A holiday in Iran

The world is a scary place. That’s what I keep hearing. I do however belong to the most dangerous, destructive species on this Earth, overwhelmingly dominant over any potential predator. So, why should I be scared?

Well, I am told almost constantly that I should fear greatly the other members of my species; those who are not like me. There are people whose job it is (apparently) to protect me from those other scary people, and they tell me on TV and the Internet that the best way to not be afraid is to stay with my tribe. I should be wary of those “other”, different, scary people, and celebrate the people like me because, as I am constantly told (for reasons that are never fully explained)… we are the best people.

I’m very fortunate though, or maybe crazy, because I am not actually scared at all of the “other”. I have no fear of blacks, homosexuals, Muslims, Asians, homeless people, zombies, ghosts… I’m also very lucky to come from a peaceful western country, so I am not afraid of terrorists coming to kill me, which is actually as likely as a plane crash or shark attack.  Statistically I should be much more fearful of dying in a natural disaster, but the Internet keeps telling me to be afraid of those “other”, scary people, and to stay with my own kind. I should mention here; I’m not a complete lunatic and of course, some things do frighten me. I am a little scared of the Internet.     

Anyway, I had a few days off work, so I took a quick trip to Iran.

Some friends, family and colleagues offered their thoughts (again) on my travels, which were not entirely unexpected. A number of these reactions to this mini-vacation might be condensed into something like, ‘Iran?! OMG… Why???’

When people ask me “why” I do things, my standard answer is generally, “Because I Can”, or “Because it’s There”. More accurately and truthfully though, I went to Iran because it was close to where I lived at the time, and the one-hour flight from Dubai was cheap. And… I thought it would be interesting!

Everyone is different I guess. Some people like to film themselves, dangling, one-handed from cranes atop skyscrapers, or surfing a tsunami. I think those people are a bit crazy, but to each their own. Some people think I’m a bit nuts too. I can say from experience however… if you get an adrenaline-rush from danger, or if you want to test the limits of your own capacity to survive in a desolate, unforgiving landscape and a hostile, unforgiving people… well, Iran will disappoint you. Of course they do have all that vast, rugged desert there. They have ski resorts too! I didn’t know that.  

Iranians... scary stuff. Photo: Peninsularity Ensues
Scary Iranians… they gave me street food and directions to some cool places.
Photo: Peninsularity Ensues

I had no prior knowledge of the city of Shiraz. I had heard of it of course, but before this I would have assumed it might be in France perhaps, maybe near Bordeaux or some other wine place. I had no idea about this ancient former Persian capital, famed for its literature… and its wine.

I’m not totally ignorant though. I had thought to do a bit of preliminary research, so as not to accidentally make any cultural faux pas. I’d been advised by a number of people, and the Internet, that the wearing of jeans in Iran, and possession of other evil symbols of the western capitalist enemy are strictly prohibited in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is, as it turns out, complete bullshit.

I had been told that the Persian women are strictly controlled by the oppressive regime. They are to be kept largely indoors and must remain fully covered when in public, so as not to show any hair, or commit other such immoral public acts of indecency, except… more bullshit.

The hotel staff were very friendly and helpful. Photo: Peninsularity Ensues

I should mention, obviously, that this is a conservative Islamic nation, and just like everywhere, there are rules. (The UAE is also a conservative Islamic nation, and anyone who has been to Dubai in the last twenty years will tell you, Dubai makes Las Vegas look positively demure). Some people questioned me later that I had taken no photos of women in the streets (header Photo: AFP, 2020). This is not to say that they weren’t there. In Iran, it is illegal to photograph people without consent, and, well… approaching random women in the street and asking to take their photo is considered a bit strange in many cultures.

So, I arrived at my hotel in Shiraz and the staff were immediately helpful. They showed me where to get an Iranian SIM card (I wasn’t sure why they thought I needed that), tips on currency exchange, and directions to local restaurants and places of interest. I dropped my bag in the room, then set off for a walk to change some money and get a bite to eat.  

At time of writing, the official exchange rate is 42,300 Iranian Rials to the dollar. The ‘real’ rate is closer to 50,000. Desperate for stable foreign currency after many years of crippling economic sanctions, the exchange rate on the street was significantly better than that offered by the banks. This made everything even cheaper than it already was. It was a fun kind of novelty to be walking around with millions in cash… for about ten minutes. Then I was completely baffled. 

2.6 million Rials... cash baby! (that's about $70) Photo: Peninsularity Ensues
2.6 million Rials… cash baby! (that’s about $55). Photo: Peninsularity Ensues

So, the smallest denomination bank note (100 Rials) was worth about US$0.002 and things got confusing. Then I learned that only the government talks in terms of Rials, but the people trade in the ‘Toman’, which just means all sums are divided by ten. There are still too many zeros though, so they often just leave those out anyway. For the following three days I attempted to pay far too much for everything, or far too little.

