If you are thinking about visiting Iran and need some quick information about the culture, the taboos, and those little things one needs to be aware of when they are going somewhere for the first time, then these Do’s and Don’ts when visiting Iran may be able to help.
Accommodation in Iran
In the most visited cities of Iran, it is customary for locals to rent their houses to travelers. These accommodations are not regulated by any agency or office though. Therefore, staying in places that operate under the supervision of Iran Tourism Organization may be a better idea. Hotels, guesthouses, and licensed local houses are among the approved places. If you are traveling on a tour, trust your tour guide about accommodation.
Internet in Iran
In Iran, there is internet access almost everywhere (except deep in the caves and mountains). As soon as you get off the plane, just can go and get a SIM card center for a very reasonable fee (less than $5). As soon as you activate the SIM card, you will have access to high-speed Internet and can communicate with your family and friends. Remember to have your passport with you when going to buy a SIM card.
In Iran, 3 operators provide telecommunication and internet services. These operators provide exclusive services for tourists and you can use these services by purchasing a product called a ‘Tourist SIM Card’. Remember that these SIM cards are only valid for 30 days.
Money on Your Trip to Iran
You can use Euros, Pounds, or Dollars to pay for major travel expenses, such as the rent for your accommodation or the taxi that will take you from the airport to the hotel. But for minor expenses, you need to exchange your money for Iranian banknotes. In Iran’s international airports, there will be access to an exchange office for changing money. Hotels also offer these services. Reputable bureaux de change are also active in all major cities of Iran.
Cultural Taboos in Iran
Staring at people in public places is frowned upon in Iranian culture. Also, men taking the lead in shaking hands with Iranian women is considered to be against social etiquette. When taking photos of people, one is expected to ask for their permission first. Like many people in the world, Iranians value their privacy.
In Iran men kissing other men on the cheeks as a form of greeting is an everyday thing, especially if they are family or close friends.
Tipping in Iran
In Iran, you do not have to tip waiters or porters. These people get paid by their employers for the services they provide. Of course, you can still tip out of courtesy or generosity if you are fully satisfied with the services you have received.
Hospitality and expression of friendly feelings are the most prominent behavioral characteristics of Iranians towards tourists visiting the country. Therefore, if you meet Iranians who invite you to their home, give you something as a souvenir, or are just excited to see you, and take a photo with you, don’t be surprised.
Islamic Regulations & More
Ever since the Islamic revolution in Iran, wearing hijab has been mandatory for Iranian women and international visitors alike. No alcohol is served in public places and you may face punishment by the police and judiciary if caught drunk or in possession of alcoholic drinks. Kissing or hugging people of the opposite sex in public can also lead to arrest and trial. In Iran for engaging in sexual activity, consent is not enough and you need to be officially married to engage in coitus. Also, remember that marijuana is still considered a Class A drug in Iran.
Public Transport in Iran
In Iran, intra-city buses are everywhere to be found. It is better to enter the section that corresponds to your gender. In most big cities, in addition to the high-speed bus and subway system, you will be able to use ride-hailing services as well. By buying an Iranian SIM card and installing these apps and services on your mobile phone, going about in major cities will always be just a couple of taps away from you.
Sanitary Facilities in Iran
In hotels and most visited places, there will be access to regular bathrooms as well as the squatting toilets that will see almost everywhere in Iran. But in many public places, you may have to squat to be able to take care of your business. There are water hoses in almost all toilets. In most public restrooms, there will be no toilet paper as Iranians tend to use water instead. It is always a good idea to have tissues with you when going out and about in Iran. Some public restrooms may ask you to pay a small fee to be able to use their services.