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Iran : Arrived in Tehran, One Way Ticket, No Visa – The First 24 Hours

Azadi Tower Tehran Iran

Azadi Tower, or “Freedom Tower” – symbol of Tehran in Iran, marks the entrance to the city. Built in 1971 to commemorate the 2500th year of the Persian Empire.

“And, when you worked at this art gallery, well, tell me about your job there?..Do you have photography on display? Are you an artist?” He was a tall man. A very tall man. As he peered down at me, I realised my voice was slightly warbling as I explained my “intentions in Iran”.

No badge, no uniform, perfect English, and he was my personal gatekeeper to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Behind him, a scarf adorned Phillipa sat quietly waiting. But, he only wanted to speak to me. She was wearing an large bagging tunic to hide any “shape”, and my eye caught a sparkle of a diamante from her scarf-clip. I looked across – her face was as expressionless as my struggling voice.

This was intense. An hour ago, I was on the most sociable flight of my life. The scarf clip was a gift from a friendly passenger we met on-board. Now, I awaited another “gift”. An Iranian tourist Visa. I explained that gallery job – the last real job I had – was all about selling paintings and sculpture  and no, no, no – definitely not photography, and that my intention was to travel around the spectacular country of Iran for two weeks, before exiting via bus to Armenia. The second I mentioned bus, and Armenia, I received an OK from the gatekeeper. Then, another hour later, I received an Iranian tourist Visa.

We were in.

Street food Tehran

Food in Tehran is tasty and inexpensive. Kebab and an alcohol free cider, about two bucks.

Azadi Tower detail

Hmm – I could use this as a backdrop. I just need a friendly Iranian man with a large moustache…

street photography tehran

Thanks Chief!

 
Being allowed to board the flight in Kuala Lumpur, was a struggle. A one way ticket into Iran, with no pre-arranged tourist Visa, no “Letter of invitation”, no evidence of onwards travel – this was not the done thing. Some say this is pure stupidity. I call it cutting edge 21st century tourism.

Only a combination of scant research, little regard for convention, and a spontaneous life full of good fortune (to date) could have led me to this moment in time. Yes. Incredibly, I’m in Iran. A country I have wanted to visit for a long while – and despite currency collapse, signs of hyper-inflation, and tear gas deploying riot squads on the streets of Tehran as recently as yesterday – now seemed as good a time as any to visit this mysterious theocracy.

The first twenty four hours in Tehran have been amazing. This country *is* different from anywhere I have visited. I’ve already had small but poignant insights to a people I have instantly fallen for. My kind of people. A people facing such stressful times at a national and international level, that they don’t have the time nor inclination to sweat the small stuff. Incredibly welcoming and generous people, very interested in talking to independent tourists – of which there are very, very few. There is a level of calm, happiness, and personal contentedness that just can’t be described, only experienced.

iran street photography

Wandering around my new ‘hood – Ferdowsi Street. Today is Friday – the equivalent of Sunday, in the West.

 
Getting here, the AirAsia flight was like being back in High School, together with all your friends headed off to camp. It was noisy, rambunctious, and rules were being broken. At one point, moments after a Jersey Shore look-a-like passenger was scolded for sneakily helping himself to a second dinner from the cart, a message came over the speakers, stating that someone had been smoking in the toilet and the alarm had been triggered. I was standing up chatting to my new friend Amir, and lots of laughter ensued as three or four flight attendants tried in vain to get suspect to hand over his passport.

People broke out in song as this was happening. “It’s kind of like the Iran national anthem” Amir told me. “Kind of”. A few isles behind, a group argument broke out between passengers. Something about a wife. It got heated, and a couple of ladies in the row behind me moved away. In vain, the “seatbelts on” light was switched on, and duly ignored by the many groups congregating throughout the plane. A flight attendant walked past, throwing her hands in the air, saying “oh, I give up, just do what you want”.

