If you are searching for Iran tours, trusting Iran Doostan Tours Co. will offer you the privilege of working with one of the most experienced Iranian travel agencies and also the leader of the incoming tourism market in Iran.
As an ancient land, Iran has embraced numerous cultural attractions and amazing natural landscapes that have the potential to provide a life-long travel experience for you. All you would need for planning your travel to Iran is relying on a professional tour operator in Iran.
We are proud to offer a diversity of Iran travel packages including cultural tours, adventure tours, medical tours, religious tours, and safari tours to Iran is available at IDT. If none of the mentioned above are your choice, tailor-made tours will be planned for you.
IDT tours are available at various prices and quality including cheap Iran tours and luxury tours, which provide a greater range of options for partners and tourists to decide.
Iran Doostan Tours Co. is the most trustworthy Iranian travel agency you could rely on 100% to experience the most amazing holiday you could ever imagine. The positive feedback we receive after operating a tour is concrete evidence of our dear tourists’ satisfaction. It might also be interesting to note that IDT has been elected as the best Iranian tour operator 8th times during the 30 years of experience in incoming tours to Iran!
As a tour operator and travel agency in Iran, we provide all travel services including itineraries, Iran visa, tour guides, transportation, accommodation, and whatever our tourists may need while traveling to Iran. So, you would have nothing to worry about.
If you are looking for more information on details of our tours, Iran visa process, or starting a partnership, please do not hesitate to get in touch right now via info@idt.com. We will be back with you soon.

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Hamadan attractions

Hamadan, A Glance Over Iran’s Great History

History, poetry, knowledge, and art, they all could be found in the old city of Hamadan. Hamadan is a small province, with enormous history, owning one of the largest water cave in the world. It’s a great opportunity for learning more about Iran and its history and culture, so, his city must be included in your list while traveling to Iran. Meeting hospitable and kind locals, watching them bake special sweets, traditional meals, and handicrafts like leather, ceramics, and carpets which are reasons for the fame that Hamadan has received over the years, is a delight. Visit the city of Baba Tahir’s childhood and Avicenna’s burial place, to see part of Iran’s glory.

Ali Sadr Cave

There are no caves that could be compared to Ali Sadr Cave in Hamadan. This is the best tourist spot in the city. The large natural cave, dates back to the Jurassic era, around 150 million years ago. When you look at the entrance of the cave from outside, it is impossible to think that such a massive underground lake could be there, due to the surroundings of the cave which are as dry as the rest of the Hamadan region. In order to enter the cave, you will need to wait in lines at the boat station. A beautiful park is prepared for visitors to have a more pleasant time waiting outside. You will be guided into a chain of boats in which you will ride your way deep into the cave. After wearing the safety jacket and finding your seat, your trip to the Ali Sadr Cave will be officially started. As you enter the cave, you will be welcomed by a cold breeze. Usually inside the cave is colder than outside of it, even in hot summers. So make sure to bring warm clothes with you. The boat ride usually takes 2 hours. Meanwhile, you can enjoy the beauty of the cave; the million years old stalactites and stalagmites, fresh air and clean water. The colorful lightings at the corners add up to the cave’s beauty and make so many amazing photo opportunities. After leaving the boat you may walk up a few stairs to get a closer look at the walls and other natural formations of the cave, so make sure to wear sports shoes. There are no shops in the cave obviously, so it’s better to have water and snacks with yourself. There are a few shops back around the cave. Also a few restaurants and many other Iranian shops, such as a bazaar with lots of pots lying around. Walking in the cave besides pedaling boats makes the few kilometers underground journey, an experience to remember. The visit is well-organized and the guides will share all their information with you to make you always remember this wonderful cave.
Ali Sadr Cave is located outside the city. So you need to take Hamadan Road and drive along to get to the Lalejin city and then take Bijar Road to finally reach Ali Sadr Cave.
Opening hours: 9 am – 5 pm

Hamadan - Alisadr cave

Alisadr cave is the best tourist spot in Hamadan.

Tomb of Avicenna

Avicenna, the great Persian scientist, and philosopher who had laid the foundation stones for modern medicine is buried in Hamadan. The first thing that would probably catch your eyes is the architecture of the tomb. The tomb is located in Bu Ali Sina in the city center. On the first floor beside the mausoleum of Avicenna, there is also a small museum beneath the statue which includes collections of ancient medical equipment that were used before by Avicenna. There are also old handwritten books along with his famous book “The Canon of Medicine” which you can take a close look at it. His achievements and a part of his library are also accessible for visitors to see and learn more about him. As you exit the museum you need to climb the stairs, on top of the museum, in order to get a closer view of the monument which is surrounded by a lovely garden and a fountain.
For getting to the Tomb of Avicenna take a taxi or drive to Bu Ali Sina square.
Opening hours: 8:30 am – 8:30 pm

Hamadan - Avicenna tomb

Avicenna, the great Persian scientist, and philosopher who had laid the foundation stones for modern medicine is buried in Hamadan.

