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Simply Persia - Iran - September 2018

Price A$7,999


Destination

TehranKashanIsfahanYazdKermanRayenShirazPasargad


Category
Group Tours

Duration
15 days 14 nights
Tour Details

2nd September - 17th September 2018 A$7,999 plus air

What does Iran have to offer the modern traveller?

There’s a reason more and more people are making time to visit one of the world’s oldest civilisations.

Dripping in rich history and culture, this vibrant country has an incredible mix of ethnicity, ancient monuments, bustling bazaars and intriguing landscapes. Add to this the determination of the Iranian people to welcome the world into their home, and you have an experience you’ll never forget. This fascinating Persian adventure will surprise and delight you every step of the way.

We start our tour in the exhilarating and dynamic capital Tehran, taking in the National Museum, as well as visiting Golestan Palace, the National Jewellery Museum and spending time in the maze of bustling alleys that make up the Grand Bazaar. From Tehran we head to the delightful Kashan and spend time in the lush, world heritage site, the Garden of Fin. Whilst in Kashan, we’ll visit the 19th Century Agha Bozorg Mosque and visit one of the oldest archaeological sites in Iran, the Tepe Sialk, where you’ll be able to see an abundance of pottery, tools and implements, dating back to the 4th millennium BC.

From Kashan, we make our way to the beautiful and spectacular Isfahan. Our sunset evening walk sees us strolling along the banks of the Zayandeh river between the illuminated bridges of Si-o-seh Pol and Khajou. You’ll soon understand why Isfahan is one of Iran’s most popular destinations. The next day we’ll take some time out and visit three of the most exquisite Palaces in the region: Chehel Sotoun, Hasht Behest and Aaliqapu. We’ll also take in the mosques of Imam and Sheikh Lotfollah before taking a tour of the Vank Cathedral, built around 1648 with a hidden gem of an interior, complete with recently restored frescoes.

As there’s so much to see and do in Isfahan, we’ve added in a free day to take in the sights and sounds of this stunning city at your leisure. After a day of exploring at your own pace, we head off the next morning to the enchanting city of Yadz. You’ll have a whole day to discover its hidden gems, including a trip to the Amir Chakhmaq Complex, one of the largest religious sites in Iran. Look out for the bazaar hidden underneath the complex, where you’ll find a wealth of produce on offer. As well as the Grand Mosque and the Zoroastrian Fire Temple, you’ll also get the chance to visit the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence, located on two isolated hilltops on the Southern outskirts of the city. Well worth the trip!

The next day we head to the World Heritage Site of the stone village of Meymand. This amazing site consists of around 400 caves dug into the walls of the surrounding valley. From here we make our way to the gateway of South Eastern Iran, Kerman. Here we’ll have an overnight stay and a morning visit to the Ganjali Khan Complex and the Jabalieh Dome, which incredibly dates back to the 2nd Century AD.

The following day we set off on an excursion to yet another World Heritage Site, the Gardens of Mahan, before heading to the mud brick citadel of Rayen. Our next destination, Shiraz, is considered the hub of Persian culture. If you’re keeping count of World Heritage Sites, you’ll visit another one today as we head to the beautiful gardens of Bagh-e Eram. Your day in Shiraz will be jam packed with things to see and do as we visit numerous mosques, museums, gardens and bazaars.

After a well earned overnight stay, we start one of the most exciting days of the itinerary. First up is a full day excursion to Persepolis, where you’ll see the majestic and monumental ruins of a once magnificent Empire. Our last visits are to the tombs of the Achaemenid and Sassanid Emperors and Cyrus the Great.

You’ll spend this memorable, enchanting trip with your fellow solo travellers and, of course, your friendly ‘Two’s a Crowd’ host. So if you’re prepared for surprising adventure and you’re after something a little different, the hidden charms of Iran could be just what you’re looking for.

