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Trip report for British Citizen

Manchester, United...
Level Contributor
223 posts
57 reviews
Trip report for British Citizen

Hi Guys,

Just returned from a 17 night trip around Iran yesterday and thought l would report back here.

Firstly l had a lot of trouble getting hold of the Iranian Consulate in London, they were a nightmare to deal with. So l wanted to recommend http://www.shiraztravel.co.uk/ who arranged the visa for me, Donya sorted this and all in it was £160, l still had to go to the consulate to give fingerprints but l was there for less than 1 hour, walked straight in as she already had rough time and ticket number so did not have to que outside and they posted my passport back a week later, great service.

As a British Citizen you have to go on an organised tour even if you were born elsewhere or of a different ethnic origin. I used http://www.iranstravel.com/Home and they were brilliant. It was recommended by a Persian friend. They sorted the authorisation code for visa, tour, guide, driver, hotels etc all for a reasonable price and paid in Euros in cash day after arrival. I dealt with Azimeh via email and she promptly answered all emails and made a number of changes along the way and was really reassuring. The tour agency is based in Yazd near the Jamia Mosque but they arrange tours all over Iran. My driver and guide was Hassan, he was flexible and made stops along the way, some diversions and great recommendations.

As for Iran it is generally safe and most people are really friendly and hospitable. It was a weird one for me, l was born in the UK but l am of Indian Punjabi origin, everyone thought l was a local! Both times at the local airport people where directing me off the foreign que to Persian que! Had some strange experiences which wouldn't have happened if l was a more obvious foreigner, for example a dad on a mobile speaking to me in Farsi and handing me his daughter before walking off?! He was too engrossed in phone conversation to notice me speaking back in English, he came back 15 minutes later!

Being British over there is abit of a concern, watching press TV the Iranian English news channel over there, you see lots of anti US, Israel, Saudi and UK propaganda. For example, re the UK they were presenting news about sexual harassment of women in work like it wasn't safe for women to step out the door or news of a taser shooting of a black ex footballer like the UK is rife with racism and discrimination, or news of UK government training Bahraini police officers and human rights abuses etc, now the UK is certainly not perfect but the way the stories were presentated was exaggerated. Also the stories of spy's and British Iranians being picked up on dubious charges lately was disconcerting.

A few times l noticed people say at hotel reception were really friendly and as some as they saw my British passport they turned a little hostile, only a few times and not surprising with the news they are peddling and that's the English version l am sure the Farsi version is worse. I also noticed at police checkpoints and being stopped by the Revolutionary guards by driver would sometimes say l was from India and not the UK as this was the easier option. When l arrived at the airport the guy at insurance desk was surprised l was British and said good luck and laughed when he saw my passport l was on edge after that but generally it was fine.

Re Iran in general the places and landscapes were stunning and unique. I went from Tehran to Abanyah, Kashan, Messr, Kerman, Yazd, Shiraz, Isfahan and back to Tehran and a number of sites and stops around these areas and along the way. The food was disappointing for me, tried everything from low end to high end, too many kebabs, little variety, too much meat and a lack of flavour for me. On the plus side the juices are great, melon/barberry/watermelon/carrot/pomegranate juices, and pistachio and saffron ice creams.

The people are mostly really friendly and will go out of their way for you. There was a few cheating Basts and rude/hostile people but you get them everywhere and it was a minority. I did speak at length to a local of the Baha'i faith and his stories were pretty shocking but my driver dismissed it when l brought up a few things but in any case as a tourist you are unlikely to experience anything and in terms of theft l think it's really rare and l felt completely safe walking around with wads of cash.

The hotels were a mixed bag. Some really good, like Fazeli Hotel in Yazd but some pretty terrible. You can not flush loo paper down any toilets or it will block the system. The breakfasts compared to international standards not comparable but it is doable and they always had watermelon which was great, was not a fan of fried eggs left lying under a tray for god knows how long!

All in all despite the hassles l would say it's worth the trip, you will have some great memories and fab gifts too

Tehran, Iran
Level Contributor
207 posts
13 reviews
1. Re: Trip report for British Citizen

Great Report !

Chicago
Level Contributor
6,053 posts
50 reviews
2. Re: Trip report for British Citizen

The loos in Turkey are the same as in Iran, no flushing tp. You get used to that difference quickly. Also, the same with drinking tap water. It's chlorinated in both countries and bottled water is available just about everywhere.