Anyway, I was alone and just looking for a quick snack, so I ordered a hot dog at the fast food joint around the corner from my hotel. There are no western franchise restaurants in Iran and the name of this place was ‘Fast Food’. The guy there was cool and he asked if I wanted a small hot dog, which I thought was weird. I ordered a normal one. Then I saw a burger being delivered to a table of young men sitting in the corner. I remembered seeing burgers like that in Australia, 30 years earlier (or maybe I was just much smaller then). I carried my hot dog in both hands, and my complimentary gift of alcohol-free beer (?) back to the hotel.

For $1.50 I expected a quick snack. Photo: Peninsularity Ensues
For a dollar I expected a quick bite.  Photo: Peninsularity Ensues

The hot dog guy was the first of dozens to ask me where I was from and if I was enjoying Iran. The Persians are proud of their country, and everyone I spoke to was very pleased to hear I was enjoying my stay. Vendors helped me out. They joked in good nature at my clumsy attempts to understand their currency. People politely asked for more money when necessary and, several times, they laughed while handing back extra wads of money I attempted to overpay. For some reason nobody seemed to want to rip off the clueless tourist. At least, not any more than I thought was perfectly acceptable. The clueless tourist tax is a global thing.

One of my favorite countries to visit has long been Philippines. It is a developing country facing its own set of problems, where guys with big guns guard the shopping malls. The Filipinos refuse to stop smiling for any reason, even when telling you that you should not go outside at night. Many countries are like that, if perhaps with less of all that smiling. I always go out for a walk at night.  

Later that night I decided to try my luck and go out for a walk. The hotel doorman didn’t appear to have a gun of any size and wished me a pleasant evening. Mixed social company isn’t really a thing in public. Groups of men and groups of women were out walking, shopping, chatting, being almost aggressively non-threatening… apparently all the ‘Axis of Evil’ stuff was happening somewhere else.

Evil Iran... cleverly disguised as quite normal. Photo: Peninsularity Ensues
Shiraz, Iran… an Axis of Evil, cunningly disguised as rather normal.   Photo: Peninsularity Ensues

It was getting late, but the absence of any sense of danger remained. I went looking for the famed Chah e-Cheragh Shrine, which I’d heard was beautiful. I chatted with some guys at a falafel stand, then I saw a large sign written in Farsi. It’s wise to know that the Persians are not Arabs, and they speak Farsi, not Arabic. This was of no consequence to me because I don’t speak either of those languages, but the sign had a big arrow on it which pointed down a dark alley, so I followed that. The next ten minutes was a random maze of dark alleys, but still… not a single maniac could be found.

Danger stubbornly refused to lurk around every corner. Photo: Peninsularity Ensues
Danger stubbornly refused to lurk around every corner. It was atmospheric though!   Photo: Peninsularity Ensues

Those alleys never seemed to lead anywhere, except back out onto another main road. Eventually I found the place I was looking for though, and was patted down by an armed security guard who apologised for having to do so. He said it was his job. Admission was free.

At the Shah e-Charagh, Shiraz. Photo: Peninsularity Ensues
At the Shah e-Charagh complex, Shiraz.    Photo: Peninsularity Ensues

The funerary complex was serene. Then I walked into the shrine itself. It was indeed beautiful. Jaw-dropping would be another way to describe this place, the name of which in Persian translates as ‘King of the Light’. Looking up at the impossibly glittering mirrored walls and ceilings (of which my photos do no justice), I hadn’t noticed that I had now committed a cultural faux pas. Again, to put it another way, I had, I thought, monumentally f^#ked up. Here, at this very important holy site in Southern Iran, awestruck by what I was seeing… I had casually strolled into the women’s section. Not good. The three women sat quietly on the floor looking at me. I just stared back at them, frozen with embarrassment and at that moment, I did feel scared. The women smiled, then, softly and gently, as if trying not to startle a cornered animal, they very politely alerted me of the obvious and directed me out and to the men’s entrance.

Mirrors... lots of mirrors. Inside Shah e-Charagh, Shiraz. Photo: Peninsularity Ensues.
Mirrors… lots of mirrors. Inside Shah e-Charagh, Shiraz.     Photo: Peninsularity Ensues.

It is easy to forget, as a westerner, just how simple traveling is for us. English is ubiquitous to the extent that we don’t notice it until it isn’t happening. All over the world people speak to us in our own language (except perhaps Japan), even the people our own politicians and media portray as an enemy to be feared. I have been more than fortunate to have traveled much of the world, where people talk to me in English. It’s a bit weird really, how we seem to know just how much these evil Iranians (for example) hate us, when they speak to us in our language and we know almost nothing about them.

I’ll tell you a secret from what I have learned traveling. The overwhelming majority of all people everywhere… are good. And we are all basically the same. We all want to work and build a better life, to laugh with our friends, to be intimate with our partner, to watch our children grow strong, to upgrade our phones occasionally, maybe catch a movie sometimes or read a good book, to take a day sometimes to do nothing at all, to secretly hope that someone will catch us on video that one time we do something awesome… yeah, we’re all pretty much the same. And that’s why there is no reason to be scared. Sure, there will always be people who aren’t wired right, but they really are so very few. So, be scared of the “other” in much the same way you should be scared of being struck by lightning. Not much at all.

