THE SPLENDOUR OF IRAN TOUR 2018
In October 2018, join me for one of my top 3 travel destinations – Iran! It was my 100th country and after repeated requests from people who followed my photographs and experiences online, I am offering a tour to this majestic country. You will discover one of the world’s greatest cultures – historical sites, delicious food, and incredible hospitality!
The tour is limited to 10 people (in addition to The Travel Camel and driver). The group is deliberately kept very small to allow for a more personal experience and greater opportunities to interact with Iranians.
Unlike the vast majority of other Iranian tours, we do not visit Tehran. This allows us to spend all our time in the cultural and historically rich areas of the country around Shiraz, Yazd, Kashan and Esfahan.
We will travel slowly as we can better immerse within each city and fully explore the experiences on offer. There will be flexible time within our small group to make use of opportunities that come our way.
The tour is designed to maximise the best photographic opportunities – and this will appeal to photographers and non-photographers alike. I will be offering photographic guidance during the entire trip.
Your connecting flights into Iran will be to and from Dubai, and by doing so, you are able to extend your time away to explore the city and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Day 1: Tuesday 23 October – Dubai-Shiraz
Fly from Dubai to Shiraz at 09:50 onboard flydubai flight FZ 271 (you will need to book this flight). We arrive at approximately 10:45 local time to pass the lengthy immigration procedures. After checking in at our hotel, we embark on a half day tour including the Vakil complex, and one of the city’s famous gardens, Eram.
Day 2: Wednesday 24 October – Shiraz
An early start to ensure we see the spectacular colours of the Nasir Al Molk mosque. After that we will visit the Hafeez Tomb and Gate of Quran before concluding the day at the most spectacular building complex in Shiraz, the Shah Cheragh Shrine.
An hour’s drive will take us to the Necropolis (Naqsh-e Rustam), where the tombs of four Achaemenid kings are located, including the tomb of Dairus the Great. A short drive away is Persepolis is the ancient capital of the Achaemenid kings. It was built around 2,500 years ago and major sights such as the “Gate Of All Lands” can be admired. We continue onto Saadat Shahr to spend time with Iranian nomads and to learn more about their life.
Day 4: Friday 26 October – Saadat Shah-Yazd
Half the day will be spent travelling between these cities, but with a stop at the historical site of Pasargadae, the UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes the tomb of Cyrus the Great. Like Persepolis, this city remained an important place until conquered by Alexander the Great.
Day 5: Saturday 27 October – Yazd
The whole day will be touring Yazd, including the atmospheric and classical architecture of the Old Town, the Towers of Silence, Jame Mosque of Yazd, and Dolat-Abad garden. There will be free time to explore Yazd with sunset at the Amir Chakhmagh Complex.
Visiting north of Yazd, including the most important Zoroastrian shrine of Chak Chak, and touring Meybod, including the ice house, pigeon tower, Shah Abbasi Caravanserai and conclude the day at the imposing Narin Fort where will remain till late in the afternoon for photographs.
Day 7: Monday 29 October – Aqda-Kashan
After a morning drive, we arrive in Kashan, a town of around 300,000 people that is known for the quality of its ceramics, silks and carpets. We’ll visit the famed Tabatabaei House, the historic home of a wealthy local family.
Day 8: Tuesday 30 October – Kashan
Today will be spent exploring the town, including a visit to Borojerdi House, Sultan Ali Ahmad Bath and Fin Garden. There will be free time to explore this lesser visited town at your leisure.
An early departure will take us to the highly photogenic Zoroastrian village of Abyaneh. We’ll enjoy time exploring the narrow alleys lined by red mud-brick houses. We continue to Esfahan and after checking into the Hotel Abassi, we will visit one of the historical bridges, Sio-se-pol for sunset.
Day 10: Thursday 01 November – Esfahan
Our tour will spend all day around the incredible Naghshe Jahan Square, which is home to Imam Mosque, Sheikh Lotfollah mosque, Ali Qapou Palace. We will also have time to explore the sprawling Esfahan Bazaar including visits to Artisans and tea houses. We’ll be at the Square for sunset, a popular time for local people to gather.
