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Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Iran: Tehran, Esfahan & Shiraz


When I mentioned that I was going on a 7-day trip to Iran covering Tehran, Esfahan and Shiraz, most responded with a question, “Why Iran??” My answer was simply, “Why not?” I have always loved Esfahan, and the more I read about Shiraz, the more I fell in love with it too. I wouldn't lie though, I did make the booking with some reservation.

Initiating the itinerary

Prior to that I must mention that since Iran is officially under a sanction of some sort (well, you can read all about it in the newspapers), so credit card transactions using Visa, Mastercard, AMEX and the likes are a no go. You thus can’t really make an online booking for ground arrangements, i.e. hotels and transportations, and make the payments online, unlike for trips to most other countries. Everything is done using cash. For that reason, I contacted a local travel agency in Iran to arrange for accommodation, out-of-town tours and domestic flight as well as for the overnight train ride from Tehran to Esfahan. I usually tend to manage all my travel arrangements online myself, more so because I tend to travel alone, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt knowing or having a local contact person, just in case...

So anyways... after doing some reading on places to visit and discussing a bit with my travel agent, my itinerary for Iran looked a bit like this:


Itinerary7 Days and 6 Nights

Day 1Tehran
+ Arrive in Tehran in the afternoon
+ Imam Khomeini Square, Golestan Palace, Tehran Bazaar, Dinner at traditional restaurant
+ Hotel: Atlas Hotel

Day 2Tehran
+ Full-day private tour - National Museum, Glass & Ceramic Museum, Carpet Museum, Lunch at traditional restaurant, Niavaran Palace Complex 
+ Depart Tehran by overnight train for Esfahan in the evening

Day 3Esfahan
+ Arrive in Esfahan in the morning
+ Bridges of Esfahan, Imam Square
+ Hotel: Safir Hotel

Day 4 Esfahan/ Shiraz
+ Hasht Behesht, Chehelsotoon Museum, Esfahan Bazaar, Masjid Sheikh Lotf Allah, Imam Square
+ Depart for Esfahan Airport for Iran Air flight to Shiraz in the evening
Hotel: Eram Hotel

Day 5

Shiraz
+ Half-day private tour to Naqsh-i Rustam & Persepolis
+ Vakil Bazaar
+ Hotel: Eram Hotel

Day 6Shiraz
+ Bazaars of Shiraz, Naranjestan Museum, Masjid al Mulk, Masjid Vakil, Vakil Bazaar
Hotel: Eram Hotel

Day 7Shiraz
+ Bazaars of Shiraz
+ Depart for Shiraz Airport for flight out of Iran in the afternoon


So with just about 10 days of planning, and doing some booking via emails going back and forth, I was set and ready to go on a trip which eventually turned out to be very memorable in more ways than one :-)





Further Information
 -
I used Iran Travelling Center for the ground arrangement as well as domestic transportation including a flight within Iran for this trip. My contact person was Parisa, who's very diligent and prompt in responding to my endless queries and in managing my bookings all via emails. I'm very happy to recommend her and the company should anyone be interested to engage their services. 

The hotels I stayed at are classified as 3*, 4* & 3* respectively but I should warn that this classification is not by international standards. They are nevertheless of acceptable standards and I certainly would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone travelling to any of these three Iranian cities.
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For other www.rambleandwander.com blog entries on Iran, click here.


10 comments:

Comments and feedback are always appreciated. So do leave one or two if you have the time. Thank you!

  1. He..he...found it! Well, i'm not aware at all that credit card transactions are not allowed in Iran... Good..good info! Did u go alone or with someone..?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, all credit and debit card transactions are not available due to the sanction, unless if you have a card with an Iranian bank :-) Else you'd need to bring cash, GBP, EUR and even USD are accepted for exchange in Iran.

      I travelled alone on this trip, just like most of my other trips :-)

      Delete
  2. Never travel alone in my life...don't think i can survive...ha..ha...! Hey, i just bought a new camera...;)It's the 3rd one after the one damaged @ HK...I have a very bad reputation with electrical stuff...It will never last more than a year with me... camera, computer, laptop, hp, etc..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know why but I do prefer travelling alone. Probably it is some sort of an escapism for me. I have however travelled with a friend and more, and I have no problem with it. It's just a matter of preference, I suppose.

      I pretty much use all my electronics stuff until they become obsolete, haha! e.g. Laptop now 4yo. Previous phone (4yo). Anyways, which camera did you buy?

      Delete
    2. Ala...biasa2 aja...not as expensive as yrs...it's Lumix DMC apa ntah.. I asked the man at the shop to recommend to me the most user friendly camera on earth, and not so expensive, of course.. So, he gave me this Lumix camera..He said it is a Micro Four Thirds camera, which I myself do not know the meaning...he...he...4 yo lappy..? Mak aii... i would be very grateful if mine can last for at least 2 years...ha..ha..

      Delete
    3. Wow! You spent some money on a camera and you didn't do any research on it? Only people with lots of money do that, hehe! But Lumix is good. Looking forward to seeing more photos on your blog :-)

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  3. Your posts about Iran are making me excited about my upcoming trip!!!

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    Replies
    1. I'm sure you're going to enjoy the country! Oh mannnn... I'm feeling a bit jealous already now! Lol! So want to go back there...

      Delete
  4. I spot the word 'tend to travel' ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm... makes me wonder who you are, Mr. Anon, hehe ;)

      Delete
 
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