Why you should go to Iran II (in October)


May 19th, 2012 by Calvin Sun

In the same vein as my previous post to Why You Should Come With Us to Iran, here’s your second chance to “go epic.”

Although I won’t be coming along for a second trip — maybe that’ll be a perk? (jerks!) — this is your chance to relive what I saw in Iran last month; just contact me that you’re interested and I’ll set it up for you. You already know that I came back safe and sound, so you already know this thing is legit…and epic.

That said, a reposting of “Why You Should Go to Iran”, but this time updated for this October:

 

 

We at The Monsoon Diaries have traveled to over 35 countries in the last 20 months, all while spending very little and keeping fulltime jobs, remaining as fulltime students, or both. We’ve been to beaten paths and off the beaten paths. We’ve survived war zones, falling trees, getting struck by lightning, top-secret Sri Lankan commando units, the Iranian police, and clandestine North Korean government installations.

We have had over 30 travelers backpacking with us side-by-side around the world, and made hundreds of international friends that joined along for part of the adventure.

We’re the type of people that looks at a picture on Google Images, but instead of saying “this goes on my bucket list”, we say “I’m going there next month.”

We make dreams come true.

 

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So why should you come to Iran with us?

…Because this is the once-in-a-lifetime chance to go epic with your life.

 

 

If I haven’t been eloquent enough for you, then these formidable writers can be:

    • 3 Reasons to Travel While You’re Young - “[Responding with] ’Yeah, but…’ is pernicious. Because it makes it sound like we have the best of intentions when really we are just too scared to do what we should. It allows us to be cowards, while sounding noble.”
    • Touching the Burner - “Those that continue to experiment are rewarded with more experience. Those that think “I’m fine where I am” never do– their world stops growing, and they don’t truly understand why.”
    • Life Doesn’t Start Tomorrow - “Momentum comes from pushing, not from planning. Confidence comes from scars and risk, not from indecision.”

But people read these articles all the time and say “You know what, I’ll do it!” and then forget to commit to anything 5 minutes later. So this time we’re not only going to inspire you to take a risk, we’re also going to give you the chance to put that inspiration into practice right here and right now. If you really mean it when you say “I’m gonna do it!” after reading our little ditty on “going epic”, then do it. Travel with us.

Keep reading.

 

OK, I'M INTERESTED. WHAT'S THE ITINERARY?

You know how much I prefer free, independent travel over guided tours any day. However, the only way to legally get inside Iran as an American is on an MFA-approved tour. This one is not only that, but it still provides you a lot of freedom and the “down and dirty” for the backpacker-at-heart. You might get a free extra day to wander Tehran on your own, like we did.

That said, this itinerary will take you to all of the major sites in Tehran, the desert town of Yazd, and the ancient capitals of Persepolis, Shiraz, and Esfahan. In addition to the ancient history this tour also offers lots of opportunities to interact with locals, and witness the visual reality of what is the Iranian Revolution. …and with our local guides we will be doing lots of hidden extras, not published on this itinerary, for obvious reasons.

 

Deadline to get in your passport information for USA/British Nationals: September 15th

Deadline to get in your passport information for all other passports: September 22nd

 

October 22nd (Mon). Tehran

  • Morning and afternoon arrival by flight
  • Free afternoon to walk around Tehran, get to know your group
  • Visit to the heart of Old Tehran to soak up he nighttime atmosphere, drink some local tea and people watch
  • Overnight in Parastoo Hotel (2 Star)

23rd (Tues). Tehran

  • Visit Saad Abad & Niavaran palaces, the last Palaces of the last Shah of Iran
  • Lunch at Darband hills
  • Shopping in the Tajrish Bazaar of Tehran, your guide will you haggle, should you wish to buy anything
  • Traditional Iranian dinner of kebabs at famous restaurant Naveed
  • Overnight in Parastoo Hotel

24th (Wed). Tehran – Shiraz

  • Check out of hotel for morning flight to Shiraz
  • Check into Shiraz Hotel for a freshen-up
  • Drive to Zand Complex
  • Visit the gardens and mosque
  • Lunch in the city
  • Free walk around the ancient capital
  • Dinner at Shater Abbas a traditional Iranian restaurant
  • Overnight in Niayesh hotel (3 star historic hotel)

