Iran Adventure Trip Notes

Iran Adventure

Last Modified: 14 Jul 2016
Iran Adventure
Trip code: HPSN
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Welcome to the hidden world of Iran. Travel through this fascinating country to discover refined Islamic cities, colourful bazaars, ancient Persian ruins, fascinating nomads and shimmering deserts. Whether you're relaxing in a teahouse in Tehran, enjoying guided tours of ancient cultural sites or breaking bread with nomads on the harsh Iranian plateau, the warmth and hospitality of the Iranian people is endearing and the profound beauty of their land is mesmerising.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodationFinish point description
ThemesAccommodation NotesFinishing point instructions
Is this trip right for you?Meals introductionEmergency contact
Why we love itMealsVisas
MapTransportWhat to take
ItineraryMoney mattersClimate and seasonal information
Itinerary disclaimerGroup leaderHealth
Physical ratingSafetyTravel insurance
Included activitiesJoining pointA couple of rules
Important notesJoining point descriptionResponsible Travel
Group sizeJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Your fellow travellersFinish pointFeedback
Style
Original
Themes
Explorer
Is this trip right for you?
- The pathways around some of the sites may be un-even, rocky or dusty. Some of the guided trips may involve quite a lot of walking in the elements. Please bring comfortable walking shoes and be prepared with hats, sunscreen, water or layers for cooler weather.
- Upon arrival in Iran, all women must wear a headscarf, and must also have their arms and legs covered. Men must also be conservatively dressed.
- Iran is a big country and this trip covers a lot in two weeks, so be prepared for some long travel days with lots of opportunity to take in the great landscapes.
Why we love it
- Discover an Iran beyond the media portrayals of a repressive and dour regime – this is a country full of warm, lively and friendly people
- Explore the rich history told in the ancient ruins that lie across the country. Modern Iran is a great fusion of civilisations – the Archaemedians, Alexander the Great, the Parthanians, Sassanians, Arabs, Seljuks, Mongols, and Safavids – who all left their mark in innumerable ways
- Experience the wondrous remains of the ancient capital of Persepolis – the scale and grandeur will leave you in no doubt that this was once the centre of the known world
- Immerse yourself in rural nomadic life with a beautifully remote homestay with the Qashqai people
- Surrounded yourself with beautiful landscapes and amazing architecture, from breath-taking mosques to stepped hillside villages, cleverly designed wind towers (badgirs) and the macabre Zoroastrian Towers of Silence
- Slip into the exotic shoes of a Silk Road merchant with an overnight stay in a classic 16th century Caravanserai
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Tehran
Welcome to Iran. There will be a Welcome Meeting at 12 noon today; please refer to your hotel noticeboard or talk to reception for more details. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have this on hand. Iran's capital is exciting, noisy and chaotic. Home to 15 million people, Tehran is the country's beating heart and where its true national identity is found. Expect to see women wearing full-length chadors competing for space with young and hip girls in figure-hugging manteau and headscarves. You will visit the superb Golestan Palace to view some of the excesses of the Qajar rulers, ramble through the enormous bazaar, and visit the Iman Khomeni Mosque. Later, you could try some fine Iranian cuisine like dizi (soup stew mashed into paste) while enjoying traditional music at a local restaurant. With only a short time in Tehran on this trip, perhaps arrive a few days early and spend some time visiting the sites. There's a host of interesting museums, including the National Jewellery Museum and the Carpet Museum. There are also a handful of centuries-old churches and many monuments from the city's illustrious Persian past.
Included Activities
  • Tehran tour
  • Golestan Palace
  • Iman Mosque entrance and guided tour
    Accommodation
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Day 2 Shiraz
    Catch a flight today from Tehran to Shiraz (approximately 2 hours). Shiraz is a Pearl of Persia. The very name evokes images of ancient times: exotic, tranquil gardens, lavish mansions, colourful woollen rugs, art, philosophy, poetry and of course, the famous Shiraz red wine (although unfortunately no longer found here). Shiraz is also a renowned centre of learning and boasts many of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country. Known as Iran's cultural capital, this city was home to two of Persia's most famous poets in the 13th and 14th centuries, Hafez and Saadi, whose mausoleums are found here. Today you’ll take a walking tour around the city, stopping by Shahcheragh, a beautiful mausoleum of one of Imam Reza's brothers and the holiest site in Shiraz; the forecourt is usually packed with Shiite pilgrims. You’ll also stop by Jame Atiq mosque, one of the oldest in the county and uniquely designed, and end the tour in a traditional teahouse in the wonderful Bazar-e Vakil. In the bazaar you might spot the members of nomad groups who come to the city to stock up on provisions. In free time you could visit the incredibly colourfully decorated Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque, where sunlight streaming through stain glass windows fills the interior with kaleidoscopic colours, or the theological college of Khan Madraseh.
    Included Activities
    • Shiraz walking tour including entrance to sights
      Optional Activities
      • Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque and Khan Madraseh - Free
      • Bagh-e Eram Gardens - IRR150000
      • Tomb of Hafez - IRR150000
        Accommodation
        Hotel (1 nt)
        Meals
        1 breakfast
        Day 3 Shiraz
        Enjoy a free day in the ‘city of flowers and nightingales’, which has managed to retain its provincial, relaxed atmosphere and is a lovely place to explore. There are many activities to fill your day, so speak to your trip leader who can help you to plan your day. Consider visiting the lovely, vast garden complex of Eram Garden, also known as the ‘Garden of Paradise’ (Bagh-e Eram). Wander the grounds, filled with young Shirazis, where artificial rivers run through an impressive collection of cypress trees and pool in front of a colourful palace. Maybe follow this with the tombs of Hafez and Sa'di. Hafez was a Persian poet who is regarded as a literary giant and folk hero. Sa'di, another great poet and writer from Shiraz, was more of a scholar. Appreciate the intricate artwork of their tombs and understand their continued relevance and importance in Iranian society, and perhaps listen to some poetry being recited. In the centre of town is the Arg-e Karim Khan, a mud-brick citadel from the 18th century, a time when the whole of Persia was ruled by Karim Khan from Shiraz. Don't miss the room exhibiting historic photos from the 19th and 20th centuries, and the legendary tales depicted on the tiles at the entrance gate. Enjoy being stopped by friendly locals who love nothing more than to chat with you about anything and everything.
        Accommodation
        Hotel (1 nt)
        Meals
        1 breakfast
        Day 4 Nomad Stay
        Leaving Shiraz, your first stop today is Iran's premier attraction, Persepolis (approximately 1 hour). It was once the centre of the Persian Empire and one of the great cities of the ancient world, constructed in the reign of Darius I and taking 150 years to complete. The imposing gateways, exquisite relief carvings and towering columns will leave you in no doubt that this was once the centre of the known world. In 330 BC, Alexander the Great destroyed the city, and while today only the smaller ruins remain, the grandeur is still impressive. You will then visit Naqsh-e-Rostam, a cave-tomb containing the bodies of several Achaemenid kings, including Darius the Great. Then, travel on to meet your nomadic hosts. The Fars Province is famous for its nomadic people, and the barren landscape provides a stark contrast to the vibrancy and hospitality of its inhabitants. Iran has over 500 different nomadic tribes – the largest, the Qashqai, are Turkic speaking pastoral nomads who winter near the Persian Gulf and summer on the central Iranian Plateau. The area north of Shiraz has been the home of nomadic tribes for centuries. Migration is a way of life and herding cattle, sewing carpets and embroidery form the basis of these tribal economies. Join a group of local nomads and share a meal, then maybe enjoy a traditional nomad song and dance. A ‘house of hair’, made from goat and sheep fleece, is your accommodation for the night. This is your chance to observe the lifestyle of nomads as they herd their animals, tend to the fields and enjoy simple meals.