Another lady prepared some home made rolls and offered me one, as the man in front passed me a piece of pistachio slice. All the while, other ladies were writing down their phone number and address, saying to come and stay at their house in North Tehran. I like these people. Very much.

segregated bus tehran

Buses here in Tehran are segregated – women at the back, men at the front. An entrance for each sex.

tehran alley market

Women must have their head covered in public. Phillipa, blue and brown scarf, fitting in like a pro.

tehran city bus

Buses are cheap, short taxi rides are about 20,000 rial – 60 cents US. Subway/Metro lines are here, and even have non-segregated carriages. Now that’s what I call progress.

 
I’m taking things slowly here. With photography, with dress code, and especially with Phillipa’s dress code – there are certain rules we both need to abide by. I am a guest of Iran, as I am in any foreign country – and I accept the laws of the nation. I want to let things sink in, and I want to learn more before I mention anything even remotely political.

At this point, I will say there is clearly a gap between the government and the people. But, that gap exists in many, if not all, nations. Who ever heard of a nation where people have nothing but nice things to say about the people in power? It may be more complex than that – the point being, Iran is not so different from the country you live in.

Ferdowsi Square

Just hanging in the ‘hood in Tehran. Ferdowsi Square.

 

The photos here are from the first 24 hours in Tehran. My plan is to explore the country, after spending a few days here. Although, I once had this plan of exploring the USA for three months, but I ended up staying within a 2 mile radius of Venice Beach the whole time. So, anything could happen.

Now isn’t the time for planning.

Spontaneity will continue to reign supreme.

Stick around, and we’ll both find out how this turns out.

Nate

PS – Facebook and twitter are both inaccessible in Iran. I would be forever in your gratitude if you would share this post, because I can’t!

PPS – I will endeavour to keep posting “live” whilst I’m in Iran. As long as I have an Internet connection, there will be updates. If you haven’t already signed up for the email list, now is a great time to get free updates sent to your inbox. One-click unsubscribe, in the unlikely event this journey gets boring.

UPDATE:  Thinking of visiting Iran? I have now written an indepth article full of free Iran visa on arrival advice – click here. 

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66 Responses to Iran : Arrived in Tehran, One Way Ticket, No Visa – The First 24 Hours

  1. Funkigreendog Oct 5, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    Hugely interesting insights, and for once the photos although exceptional as always are just an aside.

    Wondering how it feels to be taking those images in public (especially of the women in veils)? How are people reacting when they see you taking their picture, as I know when in morocco, they didn’t particularly like it.

    It’s always been a dream to just travel off the cuff and make it up as you go, as my trips are usually the complete opposite, planned to the finest detail. Looking forward to the next installment.

    • Nate Oct 6, 2012 at 5:14 am #

      Hey FKD – it feels a little different taking photos of people than in some other nations. But, so far, people don’t have any more of a problem of having their photo taken than in other countries I have visited.

  2. Noelle Oct 6, 2012 at 12:52 am #

    Love this post Nate! Such great insight for your first 24-hours. I can’t wait to read more about your travels in Iran.

    • Nate Oct 6, 2012 at 5:14 am #

      Cheers Noelle.. more to come!

  3. Natalie Oct 6, 2012 at 3:41 am #

    I was looking at Iran the other week and how to get in via the Turkish border, but hubby does not want to go there so scrapped all thoughts. Will be following your story with interest. After all what we see on the media and in real life often turn out to be two different things.

    • Nate Oct 6, 2012 at 5:15 am #

      Hi Natalie… yes, the media and reality are more often than not two different things. Keep an eye on the posts, and maybe share them with hubby ;)

  4. Sassan Oct 6, 2012 at 4:48 am #

    “Iran is not so different from the country you live in.”

    Thank you for sharing your insight and your experiences but IRAN under the Islamic Republic IS MUCH DIFFERENT than living in a free society. Iran under the Islamic Republic is run by apocalyptic fascists who execute homosexuals, have stoned women to death, whip people as punishments, and impose draconian laws upon the society. Again, I appreciate your insight and experiences but please don’t try to sugarcoat the oppression inside of Iran by saying “it’s not that much different”. As an atheist and someone “technically” born a Muslim, I would be executed inside of Iran for being an apostate. And a very sizable portion of Iranians inside of Iran no longer even call themselves Muslim in private. Don’t forget all the Bahai’s inside of Iran who are considered animals by this regime. Please don’t try to make such false moral relativistic comparisons. It is a slap in the face of all freedom loving Iranians.

