First-time visitors of Iran almost always report going through some version of the following three stages:
- Before I left for Iran, I was worried or others discouraged me or even predicted tragedy.
- Once I arrived, I was shocked how things did not match what I expected.
- Now I am so grateful for having gone to Iran and hope to return soon.
Now that travel to Iran is surging, I see such reports on nearly weekly basis. It’s the classic example of preconceptions – built over four decades of misinformation and fear – not matching reality.
The warm embrace of a country the West has got so wrong
Tourists are not hard for locals to pick out – there aren’t that many around due to the totally erroneous image in the West that Iran is a hostile country populated by flag-burning fanatics.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Iranians must rank among the most friendly and hospitable people in the world. My delightful encounter on a street in Tehran was to be repeated by both men and women in cities across the country: “welcome to Tabriz/Kerman/Yazd/Isfahan”.
Why I visited the one place people warned me to avoid
“YOU’RE going to Iran??”
These were some of the most common responses I received when announcing my upcoming plans to visit the country.
“I hope you’re not becoming a fundamentalist,” another friend half-joked.
Iran not what I Wundered it to be
Iran was one of the countries that was considered high-risk when planning the route for this journey. Apart from Pakistan, Iran was one of the countries to get out of as soon as possible. We were wrong about Pakistan.
We sure as hell were wrong about Iran.
Reflections Upon Visiting Iran
“In many ways, Iran has surprised me. Before coming here, my impressions of the country were largely shaped by Argo … Tehran has been a revelation. I can only hope to be back some day.”
How Is Hitchhiking As A Woman In Iran?
Never before have I been to a country whereby the preconceptions of it are so far away from reality. There is no war in Iran, the country is generally safe, and the living standards are comparable to those from Europe. The architecture is gorgeous, the landscapes diverse and the people ― the people of Iran are the best. They are incredibly kind and friendly, and always eager to meet foreigners with an open door and a cup of chai. It really is an amazing country.
56 Days Hijabbing it in Iran
Kylie Wearing the chador in Shah Cheragh, ShirazIran is a contradiction in itself; … We get told its like Saudi Arabia and that the people are oppressed and its dangerous. But instead everything is possible – but only behind closed doors. …
If someone in Iran says “you are my guest”, expect them to take complete care of you. It is one of the safest countries in the world for tourists.
First Cuba, Now Iran? Tourism is Booming in the Most Unlikely Places
Before we set off to Iran there was fear. … Such was the response to us, an American couple, going to Iran.
… It surprises people — we sometimes think they don’t believe us when we tell them that Iran was the country where we felt most like rock stars.
Alone in Iran – What Was I Thinking?
“Most people whom I talked with about my trip offered me strong words of caution, with some even trying to convince me not to go, especially alone. The thing is, I haven’t felt alone once since I landed in Iran. … So far my experience backpacking in Iran has only been one of warmth and hospitality, and really, really amazing food!”