Worldly Wanderlust - Iran

Three public service officers share their tales of holidays off the beaten track, and reaffirm that the road less travelled usually comes packed with adventures of a lifetime.

Christopher Teo

Content Editor (Cube), PS21 Office
Public Service Division, Prime Minister’s Office

Mr Teo recalls a heart-stopping moment as soon as he arrived in Iran when custom officials disappeared with his passport for a full 15 minutes. But when they returned and awarded him that prized entry chop, his Persian adventure of a liftetime began. Iran is an amazing gateway to mesmerising scenery, breathtaking architecture and lively bazaars that pulsate with trendy people, he says. Like the hijabs that partially conceal the made-up faces and dyed hair of its fashionable womenfolk, Iran’s multi-tiered beauty can be uncovered by gently peeling off its delicate layers.

He singles out Persepolis (the one-time ceremonial capital of the Persian empire, with its ruins of biblical proportions), its nearby cliff-side tombs of Naqsh-e-Rustam and their millennia-old rock carvings, and the ancient cities of Yazd, Shiraz and Esfahan, as must-sees. But what impressed him most were the friendly locals – “there will always be someone who wants to talk to or help you.”

Getting there and around: Emirates and Qatar Airways fly to Tehran, with a transit in other cities like Dubai or Doha. Qatar Airways and budget airline Air Arabia fly to Shiraz from Doha or Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, respectively. Low-cost buses and trains connect most cities in Iran.

TIPS

  • Prices are generally low, but bring sufficient cash (US$100 a day, to be safe) as foreign-issued credit and debit cards cannot be used at most merchants or ATMs because of the on-going US trade embargo.
  • To surf the internet, install VPN apps on your smart devices before your trip as most Internet sites are blocked in Iran.
  • Female visitors should bring scarfs to cover their heads when in public places.
Read about other public officers' experience in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefacture, China and Pakistan
  • POSTED ON
    Nov 27, 2013
  • TEXT BY
    Randall Lim
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