Tomb of Baba Tahir

If you’re fond of Persian literature and architecture, then you might like to visit Baba Tahir’s Tomb as well. Baba Tahir was an Iranian poet who is still well-known for its romantic poems. A legendary poet whose Iranian adore his poems. The tomb has a unique design which its nice calligraphy and complex tile works with the famous poems on the walls, makes it a meaningful place. The interior of the tomb is splendid just like Baba Tahir was. If you compare his tomb with himself, they have a lot in common; simple appearance but beautiful spiritually. In the evenings there are usually poetry reading and music playing in the tomb. On special occasions, groups of people gather around the tomb and sing out loud and play traditional instruments. Local poets and artists will also appear in the lovely garden and they would read some of Baba Tahir’s poets or their own poets, so you can enjoy listening to them while enjoying the calm and friendly atmosphere by also observing artistic elements of Persian architecture and art. Around the garden, there are many places to have meals or snacks. You can also buy some nice souvenirs from the handicraft and workshops around or a little symbol of Hamadan to keep in your memory.
Opening hours: 9 am – 6 pm

Hamadan

Baba Tahir was an Iranian poet who is still well-known for its romantic poems. 

Persian Gulf wonder islands : Qeshm, Hormoz and Hengam

This short memory of the amazing southern islands of Iran would remind me of science fiction scenes. It takes only 2 minutes to explore the mars and moon-like valleys of Qeshm island to the red soil beaches of nature-oriented Hormoz island, stopping by playful dolphins of Hengam island and get dazzled by the shiny handicrafts of Hormozgan local women. Hormozgan province embraces scenic islands among which Kish, Hormoz, Hengam, and Qeshm are the most beautiful ones. Any of which is a wonderful world to be discovered. Qeshm, the island of the Seven Wonders of Iran, has the most beautiful and unique natural phenomena such as Chahkuh valley which is formed by the erosion of sedimentary rocks of the earth. From the mysterious Star Valley to the Chahkuh Strait, Qeshm will amaze with its beauty.

The mangrove forests are also on Qeshm’s list of seven wonders. Also known as Qeshm Green Gold, the forest is home to trees that are rooted in water and are called the great Iranian scientist َ” Avesina Marina”. Not so far from Qeshm, the Hormoz island with the red and silver shore which enchants the viators. The red sand of Hormoz is not only beautiful but also edible and the local people make the delicious fish sauce with it named “Sooragh”. Even the Portuguese made one of a kind, red castle during the onslaught to the Persian Gulf with that. It doesn’t matter where you came from, being in the southern islands of Iran feels like home, and that’s because of the intimacy and the affection Afro-Iranian people. During the travels with Irandoostan, our guests feel this intimacy and have the opportunity to sing local songs with fishermen on the beach and draw Henna on their bodies with the native women.

The background music you hear in the video is one of the most famous music of South Iranian folk music called “Haleh Mahi” by the Rastak group.

5 Iranian local foods I love and I miss while abroad

In every region, every country you go to – you will find some unique foods – that you love so much. Unfortunately, in most cases, it is hard, if not impossible, to find them abroad. Here are five Iranian local foods I love and I am sure I will miss it when I leave this country.

Dough

Dough is a cherished traditional yogurt-based Iranian drink, to accompany meals and also used as an ingredient of many dishes such as soup or a variety of sauces. While in some European countries it is possible to find sour milk beverages – typically just acid in taste as kefir or buttermilk – Iranian dough offer a full symphony of taste and aroma. They are lightly salted, then come as plain dough, with mint, with thyme, or with several green herbs flavor. In every small shop or big supermarket, you will find an area with 1.5-liter bottles with this white drink; usually, there are several brands and varieties of taste. First of all, there is classic dough (no gas – some 80% brands) and carbonated one. Isn’t it a bit weird? a big plastic bottle of fully carbonated, salty, yogurt, and herbs-based beverage? I love it and I could find it only in Iran! Just be careful when opening the carbonated one, you will have several seconds of a champagne-like fountain, so do it carefully-otherwise your (and your neighbors’) clothes will suffer!

Iranian Dough

Iranian dough offers a full symphony of taste and aroma.

Kale-Pache

It is a soup – but a very special one! You will usually know about approaching a kale-pache shop from far away, because of the unmistakable smell it has. Considered as a kind of Persian Red Bull and winter panacea, it is also a love it/hates it food, somehow like British Marmite. Kale Pache means exactly Heads and Legs (of sheep, and sometimes goats) and it is, in fact, the essence of these ingredients, that boil for several hours on a small fire in a huge pot (hence the smell you can notice from a distance). It is believed that such powerful, caloric and tasty Persian food will make you healthy and strong in many aspects. I personally love it – but many Iranians, and seemingly the majority of local girls does not like it, be it for the smell, the taste of its ingredients. Absolutely to try!

Iranian local foods - kaleh-pacheh

Considered as a kind of Persian Red Bull and winter panacea, it Kale-Pache is a love it/hate it food!

Fermented Black Garlic

As a kind of pickle, a local specialty of Northern Iran, I never saw it outside the Caspian Sea areas. These regions were often under Russian influence, so I think this might be the reason why the locals love to pickle near everything – as it is a custom in Russia, too. So, when I first walked across food bazaar in Babolsar (a seaside city in Mazandaran province) I was astonished to see big quantities of black garlic, other vegetables pickled in barrels (as well as lots of smoked fish, not to find elsewhere in Iran). The local variety of garlic is supposed to have anti-inflammatory effects and to be beneficial against a number of illnesses. This is among the Iranian local foods offering an incredible taste and I really love it, altogether with local fish-based food.

Iranian local foods

This is among the Iranian local foods that offering an incredible taste and I really love it, altogether with local fish-based food.

