit from them?

Thanks.

Mumbai (Bombay...
posts: 8
10. Re: Iran: off the beaten track

Hi Salar m,

Hope u wan't mind me just dropping in.

I plan to come to Iran on 26 th March 2013 at Bandar e abbas with my Motor Bike.

I have set my Itinerary as Bandar-E-Abbas -408 Km- Bam-190 Km- Kerman -360 Km- Yazd-438 Km-Shiraz-479 Km-Isfahan-309 Km-Qom -151 Km- Tehran -334 Km-Zanjan-298 Km-Tabriz-410 Km-Dougubayazzit(Turkey).

Can you give me your best of advice on Climatic condition, Road Condition, Travelling time on Bike, Time to spend at each places to do Sight seeing around , and places to visit ?