I would recommend someone who embraces differences to travel to Iran. To learn the long history of this country, to see how normal people live over there. To experience the friendliness of the people. To see the beautiful mosques all over the country.
How was your experience with NZ Travel & Tour and Mehdi?
From the first phone call to initiate the booking to the end of the trip, everything went very smoothly with NZ Travel & Tour. I was encouraged to contact the travellers [who’d] previously travelled with NZ Travel & Tour to Iran. It gave me lots of confidence about the company and the trip. I am very happy about the trip and the whole experience is going to stay with me for a very long time. Many thanks, Mehdi!
I don’t know that many people that have been to Iran but it’s one of those places that is really exotic. Everyone knows it’s beautiful and when the opportunity came up to come and shoot for Cuisine Magazine I was like immediately, “Yes!”
It’s been magical being here during the saffron harvest… seeing how it’s produced, and the sustainability and the work with the farmers is really amazing. Saffron—it’s a very special ingredient but it’s nice to see it used with so much gusto here! It’s in everything and it tastes so good…
How was your tour guide, Faramarz?
Exceptional. We could not fault him in anyway. Best guide in the world!!!!!!!!
How was your experience with NZ Travel & Tour and Mehdi?
What can I say, Mehdi. You could not have been more helpful if you had tried. You made this a trip of a lifetime.
If you could share one piece of advice with someone who’s considering visiting Iran, what would it be?
Only go with NZ Travel and Tour and hopefully Faramarz is your guide.
We have travelled many times around the world and this is the best-organised tour we have ever been on.
Occasionally we enjoy a holiday that for various reasons stands head and shoulders above most other holidays that we have been a part of.
Iran for us, is one such holiday!!
The history of Iran is unrivalled, going back nearly to the dawn of civilisation itself.
Everywhere you look there are glorious shrines and memorials to immortalise what has gone before.
The architecture is brilliant, challenging and interesting, whether it is beautiful mosque, or the ancient ruins such as at Persepolis
At night when all the main buildings are illuminated the effect is simply mesmerising!!
But having said all that, we think the best thing about Iran is the people!!
We were stopped on the footpaths by crowds of smiling school children all asking “what is your name? where do you come from?
What is your job? please take my photo! Can I take your photo? Do you like Iran?
Students and adults would ask us to say something, anything just to hear our accents!!
You will have read about this and wondered, but it is true! You will be stopped in the street because there is a genuine and sincere wish on the part of Iranians to understand who we are and why we came to visit their country.
With assistance from Medhi and his extremely capable travel team we were able to easily deal with the currency and credit card issues, and they were brilliant when helping us to make purchases in the bazaars!
The “extras” that are not listed in the itinerary added enormous value to our tour and to our understanding and enjoyment of this country. Our interaction with Medhi and his family was wonderful!
During then trip I needed some unexpected medical support and Medhi had this under control immediately, with a very capable doctor on hand promptly.
We travelled over 5000 kms during the three weeks and never once did my wife or I feel any “safety issues” or problems while on holiday in Iran. We took two money belts with us but never felt the need to use them
Iran—without a doubt the diamond in the crown of the Islamic world!
Go visit soon, before the legions of sightseeing visitors find out about It!!
For me it was all about the people contact. Some people may prefer monuments and buildings but my lasting memories will always be the people I met along the way.
1.The Qashqai people were so happy to share and it did not matter that we had no common language. A smile said it all. Theirs is such a different way of life.
2. I loved our day with the roses. I had a dream of buying rose water at Kashan. To actually go out and see the roses growing, see the pickers at work, and to actually be able to pick them myself was just wonderful. And then to see the rose water being distilled afterwards was fascinating. I wanted to buy a bottle of rose water in Kashan to bring home but all of the bottles were plastic and would not be secure in a suitcase. I did buy some of the concentrated essence instead, but that was not the same. And I know you can buy rose water in NZ. I have some. I just wanted some from Kashan.
And I loved the walk up the valley with our botanist. I saw sumac growing! But my highlight of that walk was to be out there with all the locals having picnics and being able to engage with them.
3. Kharanaq. What a gorgeous place. I could have spent hours there exploring. It was historical, mystical and was like something out of a Star Wars movie. It totally captured my imagination. I could imagine the people who have lived there over the centuries.
4. Isfahan. The whole city was a delight. I loved the square and its surrounding mosques and palace. I got a real thrill standing on the balcony of the palace and imagined myself watching a polo game there.
But the real highlight for me was to be on the bridge…..with water in the river….. on a holiday day. There were thousands of people having a good time and we were part of it. See, it is the people contact again… all of them wanting to spend time with us.
5. I just loved the narrator at Ferdowsi’s tomb. He took me back in time.
6. The Holy Shrine. Fascinating. I particularly enjoyed the visit at night.
7. Saffron factory… great to see the process involved.
8. Visiting your mother’s home and meeting your family and friends was really special. It was a lovely way to finish our journey with you.