Fresh pomegranate juice

Well, it is not limited in Iran, it is ubiquitous in all Iranian cities – street sellers with chromed metal pressers offering you a glass of the deliciously fresh (and very cheap by the way) pomegranate juice; also, if you want you can buy a small or bigger bottle of this juice right from street vendors and shops, it has wonderful taste and is full of vitamins.

Iranian local foods

Fresh pomegranate juice: A drink you can find everywhere in Iran.

Saffron sugar sticks (rock candy)

Saffron, is a rare and wonderful spice loved by Iranians. the product has been used for millennia in the Persian kitchen. Unfortunately, Saffron is not a cheap luxury, even more, precious than gold in some periods! In local bazaars, you will find different kinds of it in proudly exposed glass vases. But what I discovered soon is that there is a more popular and wallet-friendly use of this noble material – the saffron rock sugar sticks. Looking like miniature zurkhaneh sticks (if you have no idea of this ancient local sport – think about very fat baseball bats) – the rock sugar is mixed with a bit of saffron, giving it a beautiful dark yellow color, with a sweet taste and supposedly, health qualities. They are specially served with tea; a great gift or your own souvenir from Iran. I love to use them when offering tea to most precious friends, astonished by such a nice, sophisticated way of sweetening a hot drink.

Saffron sugar sticks, known also as rock candy, is a delicate Iranian sweet served with tea.

Ramadan in Iran

Everything about Ramadan in Iran

Traveling to Iran in Ramadan offers an opportunity to see a different side of Iranians’ lifestyle such as serving Iftar, religious gathering in public places, and Iranian nightlife.

What is the philosophy behind Ramadan?

You might have heard that ” Ramadan is all about losing Sins not weight“! well, during this month the Muslims are supposed to fast from dawn to dusk, by avoiding food, drink, false words, evil intentions, bad thoughts, and behavior. It is considered a discipline to practice morality, introspection, and self-transformation; it is also meant to evoke a feeling of deeper sympathy with the deprived people. Muslims believe by reading Quran, praying, and practice fasting, God will forgive their past sins and by the end of this month, they are prepared to start a new life with a purified nature. Everyone except the children, the people with medical conditions, the pregnant women, and the travelers are supposed to follow this Islamic rule which would result in a new lifestyle during this month in Islamic countries including Iran. During this month each Islamic country offers its own traditions, foods, and lifestyle. But, how is Ramadan in Iran?

Ramadan in Iran - Mashhad

A view of Iftar during Ramadan in Iran.

How do Iranians’ lifestyle change During Ramadan?

Practicing all the obligatory Islamic rituals during Ramadan would certainly affect people’s lives in various ways. Even if you are not fast, you are not allowed to eat and drink in public during sunrise to sunset. So, if you travel to Iran during Ramadan, you should be aware of this rule, otherwise, you will be caught by the police.

Instead, the nightlife during the Holy Month is quite fascinating. All coffee shops, restaurants, and even cinemas would start working from the evening. So, it is the right time when people start going out, and the whole city witnesses a lively atmosphere all through the night and does not sleep!

The exact opening hour of Café and restaurants depends on the season during Ramadan, however, it is sometime around the sunset!

Working hours for other businesses and companies including public places such as the banks, also change. It starts an hour later than the usual time, which is often 8:30 instead of 7:30 in the morning.

Ramadan Events

There are some holy events and rituals, aiming either to celebrate or commemorate special days of this month.

Beginning of the Month

Ramadan month begins and ends with the appearance of the new moon. By the beginning of the month, people prepare themselves to stay awake at night for praying and eating a small portion of food just before the dawn.

Qadr Nights

It is believed among the Muslims that God revealed the Quran to Prophete Mohammad in order to guide his followers. Ramadan Month is meant to commemorate the first revelation which was sent down on Laylat al-Qadr. So, the night is of a particular spiritual significance to the Muslims.

Muslims try to stay awake overnight for praying and there are special rituals in all mosques around Iran.

It is also believed that the whole faith of people for the next year is determined this night. So, people especially pray for their family and themselves to be healthy and happy in the coming year.

Qadr night - Ramadan in Iran

Qadr nights in Ramadan are of a particular spiritual significance to the Muslims.

Eid-al Fitr

By the end of the Holy Ramadan, Muslims celebrate their spiritual rebirth and thanking God for a whole month of precious praying. Although Eid-al Fitr is only one special day, it involves different duration in various Islamic countries. Officially, Eid-al Fitr involves a two-day holiday in Iran, that people celebrate with a special praying in the morning of Eid and continue with having an elaborate breakfast with their family and also paying some visits to their friends and relatives.

Traditional Iranian Meals of Ramadan: We eat less but a more diverse diet!

Having the sunset prayer, Muslims break their fast with a meal called Iftar. It often begins with dates and milk, and some other traditional Iranian foods in Ramadan. Although traveling to Iran during Ramadan imposes some restrictions on eating and drinking during day hours, it would be a good opportunity to test varieties of delicious Iranian foods particularly prepared for Iftar. And the great point about Iranian food is its portion size which happens to amaze many tourists!

Iranian Iftar

This is a typical Iranian Iftar during Ramadan.

Iranian traditions During Ramadan

There used to be some traditions practiced by Iranians during Ramadan which has been disappeared now due to the spread of technology and media; the most interesting one is making a sound with drums in the predawn hours to wake the neighbors up for Sahari, the meal Muslims have before the dawn to start their fast.

