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  Culture Tour & Package - Iran Tours
Iran – Land of Ancient Persian Civilization

With earliest settlement by the Aryan tribes about 3500 years ago, Iran is one of the oldest cradles of the human civilization.  Throughout Iran’s history, despite the fact that there were numerous devastating invasions and occupations in the territory, several kingdoms such as Cyrus and Darius helped shape Iran as a distinct political and cultural entity.  At the glory of these empires, magnificent architects and builders were brought back to erect architectural masterpieces like palaces, monuments and ceremonial complexes leaving numerous archeological treasures.  Series of reforms were made by Darius I to strengthen the ruling of the Achaemenid Empire.  To symbolize the power of the rulers, four capitals were kept including a grand palatial complex newly built in Persepolis (Takht-eJamshid) for formal ceremonies, festive celebrations and receptions of delegations from the vassal nations; Ecbatana for summer hideaway; Babylon for winter and Susa for spring.  After Alexander the Great conquered Persia, the palaces were sacked and royal treasures taken away.  Destroyed and abandoned, Persepolis was rediscovered at the beginning of the 17th century as the most impressive and extensive archaeological site in Iran, displaying the finest examples of Achaemenian carvings.

Middle East was divided into two large empires in ancient time, with the western part under Roman whereas the eastern part under Greek and latter Roman to become Persia.  Due to the ethnic wars, colonization and cultural exchange, under the influence of Greek and Roman, different  religions gradually developed from polytheistic to monotheistic, dominating by two major religions namely Christianity and Muslim.  After Christianity flourished, Muslim over-whelmed the area in the 7th century up till now due to the special traditions among the Jewish, Persian and Greek. 

The name Persia or Persis derived from a province situated south-west of Iran and near the east coast of Persian Bay called Fars or Pars.  As the local dialect of this province was widely spoken by the Persians and so it (Farsi) becomes their official language.  In 1935, the country’s name was changed to Iran, derived directly from Aryan (meaning “of noble origin”).

The relics in Iran are wonderful combinations of Ancient Greek, Egypt and Mongol arts and crafts, which are notable historical and cultural heritage.  Nowadays, Iran is still filled with strong Islamic atmosphere of ancient Persia.  Tehran, its capital, is the artistic centre of West Asia.  Its historical sites are classical architectural masterpieces.  Isfahan, meaning half of the world, is the hometown for Shiite sect of Islam with magnificent mosques and palatial architectures everywhere.  In the hustle and bustle bazaars, colourful and special local arts and crafts are made in front of you at the traditional workshops and then displayed in varieties.  Shiraz is famous for its poets and paintings.


Iran used to be called Persia, a name derived from Fars province where the Aryan tribes had settled.  In 1935, Reza Shah had the country’s name changed to Iran, derived directly from Aryan (meaning “of noble origin”). In 1979, the country was officially named Islamic Republic of Iran. 
Known as a Middle Eastern country, Iran is located in West Asia with neighbouring countries such as Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan to the north; Turkey and Iraq to the west, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the east. To the south, it is bordered by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.  Its capital, Tehran, is not just the biggest city in Iran, but also the political, cultural, commercial and industrial centre of the nation.  Iran is rich in natural resources, including petroleum, natural gas, coal, chromium, copper, iron ore, lead, manganese, zinc, sulfur.  It is the second-largest oil producer and exporter in OPEC after Saudi Arabia. 

Iran’s long and intriguing history has made the country a mystery one.  The fascinating Persian Empire and the rise and fall of the glorious kingdoms have amazed both archaeologists and explorers.  Currently there are over 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Iran, including the world-renowned Persepolis, the capital of the Achaemenid Empire during 550 BC – 330 BC. Destroyed and abandoned, Persepolis was rediscovered at the beginning of the 17th century as the most impressive and extensive archaeological site in Iran, displaying the finest examples of Achaemenian carvings.



City/Province/Theme Tour Name Prices
Iran 伊朗5 Days Iran: Tehran & Qazvin (Ref. no: IRN - 5D) >HK$11,980
Iran 伊朗9 Days Iran: Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan & Kashan (Ref. no: IRN - 9D) >HK$19,980
Silk Road Travel Management Ltd. (Licence No.352017)
Office: Suite 1602, Chinachem Century Tower 178, Gloucester Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2736 8828
Fax: (852) 2736 8000
E-mail: travel@the-silk-road.com

Our visit originated in Hong Kong by Silk Road Travel company (Limited) has exceeded all our expectations.
We are seasoned travellers and prefer to travel on our own and not with larger groups. Our visits with Silk Road Travel to Uzbekistan and more recently to Xinjiang Autonomous region in China (Kashgar etc) have created a liking for exploring the ancient and more recent history of the ‘Silk Road’. Recently we visited Istanbul and Southern Spain to view the Islamic art and architectural wonders and influences in those cities.

