Tuesday, October 31, 2017

My Iran Trip 2017 : On Arrival

Arriving soon .....

Upon arrival at Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA), follow the sign to the visa office rather than immigration, then head to the insurance counter first instead of visa counter.  Once the insurance is paid for, go get and fill the form the visa counter staff give you (make sure you fill in the sponsor's address and contacts correctly), then to the Bank office at the left of the visa counter to pay (it's €75 per pax), and finally present all your documents - passport, the invitation/confirmation letter from the hotel/hostel, the insurance receipt and the bank receipt back to the visa counter staff for processing.  I have heard the waiting times varied wildly.  But mine took less than 30 mins which was a blessing.

Other airport tips 

To change your first Rial, you can go to the money exchange kiosk in the departure hall (one level up) instead of the bank in arrivals. Though they have a limit of USD200 or €200 per person.

Highly recommend you to buy the IRANCELL data sim card in the arrival hall. I get the 5GB (the highest at the moment) that valid up to a month for USD15 which also allowed me to make calls and SMS, and pretty reliable thus far. The most important thing is using Google Maps or maps.me to get to places. Wifi here simply sucked, even the internet at the 5-stars hotel was much to be desired.

If you don't have a driver from the hotel waiting for you, you can get a taxi to Tehran city for USD20 (750,000 rials).  The drive to Tehran takes about an hour depending on the traffic.

My Iran Trip 2017 : The beginning

2 years ago, it never even crossed my mind to visit Iran.  Thanks to a Facebook site Iran In Photos that I came across by chance.  Wow! Such a beautiful place.  It totally changed my impression of Iran. So, do leave aside your prejudices and ideas, go visit this country with more than 7000 years of history, and see for yourself.

Reaching Doha - a stopover for my QATAR flight
Before that, here are some information to facilitate the application of Visa On Arrival for Singaporeans.  For other nationalities, please check the details on visa eligibility on Wikipedia.

Four things are needed to obtain a visa on arrival:
1)  a passport valid for at least 6 months
2) The contact details of a sponsor in Iran ( can be your hotel/hostel contacts and address)
3) A letter from the said sponsor (can be an email from the said hotel/hostel)
4) Insurance (can be bought from the Bimeh Iran insurance counter at the airport)

About insurance,  it’s valid only if there are offices in Iran, so that excludes almost every global policy. The local policy from Bimeh Iran is just €14, but it only covers medical expenses and emergency dental care. It may still be worth getting that World Nomads insurance to cover the flight, baggage delays, crime and other incidents if you prefer.

About accommodation, I have only made my reservation for the first two nights in Tehran to obtain the confirmation email.

Go to https://www.back-packer.org/backpacking-iran-guide/ for detailed travel guide for independent travellers.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

last week

Almost everyday ...... 
On a rainy morning .....

Having fun playing with Snapseed mobile app by Google.
Some of the filters are in par with Nik software for Photoshop,
also my favourite filters for many years. 
Dinner with my boy @Dolce Cafe, Bugis Junction
before his book-in last Sunday.