Ancient Persia In Depth
from $4185
Duration: 13 Days
Iran is quite simply an extraordinary country, where visitors are welcomed with open arms by friendly people who have redefined the word ‘hospitality’. The architecture is amazing with breathtaking mosques, stepped hillside villages, cleverly-designed wind towers (badgirs) and impressive structures such as the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence. The country's history is astonishingly rich, and Ancient Persepolis is one of many staggering reminders of this past. The current culture is in many ways a fusion of all the influences; the country’s religion is predominantly Islam (mainly Shiite, but some Iranians are Sunni), although you will probably also encounter Jews, Zoroastrians, Christians and Baha’is along the way. Although Iran is portrayed by some Western media as being ruled by a dour and repressive regime, you will find that it is a land full of warm, lively and friendly people. Join Peregrine for this foray into one of the world’s most fascinating and least-visited countries. Before booking on this trip we recommend that you read the ‘Safety’ section in the trip notes regarding special safety considerations for Iran trips.
  • Explore one of the greatest cities of antiquity, Persepolis. The relief carvings and towering columns will leave you in no doubt that this was once the centre of the known world.
  • Once a major stop on the Silk Road, visit Yazd and discover the role religion plays in the city, from the impressive Jameh Mosque to the Zoroastrian towers and temples.
  • Enjoy a special dinner with a Zoroastrian family in garden of pomegranate and tamarind 
  • Soak up the sights and atmosphere of the jewel in the crown of Persia, the beautiful town of Esfahan. Feel the past glory at the Imam Square and its surrounding palaces and mosques.
  • Explore the Vank Cathedral and see the stunning Si-o-she Pol (the Bridge of 33 arches) lit up at night.
  • Tehran - Carpet Museum
  • Tehran -Treasury of National Jewels
  • Tehran - City Tour
  • Tehran - National Museum
  • Tehran - Golestan Palace
  • Kashan -Tabataei house
  • Kashan - Bazaar
  • Kashan - Fin Gardens entrance and guided tour
  • Yazd - Aqda Traditional House Lunch
  • Yazd - Traditional Sweet Shop - Peregrine Moment
  • Yazd - Zoroastrian Fire Altar & Towers of Silence
  • Yazd - Amir Chakmaq visit
  • Yazd - city walking tour
  • Abarkuh - Cypress of Abarkuh
  • Abarkouh - Ice Houses
  • Shiraz - Hafez Tomb
  • Shiraz - Bagh-e Eram Gardens
  • Shiraz - City tour
  • Shiraz - Nasir al Molk Mosque
  • Persepolis - Entrance and Guided tour
  • Day 1 Location: Tehran
    Welcome to Iran. A Tehran airport arrival transfer is included, so please provide your flight details at the time of booking or no later than 14 days prior to travel. Once you have provided your details, a transfer representative will be booked to meet you and transfer you to your hotel (approximately 1 hour). This is simply an arrival day so you may arrive in Tehran at any time, though please note that hotel rooms are generally only available after midday. There will be a trip briefing at 6 pm; please refer to your hotel noticeboard or talk to reception for more details. Until then the rest of your day is free to explore your new surroundings. Iran's capital is exciting, noisy and chaotic. Home to 15 million people, Tehran is the country's beating heart and where its true national identity is found. Expect to see women wearing full-length chadors competing for space with young and hip girls in figure-hugging manteau and headscarves. Also expect to be stopped by friendly locals who love nothing more than to chat with you about anything and everything. In the evening, perhaps take a seat at a city coffee shop for some people watching.
    Day 2 Location: Tehran
    Begin your discovery of Tehran with a full day tour, start at the World Heritage-listed Golestan Palace. This opulent masterpiece of the Qajar era embodies early Persian design with the influence of western architecture, take a stroll through Tehran's bustling Bazzaar before continuing to the National Museum whilst it may not look inspiring from the outside inside is a treasure chest of Iran's rich history, keep your eye out for the Salt Man from Zanjan, preserved in salt for centuries.  
    Day 3 Location: Kashan
    Drive to Kashan in the morning, a merchant town known for its high quality ceramics, silks, carpets and fine houses. Visit the lush Fin Garden (Bagh-e Tarikhi-ye Fin), a historic and classical Persian garden that contains Kashan's Fin Bath. This is where Amir Kabir, the Qajarid chancellor and a nationalist hero, was murdered under the orders of King Nadir al-Din in 1852. Spend time at the fascinating Tabataei  House, built in the 1840s for the affluent Tabatabaei family, exceptional attention was paid to every architectural details of this building as dictated by the geographical and climatic conditions of the area. It’s a fascinating place to visit. Spend the evening in Kashan, and experience Iranian hospitality as we share our evening meal with a local family.