Day 1: Tehran

Welcome to Tehran! Our tour begins in the dynamic capital and you’ll be met by your ‘Two’s a Crowd’ Tour Host at Tehran international airport and transferred to your hotel. Our frst night will be spent meeting our tour host, getting to know fellow travellers and enjoying a fabulous welcome dinner at our hotel.

Accommodation: Hotel Enghelab 4 Star

Meals : Dinner
Day 2: Tehran

Our first full day will be spent taking in the sights on the bustling streets of Tehran. We’ll visit the National Museum of Iran, where you’ll get to see exhibits dating back 35,000 years. We’ll also see the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Golestan Palace, a splendid monument to the Qajar rulers. We’ll take on the bustling alleys of the Grand Bazaar and visit one of Tehran’s most popular destinations, the National Jewellery Museum, accommodating the world’s most magnifcent jewellery collection.

Accommodation: Enghelab Hotel 4 Star

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 3: Kashan

After breakfast at your hotel, we leave Tehran and make our way to the delightful city of Kashan. En route we’ll stop at the Fatima al-Masoumeh Shrine, the physical and spiritual centre of the city of Qom.

Accommodation: Negin Traditional Hotel 3 star

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 4: Kashan

Our day in charming Kashan includes a trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Garden of Fin. Relax and take in the turquoise coloured pools, natural springs and 500 year old cedar trees. We’ll also visit the 19th Century Agha Bozorg Mosque and one of the oldest archaeological sites in Iran, the Tepe Sialk, where you’ll see an abundance of pottery, tools and implements, dating back to the 4th millennium BC. Our fnal trip will be to the Borujerdi House, a fne example of ornate, Persian architecture.

Accommodation: Negin Traditional Hotel 3 star

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 5: Isfahan

Today we begin our journey to the spectacular city of Isfahan. En-route we take a trip to the ancient village of Abyaneh, situated at the foot of Mount Karkas. From here we head to Isfahan and take a sunset walk along the banks of the Zayandeh river between the illuminated bridges of Si-o-seh Pol and Khajou. A truly amazing experience.

Accommodation: Hotel Part 3 Star

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Isfahan

There’s a reason Isfahan is thought of as one of Iran’s most appealing destinations and today you’ll fnd out why. Our day begins with a visit to three of the most exquisite Palace’s in the region: Chehel Sotoun, Hasht Behest and Aaliqapu. We’ll take a stroll through the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Naqsh-e Jahan Square, the second largest square on earth. Our next stop are the mosques of Imam and Sheikh Lotfollah, before heading to the Armenian district of Jolfa for a tour of Vank Cathedral, the historic focal point of the Armenian Church in Iran, flled with recently restored, brightly coloured frescoes.

Accommodation: Hotel Part 3 Star

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 7: Isfahan

There’s so much to absorb in this beautiful city, so today is a free day to take in the sights and sounds at your leisure.

Accommodation: Hotel Part 3 Star

Meals : Breakfast
Day 8: Yazd

Today we start making our way to Yazd, with a couple of fascinating stops en-route. First we’ll visit the desert city of Nain, where we’ll explore the 9th Century Jame Mosque, an excellent example of Persian architecture along with the Old Bazaar. We’ll then head to the 1800 year old town of Meybod, where we’ll see possibly the oldest mud-brick structure in Iran, the 1st Century Narin Castle.

Accommodation: Hotel Safaieh 4 star

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 9: Yazd

We head off this morning to one of the highlights of our trip, the enchanting city of Yadz. We’ve allowed an entire day to discover the wealth of hidden gems it has to offer, including a trip to the Amir Chakhmaq Complex, one of the largest religious sites in Iran. We’ll spend some time in the old city, one of the oldest on earth, where you’ll see ‘Badgirs’ alsoknown as ‘wind towers’ on all the town’s rooftops. As well as the Grand Mosque and the Zoroastrian Fire Temple, we’ll also visit the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence, located on two hilltops on the outskirts of the city.