From our arrival in Tehran (met by our guide Moha Garmabedari) we were enchanted by the welcoming and friendly Iranian people which continued throughout our visit. Moha was delightful and guided us through our itinerary for the first two days before seeing us off on the plane to Shiraz. Moha and driver guided us to the palaces, Bazaars, Museums and also Darband on our itinerary in an efficient and friendly manner. We decided not to visit the modern Tabiat Bridge and spent more time in Tajrish and Grand Bazaar instead.
We flew to Shiraz where we were met by Hadi Ganjelikhan as our guide and driver. As it was late at night we were tired and the long route through the town from the airport to Elysee Hotel on the further side of the town was unexpected and disappointing.

Our itinerary in Shiraz and onwards through Persepolis, Pasargadae, Taft, Yazd, Naein, Isfahan, Abyaneh Village, Kashan and back to Tehran was completed in an exceptional manner.  We made some adjustments to the sites we were to visit from personal choice and also for factors outside of our control.

The Persian dinner with a Persian family scheduled in Shiraz was unavailable and was substituted by a surprise visit to Nartitee ecolodge homestay in the small town of Taft on way to Yazd. We chose not to visit the Tomb of Saadi nor the Holy shrine of Shah Cheragh in Shiraz as we were quite tired after a full day. The Saryazd Fort was closed but we had an interesting external inspection and to compensate for its closure  Hadi took us to visit the Fort in Maybod on the route to Isfahan which was very interesting. Hadi also described and pointed out traditional Ice works and Pigeon towers. On return to Tehran we chose not to visit Rassam Arabzadeh carpet gallery and Abgineh Museum and visited the Grand Bazaar instead. (We had purchased carpets and a miniature in Isfahan).

Where-as all of the sites throughout our tour were interesting the highlights of the visit for us were: 1.The friendliness of the Iranian people. Everywhere we went there were smiles, a few words in English, politeness and conversations with some, offers of assistance including offering us seats on the Metro.  2. Persepolis. This extraordinary archaeological site impressed us with its scale and grandeur. A huge site against the hillside and varying considerably in levels between palaces built with immense and precise stonework and carved reliefs, demonstrating the power of Darius the Great.  3. The mountains and desert areas as we drove between the cities.  4. The home stay Nartitee in Taft. A very friendly owner of this house and garden greeted us and made us most welcome for a short stop with tea and cookies. The family were of Zoroastrian faith and were open for visitors to stay.  5. The Imam Mosque in Isfahan for its grandeur, beautiful tiling and mosaics.  Also the opportunity to speak with a Mullah (excellent English) in the madrassa courtyard, who with an older colleague made themselves available for questions from visitors.  6.The Armenia quarter in Isfahan where we purchased some carpets after and a very good description and demonstration of carpet making from Isfahan and nearby areas.  7. Jame Mosque in Isfahan where the stucco work was interesting, the large expanse of unadorned brickwork in walls, columns and domes was interesting and enjoyable to see the craftsmanship of this ancient building material.  8. Zeinodin Caravansarai in the desert outside Yazd, which now accommodates visitors.  9. Our hotel Manouchehri in Kashan which was pleasant, quiet, small and comfortable in a restored family house.  10. The Grand Bazaar in Tehran, a large and busy bazaar full of merchandise for all the daily needs of locals and visitors. We purchased a silver necklace here.

Our visit was made especially pleasant and interesting by our guide and driver Hadi Ganjelikhan. who guided and drove us in his own saloon car (Pergeot).  Hadi is well educated and travelled, he speaks very good English and is thoughtful, energetic, considerate and caring. He has a charming sense of humour and combines his talents with excellent driving and electronic communications skills.

At all times he looked after our interests and in addition to safely driving busy city streets and long distances between cities he introduced us to an excellent array of Persian food wherever we went.

David and Rosemary Summers
13 Days Iran: Tehran, Shiraz, Yazd, Isfahan, Kashan (18 – 30 Apr 2018)

Before Departure

A set of travel kit which includes a detailed itinerary, flight schedule, hotel information and contacts will be provided before departure.

The climate of Iran is affected by terrain so it has a diverse climate which varies from different regions. The average rainfall is high in the South; the lowest temperature in winter is around 0ºC while it can reach 29ºC in summer. It is dry in the East and central area; the temperature in summer can reach 38ºC. The Zagros Mountainous district will be covered with thick snow in winter while it is dry and hot in summer. Coastal plain in the West is hot in summer and has high average rainfall and humidity. It is generally dry in most of the regions in Iran. The rainy season falls on the months between October and April.