    Day 4 Location: Yazd
    After breakfast we depart for the ancient desert city of Yazd once a major stop on the caravan routes to Central Asia and India during the Silk Road period – Marco Polo visited the city on his way to China – and it retains a rustic feel. It's also known as the heart of the Zoroastrian religion.    We stop en route in the quite town of Ardestan located on the edge of the Central Desert this small village has retained a lot of  its traditional charm  – the town is full of old clay houses sitting on top of underground aqueducts which draw water from the mountains to the plains.  Continue to Aqda where we enjoy a Persian lunch in beautifully restored traditional house. Relax over lunch and maybe take a walk through the village. Arriving in Yazd in the late afternoon time to indulge your sweet tooth with a visit to a famous confectionery maker at Haj Khalifeh Ali Rahbar. Taste generations of expertise at the oldest and most famous sweet shop in the city, where treats are made through traditional techniques.  Spend the evening in a traditional hotel in Yazd.
    Day 5 Location: Yazd
    Explore the old part of the city in the morning, considered by UNESCO to be steeped in antiquity. Visit the Amir Chakmaq complex, then walk through the narrow kuches (lanes) past simple courtyards and the ornate doors of local mud brick buildings. One of the most distinctive features of Yazd are the badgirs (wind towers) that capture even the softest of breezes before sending them to the buildings below, cooling them off as a forerunner of modern air-con.  Afterwards, visit two vestiges of Yazd’s Zoroastrian heritage on a trip to the Fire Temple and the Towers of Silence. Zoroastrianism, dating back over 4000 years, was the state religion of Iran before the arrival of Islam. In the Zoroastrian religion, fire and water are agents of ritual purity, and the fire in the Atashkadeh Fire Temple is said to have been continuously burning since AD470. The intriguing Towers of Silence are part of the Zoroastrian tradition of raised circular structures where the dead are laid out to be picked clean by scavenger birds. Dinner tonight is a very special experience, as we travel to the village of Taft to the house of Nartitee. Here every corner of this small village home tells a story, at Nartitee you can experience a 2500 year culture as you enjoy a simple meal amongst the scent of pomegranate and tamarind trees.
    Day 6 Location: Shiraz
    Today we travel from Yazd to Shiraz (approximately 6 hours), and on the way we stop at the ice-houses of Abarkuh. Ice houses were known in Iran as early as the 17th century BC and these were used as recently as 50 years ago.   The Abarkuh Cyprus is the the focal point of this village and is believed to be 4500 years a popular symbol of 'life and beauty'. Relax a while and gaze on the beauty of this tree the oldest living organism in Iran.  Arrive in Shiraz in the late afternoon.
    Day 7 Location: Shiraz
    Welcome to Shiraz. Valerian, the only Roman emperor to have ever been a prisoner of war, lived out his last days in captivity here circa AD260. Many of the local ruins date from this period. There’s plenty of chances to explore this Pearl of Persia over the next few days – the name itself evokes thoughts of tranquil gardens, lavish palaces, philosophers and artists. Up early this morning to catch the first rays of sun as it seeps in through the stained glass of the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, this mosque may seem like a fairly traditional place of worship from the outside, but inside it is guarding a very gorgeously colourful secret. Continue to the Vakil Bazaar and the Khan citadel. Bazaar-e Vakil is regarded as one of the most evocative bazaars in the country and specialises in fine carpets, handicrafts, textiles and spices.  This afternoon, visit the vast complex of Eram Garden, also known as the ‘Garden of Paradise’ (Bagh-e Eram). Wander the grounds, filled with young Shirazis, where artificial rivers run through an impressive collection of cypress trees before pooling in front of a colourful palace.  Following this, visit the tombs of Hafez and Sa'di. The Persian poet Hafez was born in Shiraz around 1310 and travelled the world before returning to pass away in Shiraz, where he is regarded as a literary giant and folk hero.  Nearby is the Aramgah-e Shah-e Cheragh, known as one of the holiest sites in Shiraz. The beautiful structure serves as a mausoleum to one of Imam Reza’s brothers and the forecourt is often packed with Shiite pilgrims.  After witnessing these stunning sites, the rest of the day is free for exploration.
    Day 8 Location: Shiraz
