Dress Code in Public
Iran is a country with a dress code and respecting Islamic rules including “Hijab” or the Islamic dress code is a necessity in Iran. However such rules are not observed strictly, especially for tourists and foreigners. You are usually asked to wear “Hijab” during the flight, upon entering Iranian boundaries.
There is a saying among tourists that you should only wear black or dark colored dresses in Iran. This is totally incorrect. You can wear any color you like. You’ll see the dress code for Iranian men and women when you arrive to Iran, and then you will understand that the stereotypes are wrong a Iranians do care a lot about their appearance and clothing.
Dress code for men is really simple. In summer, you can wear T-shirts and jeans in whatever color you desire. Short sleeves shirts are allowed everywhere but short pants are only allowed in beaches and sea shores. Whether summer or winter, the dress code is not so much different than those of other countries.
For women, wearing scarf to cover the hair is required. You don’t need to have a tight scarf around you head. just something to cover the hair is good enough. Also it could be in any desired color. I think lighter color are better for summer.
As for the dress, women should wear something to cover the whole body. During summer, it is better to wear a lose thin coat, or a manteau. Again, you don’t have to wear black or dark colors. When walking in the streets, take a look at other’s clothing style to understand what to wear.
During winter, it’s easier to choose what to wear. It is mostly like what you wear during cold season in your home country, just add the scarf to cover your hair, and it’s done. You’re ready to go out and enjoy sightseeing during winter.
Dress Code in Religious Places
When visiting religious places such as mosques or holy shrines, everyone should respect the Islamic rules and its dress codes of that specific place. Women are required to wear a full body cover or “Chador” which is often available in the place and will be given to you by upon entrance.
Social & cultural norms in Iran is a concept that is better understood by experience and living among Iranians. You should be here in Iran and interact with people to understand the complexity of Iran’s social norms. However, I provided some tips that will come in handy when you are visiting Iran.
First of all, you should know that giving handshake or hugging Iranians of different gender is not considered good. Iranian men and women don’t normally do that unless they are relative in some way or married. However in this case, some exceptions applies that you’ll understand by visiting Iran.
Second, you shouldn’t talk or laugh too loud in religious places, specially during prayers time or during special religious ceremonies. Listening to loud music is also considered disrespectful in such places. If you are listening to music though headphone, it is fine.
Third, you can take photographs from anything and anywhere. You can also take photograph from people, shopkeepers, crowd in the bazaars or streets. Most of Iranians are welcome to be in you photos and help you shoot a perfect photograph, however, some might not be happy having their photos taken by tourists. Please consider deleting such photos if the person were not happy and asked you not to take their photograph.
And at last, there are many aspects to Iranians social and cultural norms that we Iranians take for granted, but might be weird for tourists from other countries. For example, shaking hand followed by hugging and a kiss or two on the cheeks are common around Iranians (mostly same gender) upon meeting someone, either a friend or someone new for the first time. Or the concept of “Taarof” which is a very complex behavior etiquette among all Iranians, and I explained it in detail in this page just some scrolls below. These are the aspects of our culture that we are encourage you to see and participate in. If you had any other question about this topic, feel free to ask me, or anyone you know in Iran or basically any Iranian. All of us are happy to help you and show you the true Iranian culture.
Iran have a currency with two names. Rial and Toman. They both basically the same. The difference is that Rial have one zero more than Toman, but the value is same. For example, 10,000 Rials is 1,000 Toman. I refer to Iranian currency with Rial.
Upon traveling to Iran, you need to exchange your money into Rial, since more than 95% of shops, hotels, restaurants, and services don’t accept anything other that Rial as payment. You should know that Iran’s banking system doesn’t support international credit cards, so you should remember to bring all the cash you need to stay and travel around Iran. To exchange your currency into Rial, always refer to an authorized currency exchange. You can find them on the Google Map, or you can simply ask your tour guide or hotel reception for information about currency exchange. Some big hotels in Iran have their own currency exchange which facilitate the exchange process for tourists.
Unlike other countries, tipping waiters, drivers, bellboys, hotel staff, and shopkeepers in Iran is not necessary, but of course will be welcomed. They’ll be happy with your unexpected tips. I myself occasionally tip waiters about 2 to 5 percent.
The Concept of “Taarof”
Due to some laws & regulations in Iran, some of internet websites and services are banned in Iran. Social medias such as Twitter and Facebook, most of the foreign news media, adult contents, and some other are blocked in Iran.
If you tried to access a website and saw this web page, this is because the website you are trying to reach is blocked in Iran due to some reason. Services like Gmail, Yahoo, Google, Whatsapp, Instagram, and many more are available and can be accessed in Iran easily.
Alcohol is Prohibited
Based on the Islamic rule, consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited, so why not enjoying more healthy and delicious alternatives, like Persian herbal teas, syrups, and other kinds of Persian traditional hot & cold drinks.
Emergency Services Numbers
To call emergency services you can call 112 (as well as the numbers below). This number is Red crescent’s number, and you can dial it everywhere all over the country, whether your cellphone have signals or not. 112 is for first aid emergency, road help, etc. However, when you are in a city, it is better to call one of the numbers below to receive help faster.