Persian expedition to the antiquities of Persepolis, Shiraz and Isfahan, to the Varzaneh desert and Qashqai nomads


September 19 - 26, 2024
tour to Iran

tour to Mongolia expedition to Tsaatan Dukhan reindeer herders nomads Kazakh eagle hunters tour travel to Gobi desert Taiga trip

An incredible adventure to the cradle of one of the oldest civilizations in the world - Persia!

We will plunge into the world of the ancient empires of the Achaemenids and Sassanids, visit the luxurious palaces and tombs of Persian kings, Zoroastrian shrines and picturesque mosques, get acquainted with the hospitable Qashqai nomads, meet the sunset on the dune of one of the most beautiful deserts in Iran, visit the pink lake and walk along the colorful noisy markets...

Tour to Mongolia. To find yourself in the very center of Asia, where Bactrian camels meet reindeers, where the harsh Siberian taiga adjoins 200-meters-long dunes of Gobi Desert, to learn the secrets of Kazakh eagle hunters and see the shamanic ceremony of the last forest reindeer herders Dukhan...

Our ethnographic expedition to Mongolia is a unique opportunity to discover an enigmatic country of nomads!

Dates: September 19 - 26, 2024

Duration: 8 days / 9 nights

Number of participants: 6 – 12

Cost of participation per person:
- 1 890 USD subject to 12 participants,
- 1 990 USD subject to 10 – 11 participants,
- 2 190 USD subject to 8 – 9 participants,
- 2 290 USD subject to 6 – 7 participants.

10% early booking discount (in case you book before December 30, 2023)

Everything is included (also domestic flight and full board), except for:
- international flight to Tehran roundtrip,
- international medical insurance,
- visa on arrival provided that we arrange preliminary visa code for you (visa fee at the airport is 70 EUR for Russians, 75 EUR for EU members and other nationalities. For Americans, British and Canadian the process of getting visa code is longer, up to 2 months).

Estimated cost of flight direct Moscow – Tehran – Moscow: USD 250 – 400 (Usually bought on your own, we consult you).
Estimated cost of flight direct Istanbul – Tehran – Istanbul: USD 200 – 350 (Usually bought on your own, we consult you).

Estimated cost of flight direct Dubai/Sharja – Tehran – Dubai/Sharja: USD 200 – 350 (Usually bought on your own, we consult you).

Single supplement: 350 USD (single accommodation is provided for all nights).


DAY 0. September 18, 2024. TEHRAN

Arrival in Tehran in the second half of the day. Transfer and check-in at Howeyzeh Hotel. Dinner at the hotel.

*Recommended flight from Moscow (or other cities) to Tehran:
- Direct flight from Moscow to Tehran with Mahan Airlines, departing from Moscow at 11:55 on April 30, arriving in Tehran at 16:30 on April 30, or
- any convenient flight from Moscow or another city, arriving in Tehran no later than 8:00 on May 1 and no earlier than 12:00 on April 30

Accommodation included: Howeyzeh Hotel (or similar)
Meals included: no

DAY 1. September 19, 2024 (Tuesday). TEHRAN

Full day visit to some of Tehran's major highlights, historical and cultural monuments, including Azadi Tower, Tehran Grand bazaar, Golestan palace, Tajrish bazaar or famous metal bridge in Tehran.

Accommodation included: Howeyzeh Hotel (or similar)
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

DAY 2. September 20, 2024. TEHRAN – SHIRAZ

Early transfer to the airport and domestic flight to Shiraz. Arrival in Shiraz.
Visit Eram Garden, the tomb of Iran's greatest lyric poet Hafez, the pink tiled 19th-century Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque, the Arg-e-Karim Khan 18th-century citadel and the Vakil Bazaar in the evening.
Overnight stay at Panjdari Traditional Hotel (or Heysarieh Traditional Hotel). Dinner and rest.

Accommodation included: Panjdari Traditional Hotel (or Heysarieh Traditional Hotel, or similar)
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Drive to Qashqaee nomads (70 km, 1.5 hours driving).This day is a shortcut to a deep understanding of Iran will bring you to the 1800-year-old world of Sassanian Empire in its Palace of Ardashir and Qaleh Dokhtar. The other world you'll set foot in is a world of nomadic survival in the midst of all the bustle of modern world. Meeting the hospitable Qashqai Nomads, who have kept their modest lifestyle and folklore alive, moved from place to place, lived on their herd and wild plants and overcome countless difficulties throughout history, will leave deep marks on you. Local food.
Drive to the east from Shiraz (15 km, half an hour driving) to visit the pink lake of Maharloo. In September the color of the lake is not the best, but still it may look special.
Back to Shiraz city for dinner and overnight at our traditional hotel.

Accommodation included: Panjdari Traditional Hotel (or Heysarieh Traditional Hotel, or similar)
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Very early breakfast and drive north-east (60 km, 1 hour driving) and exploring Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid kings with remains of the palaces of Darius the Great, Xerxes and Artaxerxes, and its famous bas-reliefs, depicting kings and courtiers and gift-bearing representatives of tributary nations of the Persian Empire.
Also visit Naghsh-e-Rostam Necropolis to see Ka'be-Zardosht (fire temple/sanctuary), and Royal Tombs (also Achaemenid), seven magnificent Sassanian rock-reliefs (including Shapur the First's famous victory over Roman Emperor Valerian).
We can also visit Passargad en route (170 km from Persepolis), or safe more time for visits in amazing Yazd.
Driving to Yazd city (380 km, 5.5 hours driving).
Upon arrival in Yazd, we visit famous Tower of silence and will listen to the srtory of this place.
Dinner at a rooftop restaurant with stunning views of the medieval cooling systems of Yazd and the entire medieval center. Overnight at a boutique hotel.

