Iran is probably the safest country in the world for women however, you are expected to have no flesh showing except hands and face. Men should not wear shorts or reveal too much flesh. Remove shoes if entering a house or mosque. Avoid any opposite sex handshakes neither physical touches. When on public transport, you should not sit next to the opposite sex. That means a man can’t sit next to a woman that’s not related or married to him. If traveling with a partner, keep Your Hands to Yourself. “No PDA (public displays of affection)!”
All bills and coins are in Rial, but locals use the term toman. It’s calculated by taking one zero off the rial amount (100,000 rials is 10,000 tomans). It’s also common to simply say 10 tomans to mean 10,000 tomans. Prices are generally written in rials, although many restaurants and cafes use the toman equivalent nowadays. When in doubt, simply ask for the rial amount.
A complex system of insincere politeness in which one’s true feelings are never revealed, târof is embedded in Iranian culture and can be a tricky one for visitors. While there are many different forms, the one traveler will definitely be exposed to be the phrase ghâbel nadâre, which implies that you do not have to pay. You will hear this every time you pay for something, from taxis to restaurants, and everything in between. Make no mistake, you should always pay. If an Iranian offers you a pen anything to borrow, and then says: “Qabel Nadare!” [It is not a big deal! or keep it] you just return it back with a smile and say:”Saahebesh Lazem dare” [You may need it]
When other countries are just beginning their weekend, Iranians are finishing theirs, as Thursday afternoon and Friday are the weekend, and many places may be closed.
Bottled water is also widely available however Tap water is safe to drink. Foods normally are at a good quality but always trust your guide’s choice.
Watch out for Joobs, the open storm water drains that shoulder every road and are easy to miss when walking in the dark.
Of all the things you shouldn’t do in Iran, this is the most important one. Whatever you do, do not say no! Iranians really are amazingly friendly and you’ll be surprised at how genuine their interest is. Don’t be surprised if someone random comes up to you to practice their English or have a little chitchat. It can happen while you’re drinking tea in the bazaar, while you’re visiting a shrine, or at the bus stop.
THE DOS IN IRAN
Do throw away any preconceptions you might have of Iran and enter the country with an open mind.
Do say “salaam” (hello) when you enter shops.
Do say “merci” (thank you) when you receive help.
Do tip! Tipping is a big part of Iranian culture. When you receive any sort of assistance from someone – from the luggage cart handler at the airport, to a cab driver in the city — you should tip them.
Do try seasonal snacks sold along the streets.
Do make friends! It will lead to a deeper and more meaningful experience of the Persian culture.
Do refuse food when you no longer want to eat more. This is considered polite.
Do arrive on time. Tardiness could be considered rude in Iranian culture.
Do ask if you can enter a room at a holy site as some places forbid entry to non-Muslims.
Do understand the dress code of Iranians as travelers are expected to abide by their rules. You can read more about that in our website.
THE DON’TS IN IRAN
Don’t be afraid to ask Iranians for help. They will always help you in the best way they can.
Don’t use the expressions “the Gulf” or “the Arabian Gulf”. It is the Persian Gulf
Don’t call Iranians Arabs, this will end badly.
Don’t give the thumbs up it is considered offensive in Iran. Although if someone gives you the thumbs up with a smile, it means they acknowledge your culture.
Don’t try to shake hands with Iranian women if you are a man. But if they offered to do so, don’t reject that.
Don’t be uncomfortable when you are treated to a meal by Iranians. Hospitality is part of the Persian culture and it is NOT an imposition.
Don’t ask for “Sheesha” when ordering a water pipe, as this means “crystal meth”. Ask for a “Qalyoun” instead.
Don’t drive unless you have an international driver’s license.
Don’t snap photos of sites where you see a ‘No Photography Allowed’ sign.
Don’t blow your NOSE while you are with a company as it is considered extremely impolite.
Don’t bring alcohol or drugs with you into the country.
Don’t bring satellite phones with you into the country.