25th (Thur). Shiraz – Yazd

  • Morning drive to Persepolis and Necropolis
  • Visit the world heritage site
  • Picnic lunch
  • Drive past local military base area, but no pictures
  • Private home for dinner
  • Overnight in Oasis hotel (2 star historic hotel)

26th (Fri). Shiraz – Esfahan

  • Morning drive to Esfahan
  • Visit the Royal Square, another world heritage site
  • Visit the beautiful Safavid Chehelsetoon Palace
  • Lunch in the town
  • Sheikh Lotfollah mosque and Ali-qapoo palace.
  • Visit the Vank Christian Cathedral
  • Visit to Shah Mosque of Esfahan
  • Dinner of Chelo Kebab, a local speciality
  • Overnight at Dibai House (2 star)

27th (Sat). Esfahan

  • Morning walk around Shahid Ashrafi Esfahani University, to speak to local and foreign students learning Persian.
  • Visit an Iranian home for a cookery lesson with a local family.
  • Sit down for a traditional lunch
  • Free afternoon
  • Evening visit to the 300 year old Abbasi Hotel hotel for traditional Iranian tea
  • Night time talk from a participant in the 1979 Revolution
  • Overnight at Dibai House (2 Star)

28th (Sun). Esfahan – Tehran

  •  Morning flight to Tehran
  • Check in to hotel
  • Lunch in hotel
  • Visit Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini
  • Visit the Revolutionary Martyrs Cementary
  • Drive through Tehran past ant-US propaganda and the US embassy (no photos)
  • Farewell meal at the Armenian Club. Armenians the main ethnic Christian minority in Iran.
  • Overnight in Parastoo Hotel

29th (Mon). Tehran

  • Free morning to do last minute shopping
  • Departure by flight

 

 

WHAT'S THE TOUR COMPANY THAT'S SPONSORING THIS?

I’m helping organize this tour with the brilliant minds of U.K. and China-based Young Pioneer Tours (YPT) – this is the same tour company that got me in and out of North Korea safely and that got me in and out of Iran safely. – so I will vouch vociferously for their professionalism and reliability. And given that I usually avoid tours like a plague, then you know it’s legit if I speak well of YPT! We’re in extremely capable hands, ladies and gentlemen.

…And if you’re interested in also doing an additional side trip with a 1-2 week trip to North Korea…You know that I’ve done it before and had a life-changing experience! Although YPT’s listed price to North Korea is $1795, anyone who signs up via this blog gets it for $200 cheaper at $1595: Check it out. Or just keep reading on about Iran…

 

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?

Although the list price you’d find for Americans is usually over $1000 USD for a week, we’ll be getting a “Monsoon Diaries” deal that’s significantly cheaper at $695 a person. And the more people who come, the cheaper it gets. That being said, I have to cap this at 15 people, so don’t take too long to decide.

The only thing else you have to pay for during the trip are the flights to/from Iran, daily food expenses (about $10 USD/day), and souvenirs.

In summary…

Price includes:

  • Visa (invitation letter)
  • 7 Nights Accommodation in mentioned hotel on TWIN sharing basis B/B
  • A/C comfortable coach with professional driver throughout trip
  • Iranian and Western English Speaking Guides
  • Entrance fees for all mentioned monuments
  • Portage at hotels and airport
  • Tehran/Shiraz domestic flights

 

Price does not include:

  • Fee for issuing Visa ( at Iran embassy)
  • International air tickets
  • Tip of the guide and driver (we suggest about 5 Euro per day)
  • Any personal expenses & services not included in the above itinerary
  • Meals (around 7 Euro per day)
Again, if you’re interested in also doing a side trip with a 1-2 week trip to North Korea, get a $200 discount when you sign up via this blog at $1595 total: Check out the details.

 

HOW MUCH ARE FLIGHT TICKETS?
That really depends on when you buy them. A round trip from NYC-Tehran is currently priced at around $1000-$1150 USD on Qatar Airways. I’ve flown Qatar Airways to & from India and it’s one of the world’s best airlines; it’s one of Skytrax’s five highest rated 5-star airlines in the world.