        Notes: Tonight’s accommodation is very simple. We share the close quarters of one large communal tent and the ground is often quite hard. For your comfort, a simple rollable foam mattress, pillows and a sleeping bag are provided, but consider bringing your own thermarest (or similar) if you’d like the extra padding. Also maybe pack thermal clothing if you feel the cold. With an adventurous attitude and Intrepid spirit, the simple nature of the camp will soon be overcome by the beauty of the landscape and this unique way of life. Also please note that due to the authenticity of this activity, it's impossible to guarantee any set program. Expect the unexpected – anything can happen, from a simple night in with local families to an invitation to a nomad wedding! Also, due to the nature of the nomadic tribes, there may be occasions when they are 'on the move' and we are not able to locate and stay with them in a normal camp. We'll do our best to make the regular arrangements, but on rare occasions there may be times when are not able to stay in a nomad camp and alternative arrangements are made. We request your patience and understanding in this situation.
        Included Activities
        • Persepolis and Naqsh-e Rostam entrance and guided tour
          Accommodation
          Nomad Tent (1 nt)
          Meals
          1 breakfast, 1 dinner
          Day 5 Eghlid
          Farewell your nomad hosts and journey towards the town of Eghlid. Perched between the desert and the mountains, in ancient times Eghlid acted as the main gateway from the north to Persepolis, as other routes were mountainous and difficult to pass. Some of the surrounding mountain peaks are covered by snow throughout the year. Check into your hotel in this sleepy town then head out to visit Sassanid empire ruins dating back 1,800 years, a Zoroastrian ‘tower of silence’ and the sacred shrine of Eghlid. Zoroastrianism, which dates back over 4,000 years, was the state religion of Iran before the arrival of Islam. Followers believe there is one God called Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord), and they worship communally in a Fire Temple or Agiary. The intriguing Towers of Silence are part of the Zoroastrian tradition of raised circular structures where the dead are laid out to be picked clean by scavenger birds.
          Included Activities
          • Eghlid sightseeing walk
            Accommodation
            Hotel (1 nt)
            Meals
            1 breakfast
            Day 6 Caravanserai Zein-o-din
            Continue on your journey (approximately 1 hours), arriving at the historical town of Abarqu, located in the desert valley beneath the Zagros Mountains. Check out the town’s main sights, which includes an ice house (a specially constructed house that acted like a fridge), the 11th century Gonbad Ali Dome, the Khan-e Aghazadeh Qajar-era mansion, the Jameh Mosque, and a 4,000-year-old cypress tree. Then travel across the stunning Zagros Mountains and reach the Zein-o-din Caravanserai. Set in the desolate Dasht-e Lut desert, Zein-o-din is a classic small caravanserai built during the 16th century under the orders of Shah Abbas, who supposedly built 999 such hostels to promote business. The constantly mobile Silk Road travellers needed places of rest and shelter in the isolated areas between the widely spaced cities and towns, leading to the construction of many such caravanserais. Their main function was to receive travellers and store merchandise, so they were designed to be spacious enough to shelter guests, as well as goods. A night's stay in a caravanserai is a wonderful chance to step into the exotic shoes of a Silk Road merchant, and relive the age when this area hummed with travellers. Most of the rooms remain unchanged from days gone by, with carpets covering raised wooden floors, and heavy curtains rather than doors separating rooms from the hallway. Like Silk Road travellers before you, experience a rich red sunset while the night sky fills with stars.
            Accommodation
            Guesthouse (1 nt)
            Meals
            1 breakfast, 1 dinner
            Day 7 Yazd
            Get up early and enjoy an authentic breakfast of freshly baked bread. Then, enjoy free time to bask in the sunshine on the rooftop of the glorious caravanserai, overlooking the barren landscape of the surrounding desert plains. If you're lucky, you may even spot a gazelle. Travel by private van to Yazd (approximately 1 hour). This ancient desert city was a major stop on the caravan routes to Central Asia and India during the Silk Road period – Marco Polo visited the city on his way to China – and it retains a rustic feel. It's also the heart of the Zoroastrian religion. Yazd is a fascinating place to wander around, and a walking tour visits the Jameh Mosque, notable for its fine mosaics and beautiful exterior designed to draw people inside. From here you are ideally placed to explore the old part of the city, one of the oldest on earth according to UNESCO. Walk the narrow kuches (lanes), past simple courtyards and the ornate doors of the mud brick buildings. One of the most distinctive features of Yazd are the wind towers (‘badgirs’) that capture even the softest of breezes and send them to the buildings below in a forerunner of modern air-con. The water museum shows how the quants (underground water channels) brought water to the city from the mountains for thousands of years. You will also visit the Fire Temple and Towers of Silence, both vestiges of the city’s Zoroastrian heritage. In the Zoroastrian religion, fire and water are agents of ritual purity, and the fire in the Atashkadeh Fire Temple is said to have been continuously burning since 470 AD.
            Included Activities
            • Yazd walking tour including entrance to sights
              Optional Activities
              • Kharanaq-Chak-Cahk-Meybod tour - IRR900000
                Accommodation
                Hotel (1 nt)
                Meals
                1 breakfast
                Day 8 Yazd
                Today you have the choice of taking an optional excursion outside of Yazd, which includes the impressive Kharanak mud brick village, Chak Chak fire temple, and the Meybod citadel. The impressive town of Kharanak is believed to be 1,000 years old and you can explore the abandoned structures of this hillside settlement, peering into the houses of wealthy merchants and hammans (bathhouses). Explore the valley and nearby mountains and get great pictures of the aqueducts that formed part of the underground water system. The system is still used to irrigate the fields here – great shocks of green against the brown desert. Chak Chak is one of the most important Zoroastrian pilgrimage sites in Iran, and you’ll climb up the mountainside to reach the fire temple – your efforts rewarded with wonderful views. Chak Chak means ‘drip, drip’, named for a trickle of holy water that drips inside the temple. After lunch, check out Narin Castle, thought to be the oldest mudbrick structure in Iran, and explore the still growing town of Meybod before returning to Yzad. If you're after a more relaxing day, then you can simply stay at the hotel – a traditional 19th-century traditional mansion – puff on a qalyan or try the local favourite, camel fesenjun, in the shady courtyard.
                Accommodation
                Hotel (1 nt)
                Meals
                1 breakfast
                Day 9 Esfahan
                Depart Yazd and embark on a local bus ride to Iran's jewel, Esfahan (approximately 5 hours). Esfahan is quite simply one of the finest places in the Islamic world, and a visit here will leave you breathless. A 16th-century rhyme called it 'half the world' and after spending a few days here, you might agree. There's an abundance of fine Islamic buildings, most of which are covered with the blue mosaic tiles Iran is famous for. There's also an enormous bazaar, which is perfect for shopping for exquisite Persian carpets. Or you can relax by the tranquil gardens, picturesque bridges and superb palaces. You’ll arrive into Esfahan in the late afternoon. This evening, you might stroll to the Zayandeh River and have a look at its historic bridges, which seem to have come straight from a fairytale. At several of the bridges local people gather to talk, drink tea and sing beautiful folk songs. This is truly a magical place to while away some time, and one of the most atmospheric places in all of Iran.
