Iran, Israel, Jordan, Turkey - Advice and Tips!

Hey all,

I have the opportunity to visit Iran in Dec/January. I am hoping to also visit Israel, Jordan and Turkey.

I am hoping to stay for 3-4 weeks. I love hiking, history, food and not opposed to a party.

I will be backpacking and staying in hostels.

Any tips on travel in these areas.

For example, I think I have read that having an Israeli entry stamp in your passport precludes one from entering Iran.

So any advice is appreciated.

I am pretty well travelled so not looking for general travel tips

Cheers :)

Comments

  • +5 votes

    For example, I think I have read that having an Israeli entry stamp in your passport precludes one from entering Iran.

    I suggest go to Iran first, or not at all

    •  

      Yep that's the plan!

  • +2 votes

    Did some work over there back in the 80's but I guess things have changed since then… a bit. But even back then it was advisable to do Israel last that way you wont have any passport issues with the Muslim countries. We found the people to be very friendly and trusting and at no point did we feel in danger (even though the cops liked to pull over westerners to see how much they could scam them for. :) Once they figured we weren't yanks they usually let us go without issue.) That was almost 30 years ago so I can't speak to the situation these days. I would LOVE to hear about your impression of Iran when you get back for comparison to what we are being 'told' is the case. All the best.

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      Thank you! Feel free to send me a PM early next year and I will let you know :)

  •  

    I was over in Jordan a while back (about 8 years ago) and at that time friends working in the UAE advised us not to travel to Israel as if we did they reckoned we would have trouble getting back through Jordan. I'm not sure if that's true as we took their advice and didn't test it.

  • +5 votes

    Jordan does not care about Israel stamp nor does Egypt.

    you must goto Iran first before Israel.

    if you fly into Israel ask them to stamp paper instead of passport, however if you goto Jordan or Egypt overland this is as good as an Israel stamp.

    • +1 vote

      My recollection is that you can request that the Israel entry stamp be put on a seperate piece of paper in your passport rather than actually in your passport.
      Probably a good idea if you intend to do any other travel in the Middle East.

      •  

        second you go over a border it screws this plan up.

        i asked this when i flew into their once and stayed a few nights, the narky custom bird stamp by passport, and then asked if i had another, took it and stamped it as well….

    •  

      Great thanks!

  • +2 votes

    OMG so jealous, IRAN is at the top of list of my travel destinations! You must do it.

    I haven't been to any of those countries.

    My wife has been to Egypt, Jordan & Turkey and said they are all incredible!

    • +3 votes

      I am very excited, cannot wait!
      You should look into going!!

  • +4 votes

    Everyone I have met who has gone to Iran says that it was the most amazing experience - I would love to go

    And as others have said, when i went to Israel a few years I requested that they stamp a separate piece of paper rather than my passport

    • -1 vote

      if you're gay is Iran one of the places you should never go to?

    • +1 vote

      Yes I have heard many good things about Iran too!
      Thanks!

  • -1 vote

    Don't make the news as part of a death toll just to win at Instagram this month.

    • +1 vote

      Not on Insta

      •  

        That's too bad, I bet you'd get load so of awesome photos during your trip.

  • +2 votes

    If you visit Iran you can no longer get an ITA for USA.
    We have children there and visit frequently so would be a total pain to have to get a visa by
    visiting the American consulate.
    Visited Iran in late 60s and it was a totally stunning country. I'd love to return.

  •  

    I just came back from two weeks in Iran. Tehran -> Tabriz -> Mashhad -> Yazd -> Shiraz -> Isfahan -> Tehran.

    I wouldn't necessarily go again, as I find their food not that good, and many sites underwhelming i.e. not much to see.
    My best picks are Tabriz bazaar, Mashhad Imam Reza Shrine, Persepolis in Shiraz and Isfahan. Many tourist sites are located in city centre. Street meal costs 80000IRR to 350000IRR, half day taxi costs ~ 1mIRR.

    Safety is not issue at all - much safer than Sydney / Melbourne and other cities in the 'west'.

    •  

      Thanks for the reply!

    •  

      Did they stamp your passport and stick a Visa on it? I wouldn't want an Iranian Visa/stamps on my new passport. I might want to travel to US someday.

      •  

        Nope, they issued an electronic visa sent to my email, and it’s been this since end of 2018. They didn’t stamp my passport either

        Bear in mind Emirates would not allow boarding without an Iranian visa. This contradicts with IATA website and their own website. I used iranvisacode.com as MFI refused to issue visa for my direct application. I’d recommend getting visa sorted before booking air ticket.

        •  

          Lol how did you get on the plane then? I'm just curious, I don't think it will be a problem in the future as apparently democracy is coming to Iran next.

  •  

    You don't have to worry about the order of the countries anymore as Israel have stopped stamping passports. They just give you a little piece of paper with the visa details on it. (I travel there at least once a year)

  •  

    Don't mention you are going to Israel while in Iran and Iran while in Israel. They both kind of hate each other. That said Iranian people are very friendly and great hosts. Enjoy your trip.

    Pro Tip: You can choose to not get the Israeli entry/exit stamp on your passport. If you do, you will open yourself up to unnecessary questioning when visiting other Muslim countries. It happened to me in Dubai. The immigration officer was talking to me like I had just come from Palestine (Israel didn't exist for them back then) having gunned down 5 year old kids. Not a fun experience.

    •  

      Thanks for the tips!