One last bit of advice… wherever in the world you may travel, at least just learn how to say ‘Thank you’. And smile. Β 

So, there you go. Shiraz is a historical and peaceful city, but… if you really want to experience pure adrenaline, or have a serious death wish, they’ve got you covered there also. Simply try your luck crossing one of the major city streets at the designated pedestrian (zebra) crossings. These are purely decorative.

Salaam, and merci.Β 


  1. Nice post. I agree about how government propaganda is, in many instances, intended to bring fear. I found countries like Myanmar, North Korea, Pakistan, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco much safer than my country (or Israel) wanted me to think. However, unlike you, I do fear ISIS.

  2. Thank you for sharing and another thank you for coming I enjoyed and had smile all the times was reading your opinion about Iran happy to hear that some people can’t believe everything showing in media and not judging easily people just because of their government but unfortunately it’s really nasty game hey please come again welcome always to my country x

  3. thanks for sharing. It was really pleasant and I am glad you enjoyed the trip. Also, as Pari said, you are always welcome. I just wanted to share your experiences and amazing story on my Facebook page.

  4. I had heard very good things about Iran and it’s great to get this confirmation from a trusted friend! I won’t hesitate to go there next chance I get…in the meantime, may the chinooks just keep on rollin’ in!

    • “hot spots for hatred like Iran is”…..and experienced, presumably personally, where? Or did you read it somewhere? See it on TV? Someone told you?…..must be true, then….πŸ˜‰

    • Al the west is setting up those goatfuckers such as ISIS and others like the Saudi Givernment! Please try to read up before you believe in your CNN and BBC news!! Then dropping bombs on elderly, young children, couples.. Anyone who comes in the way!! Only to steel wealth & OIL?! And they tell people like you about the danger of WMD!! In Iraq.. It’s a joke. Wake up!

    • Don’t be scared Al Snowdon. I am sure you never even been to Toronto, but best way to defeat your fear is to face it. I am from Iran and didn’t go back for 15 years but I love to see North Korea, don’t trust government and media. Full of bulshit.

    • Mumtaz Ali..maybe you can explain then the bullshit going on in France, Italy, Germany, Sweden, UK and several other countries that are now being terrorize by the garbage that they have let into their countries…the animals from syria, Iraq, Somalia and several other middle east countries…are you gonna try and tell me that nothing is going on there??? They come with the cult that is Islam and terrorize their host countries….that is not made up..that is a fact..they still live like it’s still 1100 a.d. playing off the words of a barbarian child molester….

    • Alex Kolver..I work with a guy from Iran every day…great guy but I still wouldn’t visit Iran. .and I make it to toronto on a regular basis…not sure how that is relivent though

    • Al Snowdon look up this website: http://www.1001inventions.com

      I am not out to convert you to my way of thinking, I am just telling you that if you look at the bigger picture you will see that if the western governments and bankers have a plan to stay in power then they will do anything!! ie who setup Saudi government, who setup Hasni Mubarak Egypt, who setup Saddam Hussain Iraq… The list never ends. As for terror look what Australians did to the aborigines, look what Americans did to Indians, look what west did to African slaves… When you go and bomb people’s homes, family and children then what do you expect they going to throw flowers at you ?!

    • I have friends who have done tours of duty in many places, almost all are beautiful and the people friendly. But they were not in foreign lands because of scenery. Governments killing their people, silencing those who speak out. Im sure many people thought Berlin was a wonderful vacation spot before 1939. Idiots.

    • Erik Hammer and these same Liberals on here will talk about equality for all, then advocate vacationing in places like Iran where they hang people for being Homosexuals and stone women to death for adultery after being raped. Why anyone would support such regimes is mind boggling.

    • Its true the narrow minded are a disgrace. What kind of person would murder another because they read a book wrong? How dare a god make people different enough to hang for it.

    • Al, don’t believe the BS, make up your own mind for a change, Iranians are amongst the kindest and friendliest people on the planet and extremely well educated too. As I said earlier if you see the country up close it’ll blow your mind, they don’t rape women (no more than the West ;) ) and don’t behead people in public (that’s your lovely ally Saudi ;) ) goat fucking is unheard of (I hear it’s legal in 11 states down your way ? ) they also don’t go around killing millions of innocent people and call it defending Freedom ;) . If you brought an alien down to earth, it’s the US they’d pick out to avoid.

    • Kevin Fahey There are definitely problems that must be addressed but stoning is not common or routine. Regarding homosexuality, yes it is officially frowned upon but Iran is also one of very few countries that pays a large percentage of the costs for sex changes, bet your hate department hadn’t told you that ;) .

    • Stuart Parkinson There can be many reasons Stuart, why do so many Europeans go to Australia or Canadians to the US or vice versa ? Why judge one man any differently to another ? I still go back regularly, it’s not perfect but nor is the West as perfect as it may want to lead you to think.