Day 11: Friday 02 November – Esfahan
We head to the south side of the river today to explore the exquisite Armenian Vank Church, be entertained at the Esfahan Music Museum. After a relaxing morning, this day will explore north of the river to visit the Chehel Sotun palace. The final part of the day will be spent in and around the The Khaju Bridge.
Day 12: Saturday 03 November – Esfahan-Dubai
The final day allows a lot of free time, especially for those who want to explore more of the Bazaar. We will then visit the Jame Mosque of Esfahan, where we will remain for sunset and dusk (from 1700-1745). We fly from Esfahan at 20:50 onboard flydubai flight FZ 262 (you will need to book this flight). We arrive at approximately 23:00 local time in Dubai, you can then either stay in Dubai or continue with your international flight home.
Note that this itinerary may be slightly altered during the tour to avoid crowds or make use of opportunities that come our way.
USD 3500 per person twin share
USD 4000 per person single
– Breakfasts and 2 lunches
– All admission fees mentioned in the program
– Professional English speaking on-site Tour Guides
– Transfers at the airports in Shiraz and Esfahan.
– Photography advice from The Travel Camel
– International flights to and from Iran
– Travel insurance (you need this, see Insurance information below)
– Visa fees
– Most lunches and all dinners
– Personal expenses (souvenirs, additional meals etc)
– Tips for guide and driver
– A non-refundable deposit of USD 300 is payable at the time of booking. We strongly advise you to take out cancellation insurance.
– The balance is due no later than 1 June 2018 otherwise we will treat your booking as being cancelled by you.
– If you are booking after 1 June 2018, you must pay in full at the time of booking.
– Any paid money (except the deposit) can be refunded if cancelled in writing by you prior to 1 June 2018.
– All monies are refunded if tour is cancelled by The Travel Camel.
Please Provide The Following Before the Commencement of the Tour:
– Visa information and flight confirmation
– Any dietary or other requirements
Before booking, ensure you are familiar with all the “Tour Information” below, especially dress code, flights to Iran, meals and meal times, money, prohibited items, USA travel, and visas.
Please fill in the form to commence your preparations for one of the world’s greatest travel destinations!
Accommodation will be mostly in 4 and 5 star properties. The quality of accommodation is very good and they provide all the services you expect in similar properties in the west, except a more limited range of TV channels. In Saadat Shah and Aqda, the accommodation will be closer to the 3 star standard.
We will stay at the 4 star Aryo Barzan (or similar) in Shiraz. Our accommodation will be at the 4 star Dad Hotel (or similar) in Yazd, and at the 4 star Irani house (or similar) in Kashan. In Esfahan, we will stay at the opulent 5 star Hotel Abbasi, considered by many to be the finest hotel in Iran.
One of the aims of the tour is to immerse you in the culture, as this will heighten the travel experience.
You must dress conservatively in Iran. This applies to both men and women. For men, only long pants and shirts with sleeves. For women, loose, long clothing (such as long skirts, baggy pants) that does not show too much of the body shape and also a scarf to cover the hair.
There are hundreds of accommodation options in Dubai. Being near the airport will be an advantage on the night before departure. I regularly use Booking.com to find accommodation.
Iran uses the two round pin plugs usually found in Europe. Electricity supply is reliable throughout our tour. In Dubai the most common plugs are the three pronged British type, but any 4+ star hotel will have outlets that take a variety of plugs.
Flights to Dubai
When organising your own flights to Dubai to join the tour, you should note that there are two airports: Dubai International Airport (Code: DXB) and Al Maktoum International (Code: DWC). For public transport and accommodation options, you are best to arrive at DXB. Our flight to Shiraz will depart from DXB Terminal 2. You will need to take an affordable taxi as public transport is limited to that terminal.
Flights to Iran
Your flights to and from Iran must be with flydubai as detailed in the itinerary above. For both our departure and arrival into Dubai with flydubai, we will use DXB Terminal 2.
Food is of very good quality, and most of the cuisine we eat is Iranian fare, though Western food options are readily available in many places. If you have dietary requirements, please let us know, but we cannot guarantee that we will meet your requirements.
Iran is one of the friendliest countries you will ever visit. It is common for Iranians to approach you to ask for a photo, to share email contact and to receive invites to their homes. This is normal and there is no ulterior motive about from being friendly. Remember to bring an open mind to Iran, and your best smile. A good tip is to bring photos of your family, it is sure to be a conversation starter!
