Our trip to Iran - March 2011
As I mentioned on the phone, our trip was terrific. So a big thank you to you and your colleagues at Arg-E-Jadid.
We had no problems apart from not being met at the airport. It was a minor blemish and Ali and Nazinin were very apologetic and compensated us with our taxi fare and dinner, which was much appreciated.
Our guides and drivers were all very good. I don’t think I would change the itinerary.. hotels were all fine.
We visited a few places not on the itinerary which we thought were great. Our guide in Tehran took us in the evening to Darband, which was great.
However, I would point out that Tehran is not cheap. Indeed we were soon concerned that we had not taken sufficient cash ($1000 between us) but, once we left Tehran, the cost of eating was so much lower and we only spent $700 over 12 days. Tehran seemed to be 2-3 times more expensive than elsewhere.
We also visited a few other places not on our itinerary by ourselves, or with locals, that we think are worth including. In Shiraz a local lad took us into the Aramgah –E- Shah-E - Cheragh shrine and the huge Azadi Park was a wonderful place to watch Iranian families on a public holiday. We loved walking around at night – particularly in Shiraz, when everyone seemed to be out and about.
We enjoyed Shiraz and Yazd but Esfahan was, as you predicted, the highlight. The square, the mosques and palaces make it a world-class place. We were glad you had saved it for the end of our trip.
The best part of our trip was meeting so many lovely people. Both Tim and I have travelled extensively but we have never been to a country where so many local people come and say ‘hello’, ‘welcome’, where are you from?’, ‘thank you for coming to Iran’. We spent hours in conversation with young men, students, schoolgirls, families, bus drivers etc. Many of them talked about their lives freely – they wanted us to know how they dislike and fear the religious and political establishment, how they wanted change, but have low expectations of change occurring. I think I benefited from having Tim (27) with me as so many people of a similar age wanted to befriend him. We could have filled a plane with young people wanting to come to Australia with us. Very sad….it made us appreciate the freedom we take for granted. A great experience – thank you Tom for arranging it so well.
Colin & Tim Wilson-Brown
Iran is a wonderful country to be an independent traveller - provided all the planning and bookings are done properly by an agency as good as Timeless Tours, as was ours when we visited Iran for 15 days. You need to spend some days with knowledgeable guides who will make the sites and sights come alive for you. Then you can also wander about freely, with the only restriction we found being that women tourists have to wear a long scarf (hejab) to cover their hair - something of a time saver each morning! - as well as covering their arms and legs. The accommodation, food and transport (we used planes, inter-city buses and cars) were all very good to excellent. Above all, the young and older people we encountered were friendly, courteous and welcoming - and proud of their long history which has shaped them; their Farsi language; their poets and heroes; the beauty of their land and its historic places. We visited Tehran, Shiraz, Yadz, Esfehan, and Kashan: the most beautiful for us was Esfahan (go there to see why!!), but all of them have special big and small things to see and enjoy… we long to make a return visit to explore more.
Lawson Lobb and Jill Harris.