                Included Activities
                • Esfahan walking tour
                • Ali Qapu Palace
                • Iman Mosque entrance and guided tour
                • Sheik Lotfallah Mosque
                  Optional Activities
                  • Chehel Sotun Palace - IRR150000
                  • Jameh Mosque - IRR150000
                  • Manar Jomban (Shaking Minarets) - IRR150000
                    Accommodation
                    Hotel (1 nt)
                    Meals
                    1 breakfast
                    Day 10 Esfahan
                    You’ll have plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere of Esfahan, beginning today with a half-day tour of the city. Your guide will give you an insight into life under Persia's greatest ruler, Shah Abbas, with the city reaching its peak during his 16th century reign, when it became the capital of Persia. Even though the capital was moved to Shiraz and then Tehran, the city still retains much of its past glory. You will start the tour at the immense Imam Square (formerly Naqsh-e Jahan Square); covering an area of 82,500 square meters it’s the second largest in the world. The square is surrounded by many grand buildings, such as the Ali Qapu Palace, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Qeysarieh Portal and the majestic Imam Mosque. It’s truly a remarkable sight. In the Safavid era, this square was a place for parades, military reviews, polo games and festivals; and once home to entertainers, storytellers, preachers and Silk Road caravans. Today it’s popular for local families to meander around and picnic at in the early evenings. Located in the west of Imam Square, the Ali Qapu Palace covers six floors and was originally built as the main palace of Shah Abbas, who used it to receive guests and foreign ambassadors. You’ll visit the atmospheric bazaar with its wonderful scents and spices, musical merchants' cries and, of course, thousands of locals bargaining for their most desired items. Walk the covered lanes of this sprawling marketplace, where shafts of light filter through celling and lattice, and browse for fabrics, spices, jewellery and other treasures.
                    Accommodation
                    Hotel (1 nt)
                    Meals
                    1 breakfast
                    Day 11 Esfahan
                    You have a free day to explore this lovely city, so take time to wander along the city's many tree-lined boulevards and spacious gardens. Visits to the Jameh Mosque (Friday Mosque), the biggest in all Iran and full of lovely designed stuccos, or the fresco-filled Chehel Sotun Palace, a relaxed complex with a water pool surrounded by shady tree, are highly recommended. You could also discover the bizarre Manar Jomban (shaking minarets). Perhaps head to the Armenian quarter of the city and the Church of St. Joseph of Arimathea, which has a striking interior of gilded ceilings, walls and paintings. The stunning, delicate artwork of the dome depicts the Biblical story of Genesis, from the Creation to man’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden. There is a museum in this church that contains some very historic manuscripts. Or perhaps head back into the bazaar for some more great shopping, and find one of the teahouses tucked away here, the perfect place to rest tired feet and refresh your spirit. Make sure to take a stroll by the Zayandeh River and stop for a well-deserved chai at one of the stunning bridges that give this part of the city a relaxing, but colourful air.
                    Accommodation
                    Hotel (1 nt)
                    Meals
                    1 breakfast
                    Day 12 Abyaneh
                    Leave Esfahan today and travel on to your next stop – the charming mountain village of Abyaneh (approximately 2.5 hours). Set at an altitude of 2,500 metres and nestled at the foot of Mt Karkus, Abyaneh features mudbrick houses that are arranged in a stair-step shape. Take a walking tour to inspect the interesting architecture of this ancient red-rock town. The wooden doors – most of which have two knockers (one for men, one for women) – are built in the traditional style, with beautiful patterns and poems carved on them (often the names of the owner and mason). These etchings offer a good picture of ancient Iranian culture. The layout of the houses also hints at the country's occasionally tumultuous history – the buildings were huddled together to protect them from frequent raids by passing armies. Pass through the local shops and mosque, and enjoy great views of the valley below. Spend the rest of the day soaking up the relaxed atmosphere of this quiet rural town.
                    Accommodation
                    Hotel (1 nt)
                    Meals
                    1 breakfast
                    Day 13 Kashan
                    Continue on by private van down the mountains, into the desert, and on to Kashan (approximately 1.5 hours). Kashan is a beautiful oasis city with a very long history – human settlement in the area dates back to the 4th millennium BC. It’s also a merchant town know for its high quality ceramics, silks, carpets, and some of the finest traditional houses in Iran. See these houses with visits to the Khan-e Borujerdi and Khan-e Tabatabei. These 19th-century khans were funded by wealthy merchants and feature lovely courtyards, lush gardens and fine intricate relief designs carved into stone and stucco work. Khan-e Borujerdi was built in the 1840s for the affluent Tabatabaei family because a father set one condition of marriage: that his daughter much be able to live in a home at least as lovely as his own. 18 years later, this exquisite Persian residential home, full of minute architectural details, was completed (though she did marry in the interim). Khan-e Tabatabei is known for its intricate stone reliefs, stucco and great mirror and stained-glass work. Take some time for lunch, then on to the most impressive Islamic complex in Kashan – the Agha Bozorg Mosque and Madraseh, famous for its symmetrical design. Later, if you have the energy, take some free time to explore the town's other sights such as the Fin Gardens, a classical Persian vision of paradise and one of the most beautiful gardens in the Middle East. In the evening, there's an opportunity to experience some delicious Iranian cooking in the home of a local family.
                    Included Activities
                    • Meal with local family in Kashan
                    • Traditional houses
                    • Agha Bozorg Mosque and Madraseh
                      Optional Activities
                      • Fin Gardens - IRR150000
                        Accommodation
                        Hotel (1 nt)
                        Meals
                        1 breakfast, 1 dinner
                        Day 14 Tehran
                        This morning, make your way from Kashan to Tehran (approximately 4 hours). Stop along the way to visit the still under construction holy shrine of Imam Khomeni, the leader of the Islamic Revolution. When completed, the Iranian’s believe the shrine will be one of the greatest buildings in the Islamic world. Revered as the father of the 1979 revolution, Imam Khomeni was buried here in 1989. His funeral was attended by an incredible 10 million people, making it the world's biggest. People from all around Iran come here to pay their respects. You’ll also visit the nearby Behesht-e Zahra, an enormous cemetery where many who lost their lives during the Iran-Iraq War are buried. With over 200,000 graves, it serves as a moving reminder of the futility of war. Arrive at your Tehran hotel this afternoon. Tonight you can relive your unforgettable adventure over an optional farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
                        Included Activities
                        • Visit to the holy shrine of Imam Khomeni
                          Accommodation
                          Hotel (1 nt)
                          Meals
                          1 breakfast
                          Day 15 Tehran
                          There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
                          Meals
                          1 breakfast
                          Itinerary disclaimer
                          ITINERARY CHANGES Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

