Working in the international travel industry ever since I started my career, I learned that each destination has the potential of becoming someone’s favorite place on earth. It was also a default that not everyone would be happy with the same destination.
Working in Iran’s tourism industry has been a game changer! Here I quickly learned that for each individual there is something with best-ever-potential in this one destination, Iran!
I came across Shivya Nath’s blog and though, you must read this, too! Here’s what she has to say on Iran as a tourist destination as she suggests “Why You Should Drop Everything and Travel to Iran Now!”
Most people think that now is a terrible time to visit Iran. The renewed US sanctions on the country mean that popular travel websites like Expedia, Airbnb, and Booking.com don’t work in Iran. International debit and credit cards can’t be used to make payments or withdraw money from ATMs. Most travel insurance policies don’t cover Iran. And social networks like Twitter and Facebook are technically banned.
And yet, spending a month exploring Iran in Feb-March 2019 – thanks to the local all-women team of travel company Uppersia – filled me with immense wonder at its architecture and natural beauty. I fell in love with the country’s people, culture, poetry, and language, and believe that NOW is the best time to visit Iran.
The renewed US sanctions have sent the Iranian Rial into a free fall, making it the most affordable time to explore the country – and contribute directly to ordinary citizens suffering the economic consequences. Tourism has been badly hit, which means you can have the exquisite Nasir-Ol-Molk of Shiraz, the awe-inspiring Naqsh-e Jahan Square of Isfahan and the other-worldly Kaluts Desert, pretty much all to yourself. If you pick only one international travel destination this year, pick Iran, for this is a country where:[sitepoint_contact_form]
You’ll discover landscapes so unimaginable, you’d think you’ve landed on Mars
(like on Hormuz Island, with yellow rivers, white mineral peaks, and red sand)
Yet human creations will leave you in greater awe
(Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque in Isfahan, said to be created by the gods of art)
And compel you to reconnect with the poet in you
In an antique bookshop in Kerman, with works of great Persian poets Saadi, Hafez, and Rumi
Hear a Sufi mystic sing within a shrine’s ancient walls
(at Shah Nematollah Wali Shrine in Mahan)
And explore some of the world’s most incredible cities like Isfahan and Shiraz
Move over New York, London, Paris!
You’ll slowly forget everything the media told you about Iran…
You’ll learn to picnic in the outdoors like Iranians
(at the Naqsh-e Jahan Square of Isfahan)
Tuck into a “Howzkhaneh” on a winter
day A sort of winter lounge in old Persian houses for cozy gatherings.
And let “taarof” surprise, confuse and amuse you!
Taarof is Persian etiquette where you put others first; read more about it here. (with Assad and his family at Assad’s B&B on Qeshm Island)
If you’re lucky, you’ll even connect with passionate vegan Iranians
(at Khalvat House, a vegan guesthouse in Isfahan)
And sample Persian food that will blow your mind
Vegan dizi, anyone?
leep in a “Caravan Serai” to feel like a traveller of yore
Caravan Serais were inns built in the 16th century for travelers along the ancient Silk route.
Take in the sights and smells at a historic bazaar
The one in Tabriz is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
Go back in time at an excavation site dating back to the second Iron Age
When women and men were buried with their pots and pans, and weapons. This one is in Tabriz.
And land up in a desert oasis bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan
(at Shefiabad near the Lut Desert)
And gaze at a star-studded night sky <3
The compulsory hijab might annoy or disturb you
But you’ll meet badass, independent, free-spirited women across the country
And when the time comes to say goodbye, you’ll be glad you picked Iran
Because it’s only here that you’ll find Nesf-e Jahan – half the world!
Read more on her blog Why You Should Drop Everything and Travel to Iran Now!