    Begin the day with a trip to the remains of Persepolis (approximately 1 hours' drive) – once the centre of the Persian Empire and considered as one of the great cities of the ancient world. The Takhte Jamshid complex of palaces was known as the historic marvel of the country, constructed over the course of 150 years as the ceremonial capital of Darius I’s Achaemenid Empire. The imposing gateways, intricate relief carvings, mountainside tombs, grand staircases and towering columns leaves little doubt that this was once the heart of the known world. Continue on to Naqsh-e-Rajab, the site of four limestone rock face inscriptions and bas-reliefs that date to early Sassanid times. In 330 BC, invading armies led by Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great set fire to the city, destroying it and in turn symbolising the destruction of the Persian Empire. While today only small ruins remain from those once-magnificent structures, the site is still impressive. 
    Day 9 Location: Esfahan
    Depart from Shiraz en route to Esfahan (approximately a 6 hour drive). Along the way we stop for a guided tour of Pasargadae, an ancient city built by Cyrus the Great that precedes Persepolis. It’s not as well preserved as the latter, but still reflects the architectural genius of the Achaemenids, the beauty of simplicity and balance. Arrive in Esfahan; in the evening, take a stroll down to the Zayandeh River and witness the historic bridges arching over the water. The stunning Si-o-seh Pol (bridge of 33 arches) lights up at night, creating a fairytale spectacle best witnessed either on the banks of the river or at a local teahouse. While away some time in this magical location, truly one of the most atmospheric that Iran has to offer.
    Day 10 Location: Esfahan
    There’s plenty of time to soak up the sights and atmosphere of Esfahan, often considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Esfahan reached its peak during the reign of Shah Abbas I in 1587 when it was declared capital of Persia, yet much of its past glory still remains despite the country’s capital later being shifted to Shiraz and then Tehran. Begin today’s adventure through Esfahan with a guided walk through the Imam Square; covering an area of 82,500 square meters, it’s the second largest in the world. There’s many grand buildings in the surrounding area such as the Ali Qapu Palace, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Qeysarieh Portal and the majestic Imam Mosque – all of which are truly remarkable sights. In the Safavid era, this place was renowned for its parades, military reviews, polo games and festivals. These days it’s better regarded as a place for families to idly wander or enjoy a picnic come the early evening. After exploring the area, the rest of the day is free for soaking up the visual appeal of the city and discovering the many beautiful secrets it holds.
    Day 11 Location: Esfahan
    Continue exploring Isfahan with a guided visit to the Vank Cathedral, located in the Armenian quarter of the city. The striking interior of this building boasts gilded ceilings, intricate wall architecture and eye-catching paintings. The stunning, delicate artwork of the dome depicts the Biblical story of Genesis, from the creation of man to the expulsion from the Garden of Eden. The church also plays home to a museum, full of historic manuscripts. Originally, Armenian Christians were brought to the cathedral by Shah Abbas I who placed great value in their skills as artists and merchants. They have been allowed to practice their religion in peace, but are confined to this single area of the city. The rest of the afternoon is free, we recommend the Bazaar an easy place to while away the hours getting lost among the colours and tantalizing aromas.
    Day 12 Location: Tehran
    After breakfast this morning we start the journey back to Tehran, stopping in Iran's second most holiest city for the opportunity to visit the Shirne of Fatima Masumeh. Fatima Masumeh was the sister of the eighth Imam Reza and the daughter of the seventh Imam Musa al-Kadhim (Tabari 60). On arrival back in Tehran, and after checking in to the hotel, we head to the Tabiat Nature Bridge for some afternoon exploration. Spend some time relaxing over a light meal at one of the many restaurants by Ports Park, situated on one side of the bridge. On the other, the rolling trees of Taleghani Park offer a great opportunity for a wistful stroll.
    Day 13 Location: Tehran
    Your adventure in Iran will come to an end today after breakfast.
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    Departure Date:
    09MAR2020
    Return Date:
    21MAR2020
    4520NZD
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    11APR2020
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    4680NZD
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    02MAY2020
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    14MAY2020
    4465NZD
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    14SEP2020
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    Last modified (date)