                          OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

                          DEPOSITS Please note deposits on this trip are non refundable and non-transferable as per our terms and conditions. You are required to pay a non-refundable deposit of $250 per person per trip for your booking to be confirmed
                          Physical rating

                          A reasonable level of fitness is expected and will certainly help increase the enjoyment of the trip. Some of the archaeological sites and activities included involve a fair amount of walking.
                          Included activities
                          Tehran tour
                          Golestan Palace
                          Iman Mosque entrance and guided tour
                          Shiraz walking tour including entrance to sights
                          Persepolis and Naqsh-e Rostam entrance and guided tour
                          Eghlid sightseeing walk
                          Yazd walking tour including entrance to sights
                          Esfahan walking tour
                          Ali Qapu Palace
                          Sheik Lotfallah Mosque
                          Meal with local family in Kashan
                          Traditional houses
                          Agha Bozorg Mosque and Madraseh
                          Visit to the holy shrine of Imam Khomeni
                          Important notes
                          1. This trip starts at 12noon on day 1
                          2. On Day 2 there is an included internal flight from Tehran to Shiraz. The maximum check-in baggage allowance is 17kgs per person plus hand luggage.
                          3. Please note deposits on this trip are non refundable and non-transferable as per our terms and conditions. You are required to pay a non-refundable deposit of $250 per person per trip for your booking to be confirmed
                          4. A single supplement is available on this trip. On the following nights the Single Supplement is not available:
                          Day 4: Nomad Stay
                          Day 6 - Caravanserai


                          Group size
                          Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
                          Your fellow travellers
                          GROUP TRAVEL
                          As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

                          SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
                          Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
                          Accommodation
                          Guesthouse (1nt), Hotel (12nt), Nomad Tent (1nt)
                          ACCOMMODATION TYPES:
                          Our accommodation styles range from Basic to Comfortable. Read below for what you can expect from each category. The style of each night of accommodation is listed on the day to day itinerary, alongside any exceptions you need to be made aware of.

                          BASIC
                          This is roughing it in the roughest sense. Our Basic accommodation includes campsites and wilderness lodges with very limited facilities, and homestays with squat/drop toilets and no showers. Sometimes you might spend a night on a train, bus or boat (all seated, no sleepers). Luxurious, it isn’t, but sleeping under the stars or in a hammock in the jungle is all part of the experience.

