Horse Riding in Iran | 7 days

Province of Lorestan 

This seven day trip provides the unique opportunity to visit an area largely untouched by twenty first century, riding through remote areas and small village settlements, still without electricity or road access.

Persian horses have a good temperament, together with great stamina. They are sure footed and extremely intelligent.

Itinerary

Please ask  us for details as this changes depending on the season you  would like to  ride.

Prices

Prices based on minimum 4 riders £320 per person per night

The price includes:

  • Obtaining the visa permit (excludes visa stamp fees which varies depending on your nationality)
  • Transfers to and from the airport and all local transport
  • Accommodation (simple on the ride)
  • Meals (three per day: breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • Use of horses and saddles – expert guides and all the help required with horses.
  • Fully equipped car.
  • You will be required to provide a sleeping bag.

 

We had such a fantastic time. I’m sure we would have had a great time anyway just going on one of the standard trips, but trip that yourself and Hossein were able to put together for us was absolutely perfect. I felt it was well-balanced I’m terms of pace and the ground we covered, and included such a great variety of aspects of Iran past and present.

The horse-riding element with Katerina and her family was also a huge success. She has a wonderful family and a great team on the farm who all made us feel very welcome. The horses were A1, and it was fascinating for us as a farming family to spend time in such a rural place, and see an entirely different part of Iran. It was also great to get a few days of rest without travel at the end.

J L-F

Tour Details

  • We can accommodate up to 6 riders.
  • The ride demands the skills of a physically fit and experienced rider with maximum body weight of 85kg.
  • The Persian Arabs horses are experienced and trained for trail rides and long distance rides.
  • The pace will be adjusted to the terrains, however you can expect to ride 4-8 hours per day.
  • We can organise a ride to suit your preferred dates, weather and seasonal conditions permitting.
  • We can combine the ride with visits to other major cities of interest in Iran such as Isfahan and Shiraz.

 

 

 

 

The art of picnicking in Iran

iran-picnic
Iranian families picknicking in Naqsh-e Jahan Square, in the city of Isfahan Corbis

My first trip to Iran was during a low ebb in Anglo-Iranian relations, after the 2011 attack on the British embassy in Tehran. The situation had descended into a tit-for-tat spat, resulting in the closure of both embassies and a diplomatic freeze that is only now beginning to thaw.

As I planned my trip to the Islamic Republic, I tried to ignore the hysterical headlines and solemn warnings from the Foreign Office. But it was hard to stay chipper when well-meaning friends kept emailing me with their own apocalyptic predictions for my fate at the hands of the furious ayatollahs.

So, I focused on more alluring images of the region – architecture, art, cuisine, carpets – anything that can be prefixed with the word “Persian”, rather than “Iranian”. But I was still nervous as I approached the border alone and on a motorcycle. I feared I would be singled out for my un-Islamic form of transport (Iranian women are forbidden from riding motorcycles in public). I need not have worried.

I was hit not by a tidal wave of hostility, but of warmth, fun and hospitality. International relations between the UK and Iran may have a stormy history but the Iranians understand more than most that governments do not necessarily represent a people.

It soon became apparent that Brits have far more in common with Iranians than I had realised, most notably a subversive sense of humour and the inability to do anything without vast amounts of tea. But something else links our cultures, something at which Iranians excel and at which they beat us hands down. Iranians are serious, hardcore picnickers.

Every day, everywhere, I’d see people lounging on the ground, enjoying seriously lavish spreads – and I mean, everywhere. Not just in parks and beauty spots but on motorway verges, in car parks, behind petrol stations, even on traffic islands in central Tehran, surrounded by eight lanes of the world’s worst pollution.

I thought we Merrie Englanders had it down with our tartan travel rugs and wicker hampers, but you ain’t seen nothing until you’ve seen an Iranian picnic.

The tea-making paraphernalia, the tower blocks of Tupperware, the pyramids of pomegranates, the cakes, the sweets, the shisha pipes, all laid out on a wipe-clean laminated Persian rug, and always accompanied by an invitation to join the feast.

I am not the first to note this. British explorer Freya Stark, who travelled in the region in the 1930s, wrote in The Valleys of the Assassins :

It is a charming trait in Persia that anyone you meet understands the pleasures of a picnic.

Stark’s travels pre-date the Islamic Republic, even pre-date plain old Iran, but no amount of tyrannical shahs and ayatollahs can dent the Iranians’ love of the great outdoors. As I accepted the invitation to join yet another group of strangers at the roadside for tea and hard-boiled eggs, it occurred to me that I felt quite at home.