    • Al Snowdon, the people of the Middle East are human beings not animals.
      Before the ill fated attack by the US and my own country it was a vacation destination for a lot of Europeans. The turmoil that we have created is tragic and has let loose a religious faction that was suppressed by Sadam Hussein. We have a lot to answer for.

    • hmmm…..seems there’s a minority of one…..tells a story, in itself, doesn’t it….I’m reminded that, while insular, ill-educated, easily brain washed with ‘hogwash’ types are in the minority there is hope for the rest of us…..stop buying the bullshit,fed to you by your government/media, al! make your own judgements based on your own life experience….

    • Sorry Al Snowdon Spain has some pretty decent terrorist groups I think you will find if you do your research, France has recently received “terror” attacks. I have no ties to the US but they’re blowing up everyone at the moment and your murder rate is insane, the number of terrorist organisations the US has is rather high too, should I visit there?

    • Al Snowdon – the epitome of ignorance.

      According to the FBI 96% of all terrorist incidents in the USA in the decade leading up to 2012 were by non Muslim groups.

      In Europe, according to EuroPol, it is 94%.

      Even worse though the terrorist groups like ISIS, Al Quaeda, Taliban etc are ALL Sunni Muslims – Iran is 95% Shiah so has nothing to do with any of these groups.

      I’m not a liberal or an appeaser and there are nasty bastards out there but thankfully I also don’t cower in fear or believe everything the media feed me so happily have travelled to the US, Latin America, Middle East & Asia & loved every one of the places I’ve been to.

    • Al Snowden please let’s not use fowl language. what about the rapes that were taking place in Germany before refugees?! Will you blame the refugees for that too… It seems you’ve been blinded and you are scared to open your eyes! All religions are good but it’s individuals who misrepresent be it Islam, Christianity, Jewish!

    • Haha Al Snowdon you live in Hamilton you shouldn’t judge. Maybe I should believe what I am told about it being the armpit of Ontario and filled with drug addicts and bikers. Unlike yourself I live in Toronto and we are diverse and respectful of others cultures. Stay in Hamilton and keep your ignorance there. Perhaps instead of going on facebook you should educate yourself on Iran not just what cnn or other news outlets tell you. Before Afghanistan was bombed to the ground it was also a top vacation spot. News Flash you are being a terrorist. You are terrorizing a whole race of people based on ignorance. I figured you were an American so disgusted when I see fellow Canadians spewing hate. You definitely are not what we stand for. Before you call me a liberal or a left wing I will say this has nothing to do with my politics or religion its called being a decent human. You should try it its not hard.

    • Lmao Jody O’Brien after watching their elections the assumption wasn’t far off. I will add I am learning more and more how ignorant people are in the comment sections of posts like this. SMH you really showed me lol

    • Ugh so you suggest we condemn a whole nation because of their politics Erik Hammer don’t be ignorant. If that were the case I think we should also never visit the United States. Ugh so annoying when people assume they are superior. Maybe we should not be so blind to the rest of the world and ignorant of other cultures.

    • Shea Brown i never condemned a nation, i condemn the government that is hanging people. I also condemn our PM haircut for making billion dollar deals with that government. Ever wonder why we had sanctions against them? Because they have one of the worst human rights records in the world. If you accept a government “culture” where gays are hung from cranes you are the ignorant one. Maybe you as a free woman should go there Shea, wear a pride flag, drink a beer, speak your mind. Im sure its just minty πŸ‘ŒπŸ»

    • Darren Balls Same reason that every fucker from here wants to go to Australia ;) every fucker from Italy wants to go to other places in Europe, every retired fucker dreams of Spain, every fucker in Canada wants to go to America, grass is always greener on the other side.

    • Erik Hammer. it is very naive to believe there is any good government in the world. yes Iran ruled by islamic dictatorship and I strongly believe any country in middleast must keep their dictatorship. I don’t like Islamic version of it but it is still way better than democracy. Growing in that culture you will learn majority of people culturally believe in dictatorship and that’s working for them, yes Iran killed thousands of people for crimes that are considered human rights and that’s horrible but find me a single country in the world who is not engaged in some sort of crimes. like Canada is one of the biggest sponsors of ISIS and other terrorist groups and arm and supports Saudi Arabia and Israel which are far worse than Iranian government. but the overwhelming majority of Iranian people know their government is criminal but in west majority of people are too naive or simply ignorant and racist to admit that they are just as bad.

  5. Anthony Bourdain did an episode on Iran and basically says the people were great and interesting and wonderful . He had s great time there

    He did however know that people were terrified to say anything because they were afraid of the government

    One of the people he interviewed in his show disappeared six months later

    Sure regardless of how nice the people are and how beautiful the country is the government is very terrifying

  6. never judge a book by its cover I guess … or by what a greedy corporate run media portrays … I recently heard the iranian government executed a billionnare for corruption… that should be a law in the western world and maybe we wouldn’t have so many money “hoarders”

    • so you would execute someone for having money? wow. that is some misdirected greed right there, because if money wasn’t your god, why would you care about someone hoarding money? and where would you have your jealousy benchmark? Β£1000 in the bank? Β£100,000? a million? “sorry mate, you saved 50p this month with means you broke the martell law…how would you like to be executed? beheading with a blunt knife?”