Another lovely tradition is inviting friends and relatives for Iftar during this month which is still practiced by many Iranians. They usually enjoy having Iftar together in the evening.

Coronavirus effects and this year’s Ramadan in Iran

It is no doubt that this year’s Ramadan could be different in some ways due to the outbreak of Coronavirus. Practicing “social isolation” would not let people get together for Iftar at home and there would be some restrictions during “Qadr” nights for public gathering in mosques or religious places.

However, we all hope for the disappearance of the coronavirus and getting back to normal life very soon.

Tips for traveling to Iran in Ramadan

You may not be capable of traveling to Iran this year, but here are further tips for tourists having a call for traveling to Iran during Ramadan:

The tourists are not expected to fast or follow Islamic practices, but they are expected to respect the Iranian Muslims’ rituals by refraining from eating, drinking, and smoking in public during the day. However, some restaurants and fast-food outlets, especially the restaurants and cafes in the hotels, highways, airports, railways, and bus stations are open; so, they can have meals there. Some fast-food chains offer takeaway food as well. So, do not afraid of traveling to Iran in Ramadan!

Moreover, many tourist sites are open during the day except on special events such as the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Ali on the 21st of Ramadan. There is no need to worry about changing your travel itinerary in Ramadan.

Ramadan

The traditional Persian cuisine of Ramadan

Only a few days are left to the start of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, and everything in Iran likewise the world is overshadowed by the outbreak of a Coronavirus that has infected nearly two million people and claimed many lives in Iran and around the world. In recent days, some Shia Maraji has announced that fasting will be ok for people with a strong immune system who are home quarantined and follow a healthy nutritious diet. The mentioned group can fast and perform their duties as in previous years. But people with weakened immune systems that doctors diagnose fasting makes them more prone to illness should avoid fasting.

This year Muslims are breaking their fast on smaller Iftar tables, but more solidarity to save lives. Stick with us to see what are the traditional Iranian Ramadan meals and diets and how will Coronavirus affects them.

Sahari or The pre-dawn meal

Eating the predawn meal is one of the indicators of the health of fasting. In this meal, which is served before sunrise, enough protein and water should reach the body. the regular Iranian foods, which are served in lunch meals during the year are usually served as the pre-dawn during Ramadan.

predawn or sahari

Sahari or Predawn meal, taking place before sunrise.

Iftar meals during Ramadan

Since fasting people do not receive the nutrients, sugars, and water they need during the day, they should make up for this deficiency by eating nutrients at predawn and iftar so that they do not have the ability to fast and their health is not endangered. Iftar meal should include a variety of foods that are good for the body and maintain the strength of the fasting person, so it is better to get acquainted with the foods and beverages that have these characteristics. Iftar meal includes 3 parts itself :

  • Aperitifs

In the first half of the year, the fasting hours may long up to 18. Fasting people do not break their fast at once, but first, they drink a hot soft drink as an aperitif. The most popular aperitif of Iranians is hot tea with rock candy. But warm milk and dates, herbal teas, rose and saffron syrup, are also served before the appetizer.

Iranian tea

Tea drinking is an inseparable part of Iranian culture.

  • Appetizers

Ash Reshteh

Ash Reshteh is the traditional Iranian version of nuddle soup, cooked with beans, pea, and vegetables. Whit a strong taste of the dried mint powder. The Ash is garnished with a salty diary sauce named “Kashk”. That’s why it also is called Ash_e Kashk.

Ash reshteh

Ash Reshteh, or Persian noodle soup.

Halim

Halim is a nutritious and stodgy food that is served as breakfast on normal days and a small amount of it is served as an appetizer during Ramadan. There are various versions of Halim in different countries, but honestly Iranian one The main ingredients of Halim are wheat and mutton. The word Halim means patience and endurance because cooking Halim requires patience. This dish is cooked slowly for seven to eight hours, which results in a paste-like consistency ― blending the flavors of spices, meat, barley, and wheat. Finally, you can add cinnamon with sugar or salt up to your choice and taste it.

Persian Haleem

Persian Halim of meat and wheat, is a strong appetizer.

  • Main course

The main course food varies on different families with different tastes. Some people eat only bread, cheese, fresh herbs while others prefer rice and chicken for example. But the popular main course in most Nazri (Cooking and distributing free foods in holy days) ceremonies are Persian kebab and Gheymeh:

Gheymeh

Often cooked in enormous copper pots over wood-burning fires, is beef and split pea stew with the reddish tune of tomato sauce, in addition to some saffron and rose water. This luscious stew is served with white rice.

Gheymeh

Gheymeh, Iranians favorite Nazri.

  • Desserts:

Sholeh Zard

This Persian Saffron rice pudding is very delicate and light in texture, mild in sweetness and it gets its golden color from saffron. Sholeh Zard is served as a dessert in Iftar, garnished with designs made with ground cinnamon and slivered pistachios or almonds.

Sholeh Zard

Sholeh Zard, the Persian saffron rice pudding.

Zulbia and Bamiyeh

These sticky cookies are going to make your sweetest memory of Ramadan in Iran.  Bamieh is a small fried sweet, maybe a kind of donut, which is rolled in the rose water and Saffron syrup. The same way is cooked Zulbia, but it’s thinner and crunchier. Diabetics bear in mind that if you start eating one of these cookies, you can’t help the rest!

zoolbia bamiyeh

The crispy Zulbia and tasty fluffy Bamiyeh are among the most popular Ramadan sweets.