Lois Pryce is founder of the Adventure Travel Film Festival.
original article

Sanctions Lifted, American Tourists Head to Iran

holiday-iran
Americans tourists in Iran, taking photo with Mola and his family

The lifting of sanctions on Iran last month has resulted in a surge of bookings, tour operators say, many from Americans undeterred by a State Department warning laying out the risks of taking trips there.

Drawing comparisons to interest in Cuba trips, tour operators say that Iran is fast becoming a popular destination for Americans.

Tour operators say the demand has been so acute that they are racing to add new departures and selling them in record time.

“It’s similar to Cuba in my mind where suddenly it’s both O.K. to go there officially but also with travelers thinking this place is going to change,” said Barbara Banks, director of marketing and new trip development at the Berkeley, Calif.-based Wilderness Travel, which sold out its spring trip to Iran and is planning a fall trip focused on the saffron harvest. “They want to experience the destination before it gets watered down by lots and lots of people going.”

is already popular with Europeans. Iranian officials told The Associated Press last fall that about five million foreign travelers visited Iran in 2014, and that the country aims to attract 20 million tourists, spending $30 billion, by 2025.

Among growth signs, Air France recently announced that it plans to start three flights weekly between Paris and Tehran beginning in April. Already Iran is a one-stop destination from New York via Istanbul, Dubai or Doha on Turkish Airlines, Emirates or Qatar Airways.

Iran hosts some of the world’s oldest cultural monuments, including 19 Unesco World Heritage Sites, and its varied terrain ranges from desert locales to ski resorts.

It’s just extraordinarily beautiful, and the sites are as magnificent as any you can find in the world,” said William O. Beeman, a professor and chairman of the anthropology department at the University of Minnesota and an expert in Iran. “Isfahan is comparable to Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat. These are major centers of civilization that have been lovingly restored.

He plans to take 14 travelers to Iran in June on a sold-out trip organized by Iran Luxury Travel, a two-year-old company in North Carolina. Steve Kutay, a former importer, founded Iran Luxury Travel in his retirement “as a good thing to do,” he said, in terms of encouraging people-to-people diplomacy

One of the biggest surprises about Iran is that they love Americans,” he said. “They hear you speak English and assume you’re British, and when they learn you’re American they want to have their picture taken with you and invite you to eat. I’ve never been so popular.

The State Department warning, however, says that travelers should be wary, noting, “Various elements in Iran remain hostile to the United States.” Last month, Iran freed four Americans of Iranian descent, including a reporter from The Washington Post but the State Department still warns that people with both Iranian and American citizenship in particular risk detention.

Intrepid travelers are booking tours anyway. In response to an increase in inquiries, the Seattle-based Mir Corporation, which has been operating in Iran for 15 years, has added new train trips and small group departures in the country this year, for a total of about 10 different trips.

“We’d seen it for a while but as people become comfortable with Iran on the world scene, they think it may be a good time to do something they may have wanted to do for a while,” said Annie Lucas, vice president at Mir. “We feel there’s pent-up demand on the part of intrepid travelers.”

In keeping with Islamic rules, women must cover their hair and dress conservatively, in loose long-sleeved tunics that go at least to the knee. Men, too, cannot wear shorts.

There are other inconveniences, Ms. Lucas said: “The infrastructure is not perfect, but it’s pretty good. The roads are decent. No alcohol can be roughing it for some people. The public bathrooms are not on par with what people would like. But the caliber of attractions and guides balance it out.”

Source: Sanctions Lifted, American Tourists Head to Iran – The New York Times

Top 9 reasons that your trip might not go as planned.

Top 9 reasons that your trip might not go as planned.

Planning a trip to Iran takes preparation and patience. Read on to see exactly what to expect when planning your trip.

1- Visa applications

The only authority that issues visas is the Iranian Foreign Ministry and the first step is getting a visa permit from them. Once your application has been approved, an authorization code will be issued, normally taking two weeks.

You can then visit the Iranian Consulate to collect the visa stamp. For UK nationals, the visa desk is closed and you should refer to nearby Iranian Embassies in a European country or Turkey. Zohreh Majidian, who started the UK-based Iran tour guide company Magic Carpet Tours, provides a visa service via Berlin for those who cannot travel to get their passports stamped. Magic Carpet charges between £200 and £800 for the service.

Processing times can also vary widely – and slow down to a crawl around the March 21 holiday of Nowruz. Plan ahead!

2- Visa on Arrival

Top 9 reasons that your trip might not go as planned.

Don’t leave unprepared and expecting to get a visa when you land. There is a list of non-eligible nationalities for airport visas, which currently include the USA, UK, Canada and India. For EU passport holders, it is possible to get a visa on arrival for up to two weeks.

