The Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA) is the primary airport serving Tehran, but is also the busiest airport in the country. You can find information desks within the terminal, and the staff serving these will speak English. There are banks, and currency exchange services, both of which are worth utilising before you leave the airport. You will have access to free WiFi, a restaurant, and a duty-free section, as well as a medical service, and a lounge.
The airport is situated 30km from the centre of town, and you can traverse the distance by bus, shuttle or taxi. Taxis rank just outside the terminal building, and will cost you 400,000IRR ($17) for the journey.
If you want to fly to Tehran from Australia, you can book flights with airlines like AirAsia X, Etihad Airways, Qantas, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, IranAir, and Thai Airways.
Why visit Tehran?
Tehran doesn’t typically feature on holiday brochures, but that is a huge pity. Nestled amongst the soaring Alborz Mountains, this bustling city is where most of the country’s industry functions, and where much of its contemporary culture is being born. It is the most liberal city in Iran, and it shows, with loads of trendy restaurants, excellent galleries, and entertainment venues you can spend time in. Beyond its modern side though, is its long and legendary history as a city of the Persian Empire, something that you will see in the ancient artefacts collected in the city’s best museums.
Things to do in Tehran
The best way to start your trip in Tehran is to drop by the Museum of Iran. Engage with a timeline that is over 30,000 years long in this excellent museum. See pieces going back to the Stone Age, through to treasures from the ancient city of Persepolis. Then get an idea of how the city has moved through time by enjoying the artistic expression at the Museum of Contemporary Art, which has exhibitions showing international and local artists.
Once you’ve toured a few of the museums and galleries, why not enjoy the cultural showstoppers of the city, such as shopping in the impressive Grand Bazaar, where you can work on your haggling skills in thousands of stalls spread over 10km of labyrinthine pathways.
Pretty much next door, you can find the Golestan palace, a structure built in the 19th century, and a wonderful example of the Qajar-era building style. Or visit the turquoise dome and minarets of the gorgeous Imamzadeh Saleh shrine that is right by the city’s other popular marketplace, the Tajrish Bazaar.
If you want to get away from the frenetic speed of the city centre, you can easily do so from Tehran, simply to Shemshak or Dizan, both popular resorts for skiing in the winter, and for hiking in the spring.
Best time to visit Tehran
· The shoulder seasons of spring (April-June) and autumn (September-November) are great for visiting Tehran, when you can expect the days to average 20-28°C, an ideal temperature for sightseeing.
· Winters can get very cold, but this is the time to visit if you want to take advantage of the skiing. Temperatures in the city see lows of about 6°C.
· Summers are incredibly hot, with July spiking at 37-40°C, so pack sunscreen and a hat.
Arriving in Tehran by plane
· Typically, if you fly from Australia, you will be subject to a layover, usually in Kuala Lumpur (KUL), Dubai (DXB), and Abu Dhabi (AUH).
· Iranian Rial (IRR).
· Australian travellers entering Iran will need a visa, and you will need to apply for this at your nearest consulate or Iranian Embassy. There are some circumstances where you may be eligible to obtain your visa on arrival, but you should check the Smart Traveller’s page on Iran to get further details on this.
Please note that information is correct as of December 2016
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