 

 

best cinemas in Iran

Best cinemas in Iran

How well are you familiar with Iran’s film industry? Well, Iranian cinema is highly popular in Iran and many Iranians spend their weekends watching a movie at the cinema. During the past 150 years, from the early 20th century, that cinema has appeared in Iran, it has experienced many ups and downs. Despite being called a developing country, Iranian cinema has gradually developed and bloomed in recent years. Today, some of these have found their way to international film events such as Oscar, so, going to a movie in Iran does not sound weird if you would like to try. In this article we will introduce the best cinemas in Iran, the first three ones are located in Tehran and the other ones in Isfahan, Shiraz, and Tabriz.

Kourosh Cineplex

This luxury Cineplex lies in the top four floors of the Kourosh Complex and is the largest and most modern Cineplex in Iran. There are 14 halls, named after famous old Iranian cinemas creating a kind of nostalgic feeling. Not only Iranian movies but also foreign ones are screened in this Cineplex. You can either buy your ticket online or on the first floor of the building.
Kourosh complex is located in Sattari Expy, Payambar St, Tehran, Iran.

Cinemas in Iran

Best cinemas in Iran: Kourosh Cineplex is the largest and the most modern Cineplex in Iran.

Mellat Cineplex and Gallery

Located in the south-east side of Mellat Park, this Cineplex also offers a large and modern place to enjoy your day. There are four movie halls in this Cineplex each occupying 300 persons, a performance hall, an exhibition area, restaurants, coffee-shop, and some service areas. Apart from watching a movie, you could take time to go for a stroll in one of the most impressive parks in Tehran. The park is especially recommended during fall and spring for taking amazing photos, however, it also provides an opportunity to escape the hot weather during summer.
It is located in Hashemi Rafsanjani high-way, District 3, Tehran, Iran.

cinemas in Iran - Melat Cineplex

Best cinemas in Iran: Mellat Cineplex located on the beautiful Mellat Park in Tehran

Charsou Cineplex

Located in the downtown of Tehran, Charsou is not only a wonderful place but also a modern media mall that was opened in 2014. Charsou Cinema Cineplex is a famous place offering a pleasant atmosphere for movie, and high tech lovers. It has five movie halls, all of them equipped with the most modern audiovisual facilities of the digital cinemas. The Cineplex also offers a special place for playing live music and holding galleries.
It is located in District 12 Southeast of the intersection of the Islamic Republic Street and Hafez Bazar Charsu, Tehran, Iran.

Sahel Cinema

Sahel is one of the oldest cinemas in Isfahan that went under restoration after the revolution of 1979. There are nine halls with a capacity of 1000 people. The second floor offers a small outdoor cinema cafe with a capacity of 60 people, the balcony overlooks the fascinating view of Si-o-Se-pol bridge. If you would like to try watching a movie on a balcony, then you are welcomed.
It is located on the Second floor, Sahel Cinema, Enghelab Square, Isfahan, Iran.

Golestan Cineplex

If you are in Shiraz and have a call for watching a movie in an Iranian cinema, then Golestan is a good option. Having been opened in 2017, Golestan Cineplex belongs to the private sector and is considered a luxurious and modern cinema in this city. It has three movie halls, all of them equipped with comfortable seats, a digital film system, and Dolby audio system. There are also coffee shops and restaurants around to walk and spend your time; the last floor offers a cozy place for reading books.
It is located in Alef Building, Moali Abad St, Shiraz, Iran.

Setare Baran Cineplex

Setare Baran is a large and modern mall in Tabriz with four halls with a capacity of 400 people on the third and fourth floors. The halls are all equipped with comfortable seats, a digital film system, and Dolby audio system. The Cineplex offers a cozy atmosphere with restaurants, coffee shops, and book-store where you can spend an enjoyable time. European films are also sometimes screened in this Cineplex in Tabriz.
It is located on the third floor, Setare Baran Shopping Center, East Azarbaijan Province, Tabriz, Iran.

taxi-apps-in-Iran

Taxi booking apps in Iran

Taxis are arguably the easiest way to get around Iran, especially on arrival. Although the standard taxi usually seen as yellow and green Peugeots, are available all over Iran, Online taxi services are the best choice. An undeniable fact about regular taxis is their tendency to overcharge foreigners but online ones are clean, comfortable, air-conditioned and incredibly affordable. But they can also be a little confusing, Here’s what you need to know before your trip to Iran.

Snapp Taxi

Snapp, as the first transportation network company working since 2014, is an affordable taxi-hailing app that connects drivers with riders. They have different types of rides, customized according to client preferences, including the regular taxi, women-only services, bike delivery, food ordering, and delivery services, pickup truck. Today, this system is the largest online transportation service in the country with services in more than 140 cities, from all 31 provinces of Iran, available 24/7.

snapp

Snapp taxi logo

How does it work?

Don’t worry about working with it, not only the Snapp application is totally user-friendly but it also supports English and French languages.  All you need to do is to install the application from the Snapp website and enter a valid telephone number of Iranian Simcard operators. Then you mark your departure and destination location on the map. Clicking on Snapp eco will send your request to most affordable drivers, while the Snapp plus button searches the more classy and modern cars for you. You can pay for your ride by cash or by credit card information, online.