                          SIMPLE
                          Simple by name, simple by nature: think local guesthouses and homestays, the occasional shared dorm-style room, overnight sleeper trains or boats, and campsites with facilities. Some of our Simple accommodation has outside facilities, and you may be starting the day with a brisk shower if hot water isn’t available (some say cold, we say invigorating).

                          TOURIST
                          No frills, no fuss and no chocolate on your pillow at bedtime, but a clean and comfy place to lay your head. Tourist accommodation covers basic hotels, local guesthouses and lodges, permanent campsites and the occasional multi-share room. Our Tourist rooms usually have no heating or air conditioning, and sometimes you’ll be sharing a bathroom.

                          STANDARD
                          A cheerful room to call your own at the end of a long day of seeing the sights and sites. Our Standard rooms are convenient and cosy, and will usually include an en suite bathroom. Rooms are sometimes on the small side and amenities may be limited.

                          COMFORTABLE
                          Pretty much exactly what it says on the box. Expect pleasant accommodation, your own bathroom, and heating/air conditioning where appropriate. Most of our Comfortable accommodation has lifts, porters to help with your bags and are – yep – a comfortable spot to end your busy days.

                          HEATING AND AIR-CONDITIONING:

                          As a desert region, this part of the world has extremes of weather. Winter months (approx December to March) can be very cold. All of our hotel accommodation contains suitable bedding, and simple light bedding is provided during camping activities such as an overnight felucca, desert camps or at the Red Sea Beach camp stay. Most of our travellers find the bedding provided here adequate, but for your own comfort and if you are particularly sensitive to the cold, consider bringing your own sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket. Some of our guesthouses / hotels don't supply heating. In many cases this would be a major financial and environmental strain on our hotels and the local towns. Summer (approx June to August) can be very hot everywhere we travel, which means that it can be quite uncomfortable for those not used to the heat. Not all our hotels have air-conditioning, and in those that do, it's not always functioning.
                          Meals introduction
                          Your group leader or representative will endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements where possible, and vegetarianism and gluten intolerance will be catered for in most instances. There are, however some meals and activities that are fixed in advance and therefore cannot be modified to suit dietary requirements. These instances will be indicated in the Essential Trip Information itinerary. Please notify your group leader of any dietary requirements in your group meeting at the start of the trip.

                          For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader or representative will endeavour to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic.
                          Meals
                          14 breakfasts, 3 dinners
                          Transport
                          Bus, Plane, Private Mini Bus

                          There are some long travel days and some rough travelling in areas away from main tourist routes. Windy roads, rough surfaces and cramped conditions make for some challenging travel experiences. On some long travel days we depart early in the morning to ensure we optimise our time at our next destination. If you experience travel sickness we recommend you consider medication to help ease the discomfort.

                          SECURITY WHILE TRAVELLING:
                          Occasionally you may experience armed security and convoys between select towns or regions. Convoys are used to ensure all travellers are transported safely and, in many cases, tourists are only allowed to travel in scheduled convoys of buses and jeeps. On rare occasions you may have an armed guard in your vehicle. We want to warn you so you are not alarmed. This is a practice designed to keep tourists safe, although at time it can appear a little overkill.

                          INTERNAL FLIGHT: Tehran to Shiraz
                          Please note this flight is included on your trip. The baggage allowance is 17kgs for checked bags.
                          Money matters
                          When it comes to money matters on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need.

                          Also make sure you’ve read your trip details thoroughly so you know what’s included in the trip price and what isn’t. This should make budgeting a little easier. You’ll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that’s this document).
                          Please note: all recommendations for additional costs, tipping etc. are in USD. You will need to convert these into the relevant local currency.


                          MEALS NOT INCLUDED

                          Depending on the style of trip you have chosen (Basix, Original or Comfort), included meals will vary.

                          Breakfast. If breakfast is not included, you can expect to pay between USD5 to USD10 at a local café.

                          Lunch. Lunch at a touristy restaurant should cost around USD10 to USD20. However, local street food can be substantially cheaper.

                          Dinner. At dinner time, your leader will normally recommend restaurants where you can safely try the local specialties of the region. Expect meals to cost between USD15 to USD25 for a main.

                          These are indicative prices only. If you are in a tight budget and are happy to eat just local food you can eat cheaper than this. If you want to try the finest food at the finest restaurants, then you can expect meals to cost as much as in western countries.

                          TIPPING

                          Known as 'baksheesh' in the Middle East, tipping is a part of everyday life and is more than just a reward for services rendered. I countries where wages are extremely low it is an essential means of supplementing income. This practice is not merely reserved for foreigners and locals have to constantly hand out 'Baksheesh' as well - to park their cars, ensure fresh produce and pick up their mail. If you are satisfied with the services provided, a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate and always appreciated. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels.

                          Usually the equivalent of around USD5 to USD10 per person, per day to cover tips is fine. Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, your leader might raise the idea of a group tipping kitty. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running this kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips as you go. The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This kitty does not include tips for your leader and crew.


                          TIPPING GUIDE

                          To give you a bit of guidance, we’ve put together the following tipping notes. These are just suggestions, based on feedback from past travellers and our staff on the ground.

                          - Basic restaurants – Round up to the nearest figure or leaving the loos change is generally fine.
                          - Up-market restaurants – When checking the bill, if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.
                          - Local guides – Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest USD2 to USD3 per person, per day for local guides.
                          - Your tour leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline USD2 to USD4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.


                          EMERGENCY FUNDS

                          We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.


                          CREDIT CARD, ATMS AND MONEY EXCHANGE

                          With the exception of Iran, ATMs are widely available in major towns and cities throughout the Middle East and Turkey. Credit and debit cards are the best way to access money throughout most trips (note though that charges are made for each transaction). Credit cards are generally available in tourist shops and restaurants. Visa and Mastercard are generally preferred over American Express, Diners, etc. Smaller venues take cash only.