Time Difference
Normal Time: GMT+03:30, 4.5 hours behind Hong Kong
Sunlight saving time: GMT+04:30, 3.5 hours behind Hong Kong

The official language is Farsi. Arabic and English are also common languages in Iran.

Iran is an Islamic country with traditional religious rules. Some mosques only allow Muslims to visit with the following dress code:

Ladies are required to cover their head in all public areas (including on travel bus). Please bring a scarf to cover your head and hair in the whole trip. Make sure you cover your head with a scarf before you get off the plane. You can only wear long sleeves with long dress or trousers. Open toes shoes are not allowed.

Men can wear short sleeves but it is not allowed to wear muscle shirt and shorts. Please bring trousers along with you for the trip.

A hat with good shade protection and sunglasses are essential. Sun radiation can be strong in some destinations, please bring your sunscreens and lotion along. Long sleeves and loose clothing (preferably cotton or natural fibre) is recommended for daytime use, with a light jumper and/or jacket for the cooler evenings. There will be many walking tours throughout the trip; some involve dusty and rough areas (i.e. dirt, cobblestones, etc.). Therefore, comfortable, solid walking shoes or sports shoes are essential.

The hotels that you will stay at provide in-room Wi-Fi service. Toiletries are provided in hotels but you may also bring your own. Avoid going out at night for your own safety.

Food & Beverages
Pork is prohibited in Iran. Lamb, beef and chicken are the major meat to be served. Please do not bring any pork or food that contains pork ingredient. Kebab, Polow (fried rice with vegetables and beef), Rice with Saffron, Tachin (Rice cake), Dizi (grill lamb) are their daily food. If you have any dietary requirements, please advise us before departure.

Local mineral water contains a higher level of minerals than western spring or bottled water and the taste can be rather "salty". Drinking wine in Iran is prohibited; there is wine with no alcohol which is famous and recommended to try. Avoid drinking tap water and eating cold dishes or beverages at the street market. Drink only bottled water and well cooked food during the trip.

Visa & Travel Document
Normally, HKSAR and China passport holders can apply for visa-on-arrival in Iran, but there were unsuccessful cases before. It is suggested that a visa application has to be processed in Hong Kong before travelling. It takes about 14 days to complete the visa application with the following documents: application form, payment slip for application, copy of passport and a photograph of the applicant.

It may take longer time to process the visa for overseas passport holders. Silk Road Travel Management Ltd will help guest prepare visa application upon confirmation of the Iran tour. Please ensure your travel documents are valid at time of travel (with at least 6 months’ validity).

Country Phone Code: +98
Most of the hotels have IDD lines which you can make IDD calls in your rooms or at business center. Internet access is restricted in some areas; the coverage might be limited though Internet connection is available at hotels (International brand). There are WiFi Internet zones at the airport; railway stations of major cities and some restaurants and shops.

National currency is Rial (IRR), with exchange rate at USD1 = IRR32,417 (as of 31 May 2017). The highest banknote is IRR 100,000.

Hotels and shops often list prices in US Dollar. It is better to bring US Dollar or Euro (€) for easy exchange (preferably small amount, new and clean notes) and you are recommended to exchange small money for local use in bazaar and small shops. It is advisable to keep all documents for money exchange until departure. Paying by cheque and credit card is not acceptable in Iran.

Iran is an Islamic country; there are some customs and taboos that tourists need to respect and note. For example, physical touch between men and women and smoke in public areas such as restaurants, and mosque are not allowed. Eating pork and even talking about it is strictly restricted.

No photography is allowed in some religious monuments, airports, railway stations or near military installation. Be aware of the sign of the sightseeing spots and instructions from tour guide. If you wish to take a picture of a person, especially female in the street, please obtain his/her consent first and physical touch to women is prohibited when taking photo with them. Some hotels may have swimming pool, but men and women cannot swim together in Iran. Normally, men swim on Monday, Wednesday and Friday while women swim on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Many shops and restaurants will be closed in day time during Nowruz (Iran New Year) in March and Ramadan (festival of Muslim); it is not recommended to visit Iran during these festivals.

Avoid sensitive political topics such as discussing about the government and political parties of Iran, U.S and U.K, etc.

Health Information
The most common medical problems on tours are chest colds, sore throats, and the rare light bout of diarrhea or constipation. Bring along your own remedy for these ailments, as well as any prescription medicine you need since these may be difficult to find.

As it is practically inevitable in the areas where water is high in mineral and metallic salts, one should be prepared for minor gastric complaints. Consult your physician or pharmacist for recommended remedies.

IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you carry in your hand luggage any medicine you may require in case your suitcase is separated from you.
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