    • I am from Iran and I would recommend visiting preferably by a tour or something. yes it is a dictatorship just like another 70 or so countries in the world. It is not like Castro is waiting in airport to execute everyone lands in Cuba is it? Lol

    • Alex Kolver No Cuba likes foreign money too. Did see a lot of police and military there though, probably making sure nobody does something as stupid as drinking or being gay to get themselves hung.

    • Brian yes a few kids were tried by a court and given death penalty .the usa police executed 115 in one year some r women without a trial and the police doesn’t even get suspended that’s a fact u and I know.

    • Erik Hammer. I am not suggesting you to visit Iran. if you are so scared and have no idea what you are getting to, you will definitely put yourself in trouble. I don’t think anyone here wants to go see how gay people doing in Iran or try the local bar. It is a very different culture and history and way of life which some people are interested to see it first hand. Just like I love to go and see North Korea. because I am sure it is very different from what media like us to know. The experience is different which is exciting for some people.

  7. I work with a couple of guys from Iran for a few months (they didn’t know each other previous to working at this place either) they truly changed my perception of the people of Iran. Strong family and friendship values. I am still in contact with them even after I stopped working there.

  8. Land & people are beautiful on their own accord It’s about the system of governance that creates conflicts & hostilities. Iran is not a true democracy & the ruling Mullahs will not waver from their ultimate goal…Celiphate = world domination by Islam ! Visit their prisons…

  9. Unless you have been and experienced a country you should not have opinions.
    I have just returned from Cuba and met the nicest people anywhere. Our governments have tried to starve the people into submission for 50yrs.

  10. So tell me why are so many countries in just the Middle East , not just Israel, are very weary of the country of Iran ??? And why is Iran creating havoc all over the Middle East

    • Ghetto blaster… no… but I was surprised at the teenagers there listening to the hip-hop on their phones in the street (no headphones). By the way, if you blasted those tunes you mentioned as my neighbour Peter, well… you’d have some trouble there too. Just sayin’.

  11. I like how the people who most fear foreign places never visit them, but spread the fear regardless. A tautological view of fear: I won’t visit to learn about it because it’s too dangerous. I’m afraid of it because I’ve never seen it. I’ve never seen it because it’s too dangerous to visit.

  12. Apalling human rights record, terror supporter & funder, self proclaimed enemy of the west & you climb into bed with these quranimals like everything’s fluffy!
    You should be ashamed of yourself!

    • Well the west did overthrow their elected government in the fifties and install a puppet dictator who ruled for about thirty years; you can see why they wouldn’t much care for western governments, I would have thought.

    • If you seriously think that is the root of this problem, you lack cognitive skills! Stop appeasing backward bullies by falling for the latest trend in self deprication. We did not cause islam’s attitude toward us!

  13. I must go visit, any nice Gay bars or clubs there?
    Oops, I forgot, they put you on the back of a truck, take you to the town square, then hang you. Like they did with a 19 and 20 yo, for being SUSPECTED of being gay.

    • Thanks Wally! It’s a pity more people can’t get away from their TVs long enough to see the world for what it really is.

  14. Friends of ours went there in 2000 on their across land to Australia. They couldn’t speak highly enough of the country or the people they encountered. It was by far their favourite country

  15. Not surprised everything is ok, they are living under their own law which does not pussyfoot around like our do -good judges. You step out of line over there and you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. Take off your rose tinted glasses.

  16. Of course people are people everywhere. The problem with Iran is not its people, but its rejime run by mullahs who support terrorist groups like the Hizbullah, want to control Lebanon, Irak, Syria and Yemen, execute journalists, gays and women that do not conform to an extreme form of Islam. This article ignores all that and therefore is not an accurate description of Iran.

    • Where did I mention that I’m an expert on Iran? I gather you have spent much more time there than me. I’d be happy to hear your experiences of the place Kaden.

  17. Maybe he should have spoken to members of the LGBT community to get a fuller picture or indeed Bah’ai and Jews. I once had a holiday like that in Communist East Germany (GDR) with no sense of the political and totalitarian reality, such is Iran.

    • My American friend here, who happens to be gay, enjoyed his trip to Iran very much. It was he who got me interested in going to have a look for myself.

  18. Media paints & exagerates as per instructed by government (is my personal opinion & thoughts). ie Swine Flu. Few years back. Painted Mexico as terrible place to visit, airlines even cancelled flights. Yet speaking to friends living there. It big exaggeration. Coincidently US wasn’t happy over a deal at time. So ‘we’ll show you, & shut you down with stopping tourist from coming’

  19. Check your luggage for cameras and mics
    This country has and continues to sponsor terrorists across the world and you think is an OK country!

    How innocent and naive you must be to the world and its evil.

