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Next tour By Mr Mauricio From Chile

 he was an architect who visited Iran for 10 Days with setareh Elahiyeh Tour and Travel:( 5th august 2015)

Quisiera agradecer a la agencia de turismo por el excelente viaje que tuve con ellos. En primer lugar supieron adaptar perfectamente el viaje a mis necesidades, los hoteles fueron excelentes, el guía el sr. Mehdi Anampour, fue amable, puntual, atento, siempre preocupado de mi y de que todo estuviera correcto, y supo entender perfectamente los lugares que me interesaba visitar haciéndolos más asequibles sin duda Iran es un país para ir con un guía. La relación precio calidad porque los servicios prestados fue perfecta.

En general sólo tengo palabras de agradecimiento por el excelente servicio que vuestra agencia me otorgó, sin duda los recomendaría a cualquier persona que este interesado en conocer esta maravilloso país que es Iran. Quisiera volver pronto.

 Mis sinceros agradecimiento, Mauricio Baros Townsend.

Santiago de Chile, 2015


 I would like to thank the tourism agency Setareh Elayideh for the excellent trip I had with them. First of all, they perfectly tailored the trip to my needs, the hotels were excellent, secondly the guide Mr. Mehdi Amanpour, was polite, punctual, attentive, always worried about me and that everything was right, and he perfectly understood the places that I wanted to visit and did them more affordable to me, certainly Iran is a country to go with a guide. The price in relation to the services provided was perfect.

Overall I have only words of gratefulness for the excellent service you gave me, I definitely recommend this agency to anyone who is interested in knowing this wonderful country that is Iran. I hope to return soon.

 Yours sincere , Mauricio Baros Townsend.

Santiago de Chile, 2015


 Mr Jan , visited Iran from

 We had a wonderfull holiday! We will surely come back soon. We loved the hotels Ehsan and Atigh.

Since Iran hotels aren’t so programmed, that is one more reason to have vouchers.

 The drivers and train just went perfect.

Thank you for your good concerns. I really appreciated your good communications: probems may always occur, but can be solved in the best way by communication.

 best regards,

"Jan Pauwels''


Next: Ms Amy and Her husband From Hongkong

Dear Elnaz,

It was nice meeting you, too. Thanks for the wonderful trip up Mt. Darband, as well as special home-food cooked by yourself and your husband.

The intinerary was perfect for 12 days and 11 nights. We really enjoyed it.

Mr Anompour was also a nice tour guide. He seemed quite new to the route, but he was a flexible person, always doing his best to serve us. He brought us to the places we were interested to go, brought us to waterpipes and teahouses, and told us about Persian history whenever there was a chance in the gardens, ruins or museums. He also helped us talk to hotels and various places, and was a good translator. In Prescepolis, he paid to hire a tourguide there for us because he said he also wanted to learn more about the history and background of the place.

About hotels - the room on the ground floor of the hotel in Esfahan was not so nice ( bright light in the middle of the night (hotel sunrise)), but after they moved us to the 2nd floor, it was fine. Merh Chain hotel in Yadz in the bazaar was also a bit small (but I heard it was an expensive hotel!), but for one night, it was fine. We really enjoyed the Manucheri House in Kashan. The caravan hotel in Yadz was a nice adventure. The last hotel in Shiraz( karimkhan) was a nice surprise with a big room and a pantry.

All in all, we were very glad we made the trip. It was exactly what we wanted. We found Iran a country with nice people, rich culture and history.

Best regards,
Amy CHOI Wai Ming


 Tour : iran duration : 10 days , tehran, qom , kashan , isfahan

Dear Elnaz,

In the meantime we are back in Switzerland. We enjoyed our trip to Iran very much.

We were very happy with our guide / driver Reza. He is an excellent driver, even after very long driving hours (more than 14), we always felt save in the car. When we suggested to add or skip a sight, start earlier or later in the morning, Reza tried to do his job in a manner to meet our expectations.
We always felt very comfortable with our guide / driver.