    • Nate Oct 6, 2012 at 5:31 am #

      Thanks for commenting Sassan. As you point out, there are some laws here in Iran that *are* different from other nations. I’m going to wait longer before I comment on messages like the one you have presented here. What I’ll say at this point, is that I will continue to converse with *many* people here in Tehran, and hopefully I will attain a deeper picture of the true feelings of this nation. Your comment is important to me in building this understanding.

      Regarding the Bahai, on this blog, I’m not particularly concerned with comparing the worst treatment of one nation to another. I understand there are complex issues that could be addressed regarding Iran, the Bahai, Womean, and more – but maybe it would be better to leave it to the people of Iran, like yourself, to address these issues.

      If I could clarify my statement, it would be to say “the PEOPLE of Iran are not so different from the PEOPLE of the country you live in.” – I am certain that this is the case. I’m not going to change my article, as it is easy for any statement I make to have it’s intention misinterpreted. Where would it end?

      The fact that I allowed your comment to be posted should tell you I am against censorship – so please feel free to add whatever insight you feel is appropriate, at any time.

      I’m not sugar-coating anything – this is just my opinion as a tourist – I write it as I see it.

      If you’re looking for politicised insights and commentary on the state of the Iranian power-base, maybe this isn’t the blog for you.

      If you’re happy to receive a few photos here and there of Iran, and perhaps a word or two from the eyes of a tourist, I would be glad to have you around, any time.

      Nate.

      • Sassan Oct 6, 2012 at 5:35 am #

        Thank you Nate. Have a great time. And when trying to understand Iranians, I only recommend not having your camcorder and camera out when talking with people about sensitive issues. Thank you for your reply back. I hope you have a fantastic and safe trip. I was there last in 2010 when I was in Iran for over 8-months.

        BTW, do you plan on visiting Shiraz? If you truly want to have an amazing time and to be immersed by the history of Iran, I recommend Shiraz. I can recommend to you some great ancient sites such as Persepolis and Cyrus the Great’s tomb (plus others). Please let me know if you are interested and I will give you pointers. Going to Shiraz would most likely be the best part of the trip for you. If you leave Shiraz out, you will have missed the history and beauty of Iran.

        • Nate Oct 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

          Extremely interested in Shiraz, looking forward to going there. Any pointers, send them my way!

          • Sassan Oct 6, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

            Of course you need to visit the tomb of Cyrus the Great in Pasargad. Then you need to be sure to visit Persepolis. It is the ancient magnificent town build by Darius the Great. It was the home of the ancient Kings and the cities fortified palaces and walls. This was the site that was burned down and destroyed by Alexander. And then there is a little less well known town that most Iranians don’t even know about but it is magnificent. It is called “Bishapur”. It is about 100 KM from Shiraz and it was an ancient city built by Shapur (the first king of the Sassanian dynasty) and it still has the underground area for the goddess Anahita in which you can walk to. It is absolutely magnificent and beautiful. In addition, in the nearby mountain tops there are engravings and drawings on the face of the mountain which are absolutely magnificent. More information about it here: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bishapur). And back to Shiraz, you must also visit Naqshe-Rostam which are the burial sites of great kings such as Darius. It is very close to the Persepolis site that I mentioned earlier. If you need any specific information or help, please email me at the email address I provided. If you go to these sites, you will truly have the time of your life. Plus you will LOVE the people of Shiraz. I am not originally from Shiraz but I LOVE the people of Shiraz. And for the item I mentioned earlier, feel free to email me and I will get that to you ASAP.

            • Nate Oct 7, 2012 at 7:09 am #

              Wow, thanks Sassan. I am in the midst of planning the next few days, so I will digest all the info you have given me and work it all out. Cheers for all your help!

