A Guide to Esfahan, Iran

Read the original of my guest blog on Solo Female Traveler.

City Guide

Nearest Airports

Tehran International Airport, Isfahan International Airport, Shiraz International Airport

Brief history of city

Esfahan (in Persian pronunciation, or Isfahan in English), “half of the world”, is an important industrial city of Iran. It has beautiful architectures and art preservations, built and made from the great Persian emperor Abbas I’s time. An industrial city, the city sees sunshine most of the time. Temperature gap of day and night is big as Esfahan is a desert city located down Zagros mountain. However, with the Zagros landscape, it is easy to get away to natural landscapes from Esfahan as well. It is a vibrant Middle Eastern metropole with plenty of food, entertainment options of modern cafes, traditional mosques, private nightclubs and parties, and formal praying, etc. No matter you are the history hunter, or just the fun hunter looking for exotic entertainment options, Esfahan is the place to be.

Solo female traveler friendliness rating 1-10

9. Iranians are renowned for being extremely friendly. Although being a beautiful woman alone, especially if you are Asian, you may be looked at or greeted at from random men (and women) often, but those greetings are mostly out of curiosity of social customs, despite they may sound racist or annoying from the ears of Western visitors.

Good for SFT, honeymoon.

Solo female traveler safety rating 1-10

10. It is one of the safest countries in the Middle East. It is very safe. Even walking on the street alone after midnight as a single female is safe (in the city centre).

Crime rate is near to zero, and no targeted crime. Although, watch out being ripped off at certain dodgy places. However, since the whole income level is low in Western standard, even a rip-off is an average price for Western visitors.

Public transport rating 1-10

7. Inter-city transportation relies heavily on luxurious buses. Trains and metros are limited and tend to be cumbersome. In Esfahan city, it is advisable to take a taxi (from the hotel), and walk. Locals rely heavily on cars. Taxi can be a rip-off unless taken from your hotel. Walk can also be a good option to enjoy the view. Flights are also good options to travel to other cities.

Top five-ten experiences

  1. Nashe Jahan Square (Imam Square)

  2. Shi-o-she Bridge

  3. Kaju Bridge

  4. Vank Church

  5. Armenian Quarter / Jolfa (the nightlife quarter)

Best five restaurants

  1. Shazard (Splurge choice)

  2. Toranj (Splurge choice)

  3. Safavid Traditional House

  4. Hermes Café (awful wifi)

  5. Mustache Café (only for drinking amazing tea and coffee, limited food options, no wifi)

(Persian food is very meat-heavy, so beware, vegetarians. You won’t go hungry, but the food is a large part of the culture.)

Nightlife

  1. Ani Café (amazing wifi, the first coffee shop of Esfahan)

Shopping

Persian scarves in Jolfa area or the big bazaar in Nashe Jahan Square

Best three hostels

The five-star Rag Rug (Instagram: Ragrughostel)

New and millennial hostel opened by a great man. Modern hostel with a Persian touch and international friends and a cool vibe.

Contact: Sahand Tabatabaie (+98 9131182707, sahandtabatabaie@gmail.com)

Best mid-range hotel(s)

Viana Hotel (Instagram: viana_hotel)

$40 per night, awesome service, highly recommended. They take care of everything for you. Fast responses.

Contact: +98 (31) 32360100, info@viana-hotel.com)

Best luxury hotel(s)

Abbasi Hotel (Personally I have no experiences, because for $100 or plus per night, I’d rather stay with Rag Rug or Viana or home stay, which are way cheaper with way better local experiences)

Best home stay(s)

Amin Barkhodari (https://www.facebook.com/groups/291501688012602/)

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/amin.barkhordari.1

A super welcoming guy, who offered me many helpful tips. Although I did not have time to meet him in the end, but his warm messages gave me tremendous aides.

Do you tip? When? How much?

No. It is not a tip country.

Outlets/energy

European round-point plugs.

Average daily spend excluding accommodation and sample daily budget

Apart from accommodation, eating or going around, 10-20 euros are more than sufficient for your day. Normally, 5-10 euros for a day will make you live like a queen.

Currency

The most important thing to know about money in Iran is that visa doesn’t work anywhere and there is a ban on American companies. You need to bring ALL of your money in cash to Iran and exchange it when you’re there. They do exchange it everywhere though, hotels, visitor centers, etc,  but there is no exchange at the airport. Most people use their hotels to arrange everything.

Rial and Tohman are the local currencies. Be aware that local prices are often quoted in Tohman, which is -10x of Rial. However, Iranian currency can be messy for a visitor to understand. Spending more days in Iran will help you understand the price level, currency nuances, and the value of your bills.

Health/vaccines

No vaccine needed in a normal situation. However, please refer to your embassy’s website for further instruction. Normally, the country is way safer than the embassy warning, esp from English-speaking Western countries due to political standings.

Safety tips

Iran is super safe just be normal. Girls, please wear long pants and long dresses. Short dresses even with boots can be bizarre on the street. Better to cover your hairs but don’t worry if your hijabs fall of your hair. Follow the simple rule of not flaunting wealth, overly exposing curves, or being excessively responding (to the catcalls of men on the street). Live in the city centre. Ask your hotels for everything. They are the best helpers and friends to you (:

Esfahan Iran

  • Cars race on the street, so be aware of this Iranian custom! Locals cross streets normally but the fast-coming cars can seem intimidating when you first try to cross streets.

  • Locals love to invite foreigners for food or tea. You can take them up on it if you want!

  • Instagram is widely used in Iran, so the best way to stay in touch with your new Iranian friends is through Instagram

  • You need to use VPNs to get over Iranian internet. Express VPN is great.

  • It is the best to get a local SIM card for th

    e fast internet with a VPN.

  • Before you go, join the Facebook group of “See You in Iran” and you will be showered with local help and tips

  • Be relaxed. It is one of the most beautiful, exotic, and safest countries to visit.

  • Feel free to DM / contact me on Instagram: zhuorui_fu or YouTube: Zhuorui Fu if you have more questions!

Be sure to follow Zhu!

Instagram: @zhuorui_fu

YouTube: Zhuorui Fu

 

5 Picture in the Pink Mosque, Shiraz.

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