Tips

The Untraveled, Unknown wonders of Chabahar

Bahram * – On our trip to Chabahar, we visited one of Chabahar’s wonders named as Gelafshan mountain. From the night before, we arranged with the same agency that picked us up from the airport, to take us to our desired destination with the cost of 70’000 IR Toman. They came after us in the morning and drove us 80 kilometers into the Chabahar-Bandar Abbas road. The path was interesting and beautiful.  We arrived at the total empty desert area in which there was only a mountain made of mud.  Continue reading

Iranian School Stationery Brands: Between Nostalgia and Innovation

Madi Jahangir *- “Teaching and learning is a form of worship.” For Irainans born in the 80’s and raised in the 90’s, this sentence makes so much sense. It is the nostalgic memorial of their school years, but the nostalgia is not only for the importance of seeking or teaching knowledge which in the sentence is emphasized. This sentence was once the only luxurious decoration of the notebooks in the 80’s. The quality of the papers was too low. Only few years past the revolution and during war time, the country was politically and economically under severe domestic and international pressure. So for the poor and the rich Iranians, that was the only available type and the government could not provide any better. Continue reading

The Oldest Café Confectionaries in Tehran

Firouzeh Mirrazavi * – Old buildings, palaces, as well as monumental streets or museum objects are not the sole articles in a country’s history which can make up the nation’s cultural heritage. Café confectionaries are also among the places that make up the “sweet” heritage of every country. The history of confectionery business in Iran has not been well documented. However, before modern confectionaries became popular in Tehran, it was café confectionaries which attracted people in the capital. Continue reading

Iran’s Wonders: The World Records in Tourism Attractions

‘The most…’ has been always an enticing description to human beings. This description is the main reason which has made a lot of tourists and travelers put Iran on their itinerary. Being described by “the most” is so attractive that many people are trying to make their country be known by it in various ways. For example, a tower is built at a point in the world to be the tallest tower in the world in order to become renowned as such and attract many tourists. Continue reading

On The Rooftops Of Masouleh: A Town In The Mist

Madi Jahangir * – On the wooden balcony and behind the geraniums, the old man was watching the people walking over the courtyard of his house. Noise of vehicles was far away, because no motor vehicle was allowed in. I knew this. I’ve been to the city once many years ago when I was a child. I do not have a clear picture of what I had seen that time though. It was not very known touristic place that time and we had traveled there after a flood which had left the place quite muddy. I had not stepped in there until recently when I decided to show my home-province to my Tajik friend. Continue reading

Lahijan: As a Tourist in My Hometown

Madi Jahangir – Some people have titled her “the sleeping beauty under the rain” because she is still beautiful when the sky is gray and rainy in the Fall, and snowy and gloomy in the winter. But to my eyes, Lahijan, this mountainous city laying peacefully on the Alborz foothills in northern Iran, has her better seasons too. I love it more when the sun shines in her humid summer and when her tea leaves turn to light green color in the spring.  Continue reading

Tollab District in Mashhad: The Center of The World

Madi Jahangir – People from Tollab say: “Whether you are the worst or the best of the people, if you are from Tollab, you will become famous.” Tollab is an Arabic word and means students. Tollab district is one of the oldest and most famous districts in Mashhad, possibly founded by Ayatullah Haj Mirza Hossein Faqih Sabzevari for students of religious studies who used to reside in the city. Howevery,  many ordinary people started to move in and live there  later on. Continue reading

A Guide to Persian: How to Take a Taxi in Iran

Are you good negotiator?

Darbast?” If you wish the taxi driver take you directly to the destination, do not forget this magic word. Darbast litterally means door-closed. The concept is you want this taxi for yourself and are not willing to share with other people. If you do not specify this, the taxi driver will go on his route and pick up other passengers.

“Man ro bebar be khiyaban-e Azadi.” [ Take me to Azadi street.]  You tell him the address.

Taking a ‘Darbast‘ cab in Iran is an art of its own that you will only master it by practice. The trick is to stand on the side of the road that the traffic is flowing toward the destination you want to go, raise your right hand and say “Taxi?” The cars with rolled down windows are often the cabs. But if you are taking a ‘Darbast‘ taxi, for your own safety, try with the yellow, green or orange cars with orange plates or the cars that have somehow a sign of registered cabs on the body of the cars.

Before taking to the taxi, you better haggle for the price.

Taa [location] cheghadr mishe?” [How much does it cost to get to..?]

‘Ahl-e Del’ taxi driver

Iran is the land of hard haggling and if you mastered it enough through shopping, it will be much easier for you to get a down good price on the cab too. If the taxi driver is interested to take you, he will slow down to negotiate. Here you can find average fares of taxi in different Iranian cities. Due to relatively low fuel prices, the fare is much cheaper than many countries in the world. Some Taxi drivers are “Ahl-e Del” [the followers of the heart] and take it easy in bargain. Some others are tough negotietors. After agreement on the price, it’s time to get into the taxi:

Lotfan mano bebar anja!” [Take me there, please!]

Taxis which have taximeter, that which you’ve called through the agencies like 133 or the hotel arranged for you are absolutely private & price is fixed. This type of cars have also female-only cabs for those women who wish to go around with a female driver. However several times in Tehran, i got into an ordinary shared taxi which had a woman as the driver and it is absolutely normal.

Female cab driver

What if you want to take a shared taxi? That would not be a convenient option in Beijing but in Tehran and most other Iranian cities, shared taxi is quite convenient and cheap, because they are widespread and carry several passengers at a time. But for taking such a shared taxi, you will have to know the directions.

Chetor beravam be in address?” [How do I get to this address?]

Or

Mishe rooye naghshe neshoon bedi?” [ May you show me on the map?]

Iranians are very helpful for giving directions. They often help the questioners. So do not hesitate to ask. The only problem remains the language barrier which you can resolve it to some extent which knowing some basic directions and a map:

They may say “Raast” [ Right ] , “ Chap” [ Left]

or

give you the directions of “Shargh” [East], “Gharb” [West], “Shomal” [North], “Jonoub” [South]

Based on the directions, your destinations, and your current position on the map, you will understand how and where to get a shared taxi. Better to tell the taxi driver his final destination and if it is close to yours:

Man be [Location] miravam. Masir-e shoma kojast?” [I go to … What is your destination?]

Flood of Yellow taxis

You may have to get out of the car after each “Chahar raah” [Cross-Road] or else, in big cities like Tehran, many shared taxis have specific stations. For example for “Seyyed Khandan” bridge, there are cars available at station in “Haft-e Tir” square. Or at Vanak square there are cars available at station for various places and main squares on East, West, North and South.

If you are in the middle of no way, the system is similar to “Darbast”: Just stay on the side of the road that the traffic is flowing toward your interested direction, raise your right hand and wait for a cab to slow down. But this time do not say the magic word.

* Related post: A guide to Persian: To Greet and Introduce

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