              • olivia Dec 20, 2012 at 8:04 am #

                Shiraz is good for ancient persian stuff. if you want to see a truly beautiful, more modern Iran, go to Isfahan !! You will not regret it!!

                • Nate Robert Dec 20, 2012 at 10:22 am #

                  Thanks Olivia… I did go to Isfahan, and I didn’t regret it – in fact, I loved it!

      • Sassan Oct 6, 2012 at 5:36 am #

        “the PEOPLE of Iran are not so different from the PEOPLE of the country you live in”

        And I agree with you 110% on this sentiment.

        • Nate Oct 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

          Hey Sassan, I’m glad we came to an agreement on this touchy subject. And, thanks for your private message, I really appreciate it. Lets see how I go on the next post…

  5. Mark Wiens Oct 6, 2012 at 7:18 am #

    What an incredibly entertaining plane ride. Every Iranian I’ve met has fit the exact description you described – extremely hospitable, and willing to invite you over to their home. From the tasty streets of KL to the tasty streets of Tehran – amazing!

    • Nate Oct 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

      Hey Mark, you’ll be happy to know, the food here is tasty, and the street food is as inexpensive as KL. Sorry, no Marmite frog ;) Iranians are certainly curious, generous, and extremely hospitable. So far, so good.

  6. Christina Oct 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    This is awesome. I have some relatives from Iran – such a vibrant and lively culture!

    • Nate Oct 6, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

      Hi Christina! I know! Awesome right? I can hardly believe it myself. It’s a bit of a dream come true…

  7. Ayngelina Oct 6, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    So interested to get your perspective on gender in Iran, it`s one place I`d love to visit but it`s pretty intimidating as a woman.

    • Nate Oct 6, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

      Hey Ayngelina… I will likely go into this further at a later stage. It’s important that I note the differences here between state, and citizens, and how the gender issue relates to each. At this stage, I can give you some travel advice – Phillipa is doing fine. She is required to wear a scarf at all times in public, and “modest” clothing (ie, nothing skimpy or tight). However, you regularly see women pushing the dress code limits here in Tehran, in all sorts of subtle, and sometimes not so subtle ways. From the few women I have already chatted with, none of them are fans of the laws as they pertain to women. But, from the interactions I have observed between people, and between local men here and Phillipa, it really is not a lot different from most other nations. Possibly, women are even more respected here. I say this just with the perspective of a beginner traveller to Iran. Also, I believe you would face less danger here than in many, many countries (again, as a tourist). Still, lets see how this pans out over the next couple of weeks. I may even get Phillipa to guest post on this one! I haven’t asked her to do this yet, we’ll see how that one pans out as well ;)

      • Georgie Oct 20, 2012 at 8:45 am #

        come on Phillipa – we want to hear from you.

        • Nate Oct 20, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

          Don’t fret, I’m lining up the questions for her now!

      • sSwsS Dec 22, 2012 at 7:21 am #

        Yes, Iran is a safe country despite what the Media says.

  8. Andrea Oct 6, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    So excited that you’re there! I’ve never met an Iranian person that I didn’t adore and I’ve always wanted to visit. Looking forward to more stories and photos!

    • Nate Oct 7, 2012 at 7:06 am #

      Hi Andrea! Iranians are very, very welcoming. I hope you get something out of my posts, there will be plenty more to come.

  9. ryca Oct 6, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    that flight sounded hilarious nate…leslie neilson type shit. keep em coming brother, can’t wait to hear what the aunties cook in north tehran. stay safe.

    • Nate Oct 7, 2012 at 7:07 am #

      Thanks my man, we will stay safe. The flight was definitely flying-high-esque, the funniest flight I have ever been on. I’m hoping to get a meal from an auntie or two, will let you know how that goes…

  10. Paul Oct 6, 2012 at 10:08 pm #

    Really excited about this series of posts. I know several Iranians, great people with amazing stories, but have never heard about it from a westerners whose opinion value.

    • Nate Oct 7, 2012 at 7:09 am #

      Thanks Paul, always good to have you around.