Regarding the itinerary, the first few days (till Ahvaz) were quite exhausting, as we spent a lot of time in the car driving. But on the other hand, we had the opportunity to see many interesting sights, and that was very good.

Kind regards,

Beat Fiechter


 Hi Elnaz,

Many thanks for planning an excellent trip. We were really so pleased.

Feedback from our side: The guide in Kashan, Leila, was excellent.

The driver, mr Mohammadi was excellent. Our guide in Isfahan was also excellent and we would highly recommend.

I will let Per-Axel contribute with additional comments if any.

Best and hope to see you in Jordan or Sweden soon!

josefine and peraxel


  Dear Elnaz,
We are back to Spain after our great experience in Iran.
Thanks a lot for all. We enjoyed our trip.
I hope the money we gave to Masut was correct.
Warm regards,
Nuria Coromina

from spain written on 11/7/14


 Monica Byrne (Writer & Playwright)

Are you a U.S. citizen? Want to travel to Iran? Here’s how.

Posted: November 19, 2014 | Author: Monica Byrne

 I just published an op-ed on Lobelog, an Iranian-U.S. policy blog, about my travels in Iran. The bottom line is that our peoples have been estranged for long enough. While the nation states do their thing, let’s open the doors of peacemaking that are available to us, yes? One is mindful travel, and Iran is an absolutely extraordinary place to visit. (If you need evidence, start with an album of my trip.)

First, the “safety” issue. I was lucky to know Iranians who’d (graciously) corrected my worries that the country would not be safe for me as a U.S. citizen; when I was actually there, those fears seemed downright absurd. I never felt unsafe. Iranians themselves generally have very warm feelings toward the U.S.; they received me with nothing but kindness, grace, and curiosity throughout my travels.

So…is Iran safe to travel in? I can say that it definitely was for me. (I do need to say that I’m a white cis woman, and that’s probably significant to my positive experience, but being other than that should not be a deterrent. I saw tourists of all phenotypes in Iran.)


Step 1. Contact a travel agency within Iran, which will sponsor you for a visa and, in effect, be responsible for you while you’re in the country. I highly recommend Setareh Elahiyeh—translated “Goddess who Shines like a Star” (!)—run by Ms. Elnaz Aslanian. They work closely with the Boomgardi Institute for Sustainable Tourism, a network of gorgeous traditional houses across the country, several of which I stayed in. Elnaz is fluent in English and can be reached at .

Step 2. On your behalf, Setareh Elahiyeh will apply to the Iranian government for a tourist visa authorization code. This is not the visa itself, only a code that says you have permission to get a visa. Setareh Elahiyeh will charge a fee to handle this paperwork for you—about $100 USD. It’s difficult to say how long it’ll take for the authorization code to come through, but plan for at least a month.

Step 3. Once the authorization code comes through, Setareh Elahiyeh will notify you. Fill out Form 101 from the Iranian Embassy web site and send it with your passport to the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington D.C., which has a “Special Interests of Iran” department. (If you’re a woman, you’ll need to get a passport photo taken in a headscarf.) You can pay an extra fee to expedite processing—I did, about $60—and followed up daily by phone. I got my passport back in only a week.

Step 4. Once you have your visa, Setareh Elahiyeh will find a guide for you. Note that currently, U.S. citizens must be accompanied by a guide in Iran at all times, except in the hotel. There are only 130 guides in the country specifically licensed to accompany U.S. citizens. This sounds onerous—and inshallah, that rule will change someday soon—but I found it easy to negotiate the need for space with my guide. The trip is still so-damn-worth-it.

As for price, it’s pretty reasonable if you go with one or more people. (It was really expensive for me, but that’s because I hate traveling with a group.)