The following is I hope an objective summing up of the tour based on my experience. The problem of objectivity for me is that there is so little to criticise and so much to praise. To be brief:Shah-e-Cheragh, despite the weather, with its loud music and fluttering flags really was ‘atmospheric’. Bagh-e-Eram was a delight. But truly, Persepolis and Parsargad were top of my ‘list’.A high point was the visit to the mountain village outside Yazd and to the eco-village. I felt a great affinity with Abbas. Isfahan was all I had hoped it would be.It was there that Faramarz kindly gave us all a map.It made a big difference.Kashan was absolutely memorable. I did not expect to be so impressed with Teheran-the Golestan Palace is unmissable.But perhaps what will stay with me was the night-time view of the city with those enormous mountains towering above.Mashhad and Neyshabour you made unforgettable for us.I particularly enjoyed the day we spent at the tomb of Ferdowsi. One final point about our time in Mashhad–I thought the ‘farewell party’ that you gave to us all was a gesture of very great generosity. The highlight for me? –my god there were so many .Perhaps it was this: those momentary exchanges we were able to have with you ,Faramarz and others that conveyed the meaning of things beyond the factual narrative.
(2) I put my confidence in the LISTENER.
(3)Most important lesson: It has to be the warmth of the people .As the American, Lisa of NY puts it -a” heart opening” experience for any visitor.
I felt incredibly safe in Iran. As I was easily identifiable as a foreigner, locals would just come up and talked to me. At first, I thought this was some sort of scam – then I realised that people just wanted to practice their English and genuinely wanted to help you. Iranians are the friendliest people and because they don’t have a large tourism industry they are so interested to ask you about why you are in Iran and what you think about their country. If people can’t speak English – they will phone a friend or relative that does, or in one case we had a driver who was using google translate!
People were friendly. Complete strangers would come up to us and ask if they could take a photo of us. Often with them standing alongside us. Others, often men, who we walked past in the street, would ask us how we were enjoying Iran. It was a pleasure to be able to respond honestly with compliments about their country.
The visit to Persepolis. For anyone interested in history this is a must visit. Having an excellent guide really added to the experience. She was able to make the history come alive.
In my experience, Iran is a very safe country. There are cultural requirements for women, but they are respectful and not onerous. Visitors to Iran are welcome and treated with courtesy and interest. Ignore the propaganda and enjoy a fabulous and rewarding destination.
Meeting Iranians in their own country; visiting mosques and monuments; the food. We had great guides and a fantastic driver. The pleasures of a trip to Iran will stay with visitors for a long, long time. The tour met and even exceeded my expectations. I certainly recommend this tour of Iran by NZ Travel and Tour.
Organised thru NZ TRAVEL & TOUR, operator Mehdi Shariati provided us with a unique experience not available with large travel groups. He gave us an inside into an IRAN that I would love to visit again. He provided professional guides throughout and his local knowledge proved to be invaluable.
I thoroughly recommend Iran as wonderful place to visit especially thru Mehdi and his travel group at NZ Travel and Tour.
As far as a holiday destination Iran was never a country I would have ever considered UNTIL I was asked and said YES!
What would I say to anyone contemplating visiting Iran? One word – GO. I would add that you could not go with a better tour company than NZ Travel & Tours. Their organisation and the tour itself was absolutely top notch.
Thank you Mehdi for such a wonderful tour.
Trust yourself with NZ Travel and tour, its professionalism is foremost, without a doubt you will have an experience that will not leave you, an amazing country of history, beauty and engaging people.
The hospitality of the Iranian people. We were stopped in the street on numerous occasions “welcome to Iran”. We were invited into people’s houses for tea many times.
We, of course, encourage everyone to visit Iran, and would strongly recommend the NZ Travel and Tour as we had a fantastic experience with your tour.
The three outstanding highlights (memories) of our tour with NZ Travel and Tour were:
Mehdi’s enthusiasm about doing his best for the guests. He would go out of his way to achieve it.
B. Staying in traditional accommodation in desert was certainly a highlight. Good food, entertainment and program.
Visiting Check-check was fantastic, and a highlight.
Take the plunge, experience and enjoy this beautiful country while it is still in its early days of tourism!!
As a woman travelling in Iran I had absolutely no concerns about feeling unsafe, threatened or uncomfortable during the four weeks we were there. Of course, I was looked at by both men and woman probably because I appear to be of a different ethnicity to an Iranian and the fact that I was obviously a tourist – with the camera hanging around my neck all the time, but it appeared to be looks of interest and curiosity rather than making one feel uncomfortable. We were both approached many times by men, woman and children to talk – to practice their English, to enquire about what country we came from, what we thought of Iran, to discuss different cultures. We really enjoyed these interactions.
We chose to carry with us all our US$ rather than obtaining a debit card and likewise, never felt concerned about carrying too much cash, pick pockets or having our bags/belongings stolen in Iran. And one thing that I often tell people back here in NZ…………”I felt safer in Iran than I do here in NZ!!”
I felt my tour with NZ Travel and Tour to Iran was very thorough. I felt that I was exposed to a wide range of activities and different aspects of the country and the culture.