  11. Matt Oct 6, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    Your adventures are capturing! I discovered your blog just a few days ago and got curious after you were about to leave KL (a city with which I also connect many dear memories) for Iran. It’s a very fresh perspective, different from what we keep seeing on TV. It’s about the people, their every day lives, their culture, mindset, and attitudes. Thus, I greatly appreciate your journalistic work and am excited to read your next post already.

    • Nate Oct 7, 2012 at 7:12 am #

      Hi Matt, I’m glad you happened-upon Yomadic. I can pretty much guarantee to offer a fresh perspective. This blog will remain independent – it is simply my voice. The difference between TV and reality is enormous – especially when it comes to nations like Iran. Perhaps everyone should turn the TV off for a few hours, at least ;)

  12. soroush Oct 7, 2012 at 1:46 am #

    hey nate, im persepolisi from skyscraper city, nice insight, and im really liking the comments , keep it up (everyone here) ! and thanks for the nice comments, i hope iran becomes free so we can welcome larger numbers of travelers :)

    take pics as much as u can, especially of things that might interesting a broad audience, ive noticed ur page is pretty well known, at least, in comparison to other pages of this type

    iran is a very complex country, and the double standard life of the majority makes it very hard for foreigners to really grasp on
    if there are any questions, concerns or curiosities on certain attitudes or things that u witness, me and the boys at ssc are always there to answer :)

    • Nate Oct 7, 2012 at 7:14 am #

      Hey thanks Soroush. The boys from SSC certainly helped me out in my planning for Iran, which admittedly was very “last minute”. I totally understand that as a foreigner, with a limited amount of time, it will be impossible to have anything more than a surface understanding of Iran. Don’t worry – I will take PLENTY of photos, and post the good ones up here. And thanks for your offer of assistance!

  13. Arnab Oct 7, 2012 at 3:19 am #

    Nate, I am really excited at your Iranian adventure and rather looking very closely into your future posts. All the Iranians I have met so far meets up to the description you provided, very hospitable indeed and if we leave the political situation aside, Iran is a beautiful country for a traveller!

    • Nate Oct 7, 2012 at 7:16 am #

      Cheers Arnab. Totally agree – Iran is beautiful, even in a bustling metropolis like Tehran I have seen beauty. Hope you enjoy the next few posts.

  14. Nancy Bourguignon Oct 7, 2012 at 4:00 am #

    Hi Nate,
    I’m glad to hear that both you and Phillipa made it to Iran. I very much enjoy your posts. They are well written, direct, informative and endearing. You talk about Phillipa’s dress code. I indeed would be very interested in hearing her impressions of being in Iran. I do realize that she may not be interested in writing and she may prefer to leave it up to you. Fair enough. Perhaps, in the event of that, you could sort of interview her ? I also wish to mention that I agree with the fact that people are pretty much the same everywhere, it’s just that different people live under different conditions. The great majority of humans only want to live in peace, raise their children in safety, be happy and perhaps contribute a little. In my life, I have had the privilege of meeting Iranians, Iraqis, Afghans, Yemenis, etc …. and, although they are a tad skittish initially, as soon as they realize you are forthright and ‘come in peace’, so to speak, they open up are are just warm, amazing humans.
    To both of you, stay safe and enjoy Iran
    Nancy

    • Nate Oct 7, 2012 at 7:17 am #

      Nancy, such kind words! Thank you! I have spoken to Phillipa, and she is interested in being “interviewed” for a post. If there is one thing I can’t do – it’s provide a women’s account of Iran. So, stay tuned, and thanks again for your beautiful compliments.

  15. Nat Oct 7, 2012 at 4:38 am #

    Yo buddy!
    Wowee. I love that your account comes at me like a conversation, rivalling Insight any day. Less than 2 days and there’s so much information and opinion here.
    Beautiful photos. I really really want to know if children are treated in accordance with their gender as much as adults are, and if not, when in a kid’s life does it start?! Do teenagers exist in Iran? Is there a grey-area muck-up age before the reality of life kicks in, or does it start with birth?
    I love the idea of interviewing Phillipa that Nancy had above me.