                          Check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as - suspecting fraud - they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions.

                          Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to USD100 per day.


                          TRAVELLERS TO IRAN PLEASE NOTE:

                          Iran is very much a cash economy. This means travellers can rarely use debit or credit cards while in Iran. There are virtually no opportunities to withdraw cash in Iran. ATM’s are non-existent. Credit cards are also only accepted sporadically; there may be rare occasions in tourist-orientated shops that credit cards are accepted, otherwise cash is the main method of trade in Iran.
                          Group leader
                          All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

                          Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
                          Safety
                          Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

                          We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

                          Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

                          For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
                          www.intrepidtravel.com/safety


                          SAFETY IN IRAN:

                          Iran you say, is it safe?
                          In a word, yes.

                          This question will be asked of you many times before you arrive in Iran and long after you return. One of the biggest misconceptions is that Iran is an unfriendly country - this couldn't be further from the truth. You are likely to be greeted with salaams (hello) by the many friendly faces that you'll see during your time here. The Iranian people are famous for their warm hospitality and welcoming nature so don't be surprised if locals invite you into their homes where you'll suddenly find yourself reclining on a Persian carpet with your smiling hosts, drinking tea and sharing food and plenty of laughs. Tourism is in its infancy in Iran and you'll find that the local people will show a genuine interest towards you and want to try out their English on you. Of course, petty crime does exist but probably the only danger you'll face while here is the country's chaotic traffic, especially when crossing the road or even while walking on the footpath.

                          FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
                          Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

                          BALCONIES:
                          Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.

                          TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
                          Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!

                          SEAT BELTS:
                          Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.

                          PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
                          While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

                          WATER SAFETY:
                          Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.

                          TRAVEL ADVICE & TRAVEL INSURANCE
                          We recommend that you check your government's advice in relation to the areas you will be visiting for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers.
                          Joining point
                          Parastoo Hotel
                          DJomhouri St, between Pole Hafez & Chahar rahe 30 Tir, koochehye shahrokh
                          Djomhoori Avenue (District)
                          Tehran
                          IRAN, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF
                          Phone: +98 2166702422
                          Joining point description
                          Parastoo Hotel is located in central Tehran, close to the Iran National Museum and Grand Bazaar. Rooms have ensuite bathrooms, satellite TV, air-conditioning & wifi
                          Joining point instructions
                          You'll arrive at Iman Khomeni airport, located 40 km south of central Tehran. On arrival you may be asked to fill out a standard customs declaration form, which you show to the customs officer, who stamps it. It’s best that you keep this form until you leave Iran.

                          From the airport taxi booth, taxis should cost around US$30 with bargaining. There may be some delays waiting for an available taxi. The trip will take between 1 and 2 hours depending on the time of the day and subsequent traffic conditions.

                          If you have booked an arrival transfer please look out for our transfer operator, who will be holding a sign with your name, after clearing customs. If you have difficulty locating the driver or you encounter unexpected delays before clearing customs and immigration - please call our local representative Mr Reza: +989 1771 42602

                          Check-in time at our joining point hotel is after 12 noon. Early check-in is not guaranteed, however if you arrive early, luggage storage is available. Speak to the hotel reception on arrival.
                          Finish point
                          Parastoo Hotel
                          DJomhouri St, between Pole Hafez & Chahar rahe 30 Tir, koochehye shahrokh
                          Djomhoori Avenue (District)
                          Tehran
                          IRAN, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF
                          Phone: +98 2166702422
                          Finish point description
                          Parastoo Hotel is located in central Tehran, close to the Iran National Museum and Grand Bazaar. Rooms have ensuite bathrooms, satellite TV, air-conditioning & wifi
                          Finishing point instructions
                          The standard cost of a taxi to the airport is approx IRR650,000 (US$30). The trip will take between 1 and 2 hours depending on the time of the day and subsequent traffic conditions.
                          Emergency contact
                          In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, our local Iran based Office can be reached on Tel: +989 337 408 300

                          For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

                          While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

                          We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

                          You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

                          Reza Poorhoseini: +989 337 408 300
                          Visas
                          PASSPORT

                          As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.

                          VISAS

                          Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                          We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from countries not listed below must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.


                          IRAN:

                          All foreign visitors require a visa to enter Iran except citizens of the following countries:  Lebanon (15 days), Azerbaijan (15 days), Georgia (45 days), Bolivia (30 days), Egypt (20 days) and Turkey (90 days)

                          For all other nationalities Iran visas can take from 6-8 weeks to be processed. Please allow sufficient time for this.

                          Iranian visas are issued in a two-step process:

                          1. An authorisation code for your visa must be issued by the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
                          2. A visa for your passport must then be obtained at an Iranian Embassy once the authorisation code has been issued.

                          For your nearest Iranian Embassy please check the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website: www.mfa.gov.ir. Please note your nearest embassy might be outside your home country.
                          Authorisation code/Visa Approval number and Iran Invite Number all have the same meaning but can be displayed as different names on different forms.
                          Please note the Iranian Embassy also now require a letter of authorisation to be submitted with your visa application form. Please speak to your agent to arrange this.