Tap30 Taxi

Tap30 application (pronounced Tapsi) is a one-of-a-kind service provider. Tapsi is a smart taxi request system that connects you to ambassadors (drivers) via mobile app, web version and corporate panel. You can also request a car by calling 1630. At any time of the day, it is possible to experience a quality, safe and affordable trip, even on routes within the traffic plan, with Tapsi. This online taxi has three separate services, which are classic service (request for all cars), taxi request service (yellow or green) and Tapsi Line service (travel subscription). You can choose your desired service before requesting a trip. At the end of the trip, by giving points to the driver, express your satisfaction with the trip and help the Tapsi team to improve service delivery.

Tap30 taxi logo

Some Tap30 features

Security Package: With Tapsi Security Package, you can share your driver’s information and travel route with those around you during the trip, use the emergency call button with the security unit if needed, and be sure that if the driver follows the route provided for Your trip will take a significant distance, the Tapsi security team will be notified and will take the necessary action. Smart features: With these features, the Tapsi app offers special suggestions such as useful gifts for your requests, depending on your previous travels. Customer Club titled “Tapsi Ship” to offers a variety of prizes and discounts from various businesses for Tapsi users.

Accessibility

Tapsi is fully accessible to blind people and also provides arrangements for deaf people and people with disabilities.
The following steps help you to book a taxi in a few minutes:
1. Determine your departure point and destination on the map.
2. Request a trip.
3. Get acquainted with the information of the ambassador (driver) and contact him if you wish.
4. Specify your payment type. (Cash or credit)
5. Experience a comfortable trip with Tapsi.
6. At the end of the trip to the ambassador, give points from 0 to 10. The score of less than 8 indicates your dissatisfaction with your ambassador.
During the trip, you can use the stop-to-route or second destination options.

Irandoostan

Coronavirus and travel industry: Our story of dealing with the challenging situation

The travel industry is experiencing the hardest hit by the unexpected wave of COVID-19 outbreak. We are all facing a situation that was quite unimaginable some weeks ago, but rarely people ask how about the future? What will the travel industry look like after the coronavirus?

Iran Doostan Tours Co.: The best tour operator in Iran

About 30 years ago when we decided to start our business with cultural tours to Iran, we were totally aware of how sensitive the industry might be to different circumstances ranging from political tensions to social unrests, health issues, and etc. We have either experienced or witnessed many of these obstacles as a tourist company in Iran over these years. Yet, what made us continue to struggle was the passion for our work!
Today, Iran Doostan has been expanded in spite of all the restrictions. There are various departments handling a diversity of package tours and services including cultural tours, adventure and eco-tours, medical tours, and Mice tours. Besides these, there are supporting departments as well, such as accounting, operation, human resources, IT, and digital marketing.

 

How do we deal with the situation?

Until some weeks ago we were growing, but now we are witnessing changes in travel demand. Well, it is a tough situation but not happening for the first time! Fortunately, Iran Doostan Tours Co. was the first Iranian tour operator that adopted a fully fleshed out remote infrastructure for its employees to work from home in order to care for their health and prevent the transmission of the virus, by the time the first few cases were identified in Iran, we continued to work online. My colleagues are online at home to deal with any phone call or email and they are pleasantly ready to assist you with any requests.

Nearly all of our tours have been canceled until the end of July, which was quite unpredictable by the beginning of 2020. To deal with it, we kept negotiating with our service providers, mainly the hotels, not to receive cancellation fees.

Although many companies decide to shut down over the epidemic, we are optimistic toward the future of the travel and tourism industry and we do not mean to ruin what we have built over all these years. To make better use of this time, we came up with a creative solution that is taking the situation as an opportunity for our organization to train the personnel through online sessions. This is how we will make ourselves prepared for the productive tomorrow.

 

What do we think about the future of the travel industry?

We do believe despite what is happening, being optimistic in an integral part of our business. The travel industry has rebounded from past crises and it will bounce back again. After all, people would always dream about more traveling and new experiences and we would be there to offer the desirable service they wish for.

We would overcome the situation pretty soon; hope the remaining months of 2020 would be productive and successful for all tourism businesses around the world, and that we continue our fruitful cooperation more than before.

Hospitality Tomorrow: The virtual Conference on the future of Hospitality

As many as 5000 hospitality professionals participated in the virtual conference called “Hospitality Tomorrow” yesterday on 7 March to unite as “one” community encountering the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the global economy and society.

Although assessing the impacts of the pandemic on the hospitality industry is not certain right now, the tourism and hospitality professionals took part in the conference to discuss three main concerns regarding the world’s unprecedented situation:

  1. Changes in our world and people – operationally, financially, and psychologically
  2. Where, when and how signs of recovery can be anticipated
  3. The role of Travel & Tourism in accelerating momentum for recovery

Most of the specialists who gave a speech in this show expressed an optimistic view of the future of the hospitality industry.

Paul Stoltz, chief executive of Peak Learning and a leading resilience analyst argued that “companies should grab this opportunity to create a new experience, one that is safer, better, more relaxed and enjoyable than even a guests’ own home.”

Roger Bootle, chairman of Capital Economics, a leading independent macroeconomic research firm also stated his optimistic view on the crisis: “although some countries will see falls in GDP of 20 percent or more in a very short period, there is every chance we will get a ‘v’ shaped recovery – a very fast pick-up once the worst is past.”