    • May be they do but america support terrorist all the time when it served their interest . The biggest terrorist is the devil bush who fabricate lies to invade iraq kill over one million to steal oil .but its ok its usa

    • Fizul Aberdeen
      The Hussain regime killed more than the western world did and had intentions on doing so much more, they used Sarin gas, Mustard Gas and nerve agents on the Kurdish and other people in their nation.
      All those weapons are weapons of mass destruction to human beings and no doubt he would have continued to kill people with these weapons if allowed.
      The evil in that country is the lack of civilised behaviour towards each other and their own people, that spilt over to the west which then responded .

    • I gather you shelter from the world and its evil by staying at home and believing what they tell you. I could be wrong of course. I enjoy traveling though, and have somehow managed to travel through five continents without being killed.

      …and one more time, I was not talking about the “country”. I was talking about the Iranian people.

  20. Yes countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia are very safe cause they are fascist dictatorships! You did not show any pictures of groups of women left unescorted. Where are they!

    • You are thinking of Saudi Arabia Jay. Iranian women do not need to be escorted by male guardians. In the middle east it is not appropriate to photograph people without their permission however, and it would not be appropriate for me to approach a group of women in the street.

    • I know that in Iran women do not need male guardians and that is why I was asking about pictures of groups of women left unescorted. The fact that you cannot approach a group women on the street shows that these countries are dictatorships that seek to do ONE THING and that is to control women! Of course thay have a bunch of excuses but I think it boils down to these men are mentally defective! I have read books about women from the west marrying one of these clowns and it is a NIGHTMARE!

    • You are thinking of Saudi Arabia Jay. Iranian women do not need to travel with male guardians. In the middle east however it is inappropriate (if not illegal) to photograph people without their consent, and it would also be inappropriate for me to approach a group of women on the street.

    • Who are we to say that what their society (that is centuries older than ours, by the way) does is right or wrong?? Does our society have it all figured out perfectly?? Does a strange male approaching women in the street ALWAYS go perfectly well here in the west?? A lot of the problems we have in our society wouldn’t exist or would be severely lessened if we lived more like some of these other societies. It is when one tries to force their ways upon the other that things get ugly.

    • As soon as I point out that these countries are dictatorships and/or idiots fighting endless wars and doing other stuoid shit people say “blame the west!” The stone cold fact is those idiots have been fighting in the Middle East HUNDREDS OF YEARS before the “west” even existed! They are going to have to come up with a better excuse! The saying “I am Satan. Friends call me Allah!” comes to mind!

  21. Rape victims stoned to death – alleged homosexuals hanged from cranes_ young people arrested for dancing to Pharell Williams. Yeah sounds like a great place to bring the family- NOT!

  22. Where’s the attraction in visiting Iran to a liberal westerner like me? It would be like someone from North Korea Saudi Arabia or Russia saying their country is a swell place to drop in on.

  23. Ha ha ha…. A couple of days ago some dumb bitch decided she was going to hitch hike through the middle east to show Islam was peaceful… Day 2 she was raped and murdered, honestly this makes me happy I feel its evolution killing dumb cunts!
    Seriously guys Iran is a fuckin mint travel destination

    • Every countries have their own laws . In usa the police kill hundreds of unarmed blacks every year .the white supremacist and kkk preach hate against people of colour but thats ok not because the west allowed man to marry man and adopt kids every country have to follow

    • Have you noticed Wayne that 100% the negativity here is from all the people who have never been there? Conversely, nothing negative has been said by anyone who has been there, or known Iranian people. Hmmmm.

  24. Four women were just murdered by the Iranian state. They also are second in the world for sex change operations as it’s considered a cure for homosexuality and it’s either that or death. Such nice “laws” there why just vacation and not go to live there permanently ?

  25. Rouhanii stated only two werks ago that the Fatwa on Salman Rushdi is still in force. So this supposedly normal nation thinks it has the right to kill foreign writers. I’m all for letting them wipe out IS, but don’t try to kid us that they are the good guys.

    • I’m not trying to kid you on anything Mike… and for about the fiftieth time, a people and their government are not the same thing.

  26. Great article, I wish to visit one day, I was always suspicious of the warnings about travelling in Iran, not impressed with the ruling regime, but the people I know who live there are amazing!

  27. Don’t bother yourself thinking about blood on the hands of the leaders , incarcerated American citizen and Iranian people , lack of freedom of speech , radical Islam , official declaration to destroy israel . ( how do you think they intend to do that if not by killing millions of Jewish people ?! But of course , why would you care : no one attempted to kill you personally , so just be grateful for that .

  28. Wow amazing number of negative comments from the sheeple , haven’t been to Iran , but had the immense pleasure of working with an Iranian engineer here in Australia , he was the nicest and smartest person you could meet.

  29. I lived there in the ’70s, before, during and six months after Khomeini returned. Religious extremism has poisoned the place. It is without doubt, a physically beautiful country, with a rich cultural history. As in any country, there are wonderful people, many of whom are now living in exile, as Iran is ruled by religious fanatics. I would not consider returning.

    • I understand Marilyn Aslani. I’m from one of the “lucky” countries, but I also will probably not return. I only write about my experiences. I’m not a political analyst. I’m just a traveler who writes what I see. I saw that the Iranian people are educated and hospitable. Around the world, the government and the people are not the same thing.