Accommodation: Hotel Safaieh 4 star

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 10: Kerman

Today starts with a trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the stone village of Meymand. Consisting of around 400 caves dug into the walls of the surrounding valley, it’s a sight to behold. From here we make our way to the gateway of South Eastern Iran, the desert city of Kerman, where we’ll stay overnight.

Accommodation: Tourist Inn 3 star

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 11: Kerman

Our day in historic and lively Kerman begins with a morning visit to the Ganjali Khan Complex, a traditional bathhouse dating back to the Safavid period, and the Jabalieh Dome, which incredibly dates back to 2nd Century AD.

Accommodation: Tourist Inn 3 star

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 12: Rayen

After breakfast we say goodbye to Kerman and head off on an excursion to yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the picturesque Gardens of Mahan, before heading to the mud brick citadel of Rayen, believed to be over 1,000 years old. You’ll also get the chance to see the amazing Kalouts, natural rock formations found in the surrounding desert.

Accommodation: Tourist Inn 3 star

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 13: Shiraz

After breakfast we’ll head off on our journey to Shiraz. On our way we’ll visit the Palace of 3rd century Sassanid Empire, Ardeshir.

Accommodation: Karimkhan Hotel Boutique

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 14: Shriaz

Shiraz is thought of by many to be the hub of Persian culture and our day here will be flled with feasts for all the senses. We start with a trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the stunning gardens of Bagh-e Eram, famed for its impressive cypress trees. We’ll visit the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, the Shah Cheragh Mausoleum and the tombs of two of Iranian’s greatest poets Hafezieh and Sa’dieh. We’ll wander the maze of lanes at the Vakil Bazaar, where you’ll fnd over 200 stores selling carpets, spices, crafts and clothes. A wonderfully atmospheric experience. We’ll also visit the courtyard of Narenjestan-e Qavam, flled with the aroma of orange trees and fnally the fortress of Arg-e Karimkhani.

Accommodation: Karimkhan Hotel Boutique

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 15: Pasargad

After an overnight stay, we start our last day with a trip to Persepolis, the capital of ancient Achaemenid Empire with its palaces and temples dating back to 500 BC. We’ll also see the magnifcent rock tombs of Naqsh-e Rostam before heading to Pasargad, another UNESCO World Heritage Site to visit the tomb of Cyrus the Great. We’ll then head back to Shiraz for an evening flight to Tehran.

Accommodation: Hotel Enghelab 4 Star

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 16: Tehran

Our tour concludes after breakfast followed by transfer to the airport for your departure flight.

 

Meals : Breakfast

Hotel Enghelab (4 star) Tehran: Located on Taleqani Avenue, the hotel is short walk from Tehran's business, shopping and entertainment areas. The hotel has 248 rooms and suites, external swimming pool, two restuarants and  two coffee shops. All rooms offer wireless internet, private bathroom, safety deposit box, refridgerator and air conditioning.

Negin Traditional Hotel (3 star) Kashan: The Negin Complex (Talar or main house, hotel, resturant, art and culture center and coffee shop) is located in the heart of the old city next to the ancient and famous bazaar and within 5-10 minutes walk of multiple historic mosques, homes and districts in Kashan. The complex consists of 5 homes connected to each other, all built in the 1800's and renovated recently. The main Talar and conference center is registered amongst historic homes in Kashan.The Negin Historic hotel rooms are refurbished old rooms, all equipped with western style toilet and shower and orthopedic mattress. Linen is changed daily.  The hotel has wifi and a restaurant. The coffee shop is open during the day and evening  with an interesting menu including local desserts, multiple brewed teas, coffee, cold drinks and Persian ice cream.

Hotel Part (3 Star) Isfahan: Recently established at the heart of the beautiful city of Isfahan, Iran. Walking distance to Naghshejahan Square, 33 bridges and river, Khajoo Bridge. Free wifi, breakfast included, laundry, 24 hour room service, video central, cafe restaurant and pool.

Hotel Safaieh (4 star) Yadz: Centrally located  hotel with 192 rooms and suites all with private bathroom, airconditioning, satellite TV and room safe. Hotel has a cafe, wifi and swimming pool.

