Things you should know before traveling to Iran :
New Horizon Conference looks forward to welcoming you to the Islamic Republic of Iran. You will find this ancient country both a living historic museum, as well as a mix of modernity. The Iranian people are hospitable and quite welcoming to foreigners, despite propaganda saying the opposite.
This is a small guide, which will enhance your experience while in the Islamic Republic helping you to become familiar with the country and its people.
Please be informed that as long as you are in Iran, NHC will provide you with bilingual individuals who will be at your service. They will help you will all your needs, such as the conference itself, various venues, tickets, shopping, food etc.
Both men and women are expected to dress modestly in Iran. Both should wear non-transparent clothing. Women should wear loose fitting clothes, either blouse and long skirt or long shirt and pants along with headscarves. Women should wear long sleeves. And because of the intensity of the sun, NHC recommends men to also wear long sleeves as to protect your skin. Men should not wear shorts. One can wear any color of clothing he/she chooses. Chador for women is not required, but if one visits a holy religious shrine, she could experience the opportunity of wearing a chador for a few minutes.
Ladies, PLEASE PACK A HEADSCARF IN YOUR HAND LUGGAGE, as you need to be wearing a scarf when you arrive at the airport in Iran. It is a law in Iran that women should wear scarves in public at all times. Bring comfortable shoes, especially for our day trips, where there will be some walking. And at the end of the day, if you need anything, clothing or anything else, don’t worry, Iran provides a wide variety in its shopping experience from the traditional bazaars to sophisticated malls, so you can always buy anything you need.
Health and Hygiene in Iran :
In fact, cleanliness is part of Muslims’ belief system and it is evidently observed everywhere both in public and in private in Iran. There have been overwhelming campaigns, like vaccinations and training, to eliminate many diseases which used to exist in remote regions. Iran has been successful and prides itself on having very clean cities and towns, as well as public places, such as hotels, restaurants, malls, parks, etc.
Prohibited items while traveling to Iran :
Alcoholic beverages, narcotics, guns and ammunition, all horticultural and agricultural goods including seeds and soil; aerial photo cameras, transmitter receiver apparatus and pornography are prohibited.
Electricity Voltage in Iran :
220 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs are of the round two-pin type. If you have 110 volts appliance to use on your trip, like shavers, hair driers, etc, it is recommended that you bring a 110-to-220 plug/converter with yourself. Or you could choose to simply buy it in Iran, though it may be more time consuming.
Iranian Currency :
It is called Iranian Rial (IR). 10 IR = 1 toman and you will find most people here using the term tomans. The dollar-rial exchange rate fluctuates, but as of today, 1 dollar = 33,000 rials or 3,300 tomans. It may sound confusing to you now, but no worries, your guides will be here to help you with this if needed.
Social conduct and Iran’s image :
Iran’s image of being a terrorist driven, American bashing, nuclear weapon holding, burka clad society is something that has been highly driven by western media propaganda. However, we must reiterate that Iran is an Islamic society and there are certain taboos, which could result in deportation or even arrest. Engaging in any of these acts in public is strictly prohibited, drinking alcohol, taking drugs, engaging in sexual activity However the reality of traveling in Iran is that it is very safe and we hope very enjoyable for you.
It won’t take long before Iranians give you a warm welcome, ask where you are from or even invite you to dinner or tea. They are just as keen to show you that they are the exact opposite of how they are portrayed, as you should be showing them that the western world doesn’t hate them.
Food, Drink and Vegetarian dishes :
Traditional dishes are everywhere but you have to do some digging on where to go and find the best delicious vegetable and pomegranate stews, or the traditional Dizi (a lamb based strew where the broth is separated from the solids which are then mashed together and eaten separately) or Ash (a thick and tasty soup of lentils, beans, starch noodles, vegetables, fried mint, fried onion and yoghurt).
Other than that you will realize that the streets are paved with fast food outlets, whose neon lights advertise the norm – kebabs, burgers and pizzas. Try and seek out the falafel places, since these are normally the best choice for a cheap and yummy quick fix.
Vegetarians have more of an issue. I traveled with a vegetarian friend and whether at a large buffet or a local teahouse or restaurant, what appeared to be the vegetarian option, still had meat in it. It may mean living on aubergine / eggplant based dishes, which are your safest bet, or really begging for meat to be left out of your dish if not already pre-prepared or simply settling for a wide variety of salads.
There’s no alcohol beverages and no bars However, there is a wide range of flavored non-alcoholic beer.
Understanding the concept of “Persian Time “
Persian Time’ is much like ‘Asian Time’ – things may take longer than expected, You should have some flexibility while dealing with “time” in Iran as this will definitely lessen the stress. Please note that in Iran, there is a much more relaxed perspective on life and things are just not as intense as they are in the West. However this can get frustrating for people coming from very fast paced and punctual societies. Just go with the flow and know in advanced that you may be invited somewhere where the gathering is scheduled for 10 a.m., however know that 10 could actually mean 10:30 or later. Of course, NHC is an exception and when we say our meeting starts at 10, of course we mean 10 sharp (crossing our fingers and hoping this is the case, LOL).
One final point, dealing with money, we have been asked about the amount of money people should bring with them, please note that ALL of your expenses and meals will be paid by NHC. Thus it is not a necessity to bring money for food or accommodations. However, for those who would like to bring money and perhaps go shopping for souvenirs and other things, it just depends on what you would like to buy. We have from inexpensive handmade items to exquisite Persian rugs. If you would like to bring money, you could bring 200 dollars or thousands depending on your desire. But perhaps you would want to bring at least 200 for some personal needs, but again please remember, NHC will take care of your hotel, meals and transportation All the rest is optional and simply depends on you.
We are looking forward to seeing you all very soon.
If you have any further inquiries, kindly get back to me on personal bases.