    • Exactly. Religious extremism distorts so much. The Christian far right in America paints an equally distasteful picture. How different our beautiful world would be, without religious hatred.

  30. What a hornets nest you have kicked.

    I agree with you. There are certain countries I feel perfectly at ease in and others which are intimidating.

    An Iranian friend says he will never go back, whilst the Ayatollahs are in power. At the same time he says that Persia is a beautiful country.

    I would love to go, unfortunately because of my job, there are certain countries I can’t. Iran is one of those countries.

    Whilst, some say it is supporting the regime, by accepting it and visiting the country, I would say that the other side of the coin is that you are giving the people of that country an opportunity to see that we westerners are not the “Devil”. That we are just ordinary people who want to get on with life and enjoy it. We are the same as them, just a different religion, being bullshitted to in the same way by our respective governments.

  31. When I was in Argentina 12 years ago I met a middle aged American couple who had been to Iran twice in the previous two years and loved it. They felt safe and never felt restricted or harassed by anyone during their stay. This couple were back packers who stayed in hostels.

  32. It is never the general populace that is the threat, small gangs such as governments and fraction groups, create fear and paranoia yet these people do exist!! It is the minority that are unlucky!!

  33. What a steaming load of crap.

    Iran has an amazing human rights record, especially women. They recently tried to jail a woman journalist for an editorial cartoon.

    Iranian Tourism, travel like it’s 1516, with less respect for women…


  34. Oh you are still trying to convince that this horror regime , that executes people that disagree and hangs them , and also a state sponsor of worlds terrorists organizations is actually “not that bad?!”. Since the “deal” obviously there is a great opportunity to make a big buck in Iran, including encouraging to travel there : I guess that’s where your interest is coming from . Because really you must be completely out of you mind if you want to visit such a notorious regime .

  35. Any country is a reflection of how you act when in it. I’ve been all over the world inc some really “troubled” places. Never had an issue, in fact those places have the very best people. Open your mind

  36. Iranians love the idea of the west and the things we have. It’s their leadership that is belligerently anti everything western, Israeli, average Iranian citizen etc. Left to themselves with no grand ayamullahtollah craphead, they’d be just fine.

  37. Iran is a beautiful country with tourists visiting from all over the world. I’ve visited some amazing historical places like Persepolis and Isfahan. It’s not what you hear about on TV or read about one persons biased views. Like any country you visit you take away with you what memories you desire. Culture, food, history and hospitality are there to be enjoyed.
    You’re bound to find some old fashioned bigots in any country so just be open minded.

  38. We spent a few weeks there at the start of 2016, our final stop in a 19 month global odyssey.

    It was a country we’d always wanted to visit and it didn’t disappoint.

    So much history and the friendliest people anywhere in the world!

    • What Joyce? lol… I never told anyone to love anything. Seems the hate is flowing nicely though… carry on. You do have one thing right though about the terrorists. For the westerners who don’t know, the Islamic extremists have killed far more fellow Muslims than westerners.

  39. Wait is this some kind of insane propaganda to suggest that Iran is a great holiday destination?

    If anyone buys this, check out North Korea, I hear the prison camps are gorgeous this time of year

    • Haha, funny you mention propaganda. lol… that was kinda the point. Read the posts by people who have traveled there Jacob.

      Oh, and I have been to North Korea… but only briefly. Trust me, Iran is nicer.

  40. When there is a gay pride rally that goes through Tehran peacefully and with no one arrested and executed then I’ll change my opinion. Hold on I just thought I saw Satan in a fur coat

    • Pray to my Allah? Oh, I’m not Muslim… and I don’t happen to pray. By the way, I like the picture of Borat on your page. You do realise that it was the Americans he was taking the piss out of… right?

  41. Reading these comments…. so many people seem to know so much about a place that they have never been to… for a start iran is not a “muslim” country, like many countries, islam was forced on them, try reading up abit about iranian/persian history instead of tuning into your news channel!!! The world is seen through eyes, not a tv!

    • If that were true, how is it that the Muslim Dome of the Rock sits ON TOP of the Jewish Temple – which was mostly destroyed in the year 70AD. Oh that’s right – the Jews lived in Israel for a thousand years before Mohammed was even born.

    • Diane, I think that Rex is refering to accorded territory, and not history. For instance, Scotland is not currently a country, nor is Okinawa. They are cultures, to be sure, with rich history, but they exist on land owned by other countries.

      Part of the reason for the contested nature of the Gaza strip is that both Palestine and Israel assert that they have valid claim to the land. Palestine through law, Israel through history.

  42. I am hoping to visit Iran later on this year. My only issue is obtaining the visa: at the moment UK passport holders have to go to Dublin as their London office does not issue visas. Everyone that I know who has been said the people are friendly and very hospitable.

  43. The Iranians have it ok…they create a Syrian nightmare and Hijrah to non Muslim countries. Why does Iran not take in the millions of refugees as she has been encouraging the “refugees into Europe to destabilise as per the jihad of Hijrah ” but they have the ayatollahs dictating all rules. It is like the British going to Berlin during World War Two…collaboration was a death sentence then!