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
1,838 posts
3. Re: Trip report for British Citizen

Interesting report.

<<A few times l noticed people say at hotel reception were really friendly and as some as they saw my British passport they turned a little hostile, only a few times and not surprising with the news they are peddling and that's the English version l am sure the Farsi version is worse. >>

This is sad/unfortunate. As an American, I didn't encounter this anywhere. One would think that Iranians in the tourism industry would be the MOST welcoming to Americans/Brits because 1) good relations with the West is good for the tourism business, and 2) they regularly deal with Americans/Brits and see that have personal experience that we are just like any other tourist and aren't Satan. Perhaps they acted weirdly to you out of racism/confusion/surprise with your looks vs. UK citizenship, rather than because you are a Brit?

London, United...
Level Contributor
162 posts
6 reviews
4. Re: Trip report for British Citizen

"As a British Citizen you have to go on an organised tour even if you were born elsewhere or of a different ethnic origin".

Rubbish!!! I went to Iran in september 2015 travelled solo had the best time of my life and I am of Indian origin british passport. It seems this is still an issue and the iranian side of immigration don't know whats going on. It is clear that the iranian tour organizers want to make a quick buck from people like Jaz and they will make you believe that you need a guide when in fact you don't. You sir just got conned unfortunately because of the lack of information regarding immigration by the iranians. And by the way tour organizers in Iran were telling me that I needed a guide but if you look on magic carpet it clearly states that people of non english origin do not need a guide.

Edited: 7:17 am, August 29, 2016
Yazd, Iran
5 posts
5. Re: Trip report for British Citizen

Dear Niraj

This rule isn’t about the place you were born, It is about the passport you will use.

If you are a British citizen but you have born in India and have Indian passport you can entrance easily to Iran without guide But if you have just British passport YOU HAVE TO use guide in Iran.

Your host agency has to get your authorization code with the name of guide and your hotels you will stay and you can't change them easily.

Everybody know it, you can ask Iran consulate, all the agencies and related departments.

And if you really came to Iran with British passport and without guide, You have broken a law and if somebody broke a law it doesn’t mean that rule doesn’t exist.

I suggest to don’t publish the name of the agency who get visa code for you and leave you without guide, because you will push them in bad situation by government for their illegal performance.

Regards

London, United...
Level Contributor
162 posts
6 reviews
6. Re: Trip report for British Citizen

So as per usual we have yet another tour company in Iran that doesn't know visa rules which is fine. But if your going to accuse me of lying it isn't going to work. I can even show pictures of all the cities that I went to in Iran. Also all the tour companies here in London said that if you are not of english origin then you do not need a guide and can travel solo on a british passport. Now they would not be saying that if that was not the case as they would loose business quite fast for giving out wrong information and would go bankrupt overnight. Again if you do not believe me you can ring them yourself.

Yazd, Iran
5 posts
7. Re: Trip report for British Citizen

Dear Niraj

For greater certainty, I called to Ministry of Foreign Affair of Iran and asked about what you said, they said the only thing that we care about it is Passport. Not the place you were born, not your parents nation, nothing, just the passport you will use.

If you use British passport you have to visit Iran with licensed guide.

I never think you are lying but as an agency in Iran, our reference for dealing with issues is MFA.

Best Regards

Edited: 10:53 am, September 04, 2016
Copenhagen, Denmark
1 post
8. Re: Trip report for British Citizen

Regarding the Press TV's propaganda against Britain, then you tasted the same medicine the Western media make about Iran. LMAO. I hope you enjoyed your trip....

London, United...
Level Contributor
1,672 posts
9. Re: Trip report for British Citizen

I think it is inaccurate and unhelpful to make sweeping generalisations.

For instance, implying that all toilets in Iran can't be flushed with toilet paper is pretty inaccurate.

It's unfortunate that YOU had bad breakfasts, but that is not a general Iranian experience.

Spies* not spy's.

When did this incorrect trend of noun pluralisation by applying the possessive case begin?

Kerikeri, New...
Level Contributor
6,427 posts
106 reviews
10. Re: Trip report for British Citizen

When did this incorrect trend of noun pluralisation by applying the possessive case begin?

It's a travel forum , not an english grammar lesson!