Discussing changes in our world and people he believes that the situation may damage the personal finance of people even for a year or two, but after this time the memory will fade in the longer term.

Roger Dow, chief executive of the United States Travel Association said: “tourism would be a key part of the economic recovery.” Regarding the anticipation of a recovery, he stated: “we must be prepared in the right time for the recovery”. However, as he argues the recovery will also come in waves, first shows itself in domestic tourism and then internationally.

Richard Haddad, chief executive of Jannah Hotels & Resorts pointed out that the “hospitality industry is facing, joining hands and knowing that everyone is working globally towards the brighter ‘tomorrow’ is vital for the travel and tourism world.”

These are just some of the optimistic viewpoints expressed by the professionals of the industry in this virtual conference. We are all now united as “one” community gets prepared for a brighter future when tourism and hospitality will be flourished again. Hope we all benefit from sustainable tourism around the world once more.

west of Iran attractions

A complete guide to travel to west of Iran

Unlike the classic route of central Iran which tends to cross deserts, west of Iran, including the Zagros area, Kurdistan hills, and Khuzestan plain is so rich naturally and because of this excellence has always been populated during history, Which gives the second priority to the region: historically and culturally rich.

Khuzestan

The name of Khuzestan might remind of the Iran-Iraq war, but the history of civilization in Khuzestan dates back to more than 7000 years, to the Elamite period. The historical sights aside, the tropical nature of this region has a lot to offer to its visitors.

Choghazanbil, The Elamite Ziggurat

Choghazanbil ziggurat known as the Elamite religious center in Shush is the largest ziggurat outside of Mesopotamia and the best preserved of this type of stepped pyramidal monument from 1275-1240 BCE. The word “Chogha Zanbil” in the local language means “large basket-shaped hill.” This well-constructed monument is a dedicate from Untash Gal, the Elamite King to their gods Inshushinak and Naapirisha. The monument was built on five floors, with a height of around 50 meters at the time. The first glazed brick of the world in gold and turquoise was used in the decoration of the outside walls, on which the king personally left a message for you: “I Untash Gal, carved the golden bricks and set up home for the gods and I have dedicated this sacred place. May my work which is a gift to the Gods Gal and Inshushinak be accepted.”

Choghazanbil ziggurat - west of Iran

Choghazanbil ziggurat, the Elamite religious center in Shush, and the largest ziggurat outside of Mesopotamia – West of Iran.

Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System

Intelligently constructed hydraulic systems of Shushtar including water mills, dams, tunnels were used for optimal use of water in ancient times. This aquatic structure which is considered one of the unique works of the Achaemenid period gives good information and statistics from ancient Iran. The first of the Shushtar aqueduct was built by Cyrus the Great in current Khuzestan. The Achaemenid era can be considered the culmination of Iranian civilization, art, and science. They built this industrial and aquatic structure with very precise engineering to overcome the power of nature. It was repeatedly rebuilt during the Sassanid, Seljuk, Qajar, and even Pahlavi periods. But a massive flood eventually destroyed a huge part of the structure in 1963. One of the most important architectural uses of Shushtar water structures was the diversion of Karun water to the other side. This was done in a fine manner and the floor of the creek was well sealed so that its bed would not be destroyed over time. The water would then have to collect behind a high barrier and eventually pass through the holes created on the rock and the Achaemenid plaster.

Shushtar hydraulic system

This aquatic structure which is considered one of the unique works of the Achaemenid period

The ritual ceremony of Mandaean in July

Not all Khuzestan citizens are Arab or Shiit. At the edge of the Karoon River, lives the ethnoreligious group called “Sabin” and also “Mandaean” who are adherents of John the Baptist. The public beliefs of Mandaean consider the natural fluid water as the sacred element which is a symbol of purity and cleaning impurities and guilt, that’s why Mandaeans say their prayers in sunrise and sunset beside Karoon river. Every year on 19 July Mandaean celebrates their new year’s eve which is their sacred day since it is considered as the nativity of Adam. On the mentioned day Sabein wears The white ceremonial robes and performs their baptism rite by immersing themselves in the river. It worth always participating in ritual ceremonies.

Mandaeans

Mandaeans believe that fluid water is a symbol of purity and cleans impurities and guilt.

Apadana, the Palace of Darius in Susa

The palace was built by the order of Darius the Great, the Achaemenid king, in about 515-521 BC in Susa on the remained parts of Elamite artifacts. The walls of the palace are made of clay and its columns are made of stone. If we drive 40 km from Andimeshk on a lush and beautiful road, we will reach the city of Shush, which is one of the oldest cities in the world. Archaeological excavations show that the area was inhabited by farmers in 9000 BC. In 5,000 BC, people lived in the castle, and since 4,000 years ago, it has been the first place on earth to create urban life. As a noticeable point in the excavations of Apadana Palace, we can mention the discovery of an inscription related to the reign of Darius, which is written an inscription from the words of Darius describes the process of construction of Apadana Palace.