                          Step 1- How to apply for your authorisation code:

                          A visa authorisation application form will be sent to you immediately upon booking. Please promptly complete and return this to our sales team.
                          If you are arriving early or staying on afterwards this needs to be written on your application form. Please note due to government regulations citizens from Britain, Canada, USA, Colombia, India, Somalia, Bangladesh, Jordan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan can only stay one day before and/or one day after the trip start date.
                          As you are technically the responsibility of our Intrepid operator for your entire stay, only Intrepid-booked activities/accommodation are able to be nominated as part of this visa application.
                          If you do not receive this form at the time of booking please enquire with your agent.
                          For U.S, Canadian and British passport holders only, all Iran authorisation code applications must be accompanied with a detailed resume.
                          This must be a document that lists the passenger’s education and employment history – similar to what you would prepare for a job application. Due to heightened security measures, the name of the passengers' father and his employment history is also required.
                          Return the visa authorisation form together with a scanned copy of the first page of your passport and your confirmed flight details via email to your booking agent immediately. Please ensure all details are correct before sending. Any errors may result in your visa being denied or delayed. It is vital that you provide us with an email contact at the time of booking.
                          Our local operator in Iran will submit all visa authorisation code applications to the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2 months prior to the travel date. Visa authorisation codes generally take up to 3 weeks depending on your nationality (this process can be much longer for Canadian, British and US citizens). Important note: our local operator can only apply for the authorisation code from 2 months prior to departure to ensure that the visa will be valid.
                          When approved, your visa authorisation code will be faxed to the Iranian embassy processing your visa (nominated on the authorisation form). Your booking agent will notify you of your authorisation code. Once the code is received please apply for your visa directly with the nominated Iranian embassy (see Step 2 for further instructions).

                          Step 2 - How to obtain your visa stamp:

                          Once you have received your emailed authorisation code and letter, immediately apply for your visa with your nominated Iranian embassy. You will need to provide a visa application form (usually you can download it from the embassy website), your passport, the visa fee, photos and insurance policy. Some consulates may have different requirements. You must check this before submitting your application. The cost of an Iran visa is approximately US$110 depending on your nationality. Please check with your nominated embassy for visa costs. We recommend all women provide a photo with their hair covered by a headscarf (not a hat). If you wish to personally collect your visa at the designated embassy you must also arrive wearing a headscarf. In order to collect your visa from the consulate, you must carry your travel insurance policy that covers you whilst in Iran. In our experience the turnaround time for your visa to be stamped in your passport and returned to your home address is normally within 3-4 weeks, but can take longer.
                          Please check with your nominated Iranian embassy for their opening times and processing times for visas (some embassies will say that it takes up to a month). Please note that Iran embassies and consulates worldwide may only open for 3 or 4 days a week and have very limited opening hours. If possible, visiting the embassy personally can speed up the process (even to one day). Visas are valid for three months from the time of issue. We will do our best to secure your authorisation code, however the final decision rests with the government of Iran, therefore we cannot guarantee when and if a visa will be granted.
                          Please check that the embassy issues you with a tourist visa and not a business visa (the stamp in your passport must state that it is a tourist visa). If you are issued with a business visa, hotels will charge you business traveller rates, which are often far higher than the tourist rates.
                          While not common, there are occasions where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejects a visa application for a variety of reasons (usually unknown to us). Unfortunately we have no control over the success of your application and have little recourse if it is rejected. It is not uncommon for Iran authorisation codes to be submitted very close to the actual time of travel. Obviously this can be an anxious period but again unfortunately we have little authority to speed up the process.
                          A visa will be flatly refused if your passport contains evidence of travel to Israel. Note: this is not confined to just an Israeli stamp in your passport. You will be refused an Iranian visa if there’s an Egyptian entry or exit stamp from the Egyptian/Israeli border (at Taba or Rafah) or a Jordanian entry or exit stamp from the Jordanian/Israeli border (at Wadi Araba near Aqaba, Sheikh Hussein bridge or King Hussein bridge, otherwise known as the Allenby bridge) in your passport. Even without having an Israeli stamp in your passport, these exit or entry stamps prove that you have visited Israel and entry into Iran will not be allowed.
                          Upon arrival in Iran, women not wearing an Islamic headscarf, long sleeves, covered shoes and a loose fitting skirt or loose long top and pants may be refused entry into the country. Men must also be conservatively dressed, wearing long trousers upon arrival, or they too may be refused entry.
                          The Iranian Foreign Ministry usually closes over the Iranian New Year period (approx 12 March to 2 April) and will not receive visa applications over this time. Please have your visa application in well before this date.
                          Please note that US, British and Canadian passport holders will need to book this trip at least 2 months before departure as this is the length of time it takes to get the visa processed for these nationalities.
                          In addition, the following travel restriction applies: Passengers of the above nationalities must visit Iran on a guided tour and must pre-book all extra accommodation (up to one night pre accommodation and one night post accommodation only) and airport transfers with the same operator. Additional sightseeing can only be booked through Urban Adventures on either the day before or after the trip start/finish date. Return airport transfers are mandatory and they will only be issued with a visa authorisation code once all services are confirmed and only for the exact time they have booked the relevant services. Passengers of this nationality must also remain the in the trip leaders company at all times whilst in Iran.
                          Please note that any cancellations after the authorisation code paperwork has been lodged, will incur a $100USD cancellation fee . This is to cover the application lodgement fees.
                          Additionally, if for whatever reason, passengers need to apply for a second authorisation code, the above fee may also be applicable.
                          USEFUL INFORMATION FOR COMPLETING THE VISA FORM
                          Purpose of visit – Tourism
                          Name of Host: Pazira Travel Company
                          Email: iran@intrepidtravel.com, info@uppersia.com
                          Your address in Iran: - Parasto Hotel,
                          DJomhouri St, between Pole Hafez & Chahar rahe 30 Tir, koochehye shahrokh
                          Djomhoori Avenue (District)
                          Tehran
                          Operator Contact details in Iran:
                          Pazira Travel Company (LTY)
                          Mollasadra Ave, Beside Alley 8, 2nd Floor, Shiraz, Iran
                          Phone: +98 7116474204

                          PLEASE NOTE: IRANIAN NEW YEAR AND VISA APPLICATIONS:
                          The Iranian Foreign Ministry as well as many Iran consulates and embassies generally close to celebrate the Iranian New Year for several weeks in late March - the dates will vary from year to year. As a result, no authorisation code or visa applications will be processed over this time. If you are travelling in March, April or May, please make sure you take this into consideration when preparing your authorisation code and visa applications. Plan early and ahead of time.
                          What to take
                          What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances.

                          Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

                          Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip.