Another option is an $800-$950 Turkish Airways (great 4-star airline) flight leaving and arriving at around the same times.

  

 

AREN'T YOU WORRIED ABOUT GETTING JAILED IN IRAN?

No. And here’s why:

  1. The Iranian Government and their intelligence department screens all visa applications. If they were to jail someone for being a “spy” on a 6-day tour, then they’re admitting to the world that they have ineffective intelligence.
  2. The foreigners who have been jailed are either people who have been conducting extensive NGO or business work for years, or hikers who wandered into the country without a visa. Never tourists.
  3. The amount of money, resources, and political fallout invested in jailing young American tourists on a 1 week guided tour in Iran is not worth it to the Iranian government.
  4. It simply won’t happen. American tourists on guided tours are now in Iran as we speak.
  5. I was just there.

 

YOU'RE CRAZY.

So are the 33 others who’ve been around the world with me. So is anyone who doesn’t want to lie on their deathbed one day and say “I could’ve lived a little more.”

 

I'M SCARED.

As was I on my first trip 2 years ago when I found myself alone at night in a random train station in Cairo. You have to start somewhere. And I’m going to echo one of Go’s previous entries: “the way you do one thing in life is the way you do everything.” Or as some famous inventor of a pretty popular computer/music player/cell phone once said, “stay foolish.”

 

Let’s entertain the possibility that you’ll skip out on this trip. Then watch us as we come back safe and sound, share our stories, talk about how our lives have changed (which they always do when you do a trip like this) and show you all our photos. Whether or not you will realize it then, when you have your first child, when in your midlife crisis, or on your deathbed, you’re inevitably going to regret that you missed out on this epic once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This could set the tone for the rest of your life.

Don’t let this happen. Starting slowly never works. Nobody ever learned how to ride a bike by reading about it. You have to get on the damn thing! Do you think that to skydive you first have to look it up on wikipedia, or learn to fall off a table? No. You simply jumpSo those of you who want to travel, travel. 

Imagine how easy traveling will seem to you after this. How much confidence you’ll gain in yourself.

 

This could be the moment where you turn your life around and finally do epic . The world won’t wait for you.

 

“Momentum comes from pushing, not from planning. Confidence comes from scars and risk, not from indecision.”

“Those that continue to experiment are rewarded with more experience. Those that think ‘I’m fine where I am” never do– their world stops growing, and they don’t truly understand why.’”

 

Feeling inspired? However, unlike most self-help sites out there, we’re going to give you the chance to test that inspiration right now. If you feel that bit of awakening stirring within you is the real deal, then drop your sh-t and travel with us. It’s the only way to know what you’re made of.

 

I AIN'T SCARED NO MORE. HOW DO I SIGN UP?

If you’re an American, you need to fill out Iranian visa forms by September 15th; it takes about a month to approve Americans into Iran. You must fill out visa forms even if you are undecided; you don’t have to pay anything at the moment and you can always back out later. So if you want even a CHANCE of coming, or if you’re interested in doing the North Korea tour as well/instead, please contact me asap: CONTACT ME!

If you’re not an American, you have until September 22nd to figure stuff out.

And I’ll rip out what’s left of your heartstrings with pictures of food and some of my favorites from the last trip:

 

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One Response to “Why you should go to Iran II (in October)”

  1. Mandy says:

    Incredible. I love that you’re doing this. I told my husband about how amazing your Iran trip looked, but he wasn’t quite as gung-ho about it as I was. ;) We’ll be back in the States by October, so I’ll be back in the real world with a job. I’d be really curious to hear about how some of the travelers with you with full time jobs managed to do more than one of those trips in that amount of time, considering the miserable amount of vacation days Americans are allowed. It’s my biggest fear upon returning home: that we won’t be able to go, do, see as much anymore because of something as small and stupid as allowed vacation time.

    We’ve tried to take advantage of our time abroad though while we have ample vacation days! Just got back from South Africa and that was truly life-changing!

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