Getting Around in Iran

The night I first arrived in Tehran I was met by a guy from the travel agency. He was holding a little sign with my name on it. He said, “Welcome. Come over here, I have something to show you.” He led me away from the throng to the far side of the arrival hall. There he handed me a folder: my itinerary, air ticket and a bunch of stuff written in Faris which I couldn’t read.

He then took me outside where he put me in a taxi. While I’m sure I could have gotten a taxi by myself, it was reassuring to have someone meet me as it was well after midnight when I arrived. It’s just one less thing I had to worry about after a long journey.

The next morning the same guy came to my hotel and took me to the domestic airport for my flight to Isfahan. I paid the fare for both of these taxis. That was the last I saw of that guy. I surely could have gotten to the airport by myself but that service was included. At the airport there was no problem as all the destinations are written in English as well as Farsi. In fact, my tickets were written in English, too.

The rest of the time, except for the trip to Yazd, Kerman and Bam, I was on my own. I walked miles and miles and felt completely safe, no matter how far of the beaten path I walked. The streets were pretty clean and almost always full of people. The traffic, even in Tehran, didn’t seem that bad to me.

I took taxis when my feet gave out. In Isfahan, the drivers repeatedly tried to overcharge me but they were no worse than in other places I have visited. It’s a good idea to ask at the hotel to get an idea what the normal fare is. It also helps to get a card from your hotel with their name written in Farsi. You can then show this to the taxi driver when you want to go back.

All and all, I thought Iran to be a walker’s paradise: clean streets, friendly people and plenty of interesting things to see.

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