Worldly Wanderlust - Iran

Three public service officers share their tales of holidays off the beaten track, and reaffirm that the road less travelled usually comes packed with adventures of a lifetime.

Christopher Teo

Content Editor (Cube), PS21 Office
Public Service Division, Prime Minister’s Office

Mr Teo recalls a heart-stopping moment as soon as he arrived in Iran when custom officials disappeared with his passport for a full 15 minutes. But when they returned and awarded him that prized entry chop, his Persian adventure of a liftetime began. Iran is an amazing gateway to mesmerising scenery, breathtaking architecture and lively bazaars that pulsate with trendy people, he says. Like the hijabs that partially conceal the made-up faces and dyed hair of its fashionable womenfolk, Iran’s multi-tiered beauty can be uncovered by gently peeling off its delicate layers.

He singles out Persepolis (the one-time ceremonial capital of the Persian empire, with its ruins of biblical proportions), its nearby cliff-side tombs of Naqsh-e-Rustam and their millennia-old rock carvings, and the ancient cities of Yazd, Shiraz and Esfahan, as must-sees. But what impressed him most were the friendly locals – “there will always be someone who wants to talk to or help you.”

Getting there and around: Emirates and Qatar Airways fly to Tehran, with a transit in other cities like Dubai or Doha. Qatar Airways and budget airline Air Arabia fly to Shiraz from Doha or Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, respectively. Low-cost buses and trains connect most cities in Iran.


  • Prices are generally low, but bring sufficient cash (US$100 a day, to be safe) as foreign-issued credit and debit cards cannot be used at most merchants or ATMs because of the on-going US trade embargo.
  • To surf the internet, install VPN apps on your smart devices before your trip as most Internet sites are blocked in Iran.
  • Female visitors should bring scarfs to cover their heads when in public places.
Read about other public officers' experience in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, China and Pakistan.
    Nov 27, 2013
    Randall Lim
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