Step 5. Pack! You’re SO LUCKY you’re going to Iran! A good place to get oriented is Lonely Planet’s guide. (I don’t recommend the Bradt guide, which reads like a phone book.) It’s up to you exactly when to buy your plane tickets, but I bought mine well in advance of having the visa in hand—I had a layover in Istanbul, and told myself that if the visa fell through, I’d stay in Turkey instead.

And finally, instead of buying plane tickets yourself, I highly recommend emailing Susi at World Travellers’ Club. She’s consistently found prices for me that have made my jaw drop.

Questions? Email Elnaz at aslanian.elnaz @ She’s great.




nationality: Dutch

date: 6th march 2013


 Dear Elnaz,

Thank you for organizing our trip together with Sebastiaan. We had a great time in Iran. We were positively surprised by the kindnes of all the people we met during our trip and really enjoyed all the places we visited.

The best experiences of our trip were:
- the night in Meranjab caravanserai where we went to the shepards for a cup of tea.
- the old (and ruined) buildings of Aqda and Meybod, with a great guesthouse in Aqda.
- touring with Majid Baghi through Yazd and Kharanaq.
- Persepolis
- sightseeing in Esfahan with some total strangers who took us around in the city.
- and last but not least, our driver Mohammed, who brought us from Kashan to Shiraz and was always taking care of us and showed us many interesting places.

The only negative comment we have on the trip is We think that the drive to the Caspian Sea via Alamut Valley was too long for a day, it took us 16 hours before we arrived at the hotel in Tonekabon. The scenery during that excursion was great though.

Good luck with organizing trips in the future.
Best regards,

Skadi and Geert





Nationality: Switzerland

 DATE: 1 MAY 2014

 1. your itinerary: Very good. Suggestions: Shiraz: Climb the small hill with wonderful view over the city in the evening light.

2. your tourleader: All three great, tour leaders were excellent

3. the vehicle: Tourleader provided us with a Toyota which was great.

4. setareh elahiyeh coordination

5. last but not least the hotels (which you ahve gave me your opinion to some extent)

 - Homa: bad since it is a sad and outdated place
- Yazd: good - very good places
- Isfahan: we discussed that at length
- Kashan: good





 Nationality: Australian

 DATE: 12 JULY 2011

 Recommendations for trip

 Dear Elnaz,

 Since this is the first time you have organised a trip as big as this, I decided to write up specific feedback, so that you can offer this tour to other tourists in future if you want.

 Firstly, I should say that on the whole this tour was wonderful. We faced no difficulties, and were happy with all but one tour guide (in Tabriz). Our only negative experience was the Kerman guide trying to ask for ridiculous amounts of money, and we think this can be easily avoided in the future. We are extremely satisfied, and so happy that we were able to see so much of a beautiful country. In particular, we had a great experience in the less touristy areas like Kurdistan. Thankyou for everything you have done. Several of the guides mentioned that you insisted that they do a good job.

 I think this tour could be offered to foreign (older) tourists as a complete package. We paid approximately $7000 for 2 people; we felt it was 100% worth it as we were taken care of by every guide. It should be noted that when mum and I went to India for a month on a similar tour three years ago we paid $15,000, and when our family of 4 went to Egypt five years ago we paid $30,000, so Iran is very reasonably priced in comparison.

 We found having local guides in each place was the best, as they were all eager to introduce us to their city/culture. It was also good having different drivers.your tourleader has driven tourists all over the country for up to a month at a time, speaks English fluently, and has studied Persian history extensively so is very knowledgeable. We read his testimonials from other foreign tourists.

 We did not have any time constraints since Mum has an Iranian passport and my visa was for 4 months, but if other tourists have only (eg) 2 weeks or 4 weeks to travel, you could split the trip into parts and they could choose what parts to take. On this trip we saw a bit of everything. Of course we could have spent more time in the desert, hiking mountains, visiting the Khalije Fars or Ahwaz/Shush, or Gorgan, but unfortunately we did not have time. We really recommend Kurdistan and Shomal though!


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