Travel insurance is compulsory for everyone on this trip. You can choose the highly recommended World Nomad Insurance, or you can choose your own provider. Please note that some insurance providers will not provide coverage for a trip to Iran. Ensure that you bring a copy of your insurance policy with you to Iran, you may need it to enter the country.
Internet is widely available (though it can be slow) in Iran but be aware that Facebook and Twitter are blocked.
English is widely spoken by many people we will meet. Young people love talking to foreigners to practice their foreign language skills. I travelled alone for more than a week in Iran and rarely had language issues.
Meals and Meal Times
Breakfast is included every morning, but lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks are at your own expense. Dinners will be shifted to ensure that we rarely eat at sunset or dusk. This is prime time to photograph, and if even if you only are not a photographer, you will appreciate the better quality of photos you get as a result of shifting meal times.
Bring all medications with you, and if you use any prescription medicine, have a doctor’s certificate. There is no malaria or Yellow Fever in Iran or UAE. Consult your doctor for any inoculations you require. Remember that any product contained Codeine (found in over the counter pain killers in many countries) is illegal in UAE.
You will have no access to any ATM within Iran. Therefore, you must bring all money with you for your journey into Iran. Preferable to bring Euros and US Dollars. You are able to change money to Iranian Riyals easily enough at reputable money changers. You are also able to change Riyals back to a foreign currency at the end of your journey. It will also be difficult to use your credit or debit card in Iran. ATM access is widely available in Dubai.
Iran is one of my favourite places to photograph and the tour is organised to ensure you are at the best places during the best photographic times around sunset. I will be providing photography advice throughout the tour. Purchasing memory cards or extra batteries will be time consuming, so bring them all with you. Remember to always ask permission before photographing people. If you want to get the most of the photographic opportunities, bring a tripod and either an SLR or Mirrorless camera.
There will be a lot of walking involved, but at a moderate pace and with lots of time to rest. At places such as Persepolis and Ali Qapu Palace there are steps to climb, but it is not strenuous.
Do not bring any of the following with you on this trip, these could result in serious consequences:
1) Any food product with poppy seeds – illegal in UAE.
2) Medication with Codeine that is found in many over the counter pain killers in other countries. It is considered a narcotic and is illegal in UAE.
3) Alcohol is illegal in Iran. Do not attempt to bring it into the country.
The roads in Iran are of very high quality, so all your road journeys will be comfortable.
All transport will be in a private minibus.
The tour is restricted to 10 people. This is in addition to 1 driver and The Travel Camel.
If you are not a USA passport holder and are travelling to USA in the next 5 years, under current law you must apply for your USA visa in advance because of your visit to Iran. This even applies to countries who usually are part of the Visa Waiver Program (such as UK, Australia, Germany etc). More information can be found here: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/visit/visa-waiver-program.html
In March 2017, I was granted a 5 year multi-entry visa for travel to the USA after my visit to Iran – my USA and Iranian visas are only separated by a few pages in the same passport. I am an Australian passport holder.
Visas are your responsibility.
Visas for UAE can be obtained for many nationalities at the airport. To see if you qualify, please check this list: http://www.mofa.gov.ae/EN/ConsularServices/Pages/Visa-information.aspx
If you need a visa for UAE, airlines such as Emirates, flydubai and Qatar Airways allow you to apply for a visa through their websites if you have a confirmed flight booking with them.
Visas for Iran can be obtained for almost all nationalities at the airport. The fee for this varies between 50 to 200 Euros. Ensure you have Euros with you. However, nationals of UK, Canada, US and India require a visa in advance. An overview can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_Iran
If you need to obtain a visa in advance, it will be a lengthy process, so apply around 3 months in advance. You’ll also need a letter from our tour provider in Iran as you may be required to be part of a tour. This is provided for no charge.
Note that if have any evidence of travel to Israel, (including an Israeli exit or entry stamp in your passport), you will be refused entry to Iran. Entry to journalists will also cause issues.
Please contact us if you require any clarifications.
Bottled water is readily available for a reasonable price, though it is possible to drink the tap water.
The climate will be mild to warm, and there may be some rain about. Some of the nights will be relatively cool, but the weather will neither be too hot nor too cold.