Apadana, the Palace of Darius in Susa

Apadana, the Palace of Darius in Susa

Ritual Arabic coffee drinking in Mozif

The literal meaning of “Mozif” is “the place of celebration”. As the guests are highly respected and sacred in Arabic culture, our Arab compatriots in Khuzestan build up some arched shaped rooms made of straw to host people for coffee drinking ceremonies. There are no doors in the entrance of Mozifs which means everyone is welcome. The coffee making and serving have a particular formality. For instance, when coffee is poured, the guest should drink it instantly without putting it down to show his respect, and shaking the cup means that the guest wants no more coffee. but that’s not all, there is a lot to learn before going to Mozif.

mozif

There are no doors in the entrance of Mozifs which means everyone is welcome.

Dehdez, The tropical paradise

If you felt like “Enough for history” in your Khuzestan trip, just take your backpack and go for a cool adventure in Dehdez riverside strict. Zeras is among the most amazing villages in Dehdez which is called “lost paradise”. Tucked between the green mountain ranges, the blue lake of Zeras offers a landscape like “get away from it all”. Surrounded by palm trees and green hills, just don’t sit on the sidelines watching people have fun. There a lot to do in Zeras: you can fish, hike, swim jet around the Lake, ride the boat, and use the water complex.  You’ve got 2 choices for setting your camp, on the green hills if the day wasn’t too hot and the humidity doesn’t bother, or getting back to the village and pick your own picturesque view. Zeras would be the best to travel in the first half-year period, especially from April to June.

Landscapes in the west of Iran

Tucked between the green mountain ranges, the blue lake of Zeras offers a great landscape in the west of Iran.

The cuisine of Khuzistan

The Arabic coffee of Khuzestan aside, the other must-taste of the region is “Ghaliyeh Mahi” which is a delicious spicy chopped fish baked in vegetables.

Lorestan

Falakolaflak castle

Atop an ancient hill in Khoramabad is located Falakolaflak castle, known as the engineering and architectural masterpiece and which is registered in the list of Iran’s National Heritage. Although the original date of construction of the castle is yet unknown it’s been speculated that Shapur Sassanid is the founder. This hexagonal building was used as a military fortress, treasury, and prison for centuries after the Sassanid area up to the Qajar period. When Alexander invaded Iran, the rulers of the time decided to hide valuable gold and silver objects in them and thus protect them from Alexander. Two thousand years later, antiques were accidentally found by thieves and are now preserved in the Anthropological Museum of the castle. The visiting hour change in different seasons but it is almost possible every day from 9:00 to 17:00.

Falakolaflak castle

Falakolaflak castle, known as the engineering and architectural Sassanid masterpiece.

Azna snow tunnel

My highest recommendation for adventurers during spring and summer would definitely be the Azna snow tunnel. The Lorestan province has snowy winters, the accumulation of tons of snow in Oshtoran Kooh over many years, has formed this spectacular natural wonder in Azna area. Huge masses of snow accumulate in the winter and as the weather warms up in the spring and summer, the snow masse starts to melt slightly which makes a hole in it and forms the snow tunnel. Azna valley gives the chance to experience strolling through an 800 meters snow tunnel while the melting drops whisper and the froze strokes the face skin.

Khazineh valley

“Darreh Khazineh” or “Khazineh Valley” is located near the namesake village in Lorestan Province in the west of Iran. Although it gets a little chilly in fall and winter, summers are gloriously temperate affairs in Lorestan. So many people claim that Khazineh valley and Grand Canyon could be twins in another world, well who knows! The spectacular stone forms, shaped by erosion in this valley enchants every visitor. Then check your camera twice before leaving for Lorestan!

Khazineh valley

Khazineh valley is called the Iranian twin of Grand Canyon.

Kurdistan 

The Kurdistan Region located in the west of Iran embraces three provinces: Kurdistan, Kermanshah, and Ilam, the majority of people in these provinces are Kurdish and culturally so close, here are the most remarkable sights to visit in the great region of Kurdistan :

Tagh_E Bostan

“ Tagh_E Bostan” or “The Arch of the Garden” is a collection of inscriptions and rock paintings from the Sassanid period, which is located five kilometers northwest of Kermanshah. These inscriptions picturing the coronations of several Sassanid kings such as Khosrow Parviz, Ardashir II, Shahpur II, and Shahpur III, remained almost 1800 years. Being located on the path of the silk road and the and the agreeable climate and nature made the Tagh_E Bostan region very populated and persuaded the kings to make carve their inscription there, why don’t we call it the royal billboard then?

attractions in the west of Iran

A collection of inscriptions and rock paintings in Tagh-e Bostan, West of Iran

Houramanat

Located in the green mountains of Kurdistan, this hilltop village, is famous for its stunning nature as well as ritualistic music, dance, and ceremonies. The greatest event which takes place in Howramanat is the wedding of “Pir Shalyar”.

festivals in the west of Iran - Kurdistan

PirShaliyar festival is a festival in the west of Iran held by playing rhythmic music, singing religious chants, and doing ritualistic dances.

This musical festival is held twice a year in mid-spring and mid-winter, for 950 years, in honor of a wise old man, called “Pir Shalyar”.The legends say that the King of Bukhara had a deaf-mute daughter.  The more he sought the cure for her, the less he found it.  The king decided to send the princess “Shah Bahar Khatoon” to Kurdistan, to find the cure. When she arrived in Howraman, Pir Shalyar healed her with his special powers and married her. the midwinter festival is the anniversary of their marriage. Which takes place by a group of Dervishes, playing rhythmic music, singing religious chants, and doing ritualistic dances.