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Splendours of Persia Ashgabat - Tehran

This 16 day overland tour journeys from Ashgabat to Tehran through Iran, Turkmenistan
16 DAYS THROUGH Iran, Turkmenistan
RATING:
PRICE FROM:
Was: $2,075 USD + 810 KITTY USD
Now: $1,764 (USD) + 810 KITTY (USD)
DURATION:
16 days
TRANSPORT:
Overland expedition vehicle
CREW:
2 Dragoman crew, Local guides where necessary, 1 local crew in certain areas
ACCOM:
0%
100%
PHYSICAL CHALLENGE:
LIFESTYLE CHALLENGE:
TRIP CODE:
ZIA
DEPOSIT:
$350 USD

Highlights

  Explore the unique Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on a guided tour

  Visit the sufi complex in Bastam, Iran

  Walking tour of ancient Damghan

  Explore the ancient desert town of Khoor and its beautiful palm trees

  Discover the winding streets and adobe architecure of Yazd's Old Town

  Visit the Zoroastrian Fire Temple and witness its ancient fire

  Overnight at traditional caravanserai at Zein-o-Din

  Guided tour of the incredible ruins of the ancient Persian capital of Persepolis

  Walking tour of some of the highlights of the old city of Shiraz

  Relax in the city square of Naqsh-e Jahan in Esfahan

  Explore Islamic Esfahan and its amazing bazaars

  Guided tour of Golestan Palace in Tehran

  SHOW MORE HIGHLIGHTS  

Itinerary

Day 1 - Ashgabat ( 21st Apr 2019 )

Border Information: if joining in Ashgabat, you will most likely enter Turkmenistan at Ashgabat International Airport (IATA code: ASB).

There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10:00am - please look out for a note from your leader at the reception of the joining hotel upon arrival with more details about this important meeting.

After the meeting we will have an included tour of the city of Ashgabat using local minibuses. 

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Ashgabat before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Ashgabat. If arriving at Ashgabat airport you will also need to have a confirmed arrival transfer and representative from our local supplier to meet you at the airport. Please contact your sales agent for prices and to book. 

In Ashgabat we will stay in a decent quality local hotel.

*Important note - any tobacco products are practically illegal in Turkmenistan, so please do not bring them or use them in Turkmenistan. Also please do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*

Daily Activities

Included Activities
Explore the unique and bizarre Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on a guided tour of the city
Included in Kitty
Day 2 - Ashgabat ( 22nd Apr 2019 )

Today we will arrange to obtain our Iran visas at the Iranian Consulate in Ashgabat for all members of the group - please note that citizens of the UK, USA and Canada will need to attend the Consulate in person along with your trip leader so that they can take fingerprints as part of the application.

The rest of the day is free to further explore Ashgabat.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Learn about the history and culture of Turkmenistan at the huge National Museum in Ashgabat

USD 10
Visit the huge Turkmenbashi Ruhy mosque on the outskirts of Ashgabat, built in 2004 as the mausoleum of Saparmurat Niyazov, the first president of Turkmenistan after the fall of the Soviet Union
Free
See a myriad of incredible and impressive hand-woven carpets in the Ashgabat Carpet Museum (if open)
USD 10
Day 3 - Shirvan ( 23rd Apr 2019 )

Border Information: Exit Turkmenistan at Gaudan, enter Iran at Bajgiran.

Today we will pick up our passports from the Iranian Consulate and head straight across the border to the small town of Shirvan.

In Shirvan we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

Day 4 - Damghan ( 24th Apr 2019 )

Today we will drive to the historical town of Bastam and visit the Sufi complex in the centre. After this we will continue to the town of Damghan.

In Damghan we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore the ancient town of Bastam, containing monuments dating from the Ilkhanate Period when Iran was controlled by the Mongol Empire

Included in Kitty

Visit the splendid ancient brick building of Imamzadeh Jafar in Damghan, which has an appearance similar to a North African castle

Included in Kitty

See Damghan's Jameh Mosque and it's fine brick minaret dating from the mid-11th century

Included in Kitty

Visit the partially-ruined Tarikhuneh Mosque which features 18 rear columns dating from around 760CE, making this one of the oldest mosques in Iran

Included in Kitty
Day 5 - Khoor ( 25th Apr 2019 )

This morning we will take a walking tour of the ancient town of Damghan, including the Tarikhuneh Mosque which features columns dating from the year 760CE.

Following our visit we will continue our journey to the desert city of Khoor, where we have the option to take an evening jeep trip into the nearby salt flats to have dinner.

In Khoor we will stay in a beautiful hotel in the style of a desert caravanserai.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

*Please note that with small groups and at certain times of the year we may be able to stay in a local homestay in the nearby village of Mesr*.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore the ancient desert town of Khoor and see its beautiful palm trees and ruined castle

Included in Kitty
Day 6-7 - Yazd ( 26th Apr 2019 to 27th Apr 2019 )

Today we will explore the town of Khoor before driving to the ancient desert town of Yazd, one of the oldest extant towns in Iran.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

On the following day we will have an included walking tour of some of the main highlights of Yazd, including the incredible Jameh Mosque, the Old Town and the Amir Chakhmaq complex.

