Top Tips for a Pleasant Trip Safe and a Bit Strange!
Top Tips for a Pleasant Trip to Tehran
If you intended on (interested in) visiting Tehran soon, it is important to know the good and bad about the city. According to Safearound website,
Tehran is a safe place
for western travelers; even though, like many other capitals, there are some potential concerns about safety. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe and have a pleasant trip.
- If you are on your way to Bazaar, Metro stations or other crowded places, keep an eye out for any potential scams. While they can show up in different ways, a few ones are more common. Picket pocketing is a problem for those who are not ready. Robbery by a motorcyclist and phone snatchers are other forms. (Be vigilant of your surroundings)
- Be vigilant of fake police. I haven’t seen them, but I heard that they are usually uniform and flash with the fake ID’s. They may ask your passport or cash you carry. If there is something suspicious, ask them to continue to the nearest police station. Real police officers are quite polite and supportive in their communications.
- Tehran is a prosperous capital of the country and home of 14 million residents. Job opportunities have attracted more people from around the country and lead to growth blighted areas in some part of the city.
There are also some tips about the appearance. Ideally, I believe that women should be able to dress how they like wherever they go, but that is just not realistic. As I experienced in my travels, sometimes it is better to “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. Like many other Middle East countries, the dress code is an important issue for travellers. If you’re a woman travelling in Tehran, you need to know about local dress codes and respect it. Simply, tourists usually wear a scarf and long skirt, pants or jeans. Bright colours are more popular among the young generation and also it is a privilege on sunny days. Unlike northern western countries, Iran has notable sunny days.
Tap water is safe and clean but usually, travellers prefer to have bottled water because it is more accessible. Surprisingly, supermarkets are in almost every street and I really mean it. Food and products are safe but check the expiration date of food to be sure about the safety.
Road safety is an important issue for tourists while traffic is fast-paced in Tehran. If in Amsterdam, the priority is with cyclists, pedestrian and then drivers and motorcyclists, in Tehran drivers and motorcyclists dominate the streets. Cycling is also not that safe since there is no separate path for it. Even if you intend to pass a crosswalk, it is better to be cautious. Look at the roads for a while till you become sure that it is quite safe to pass. You will see it yourself how the locals pass the street. Tehran pavements are usually well maintained, but some may cause damage to your feet or car.
If you travel independently, taxi is more convenient and accessible. You may feel a bit strange that taxi in Tehran is a kind of public transportation; which means that the taxi is not only for you unless you say/mention it! As a result of sharing the fare with other passengers, taxies are comparatively cheap. A more suitable but a bit expensive option is localized Uber services know as Snap and Tap30 taxi. Here are simple steps to use Snap or Tap30 taxi:
- First, you need to buy a local SIM card. Ask the shopkeeper to activate the internet on your cell phone.
- Second, install Snap or Tap30 applications on your cell phone.
- You need to know the basic Farsi words to use the application. These services have not yet provided in other languages.
- You also need to have enough Rial (local currency) to pay the driver!
- Map out where you plan to visit before you jump on the road. Check it to save your time and be sure about everything. The drivers also usually follow the google maps.
- Keep your stuff with you in the back seat so that you retain control over when you can get out.
In social interactions, in general, Tehran’s people are supportive and hospitable. They would like to learn about your experience and viewpoints as a traveller. While becoming friends with other travellers and native people are fun and exciting, consider the potential threats. Trust your instincts and read the situations. If you feel in any way uncomfortable or nervous, get the hell out of there and leave peoples behind.
What can be handy and reassures you is knowing some of the travel agencies' details. Just in case you face a situation that you are not comfortable with or simply you need more information, they are there to help you. The good point is that they are usually prepared for your questions and they help many tourists every day. The other options are tour guides or maybe friends who are familiar with the city. In Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social networks, you are able to gain practical and useful information for your journey. With sharing your itinerary, keep your family and friends updated as well as publish your experience.
Remember that social networks are really popular in Iran’s major cities especially Tehran. There is a strange point here! Some social networks such as Twitter or Facebook are filtered, even though official figures use them! It can be easily passed with installing some proxy servers.
If you take these tips carefully, you'll have a great trip. Spend time there, and you’ll soon realise/discover Tehran as a cosmopolitan city with wonderful restaurants, museums, parks and warm, friendly people. A unique feature of Tehran is proximity to the mountains which is quite nice for ski or jogging. There are clubs and coffee shops near the mountain rivers which make your visit more enjoyable.
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