    I wish those peeps had the option to sweat the small stuff sometimes…

    Cant wait for next post!

    xNat

    • Nate Oct 7, 2012 at 7:23 am #

      Nat! How are you! Thanks, you know me, if there’s one thing I know how to do – it’s provide conversation ;) Great question with the kids – we’re still trying to figure it out a bit more, but I can tell you that small girls don’t need to wear head scarfs for example. But, I’m not sure exactly when the transition from kid to adult takes place (especially for women). Teenagers certainly exist, really, things seem to be very similar to most other countries in many ways. Each day I’m learning more, and your questions will make for some great future posts.

      I know what you mean about the small stuff. It’s just not going to happen at the moment, but really, it comes across as having quite a silver lining. In a bizarre way (and with all respect to the troubles facing Iran), I sometimes wish that Australians had less time to sweat the small stuff. What a crazy world we live in.

      Take it easy, hi to the Wolfman.

  16. Élan Oct 7, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    You’re very gutsy flying to Iran without a visa! I’m glad it worked out and you’re able to share such a lovely post with us.

    Where are you planning to go in Iran? Of course, you have to go to Isfahan and Shiraz. I would highly recommend Yazd. My husband is from Mashhad, so I have a special spot in my heart for that city, although it is more religious than other cities in Iran (except for Qom.)

    It’s cool to hear you talk prices, though it’s important to remember that the rial is crashing right now. 5 years ago, 1 USD = ~850 rial. Now, it’s ~3,000. You came at the right time! But it’s really a heartbreaking scenario for lots of people in Iran. I hope you include some comments on that as you travel. :)

    Also, I’d add that the gap between the government and the people is very big in cities, but not so big in villages.

    Looking forward to your future posts. I’d really great to read thoughts about Iran from someone without so much connection to the country. My opinion is always biased, lol.

    • Sassan Oct 7, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

      I concur that Yazd is a must. I am unfortunate that I have not had a chance to visit Yazd. But Yazd is a very ancient city indeed with great Zoroastrian sites.

      • Nate Oct 10, 2012 at 5:40 am #

        Hey Sassan… I’m going to try and make it to Yazd, we shall see how my time goes!

  17. Chrystal McKay Oct 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    Amazing piece so far – I am intrigued to read all your further insights into Iran. It is a country I know almost nothing about and I’ve always wanted to visit. But because of the political situations I have always avoided it. So It will be great to get your opinions on the state of everything there.

  18. Larissa Oct 7, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    CRAZY! I fall behind on my Yomadic for one month and you’re in f-ing Iran?? Fantastic story, I am glad it all worked out for you so far. I am super super jealous because I have wanted to go there my entire life because my dad was born there (to Russian parents but nevertheless he still speaks some Farsi and I was raised on Persian food).

    Enjoy and be safe. Can’t wait to hear more!

    • Nate Oct 8, 2012 at 3:56 am #

      Hey Larissa… haha! Glad to have you back here. Wow, you have quite the connection to Iran! You should visit! Imagine the photos you would take (I’d love to see that!). Thanks for the well-wishes, I will try my best to stay safe.

  19. Luis Linhares Oct 9, 2012 at 1:16 am #

    My wife and I are going to travel to Iran next Oct 31. We are a couple from Brazil and we will visit Tehran, Yazd, Isfahan and Shiraz by ourselves. We can’t wait to hear more too. Best wishes!

    • Nate Oct 10, 2012 at 5:43 am #

      Hi Luis… excellent! Now is a nice time of year to visit, the weather is not to hot, not to cold. I will try and add a bit of detail to my future posts, to help travellers like yourselves. I know you will find Iran an incredible destination, and I’m finding it easy to travel around the country independently.