Accommodation included: Hooman Boutique Hotel (or similar)
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

DAY 5. September 23, 2024. YAZD – VARZANEH DESERT

After breakfast we explore the historical city of Yazd. Visit the Jame Mosque (1324 A.D.) with the highest portal and minarets in Iran, visit to Amir Chakhmagh complex, and Water museum. We also explore the center for Iran's small Zoroastrian community. Visits include active Zoroastrian Fire Temple, the fire of which has been burning for about 1500 years.
Drive towards Isfahan until Varzaheh desert (260 km, 4 hours driving), which houses the tallest sand dunes in Iran. Dinner in the desert and stay overnight at camping right in Varzaheh desert sand dunes, watching the stars in the night. Or, for those who prefer, 20 minutes driving to the town to stay overnight at Negar Varzaneh Guest house (equipped with separate rooms and showers).

Accommodation included: Negar Varzaneh Guest house or camping in the sand dunes (up to you)
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

DAY 6. September 24, 2024. VARZANEH DESERT – ISFAHAN

In the morning we meet the sunrise in the dunes and those who wish can ride camelback ride (if available). Breakfast in the guesthouse. Visit to the salt lake.
Drive further to Isfahan city (70 km, 1 hour driving) to check-in at Isfahan Traditional Hotel (or Bekhradi Traditional Hotel).
Full day tour of the beautiful city of Isfahan, the 17th century capital of the Safavids, referred to as Nesf-e-Jahan (Half of the World) in Safavid sources. Visit one of the world's grandest squares, the Maidan-e-Naghsh-e-Jahan, with several sites (the Ali-Qapu Palace with its enchanting music rooms and balcony overlooking the Maidan, from where the Safavid Kings watched polo games, and two of Islamic world's greatest mosques – the Sheikh Lotfollah and the Shah – with magnificent architecture and tilework). Finishing with a visit to Chehel-sotun Palace and the Qeisarieh Bazaar with hundreds of shops displaying the arts and handicrafts for which Isfahan is world-famous (bazaar is closed on Fridays).
An evening walk along the river to observe the famous bridges of Shahrestan, Khajou & Sio-se-pol, to also visit the Armenian Quarter with several churches, including the important Cathedral of Vank, here we can find very good carpet shop if you are interested in.
Dinner and overnight stay at hotel.

Accommodation included: Isfahan Traditional Hotel (or Bekhradi Traditional Hotel or similar)
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Very early breakfast and morning drive to Kashan (220 km, 3.5 hours driving) to visit to Agha Bozorg mosque and Sultan Amir Ahmad bathhouse.
After 50 – 60 km from Kashan we will make 2 stops in order to see the Dragon Mountains en route. Dragon Mountains are colored mountains, the colors of which will not leave indifferent any traveler. There are number of similar places in Iran, but this place is the best.
Continue to Qom (55 km, 1 hour driving). In Qom we'll visit the Holy shrine of Fateme Masoome, one of the most important holy places in the country. Here we will be met by Mulla, who guides the tour.
Heading to Tehran (110 km, 1.5 hours driving) directly to check-in at the Airport Hotel to take shower and rest before the flight back home.

Accommodation included: Ibis Airport Hotel or similar hotel in IKIA airport
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

DAY 8. September 26, 2024. TEHRAN – RETURN FLIGHT

Check-out from the hotel before 9 am. Free 5 min bus transfer (or 15 min walking distance if you'd prefer) to the IKIA airport.
Check-in for the flight back home and departure from Tehran IKIA airport.

* Recommended flight from Tehran to Moscow (or another city):
  • or Any flight from Tehran, with departure from Tehran no earlier than at 22:00 on September 25 and no later than at 12 pm on September 26

Accommodation included: no
Meals included: no
Cost includes:

• Domestic flight from Tehran to Shiraz
• International medical insurance
• Accommodation in hotels 5*/4* as per the program (in TWIN / DBL rooms) and in the Negar Varzaneh Guest house (or camping, if you prefer) in Varzaneh desert
• Full board meals: breakfasts, lunches and dinners
• Drinking water throughout the whole trip
• Pick up transfer from the airport and returning to airport
• All transport according to the itinerary by Hyundai H350 (up to 8 pax) or by High quality Middle bus 33 seats (in case of 8+ pax), with a/c and local experienced driver
• All sightseeing as outlined in itinerary, entry fees
• All permits
• Facilitation with visa (Visa code)
• Travel insurance
• English speaking local guide throughout all trip
• Russian- and English speaking team leader throughout all itinerary.
• 24/7 Support

Cost excludes (additionally paid) :

• International flight ticket to Tehran roundtrip (from 230 USD)
• Iran visa on arrival (70 – 75 EUR visa fee)
• Tips for local team
• Personal expenses
• Single accommodation

To take with:

• long sleeve wear set, wear set for hot weather
• very light jacket for cool nights of airplane
• comfortable trekking or running footwear, light footwear (sneakers or slippers)
• cap/hat
• scarf for women for visiting Mosques and Shrines (the one also be provided by our team)
• big backpack/bag for luggage (not more than 80 liters capacity), suitcase is also suitable
• small backpack for radial walks for personal stuff and photo-, video cameras (20-25 l)
• no COVID-19 requirements apply (requirement may change)
• sunblock cream
• sunglasses
• personal hygiene items
• personal medical kit (analgesics, antiseptic, antibiotic, antiviral, intestinal, multivitamins, rehydrone, court plaster, your personal medications)
• photo and video camera, (drone is not allowed),
• batteries and power bank
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