If you are a journalist, or an applicant with a previously rejected visa, or an Iranian using a foreign passport, you will also be denied an airport visa. Anyone in these categories should apply for a visa permit and visit an Iranian Embassy for a stamp before traveling.

3- Traveling Alone

Top 9 reasons that your trip might not go as planned.

“UK, USA and Canadian passport holders are required to join a fully escorted tour and cannot travel independently,’” Majidian says. They must join a tour group or have an official guide.

This requires a pre-arranged itinerary with hotels booked and paid for in advance. It does restrict freedom but it’s perhaps better than nothing. Majidian explains that there are two exceptions: British passport holders without any English origin who will be hosted in Iran, and British men married to Iranian women. They can travel on their British passports without a tour guide – but they still need a visa.

4- Iranian Parentage

Top 9 reasons that your trip might not go as planned.

Your parents’ nationalities determine your visa eligibility. If you only have an Iranian mother, you are considered non-Iranian and can travel on a foreign passport; if you have an Iranian father, even if you have never lived in or been to Iran, you are considered an Iranian national and can only travel on an Iranian passport.

Men between 18-35 who have not completed military service and are traveling on an Iranian passport could be at risk. Military service is compulsory for all able-bodied men of these ages, including dual nationals. Iranian men visiting the country are allowed to stay for three months a year without enlisting; but if the visa is overstayed by even a day, they will not be allowed to leave until completing 21 months of service.

5- No Home Embassy

Often people feel at ease traveling to a new country when they know in an emergency they can turn to their embassy. For UK and American citizens traveling to Iran, this is not possible.

British citizens can contact the Swedish Embassy in Tehran on +98 21 2371 2200. Americans can turn to the Swiss Embassy in Tehran on +98 21 2200 8333.

The US government warns that American ability to help citizens in Iran in an emergency is extremely limited and they should make sure they have updated documentation at all times.

6- Israel

Having an Israeli stamp in your passport may pose an issue. Majidian claims that this is only a rumor but the UK Government foreign travel website states that passports containing an Israeli stamp or stamps from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt may not be granted access. If you have any of these it’s worth applying for a new passport. Israeli passport holders will be denied entry into Iran under all conditions and should not attempt entry.

7- Social Media & Technology

Top 9 reasons that your trip might not go as planned.

An internet security activist said travelers should ‘take a good look at their social media profile and online history before traveling to Iran.” He went so far as to suggest “de-publish[ing] some online content” and to avoid making “certain comments during the application process and visit.”

But he also warned that people didn’t always have full control over some of their online content, so you might not be able to completely remove it — a potential danger for people who work in the human rights sector, and for journalists. The security activist also suggested leaving laptops and smartphones behind and using local devices and VPNs to communicate outside of Iran.

8- Journalists

For journalists traveling to Iran for work, a press visa is required by applying for a journalist visa application form. After getting a visa, apply in person to the Department of Foreign Media of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance in Iran for a journalist card. Working as a journalist in Iran without this card is a violation of Iranian law.

If you want to interview any state authorities, this request should be made before your trip. If you need to interview Iranian journalists or media outlets in Iran, make it clear which ones you want to speak to and do not attempt to interview others.

Foreign journalists are asked to contact any of the following three news agencies to register their arrival in Iran: Ivansahar Agency, +98 21 88 795 183; Resaneh Yar Agency, +98 21 88 735 273 or Nam Avaran Agency, +98 21 88 888 567.

Journalists traveling on a tourist visa should not mention their profession, according to a post on the Lonely Planet website, whose author was denied a visa based on their journalism work. But a contradictory Trip Advisor post says this shouldn’t be a problem.

It said that authorities require a letter stating no journalistic activity will be undertaken. It also warns that the Iranian government does not appreciate being lied to, so it is best to be honest about your occupation in your application.

A look on travel websites provides no clear single answer to this question and a presents a range of contradictory experiences. But for journalists going on holiday to Iran, visa restrictions may pose more of an issue than for other tourists.

9- Clothing & Behavior

Top 9 reasons that your trip might not go as planned.

Enright, creator of the travel blog Borders Of Adventure, suggests women pack a headscarf in hand luggage, as this needs to be worn as soon as you exit the plane and land on Iranian soil. Shorts and tight or revealing clothing are not permitted for both men and women. Alcohol and narcotics are illegal in Iran and you will be punished if found in possession of them.

Do not attempt to take either of these in your luggage and do not attempt to procure them in Iran. Either of these could cause you difficulty: remember, this is a country with strict Islamic laws.

Planning this trip takes patience and flexibility – but now that you know what to expect and how to apply, you are halfway there. Safe travels!

Thursday 04 February 2016 Amy Fehilly