    14 Dec 2019

    Trip title

    Ancient Persia In Depth

    Trip code

    PGAP

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020

    Introduction

    Iran is quite simply an extraordinary country, where visitors are welcomed with open arms by friendly people who have redefined the word ‘hospitality’. The architecture is amazing with breathtaking mosques, stepped hillside villages, cleverly-designed wind towers (badgirs) and impressive structures such as the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence. The country's history is astonishingly rich, and Ancient Persepolis is one of many staggering reminders of this past. The current culture is in many ways a fusion of all the influences; the country’s religion is predominantly Islam (mainly Shiite, but some Iranians are Sunni), although you will probably also encounter Jews, Zoroastrians, Christians and Baha’is along the way. Although Iran is portrayed by some Western media as being ruled by a dour and repressive regime, you will find that it is a land full of warm, lively and friendly people. Join Peregrine for this foray into one of the world’s most fascinating and least-visited countries. Before booking on this trip we recommend that you read the ‘Safety’ section in the trip notes regarding special safety considerations for Iran trips.

    Style

    Peregrine

    Transport

    Private aircon bus

    Physical Rating

    2

    Joining point

    Tehran Grand Hotel 2

    N.28 East Sepand Street Nejatolahhi Avenue

    Tehran

    IRAN, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF

    Phone: +98 21 89191

    Joining point description

    Tehran Grand Hotel 2 is located conveniently in the heart of city. The Grand Hotel 2 is 45 minutes to Imam Khomeini International Airport and 20 minutes to Mehrabad domestic airport. The hotel's location offers travellers easy access to major cultural and historical attractions. Rooms Feature: digital safe boxes, television, central heating facilities, refrigerators and hairdryers. Room service is available (24 hours); the hotel offers wireless internet (accessible in all areas around the hotel) and laundry services Please note that this is the second branch of the Tehran Grand Hotel Group, situated in downtown of Tehran.

    Joining point instructions

    A private arrival transfer is included on this trip. Please ensure you have provided your booking agent with your flight details at least 30 days prior to travelling to Iran and that this transfer is confirmed. If you are travelling on a British, US or Canadian passport, you must pre-arrange private transfers through Peregrine. Please look out for our transfer operator after clearing customs, who will be holding a sign with your name. If you have difficulty locating the driver please make your way to the information desk in the airport to contact our local team. Mr Farhang Ezati on +98 912 719 3142 OR Mr Hamed Meh Afroz +98 935 475 0003. For emergency assistance please refer to our essential trip information.