                          GENERAL PACKING LIST:
                          • Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, air tickets or e-ticket receipts and a copy of this document.
                          • Photocopy of main passport pages, visa (if required), travel insurance and air tickets.
                          • Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and bandaids.
                          • Daypack
                          • Watch/Alarm clock or phone that can be used for both.
                          • Power adaptors
                          • Insect repellent
                          • Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses
                          • Earplugs and eye mask (you might be sharing with a snorer!)
                          • Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
                          • Warm clothes including hat and gloves - When travelling in cooler climates
                          • Wind and waterproof rain jacket
                          • Toiletries/travel wipes
                          • Travel Towel
                          • Closed in, comfortable walking shoes. As most of our trips include some walking elements, we highly recommend that you take a pair of comfortable, closed-in walking shoes. Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings.
                          • Camera with spare memory cards and batteries
                          • Swimwear (itinerary dependant)
                          • Clothes! Bear in mind that laundry facilities will be widely available throughout this trip. The cost varies in each destination.


                          LUGGAGE LIMIT:
                          On this trip, you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and, although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage, we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 15kg. If your itinerary includes a flight, please keep in mind that some domestic airlines have checked luggage limits of 15kg.

                          CLOTHING & CLIMATE:
                          Please note that as a desert region, the Middle East can have extreme weather. Temperatures are generally hot with little rain. This can become extreme during the summer months of June to August. In the months of December to March it can be very cold, particularly next to the river or the ocean and out in the desert where night temperatures can drop dramatically. Even in the hot months, it can get cold in the desert at night. Consider bringing a sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in this period, especially on itineraries which include camping such as on a felucca, in a desert camp, or at a Red Sea beach camp. A light water and windproof jacket is useful and a hat is essential.

                          VALUABLES:
                          Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safes to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.

                          BATTERIES/POWER:
                          Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras regularly. We always recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera just in case. Charging of batteries is advised before checking out of your hotel rooms. Please bear in mind there may be some nights were electricity may not be as readily available as you might be used to – home stays, beach and desert camps etc.
                          Climate and seasonal information
                          RAMADAN & THE EID UL-FITR FESTIVAL (BAYRAM) 2016:
                          In 2016 the important month of Ramadan will be in progress from the 6th June through till the 5th July, and the Eid ul-Fitr festival will be held directly at its conclusion for 3-4 days. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it is a period of National holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be impacted.

                          IRANIAN NEW YEAR:
                          Please note that the Iranian New Year will take place from 20 March to 25 March. Many Iranian banks and government offices will be closed for the week of this period.

                          IRANIAN NEW YEAR AND VISA APPLICATION:
                          The Iranian Foreign Ministry will be closed from 20 March to 1 April and will not be processing any visa applications over this time. Please have your visa application in well before this date.

                          WEEKEND & PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN IRAN:
                          Thursday (afternoon) and Friday are the weekend in Iran. Please note that there may be changes to operating hours of sites, museums and stores. If you are arriving over the weekend we recommend you change some money beforehand as Currency Exchanges may be closed over these days.

                          Iran has a lot of public holidays. The dates of many of these holidays change annually as they are scheduled according to the lunar calendar. If you are arriving over a public holiday we recommend you change some money beforehand as Currency Exchanges will be closed over these days.

                          IRANIAN NEW YEAR:
                          Please note that the Iranian New Year will take place from 20 March to 25 March. Many Iranian banks and government offices will be closed for the week of this period.

                          WEEKEND & PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN IRAN:
                          Thursday (afternoon) and Friday are the weekend in Iran. Please note that there may be changes to operating hours of sites, museums and stores. If you are arriving over the weekend we recommend you change some money beforehand as Currency Exchanges may be closed over these days.
                          Iran has a lot of public holidays. The dates of many of these holidays change annually as they are scheduled according to the lunar calendar. If you are arriving over a public holiday we recommend you change some money beforehand as Currency Exchanges will be closed over these days
                          Health
                          All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

                          You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

                          DRINKING WATER:
                          As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it may contain much higher levels of different minerals than the water you are used to at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Bottled water is widely available and your leader can recommend safe alternatives when available. Water consumption should be about three litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.
                          Travel insurance
                          Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

                          When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

                          If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

                          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php
                          A couple of rules
                          Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

                          Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.

                          ALCOHOL, DRUGS AND CONTRABAND:
                          Alcohol is strictly forbidden in Iran and severe penalties will be incurred by anyone attempting to bring it into the country. Drug laws are also extremely strict and travellers face lengthy jail terms if caught. If found, pork products, obscene material (even glossy magazines showing people in immodest poses), and controversial literature will all be confiscated by custom officials. Upon arrival, you as a foreigner will likely be whisked through customs but note that random bag checks do commonly occur.
                          Responsible Travel
                          We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.

                          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

                          Iran is a traditional Islamic nation and a strict dress code is enforced throughout the country. The code of dress must be adhered to at all times. Men must wear long trousers at all times and generally keep themselves neat and tidy. Loose fitting cotton pants are preferable for the Iranian heat. Short sleeve shirts that cover your shoulders and open-toed sandals are now acceptable for men.

                          Women must wear the hijab at all times, apart from in their hotel bedrooms of course. A hijab consists of the manteau, a loose-fitting trench coat that comes down to just above your knees, plus a headscarf. It is not necessary for foreigners to wear a manteau. A headscarf can be of any colour. It's now perfectly acceptable for women to wear a headscarf that shows some of their fringe and you'll see many ladies doing so and Its acceptable for women to wear loose long linen or cotton shirts, or even long light cardigans. These need to be long enough to cover your bottom. Your group leader will advise you of what attire is appropriate during the welcome meeting.

                          Upon arrival in Iran, women not wearing a headscarf, long sleeves, closed shoes and a loose fitting skirt or pants may be refused entry into the country (to avoid this problem bring a thin full-length raincoat, long sleeved shirt or tunic from home). Men must be wearing long trousers upon arrival and shirts that cover their shoulder, or they too may be refused entry.

                          The Intrepid Foundation
                          Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

                          The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:

                          http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

                          Feedback
                          After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

                          http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback