Going Solo in Iran: A Female Traveller's Experience
From the Magazine Travel

Going Solo in Iran: A Female Traveller’s Experience

Words and images: Carissa Fitria

My friends and I randomly booked tickets to Iran last year. But when my friends could not make it, I decided to go by myself to a strange faraway land, without knowing what will happen.

Everyone who knew I was planning to go to Iran asked me why. Had I seen the news recently? Can I refund the ticket or exchange it to another destination instead? And this was even before they knew that was going here by myself! So you can imagine their reaction when I said that I’m travelling solo this time.

Tehran street view

Despite my own worries, I had this feeling that I will be okay there somehow. So, there I was, queuing at the departure gate at klia2 to get to the airplane to Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran, feeling anxious and excited at the same time. I must say, I felt mostly excitement.

Eight days, three cities, one carry-on. Thinking about it now, should I have been worried at all? Should I have listened to what people said?

No, I shouldn’t have because….

I would see many great views along the way

From the day I began exploring Tehran, Shiraz and Isfahan, I was amazed by how many times I just stood, looking up and down, and just feeling glad that I had the guts to board the plane. You will see this combination of nature and city life, the old and the new, in every corner. Even when you are lost, you will have time to enjoy your surroundings.

Park-e Shahr (“City Park”) is one of the oldest parks in Tehran
A glimpse of Golestan Palace (Palace of Flowers) in Tehran
The tiled walls of Golestan Palace (Palace of Flowers)
Graffiti outside the Den of Espionage in Tehran

Khaju Bridge in Isfahan at night

Because I would try a different taste of home in every meal

Some say that one of the best ways to get to know the culture of one country is through its cuisine. The way locals cook and eat their meals will reveal unique stories that might bring you closer to them. Besides, going somewhere new might be less frightening if you found the familiar taste of comfort, which is good food.

Chelow kabab
A pot of çay

Because I would cherish the ones I meet on this journey

One of the best feelings when you travel is knowing how many good and kind people there are in the world. You will be astonished by the kind-hearted and warm, loving people that will easily offer you the comfort of their home or simply offer their precious time to help a stranger. You know they meant it when they said you would always have a family here.

Strolling around Arg of Karim Khan, a citadel in Shiraz

Because there would be beautiful twists in my story

I heard someone say before, write down your plans but write them with a pencil. Who would have thought that I’d manage to go to Persepolis for less than 15 euros or that I would be invited to see a play in the middle of a desert or visit an underground coffee shop? I certainly had not, but it did happen. Open yourself to possibilities; sometimes it may lead you to get free ice cream or even a fun ride to ancient ruins somewhere far.

2500-year-old ruins in Persepolis
A glimpse of the ancient necropolis of Naqsh-e Rustam
Spectators of a play in desert in Mobarakeh
Street art near Julfa Quarter in Isfahan

In the end, I would leave this country with a big smile and make a promise to myself, “I will be back here again someday.” So, just go.

Carissa is a passionate tea drinker who always has room for pizza and new adventures. You can easily find her in a corner of a bookshop somewhere, looking for ideas and ways to go all around this world. Check out her adventures on www.steller.co/carissaftr and www.instagram.com/carissaftr.

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