Tourist Inn (3 star) Kerman: Located in the western part of the city, the complex has 53 rooms and is near to attractions such as the Ganjali Khan complex, Jame Mosque, Moshtaghieh Tomb and Jabaliya Gonbad. Facilities inlude a restaurant, wifi, shop and coffee shop.

Karimkhan Boutique Hotel (3 star) Shiraz: Centrally located  hotel with 51 rooms and suites all with private bathroom, airconditioning, TV and room safe. Hotel has a cafe where breakfast is served and paid wifi.

Official Title: Islamic Republic of Iran

Area: 1,648,000 km2

Terrain: A central desert basin surrounded by mountainous rims

Capital: Tehran

Major Cities: Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz & Mashhad

Population: 80.1 million (2016)

Brief History

For most of history, the tract of land now called Iran was known as Persia. It wasn’t until 1935 that it adopted its present name meaning the land of Aryans.The First inhabitants of Iran were a race of people living in western Asia. When the Aryans arrived, they gradually started mingling with the old native Asians. Recent discoveries indicate that, centuries before the rise of earliest civilizations in Mesopotamia, Iran was inhabited by human. But the written history of Iran dates back to 3,200 BC.

Cyrus the Great was the founder of the first Persian Empire in 2,500 BC. Since then Iran has witnessed the rise of numerous Empires and also been overrun by various occupiers such as Macedonians, Arabs, Turks and Mongols until 1979 when a revolution brought an end to over 2,500 years of monarchy in Iran.

 

General Geographical Info


Iran is a country in southwestern Asia, located on the eastern side of the Persian Gulf. It lies at the easternmost edge of the geographic and cultural region known as the Middle East.

With 1,648,000 km2 land area it is the 2nd largest country in the Middle East and the 18th in the world. Iran is a high-altitude plateau surrounded by connected ranges of mountains.

One of the world’s most mountainous countries, Iran contains two major ranges of mountains, the Alborz with the highest peak Damavand (5,671 m above sea level) and the Zagros that cuts across the country for more than 1,600 km extending from north west to the south east of the country. These two ranges capture a considerable amount of moisture coming either from the Caspian Sea southward or the Mediterranean eastward and stops the rainfall getting to some of the central areas.

As a result Iran has two of world’s largest deserts, Dasht-e-Kavir and Kavir-e-Lut. They are both some of the most arid and maybe hottest areas of their kinds in the world. More than half of Iran’s international border of 4,430 km is coastline, including 740 km along the Caspian Sea in the north and 1,700 km along the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea in the south.

Weather

Iran is a vast country with different types of climate: wet and mild on the coast of the Caspian Sea, continental and arid in the plateau, cold in high mountains, desert and hot in the southern coast and the southeast. Generally, Iran is an arid country, however in the west and the north the rains are a bit more abundant than in the east and the south. The only rainy area is the Caspian Sea coast. Summer is sunny is everywhere.

When to go

Given the vastness of Iran and its different climates, it is difficult to find a time which is best for all the country. However, you can choose spring (March to May), particularly April or Autumn (September to November) especially the month of October.

Population & People

Iran’s 80 million population ranks the country as the 2nd in the Middle East and the world’s 17th most populous country. Although the majority of population are Persians (61%), Iran is home to many other ethnics containing Azaris (16%), Kurds (10%), Lors (6%), Arabs (2%), Baluchs (2%) and Turkmens (2%).

Language

The majority of the Iranians speak the Persian language, which is also the official language of the country. Others include the rest of the Iranian languages within the greater Indo-European languages, and the languages of the other ethnicities in Iran. After Persian and its sub-branched languages such as Gilaki, Mazandarani & Lori the most spoken language in Iran is Azari following by Kurdish, Arabic & Baluchi.

Time Zone

Iran is 3.5 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. During day light saving Iran is 4.5 hours ahead of GMT, which is usually from 21/22 March to 21/22 September.

