Clothing in IRAN :
Do men also have clothing limitation?
Do women have to dress in Chador ( Cover ) ?
Everybody has to obey the Islamic clothing rules in Iran, no matter where one is from, or what religion one has, however the rules are less strict for tourists. Not only women have to stick to the rules, also men have certain rules to stick to: the body of the men should be fully covered. Only hands, the arms, the neck, and the head may be visible. Short trousers are strictly prohibited. It is recommended to wear shirts with short sleeves rather than T-shirts. It is very important that the buttons of the shirt are not open. According to the law, only the face and the hands of women may be visible, therefore it is best to wear a headscarf to cover the hair and a coat to cover the body. The body has to be covered in such a way that the skin of the woman is not visible. The hips, the legs and the feet should not be visible. It is best to wear wide clothing, so that the lines of the body are not recognizable. The headscarf should cover the hair fully. The color of the scarf and the clothing does not matter, and one is free to wear any color. It is not necessary to wear a chador unless one wants to visit a holy mosque or shrine. Wherever the chador is a must, one will be given a chador. The women should not make themselves up too much, but making up is not forbidden. It can happen that the head scarf falls down and does not cover the hair. In those cases most of the people advise one to cover up again.
Food in IRAN :
What kind of vegetarian food is available in Iran?
Is there a lot of garlic in Iranian food?
Is it safe to have meal on the road?
Iranian food is very varied, however there is not much choice in the menus of the restaurants. If traveling alone, the menu will be the same in most of the restaurants: Kebab, Kebab, Kebab... Having a guided trip makes it easier to have different sorts of food, as the guide can order a specific kind of food before arriving at the restaurant. The Iranian main dish usually has rice, meat or a sauce with meat, and additionally bread, yoghurt, soup, and vegetable is served. Iranians prepare the rice in a different way than other Asian countries. The yoghurt is not sweet, but most of the time sugar can be added to sweeten it. There are different kinds of soup available, but mostly there is barley soup served. The vegetable served is a mixture of different herbs. Iranian bread is flat, and varying. Different sorts of flat bread, baked in traditional ways, is available. Most of Iranian food does not contain garlic. Vegetarians have to order special prepared food, as there is usually no vegetarian food available. As beverage there is always Cola, Pepsi, and non alcoholic beer available. The water is drinkable, but it may contain too many minerals. It is recommended to have mineral water. Unlike tea, coffee is not popular among Iranians. In certain places it is not possible to get coffee. There are rarely hotels offering French coffee, instead there is instant coffee available. One should buy a bottle of instant coffee when leaving cities.
Alcohol in IRAN :
According to Islam, it is forbidden to enjoy alcohol at all, no matter in what form. It is forbidden to have alcoholic food or beverage, to trade with alcohol, and to serve alcohol. Entering Iran after enjoying alcohol is forbidden. It is possible to get non-alcoholic beverages almost all over the country.
Money Exchange in IRAN :
What is the Iranian currency?
Where can I exchange money?
How to find out about the exchange rates?
Is it possible to pay by a credit card?
Which currencies can be exchanged?
The Iranian official currency is Rial. Rials are available in coins (1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 250 Rls.) and notes (100, 200, 500, 1.000, 2.000, 5.000, and 10.000 Rls.). Coins are only marked in Persian script and numerals, but one side of the notes is printed in English. It is possible to exchange money already at the airport, no matter at what time. The exchange rates may change quite often, but it is possible to find out the exchange rates at any bank, but only special banks do exchange money. It is possible to exchange US Dollars at the banks, but it might be more difficult to exchange other currencies (as German Marks or English Pounds) in all the banks. Lately, the exchange of foreign currencies has been allowed, and there are exchange shops available in most big cities. The exchange rates of these shops are usually higher than the official rate. The following currencies can be easily exchanged at any Exchange Shop: US Dollars, German Marks, British Pounds, French Francs, and Japanese Yen. There are also other currencies available. In some places, it is possible to pay by credit cards. Master Card and Visa are accepted.
Communications in IRAN :
The national telecommunication company provides an efficient international direct dial system. Most of the hotels offer usually offer direct dial telephones in each room. Faxes can be transmitted from most of the hotels. Some hotels offer internet cafes.
Local Transport in IRAN :
There are taxis available for journeys through the cities. There are no taximeters in most of the taxis. It is advisable to agree on a fare beforehand. The majority of the taxi drivers speak only Farsi but they do understand English for the main landmarks and hotels, and these are generally used to give directions. There is often a surcharge for taxis operating from the hotel. Taxis from the airport are a little more expensive than street taxis, but at the end of a long journey it is probably worth the extra to have no destination misunderstandings. Fares from Tehran Mehrabad Airport are fixes, and taxis can be hired at the taxi stand at the airport. For traveling between the cities one can use taxis, public buses, the railway or the aircraft. It is advisable to use rather the bus than the taxis. For traveling by railway or the plane, the tickets have to be arranged beforehand, as there might be no ticket available just before departure.
Credit Cards in IRAN :
MasterCard and Visa are accepted in most 5 star hotels and in some shops.
Electricity in IRAN :
The power supply through out the country is 220 volts 50 cycles AC. The power socket outlets are generally 2 round circles, in which a plug with two pins can be inserted. There are adapters available, which let you use other plugs with more pins. Athena Tour and Travel Agency will offer you any adapters you need to use your electrical devices. Please let us know before your arrival.
Driving in IRAN :
European and American international driving licenses are accepted by the police. Roads throughout Iran are in good condition and signed both in Farsi and English. Women are allowed to drive within Iran. Speed limits are well signed, and sometimes strictly enforced by friendly but inflexible police.
Except taking photos of military areas and some holy places, which are provided with a "Photography forbidden" sign in both Persian and English language, taking photos is allowed anywhere else. Please always ask before taking photos of Iranians, especially women. Film availability and processing is good, but beware of leaving cameras or films in open sun or in vehicles. The heat will soon cause damage.