    Finish point

    Tehran Grand Hotel 2

    N.28 East Sepand Street Nejatolahhi Avenue

    Tehran

    IRAN, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF

    Phone: +98 21 89191

    Finish point description

    Tehran Grand Hotel 2 is located conveniently in the heart of city. The Grand Hotel 2 is 45 minutes to Imam Khomeini International Airport and 20 minutes to Mehrabad domestic airport. The hotel's location offers travellers easy access to major cultural and historical attractions. Rooms Feature: digital safe boxes, television, central heating facilities, refrigerators and hairdryers. Room service is available (24 hours); the hotel offers wireless internet (accessible in all areas around the hotel) and laundry services Please note that this is the second branch of the Tehran Grand Hotel Group, situated in downtown of Tehran.

    Finish point instructions

    A complimentary departure transfer is available on this tour, pick up time is 3.5 hours before your flight departure. If you have an early departure please confirm pick up time with your Tour Leader. If you have any difficulties with your departure transfer, please contact our local representative Mr Farhang Ezati on +98 912 719 3142 OR Mr Hamed Meh Afroz +98 935 475 0003.

    Important information

    SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights on your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information. TRANSFERS A complimentary airport arrival and departure transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel. IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT TRAVEL TO IRAN Please note that US, British and Canadian passport holders will need to book this trip at least 3 months before departure as this is the length of time it takes to process a visa for these nationalities. There may also be further travel restrictions that apply to these nationalities including restrictions for when you can arrive and depart.  Please see the visa section in this essential trip information below for more details and ensure you discuss options with your booking agent before confirming non-refundable airfares. We also encourage you refer to our online visa application for more details. Simply select the relevant nationality in the drop down list to access detailed visa information: https://www.peregrineadventures.com/en-au/iran-authorisation-code-application Travellers cannot use debit or credit cards while in Iran. You will need to bring all the money you will need for your entire trip with you. Please read through the money matters section of your essential trip information for further details. SAFETY IN IRAN We recommend that before your departure you check your government's latest travel advice for information on travelling in Iran and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas of your itinerary. We have links to prominent government travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting this trip on our Travel Alerts page: https://www.peregrineadventures.com/en/travel-alerts

    Group leader

    All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. You can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. In Iran, in accordance with local regulations your Leader will also be a licensed Tour Guide and will not only have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip; but will also have specialised knowledge on the sites visited and provide full guiding services.

    Safety

    Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's travel alerts page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip. PERSONAL BELONGINGS: We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. FREE TIME: Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

    FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. BALCONIES: Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm. TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware! SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts. PICK POCKETING & PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking at night and encourage you to walk in groups and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing. WATER SAFETY: Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water. TRAVEL ADVICE & TRAVEL INSURANCE We recommend that you check your government's advice in relation to the areas you will be visiting for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers.

    SAFETY IN IRAN: Following recent incidents in Iran, we recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before your departure and that you ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas in your itinerary. We have links to all major travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting your trip on our travel alerts page. Is Iran safe? This question will be asked of you many times before you arrive in Iran and long after you return. One of the biggest misconceptions is that Iran is an unfriendly country - this couldn't be further from the truth. You are likely to be greeted with salaams (hello) by the many friendly faces that you'll see during your time here. The Iranian people are famous for their warm hospitality and welcoming nature so don't be surprised if locals invite you into their homes where you'll suddenly find yourself reclining on a Persian carpet with your smiling hosts, drinking tea and sharing food and plenty of laughs. Tourism is in its infancy in Iran and you'll find that the local people will show a genuine interest towards you and want to try out their English on you. Of course, petty crime does exist but probably the only danger you'll face while here is the country's chaotic traffic, especially when crossing the road or even while walking on the footpath.