Immigration & Visa

Our wholesaler applies for a visa pre-approval reference number through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for all passengers.

The reference number can be used to purchase a visa sticker from Iranian Embassies/Consulates around the world (only available in Canberra in Australia) or simply taking advantage of visa on arrival arrangement (not applicable for all nationalities).

Visa on arrival cost is 150 Euros* which must be paid in cash. Please refer to relevant Iranian Embassy/Consulate website for pre-purchase visa fees.

Immigration authorities might condition your visa to a local travel insurance to be purchased at the airport. The cost of this insurance is approximately 20 Euros (This is a guide only price).

*As of October 2016, subject to change without notice.

Customs
Iranian customs applies restriction on importing and exporting live animals, plants and plant products. Import of medicines is allowed only for personal usage and at low volume. Please make sure you obtain a certificate from your GP/Physician if you are carrying an unusual amount of medicines. Import of cigarettes/tobacco products is allowed at the amount of one box equal to 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars per passenger. The allowed amount of tobacco for each passenger is 250 grams.

According to the laws and regulations of Iran, import and export of below items are strictly forbidden;

  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Gambling tools
  • Narcotic drugs
  • Magazines, publications, photos, films, snaps and those goods which are against the religious and national dignity of the country (including pornography items).


Health
We encourage all passengers to consult with their GP or a vaccination centre regarding required vaccinations for Iran.

Local Law
As any other country, all foreign travellers must respect the country’s rules.

Under Iranian law ladies are required to cover their hair and body in public, this includes a scarf and a loose overcoat, trench coat or a tunic to cover their hips. Men are required to wear long trousers in public, no shorts allowed! Possessing and consuming alcohol in Iran is forbidden by law.

Money
The currency unit in Iran is ‘Iranian Rial’ (IRR). However Iranians commonly express amounts of money and prices of goods in ‘Tomans’. For this purpose, one Toman equals to 10 Rials. Despite this usage, amounts of money and prices of goods are virtually always written in Rials.

1 AUD equals to 27,500 IRR, 1 USD to 35,000 IRR and 1 Euro to 40,000 IRR.*

Iranian shops, ATM’s and banks do not accept foreign credit/debit cards. Although Australian Dollar is accepted by some exchange offices in Iran we recommend having your cash in US Dollars or Euros.

*Approximate rates in August 2016

Tehran is now serviced by many international airlines including Emirates, Qatar and British Airways. Ask your Two's a Crowd consultant for a competitive airfare quote from your nearest capital city.

Tour inclusions:

  • Iranian visa invitation letter with reference number issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • Inbound and Outbound Airport Transfers (Regardless of Arrival/Departure Times)

  • Transportation in a fully air-conditioned, non-smoking vehicle

  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance underwritten by QBE. Additional premium may be payable if over 60 years, have an existing medical condition or wish to extend your travelling dates. Refer to QBE for more information on policy terms and conditions.

  • Two’s a Crowd Tour Host Ken Morgan, Founder of Two's a Crowd

  • Professional English-speaking tour guide for the duration of the tour

  • Entrance fees to various sites as per itinerary

  • Daily Breakfast, 13 Lunches and 2 Dinners

  • 15 nights 3 and 4 Star accommodation or the best available category

  • Shiraz-Tehran flight ticket (economy class)


Tour exclusions:

  • International flights (the friendly Two’s a Crowd staff can assist with quotes and airfare bookings)

  • Tips for driver and guide

  • Visa on arrival costs

  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary

  • All drinks, including water, soft drink and alcohol on all included or optional excursions

  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature

  • Entrance fees for sites not mentioned in the itinerary

  • logo1 Proud winner of the 3AW Small Business Success Award in 2016
  • logo3 We are 100% Australian owned and operated
  • logo4 Our group tours include travel insurance. See tour brochures for more info.
  • logo 6 Fully ATAS accredited. A national scheme which accredits only those travel businesses who have met strict financial and customer service criteria.
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