  20. Nomadic Translator Oct 9, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    “I call it cutting edge 21st century tourism”

    XD

    WOO! I didn’t know you were going to Iran! That’s awesome. I’ll see if I can pull your trick next time “bus, Armenia. Bus, Armenia… Armenia, bus…”

    Do you think it would work as well for a US citizen? And a woman traveling by herself? Eek! Would hope so, I want to spend at least a month exploring ancient Persia

    please please please write many many posts from there :D

    - Maria Alexandra

    ps – and YES on getting Phillipa to guest post on this one ;D

    • Nate Oct 10, 2012 at 5:46 am #

      Maria, how are you (my favourite Latino travel blogger)? You will need to look into things, but from what I understand, it would not be so easy for an American citizen – there is no visa on arrival option for Americans (or British, I believe). I will more than likely write a post about getting a Visa, and will research various nationalities and the differences between the application process.

      Looks like Phillipa has been roped in for a guest post ;)

      • Hannah Oct 30, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

        I’m considering a visit to Iran in a couple of months. As far as I understand it, Americans are required to apply for a visa ahead of time. In addition, Americans seem to be the only nationality that is required to travel to Iran with a tour group (and not allowed to travel there independently). Sucks, right?!!

        • Nate Robert Oct 30, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

          It does suck… for all involved. Iran could benefit from increased tourism, and if only more American’s saw this wonderful country, who knows – relationships at the governmental level of both nations may just start to change a little. But, Hannah, tour group or not, I would 100% recommend a visit to Iran.

  21. Rosey Oct 15, 2012 at 7:51 am #

    I am so happy reading this story and I’m now planning to visit Iran!

  22. Ehsan Oct 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    Good pictures , I miss this city and people , but the main thing that i must say here is take picture from the Streets :Farmaniyeh , Niavaran , Sa adat abad which are developed and rich zone in Tehran and also Iran to show to everybody to show that Iranian do not live in cave and do not transfer by camel :-)
    Any way these photos are really good and i say thank you to this photographer and writer :-)

    • Nate Oct 19, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

      Why thank you Ehsan! I did visit Farmaniyeh, it’s a beautiful neigbourhood, I had a great meal at “Chai Bar”. And, I can assure the readers that Tehran is very modern, people live in houses and apartments. As well, they travel by cars, buses, subways, motorcycles. In fact, I didn’t see one camel ;)

  23. jessica Nov 20, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    Now that’s what I call a good travel experience and I love how you put it ‘cutting edge 21st century tourism’….too right! Also like the ‘friendly Iranian’ man who posed in your pic ha!

  24. Res Dec 20, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

    Hi Nate,

    I don’t know how much you enjoy the whole bazzar and eating kabab. But if I can suggest one thing while visiting Tehran is this:

    Meet some girls in coffee shops. Have them take you to one of Iran’s infamous rave/underground parties, and experience things you thought was only possible at the Play Boy mansion.

    That’s a side of Iran that unfortunately a lot of foreign tourist miss out on.

    • Nate Robert Dec 20, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

      Wow. That sounds right up my alley. Next time Reza, I’ll give this a go.

  25. Ali Feb 23, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    Hi Nate. Just seen photo-sets of your journey to my beautifu,l beloved country! Very glad that you loved in here and really appreciate photo-bloggers like you to do what should had been done by my odious government (give a totally different, real picture of Iran).


    Love and peace
    Ali
    Esfahan/Iran

    • Nate Robert Feb 27, 2013 at 11:27 am #

      Hi Ali,

      It was my pleasure to visit your incredible country. I hope more people like myself get to visit, and report back on the “real” Iran.

      All the best to you. Nate.
      PS – Esfahan is surely one of the most beautiful cities on Earth.

  26. homayoun Jul 22, 2013 at 5:03 am #

    happy to hear you enjoyed
    you are beutifully positive
    in fact there are too positive things in the life to waste the time in talking about Flaws

    I am 37 and never seen camel in tehran’s streets
    I wish I could

    Even if you saw everywhere camels as transport system, still you could enjoy and be happy

    Thank you about this honest and acurate description of Iran

    • Nate Robert Jul 22, 2013 at 5:17 am #

      Thank you homyoun… very kind words. I really did enjoy Iran, even some months later, I wish I could be back on the streets of Iran. I think I will visit again very soon.

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