Dos and Don’ts of Traveling to Iran

Traveling abroad can be one of the best times of your life, depending on what you do while overseas. Being a tourist means taking common-sense precautions about where you go and how you conduct yourself. Respecting the rules which are almost common among all the countries, will guarantee the tranquility of your journey, so join us to know more about rules in Iran.

Dos

  • Do respect the dress codes of the country.
  • Women are expected to wear a headscarf at all times. Many Iranian women wear it a little loose and halfway back on their head, since showing a little hair is granted. Tops must be loose – fitting, reaching at least to your mid-thighs and with three- quarter length sleeves.
  • For men the dress code is very similar to that of western countries however they are not allowed to wear shorts or extremely tight-fitting clothes and very short sleeves.

dos-dont

  • Do greet only members of the same sex, either by shaking hands or with a kiss. Iranian men and women are quite conservative and don’t socialize together. However, in the modern cities like Tehran especially with the younger generation this is not always the case.
  • Do take off your shoes when entering a house or a mosque.
  • Do take all your money you will need in Iran in cash, foreign bank cards do not work here
  • Do inform yourself about the Iranian currency. The official one, written on the currency notes is that of Rial, however, on the streets another currency is used to show prices, called Toman. The difference is that Toman elimates one zero from the end of the Rials, to make it easier for locals to discuss prices. Most of the times, the prices written and discussed are almost always in Toman.

For example: 100,000 Rial (Official Currency) = 10,000 Toman which locals then refer to as 10 Toman, eliminating the last three zeros.

  • Do download a VPN when in Iran, it is the only way for you to be able to access certain websites or social media apps which are blocked such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
  • Do prepare yourself for a culture of Taroof. This is a polite exchange that occurs in all aspects of Iran from the streets and shops to private homes. Taroof consists of one person making an offer out of respect and the other, refusing it. This may be repeated a number of times before the individuals finally realize if the offer and refusal are real or simply out of politeness. Body language can often times be a great indicator to whether

Don’ts

  • Do not bring into Iran any alcohol or drugs, they are both illegal and the penalties for breaking their respective laws are harsh.
  • Do not display any affection in public. Being a Muslim country, this is something not only frowned upon but also forbidden. However, in the main cities you still see the occasional couple holding hands, but that is the extent of it all.
  • Do not take any photos of power plants, factories, transportation hubs, or anything related to the military or police; you don’t want to look like a spy.
  • Do not insult the supreme leader when discussing politics. Speaking against the government is punishable by law, so be careful who you talk to. It’s best to pretend to be neutral and with no opinion, despite that many Iranians are very open about their discontent.
  • Do not forget that men and women sit separately on public transport both in busses and metros. For busses, half of the bus is specifically reserved for women while the other half for men. On the other hand, in the metro there are special cabins only for women. However this is not their only option, women are also free to stay in the mixed cabins with men in the metro.