  • +2 votes

    Iran is awesome. Probably the safest and friendliest country on Earth. You can also try Couchsurfing in Iran as an alternative to backpacking, it's very popular there.

    One tip, if you plan on travelling to the USA in the years after visiting Iran you will need an American Visa due to new rules in the USA about visiting Iran. But, Iran has tried to counter this (and for Israel) by not stamping passports of tourists arriving in the hope that travellers can try to hide their visit to Iran if they later go to the USA. The USA may have access to flight records, so be careful if you go to the USA in future about lying about any visits to Iran. I agree not to go Israel before Iran.
    This can also have negative side effects in Iran itself where some places of accommodation may refuse you if they think you may be illegal due to no proof of a visa (not scared of you, but scared of their own Govt in case they get caught harbouring an illegal). Large hotels are ok, they are used to the new "no visa stamp" in travellers passports. Hopefully backpacker hostels are also ok, they should be.

    Also read up on the concept of "Taarof" in Iran if you aren't already familiar with it. It's a bizarre concept for anyone not from Iran, especially westerners. Can be totally confusing, weird and make you feel uncomfortable if not understood, although there is nothing negative in it. You'll encounter this mostly in shops and the bazaars.

    And I'm sure you know Iran has no links to the global banking system, your credit cards wont work and there is no way to get money from back home. You must take cash and then exchange it. On the topic of money, be sure you are familiar with the real exchange rate, which is vastly different than the publicised official rate. Almost no one can get the official rate (which is good when you arrive, because the real rate at street exchanges is significantly better, the reverse is true when leaving though). Use this website to familiarise yourself with the actual exchange rate on the street: https://www.bonbast.com/ (note prices are in Toman, multiply x10 for Rial).

    Due to the absolutely destroyed currency, it's super super cheap there. Hotels are about $20 a night for a very nice hotel (in case price was your reason for backpacking, it's basically backpacker rates at nice hotels). Interstate flights are cheap, about $20. But you do need to shop around. Food costs almost nothing depending on where you decide to eat. Like a nice big fat falafel wrap, enough to keep you full for half the day, might cost $1. Nice cafes and restaurants will be a lot more expensive though.

    If you want to catch taxis, get the "Snapp" app, it's the Iranian Uber. And you'll need a VPN to use Google Maps online I think (maybe download some offline maps before you go), Facebook, YouTube and most other sites. WhatsApp works fine without VPN as does Instagram. Apple iMessage and Facetime also work fine without VPN.

    And keep in mind how tough it is for the people due to sanctions. Don't barter people down at the Bazaar or in the street if the price you are getting is fair. They are absolutely f'd over by the USA due to the politics of their Govts. They get paid almost nothing and all imported goods cost an absolute fortune (like double what we pay) and inflation is through the roof. Despite that people everywhere will be coming to you with a smiling face and asking where you are from and love to have chat or invite to show you around or invite you to their home. I would trust every one of these people in Iran, whereas I wouldn't necessarily in Australia. It's safer in Iran for a tourist than Sydney or Melbourne or any other major western city.

    •  

      Thanks heaps for the tips!

  •  

    I'd go to Israel first and buy one of those skull caps. It would be useful to stop my bald spot getting sunburnt when walking around Iran.

    •  

      Haha thankfully I'm not in need of one yet!!

    •  

      Man you shouldn't say that. Someone might just be stupid enough to do that.

  •  

    I did Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey a few years ago. You'll need to manage the order in which countries you go to. There are border points from Israel to Jordan but we were advised not to enter Lebanon via road since the north and south of Lebanon are dangerous. We drove from Israel into Jordan which was fascinating. Do a lot of research and planning before embarking on this trip.

    •  

      Thanks! Did you visit them in that order?
      I am used to winging it when traveling but I agree I will need to do a lot of research this time round

  •  

    Oh I remembered another thing. Apparently Shorts/half pants are banned in Iran even for men. No tshirts with naked women on them, I wouldn't even wear one with women on them. So nothing like these.

    https://www.amazon.com/Hot-Girl-T-shirt-Men-Blonde/dp/B07PFQ...
    https://www.spreadshirt.com.au/hot+girl+t-shirts#?redirectFr...

  •  

    Was just in Israel and Jordan this year… as someone mentioned above israel doesnt stamp passports anymore it is automatically printed on a card that you keep with your passport until you leave. Israel was very expensive(especially food) and was a bit disappointing (if your not religious) ie. the old city is just one big tat market if you dont think the son of god walked those very streets.

    Jordan we absolutely loved (we hired a car from aqabar and drove all the way up to Amman. The food is cheap and good, the scenery is varied and amazing and the people are soooo friendly… the people that dont know any english love to say welcome to jordan with great excitement.

    2 weeks was a comfortable amount of time to drive from north to south in both countries and see a bunch of the highlights.

    Note - you cant take a rental car over the border between Israel/jordan

    •  

      Thanks!
      I am not religious but still would be keen to see the typical historical sites
      I have heard Israel is expensive but hopefully as its January prices may be down a bit!
      Jordan looks amazing, the more I research into it the more excited I get!

      Which borders did you cross to enter/exit Jordan? The most southern border seems to be the easiest/cheapest so will likely develop my itinerary around cross into/out of there

  •  

    Yeah the middle border (allenby crossing) can be a big ordeal, the souther crossing between aqaba and eilat was fine (Israelis take security very seriously) the only minor difficulty is having to take a taxi to each side of the border crossing as the taxis at the border engage in price fixing.