    Visas

    PASSPORT As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends. VISAS Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time. IRAN: All foreign visitors require a visa to enter Iran except citizens of the following countries: Lebanon (15 days), Azerbaijan (15 days), Georgia (45 days), Bolivia (30 days), Egypt (20 days) and Turkey (90 days) China (23 days) Please be aware that applying for a visa can be a frustrating process, and can take from 2-4 weeks for most nationalities. UK, US and Canadian passport holders please be aware that your visa process can take much longer due to government regulations. Please check that you will have sufficient time to obtain a visa before departure, you can expect this process to be 10-15 weeks, and we do not recommend booking nonrefundable flights until you have obtained your visa authorisation. The cost of a visa also varies dependent on your nationality, and also changes regularly, making it hard for us to advise of the actual cost. But you should plan for it to cost somewhere around 100-180EUR depending if you get a visa before departure or on arrival. Iranian visas are issued in a two-step process and this will differ according to your nationality. 1. An authorisation code for your visa must be issued by the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2. A visa for your passport must then be obtained at an Iranian Embassy once the authorisation code has been issued, or on arrival (depending on your nationality). UK, US and Canadian passport holders please be aware that your visa is only obtainable at your nearest Iranian Embassy and only after obtaining the authorisation code, please allow enough time for embassy processing. Follow the link below and select your nationality in the drop-down list to access detailed visa information relevant to you. When your trips has been confirmed you can then proceed to the online visa authorisation code application. Update: No Iranian stamp will be put in our passport anymore if you have a printed visa grant notice. https://www.peregrineadventures.com/en-au/iran-authorisation-code-application

    Why we love it

    Explore one of the greatest cities of antiquity, Persepolis. The relief carvings and towering columns will leave you in no doubt that this was once the centre of the known world.

    Once a major stop on the Silk Road, visit Yazd and discover the role religion plays in the city, from the impressive Jameh Mosque to the Zoroastrian towers and temples.

    Enjoy a special dinner with a Zoroastrian family in garden of pomegranate and tamarind 

    Soak up the sights and atmosphere of the jewel in the crown of Persia, the beautiful town of Esfahan. Feel the past glory at the Imam Square and its surrounding palaces and mosques.

    Explore the Vank Cathedral and see the stunning Si-o-she Pol (the Bridge of 33 arches) lit up at night.

    Is this trip right for you

    Iran is one of the safest and friendliest places you can travel but it is very conservative. It is very important that before you sign up for this tour you are committed to following a strict dress code (particularly for women) in what may be quite warm weather. Things don't get much more different to home than this! Upon arrival in Iran, all women must wear a headscarf and must also have their arms and legs covered. Men must also be conservatively dressed. Alcohol is strictly forbidden in Iran and severe penalties will be incurred by anyone attempting to bring it into the country. Drug laws are also extremely strict and travellers face lengthy jail terms if caught. If found, pork, obscene material (even glossy magazines showing people in immodest poses), and controversial literature will all be confiscated by custom officials. Upon arrival, you as a foreigner will likely be whisked through customs but note that random bag checks do occur. It's becoming increasingly difficult to confirm our preferred hotels listed in the trip notes due to limited 4 star options. While we will always look to the next suitable alternative in some cases these may not be centrally located. It's important to note that local star ratings are not necessarily equivalent to quality. In some locations the 3 star hotels are a better quality (and location) than the 4 star ones and be priced accordingly. The pathways around some of the sites may be uneven, rocky or dusty. Some of the guided trips may involve quite a lot of walking in the elements (especially the heat). Please bring comfortable walking shoes and be prepared with hats, sunscreen, water or layers for cooler weather. Iran is a big country and we cover a lot in two weeks, which means some long travel days and a very busy itinerary. However all land travel is in private air-conditioned buses, with regular stops along the way.

    Health

    All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. DRINKING WATER: As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it may contain much higher levels of different minerals than the water you are used to at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Many hotels and lodges provide safe drinking water, while bottled water is another alternative. Water consumption should be about two litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.