    • Are you nuts Jeanette? The Iranians are on the same side as the US and UK. An Iranian general was killed in Iraq last year by ISIL/Daesh while in action with Iraqi troops which had American air support. I’m afraid World War Two is over.

  44. In 2008 I went to Iran. I visited Marsha, Abadan, Tehran, Hamadan, Banda Abbas, Banda Khomeini, Shiraz, Ahvaz, Esfahan. I was training firefighters. I have to say I felt safer in Iran than I did in any other gulf country, except Kuwait. I was pleasantly surprised. I would have liked to go to Perspolis but was unable to do so.

  45. Iran may hold elections but we all know who’s really in charge in these countries. Joke_ 2 men walking down a street in Tehran and one looks at a line of stitches around a wrist of the other and he says ‘I hear your appeal came through after all’.

  46. I own a delicatessen. . I sell port, eg ham and salami .. To my shock I have a customer from Iran ..She is a shia muslim ..She buys these products that are haram ..She loves the fact she doesn’t have to wear the hijab, she is free to eat what she wants and yes she loves a drink too .. which they do drink alcohol while its illegal they thumb their nose at tge government. . SHE IS NO LONGER A MUSLIM. . ALL THOUGH HER FAMILY THINK SHE STILL IS ….

    • It is people who are really stupid enough to do something like that, that get themselves some time on the news. Perhaps it would be wise to go to a Trump rally, and tell everyone that Trump is an arsehole. Then you would find out how safe it is there too Mike Holt. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean a free pass to be an obnoxious idiot anywhere mate.

  47. Such hate filled comments. I know an Australian who traveled through Iran while he trekked across the world before he settled here in Canada. He mentioned that Iran was a very nice place to visit.

  48. I will say the more educated Iranians are nice people but the more conservative country side isn’t a good place to be, especially for women.

    The fact is when you go visit a country you are only seeing what is on the surface. Muslims are actually known to be very hospitable. What is less obvious is that it is a matter of “show” not a matter of character. Islam is all about giving appearances. What happens behind closed doors is another matter.

    After all in Islam, it is a “sin” to expose a sin. Truth is irrelevant only appearances count. Hence why the surface things seem calm, but in reality they are not.

    • Also, Iran is not a “nice” country from a government perspective. It wasn’t that long ago that they were sending children into minefields to clear the mines(slaughtering the kids in the process). They are supporting terrorism around the world, and their largest goal is to destroy Israel and the US. Hardly a nice country.

      If you are found out to be gay you are either Hung, or given the option of a sex-change.And liberals actually consider this to be “progressive”.(Idiots!).

      I have met numerous Iranians that say Islam has destroyed their country. I think in the 70’s they were much better off. But the society will slowly decay, now that Islam has taken over. They’ve gone from a birth rate of 6 / woman to 1.6. That is not a happy country when it’s population is about to collapse.

    • Westerners really need to stop romanticizing other countries. You can go there, enjoy it but then you can leave, back to a land of freedom. The Iranians cannot. If they want to change their country, they are blocked at every turn and you are not seeing what sits under the surface of these cultures.

      Westerners also need to recognize they are losing their culture, due to the left, multiculturalism and Islamic Immigration.

    • Well, the primary reason is the loss of Christianity.

      With Moral and cultural relativism, which as absurd as it is , is still flourishing, mass immigration is eroding the foundation of our culture. More and more non-europeans bring their subtle cultural differences with them and their own biases and prejudices.

      Marxism/socialism, Islamism and narcissism are rising.

      The West is pretty much done for imo. We are witnessing the fall of Rome all over again as people lose confidence in their culture and it’s goodness. Since we are not the people we used to be, this is understandable.

      The west has less and less to be proud of.

      Where do you think the decay comes from?

    • I think the fall of Rome is an apt analogy… nothing lasts forever. And, I think the decay is now coming from within. It has happened time and time again. Remember 2008 in the US? Those banks were “too big to fail”. It is only when a people become so complacent about their overwhelming superiority, that they begin to fall. It happens. Every empire has its day. I’m not an apologist though for others. I’m just a traveler… and I know there are problems everywhere.

    • ” It is only when a people become so complacent about their overwhelming superiority, that they begin to fall.”

      Excellent statement. Although European/Western culture became superior we were also fully aware that our success was a result of the faith and the religion we followed. A religion which actually taught us to be humble and grateful for all we had.

      Lose the humility and the realization you are ONLY a success because of “some-one or something else(IE God/ sacrifices of others) and you become arrogant, entitled and then strangely enough, falsely humble and filled with self-loathing. I’m an atheist so I have no real bias towards christianity, I just call it as I see it.

      That is what we’ve become. Arrogant, believing we are untouchable, falsely humble, believing we can re-engineer our entire society and lose every value that made us strong, and still come out on top.

      Not going to happen. It’s going to get very bad.

      I do hold out hope for the US though, but I think Europe is gone.