    Food and dietary requirements

    Your group leader or representative will endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements where possible, and vegetarianism and gluten intolerance will be catered for in most instances. There are, however some meals and activities that are fixed in advance and therefore cannot be modified to suit dietary requirements. Please notify your booking consultant of any dietary requirements at the time of booking. For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader or representative will endeavour to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic.

    Money matters

    When it comes to money matters on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need. Also make sure you’ve read your trip details thoroughly, so you know what’s included in the trip price and what isn’t. This should make budgeting a little easier. You’ll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that’s this document). Please note: all recommendations for additional costs, tipping etc. are in USD. You will need to convert these into the relevant local currency. MEALS NOT INCLUDED Breakfast. If breakfast is not included, you can expect to pay between USD5 to USD10 at a local café. Lunch. Lunch at a touristy restaurant should cost around USD10 to USD20. However, local street food can be substantially cheaper. Dinner. At dinner time, your leader will normally recommend restaurants where you can safely try the local specialties of the region. Expect meals to cost between USD15 to USD25 for a main. These are indicative prices only. If you are in a tight budget and are happy to eat just local food you can eat cheaper than this. If you want to try the finest food at the finest restaurants, then you can expect meals to cost as much as in western countries. TIPPING Gratuities for all services are included in the cost of your trip, these include hotels, porterage and included meals. If you feel you have received outstanding services throughout your trip, you may also consider tipping your leader and crew (driver) as these are not included. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however, as a guideline USD3 to USD4 per person, per day can be used. Of course, you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. EMERGENCY FUNDS We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved. CREDIT CARD, ATMS AND MONEY EXCHANGE  - TRAVELLERS TO IRAN PLEASE NOTE: Iran is very much a cash economy. This means travellers can rarely use debit or credit cards while in Iran. There are  no opportunities to withdraw cash in Iran for foreigners. Credit cards are also only accepted sporadically; there may be rare occasions in tourist-orientated shops that credit cards are accepted, otherwise cash is the main method of trade in Iran. If you are arriving into Tehran on Thursday afternoon or Friday we highly recommend passengers exchange money at the Airport as all other currency exchange houses in the city will be closed until Saturday. We also recommend you are careful when carrying your cash with you. Consider using the room or hotel safes to store your cash, rather than carrying large amounts with you everyday. 

    What to take

    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips. Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip. GENERAL PACKING LIST: • Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, air tickets or e-ticket receipts and a copy of this document. • Photocopy of main passport pages, visa (if required), travel insurance and air tickets. • Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and bandaids. • Daypack • Watch/Alarm clock or phone that can be used for both. • Power adaptors • Insect repellent • Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses • Earplugs and eye mask (you might be sharing with a snorer!) • Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. • Warm clothes including hat and gloves - When travelling in cooler climates • Wind and waterproof rain jacket • Toiletries/travel wipes • Travel Towel • Closed in, comfortable walking shoes. As most of our trips include some walking elements, we highly recommend that you take a pair of comfortable, closed-in walking shoes. Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings. • Camera with spare memory cards and batteries • Swimwear (itinerary dependant) • Clothes! Bear in mind that laundry facilities will be widely available throughout this trip. The cost varies in each destination. LUGGAGE LIMIT: On this trip, you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and, although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage, we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 15kg. If your itinerary includes a flight, please keep in mind that some domestic airlines have checked luggage limits of 15kg. CLOTHING & CLIMATE: Please note that as a desert region, the Middle East can have extreme weather. Temperatures are generally hot with little rain. This can become extreme during the summer months of June to August. In the months of December to March it can be very cold, particularly next to the river or the ocean and out in the desert where night temperatures can drop dramatically. Even in the hot months, it can get cold in the desert at night. Consider bringing a sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in this period, especially on itineraries which include camping such as on a felucca, in a desert camp, or at a Red Sea beach camp. A light water and windproof jacket is useful and a hat is essential. VALUABLES: Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safes to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary. BATTERIES/POWER: Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras regularly. We always recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera just in case. Charging of batteries is advised before checking out of your hotel rooms. Please bear in mind there may be some nights were electricity may not be as readily available as you might be used to – home stays, beach and desert camps etc. RESTRICTED ITEMS Generally drones are not permitted into any Middle East destination or they require registration and pre approval please refer to your airline carrier if you are considering taking a drone on your travels or check out drone laws by country on line. We have had some reports of binoculars being confiscated or causing delay in customs if carried in hand luggage.  

    Climate and seasonal

    WEEKEND & PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN IRAN: Thursday (afternoon) and Friday are the weekend in Iran. Please note that there may be changes to operating hours of sites, museums and stores. Iran also has a lot of public holidays. The dates of many of these holidays change annually as they are scheduled according to the lunar calendar. If you are arriving over a weekend or public holiday we recommend you change some money beforehand as Currency Exchanges will be closed over these days IRANIAN NEW YEAR: Please note that the Iranian New Year will take place from Friday 20 March 2020 to 23 March 2020. Many Iranian banks and government offices will be closed for and entire week. Iran Authorisation code request forms will not be accepted or processed during this time by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran RAMADAN 2020 In 2020, the important month of Ramadan or Ramzan in Turkey will be in progress from 23 April through until 23 May, and the Eid ul-Fitr festival or Bayram in Turkey will be held directly at its conclusion for 3-4 days. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan, business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it's a period of national holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be affected. Ramadan month can differ from country to country and region to region, it can be a wonderful inclusion in your vacation. If you have concerns about travelling at this time, please check with Intrepid or your booking agent before your departure.

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

    Feedback

    Can’t stop thinking about your adventure? Tell us all about it! We read each piece of feedback carefully and use it to make improvements for travellers like you. Share your experience with us at: https://www.peregrineadventures.com/feedback

    Pre-departure checklist

    Before you travel please download our pre-departure checklist to make sure you are fully prepared for your trip: http://www.peregrineadventures.com/pre-departure-travel-checklist

    Emergency contact

    GENERAL ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete. BOOKING ENQUIRIES / ISSUES For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at: www.peregrineadventures.com/contact-us CRISIS AND EMERGENCIES In case of a genuine crisis or emergency please contact our local ground representative on the number below: Peregrine's Local Operator: +989144546080 OR +98 9024566080

    Responsible travel

    Responsible travel is important to Peregrine. Maintaining our integrity and upholding principles of sustainable development are core to our travel ethos. Our values are ingrained in the culture of our business and in the design of our trips. We respect the people, cultures and local environments that we encounter while travelling and encourage the spread of good will and cross-cultural sharing. We are committed to making a positive contribution wherever possible. Read more about responsible travel with Peregrine here: https://www.peregrineadventures.com/responsible-travel

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Peregrine Adventures, a brand of the Intrepid Group, and works with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation are matched dollar for dollar (up to AU$10,000 per donor and AU$500,000 in total each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And because Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website:

    Accommodation notes

    ACCOMMODATION Accommodation on this trip is on a twin-share basis unless stated otherwise. If you require a double bed please request this with your booking agent. Double beds are subject to availability and can not always be guaranteed. Yadz Feature Stay an old renovated caravanserai that dates back to nearly a century ago.

    Transport notes

    Iran is a big country and there are some long travel days on this trip, broken up by sight seeing. Transport will be in new model air-conditioned comfortable passenger vans. You will have one driver for the duration of the trip.

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

    Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. MONDAY TRADING IN IRAN: Please note in Iran some sights are closed on Mondays and operating hours can change with little notice. Please speak to your trip leader for up to date information. DEPOSITS: Please note deposits on this trip are non refundable and non-transferable as per our terms and conditions. You are required to pay a non-refundable deposit of $600 per person per trip for your booking to be confirmed

    Accommodation

    Comfortable Standard Hotel (10 nights) Feature Stay (2 nights)

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