In Yazd we will stay in a local hotel.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

See the stunning ancient Jameh Mosque of Yazd, built in the 12th century and a fantastic example of Azari architecture

Included in Kitty

Learn all about the intriguing and ingenious historical methods of getting water to the desert town of Yazd at the Yazd Water Museum

Included in Kitty

Freely explore the huge city square and mosque at the Amir Chakmaq complex, built in the 15th century

Included in Kitty

Discover the atmospheric winding streets and beautiful adobe architecure of Yazd's Old Town, one of the oldest towns in the world

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

See the fascinating centuries-old practice of Varzesh-e Bastani at the Yazd House of Strength, a curious blend of strength training, martial arts and wrestling, accompanied by traditional music

IRR 10000
Day 8 - Zein-o-din, Yazd ( 28th Apr 2019 )

Today we have an included visit to two important Zoroastrian sites in Iran - the Fire Temple and the Towers of Silence. After this we will take a short drive to the famous Caravanserai of Zein-o-Din, an atmospheric 16th-century guesthouse originally built to accommodate merchants travelling on the Silk Road.

In Zein-o-Din we will stay overnight at the old caravanserai.

Estimated Drive Time - 1-2 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Stay overnight in the incredible restored Safavid-era circular caravanserai in the remote deserts south of Yazd

Included in Kitty

See the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence outside Yazd, used until the 1960s to place bodies of the deceased so that they did not touch and pollute the sacred elements of fire or earth

Included in Kitty

Visit the Zoroastrian Fire Temple of Yazd, where they keep a sacred fire that has supposedly been continuously burning since 470CE, the only Zoroastrian eternal flame of its type outside of India

Included in Kitty
Day 9 - Persepolis, Shiraz ( 29th Apr 2019 )

Today we will drive south to the city of Shiraz. En route we will visit the phenomenal ancient ruins of Persepolis, once the capital of the mighty Achaemenid Persian Empire until it was conquered by Alexander the Great in 330BCE.

In Shiraz we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Head out on a guided tour of the incredible historic ruins of the ancient Persian capital of Persepolis, founded by Cyrus the Great in 550BCE and invaded by Alexander the Great in 330BCE

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the phenomenal site of Naqsht-e Rustam near Persepolis, the cross-shaped tombs of four of the great Emperors of Persia chiselled into the cliff face

USD 10
Day 10 - Shiraz ( 30th Apr 2019 )

Today we will have an included walking tour of some of the highlights of the old city of Shiraz, including the beautifully-coloured Nasir ol Molk Mosque, the incredible mirrored interior of the Shah Cheragh Mosque, and the historical house of Narenjestan.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit the stunning Shah Cheragh Mosque, a major pilgrimage site for Shia Muslims

Included in Kitty

Explore the 19th century Nasir ol Molk Mosque, famous for its extensive coloured glass art

Included in Kitty

Visit the Narenjestan Palace in Shiraz, the former home of the wealthy Qavam family of merchants

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the tranquil site of the tomb of Hafez, a famous 14th-century Persian poet whose collected works are regarded as the pinnacle of Persian literature

IRR 60000

Explore the stunning citadel of the Arg of Karim Khan in Shiraz, built by the emperor Karim during the Zand Dynasty in the late 18th century

IRR 20000
Day 11-13 - Esfahan ( 1st May 2019 to 3rd May 2019 )

Today we wil have a full day's drive to the stunning old Safavid-era capital of Esfahan.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.

On the following day we will have an included walking tour of the central highlights of Esfahan, including the showpiece central square of Naqsh-e Jahan and its surrounding mosques and royal palaces, the old bazaar, and the beautiful Jameh Mosque, one of the oldest in Iran.

On our second full day here, we will have free time to explore more of Esfahan's incredible sites, such as its ancient bridges, the curious 'Shaking Minarets', the Armenian Vank Cathedral, or the evocative Martyrs' Cemetery.

In Esfahan we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit the magnificent and colossal city square of Naqsh-e Jahan, the centrepiece of the Safavid-era city of Esfahan

Included in Kitty

Explore the Shah Mosque, the public mosque of Esfahan built by Shah Abbas I and a masterpiece of Persian architecture

Included in Kitty

See the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, once a private mosque for the emperor and his harem and home to some of the world's most beautiful and masterful internal tilework

Included in Kitty

Explore the grand palace of Ali Qapu and discover the stunning wall paintings of the former residence of the Safavid emperors

Included in Kitty

Wander the streets of Esfahan's old bazaar, dating from the 17th century

Included in Kitty

Visit the stunning Jameh Mosque in Esfahan, one of the oldest mosques in Iran and an amalgamation of several different styles of Persian architecture

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Walk around Esfahan's historical centre and visit the five iconic Safavid-era bridges across the Zayandeh river

Free

Visit the Vank Cathedral, a beautiful Orthodox church set up by the Armenian diaspora in the 17th century

Free

See the curious 14th-century 'Shaking Minarets' in Esfahan, famous for the effect that if one minaret is shaken, the other will shake as well

IRR 5000

Visit the very moving Martyrs' Cemetery of Esfahan, a patriotic tribute to soldiers who died in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s

Free

Explore the site of the ancient Zoroastrian Fire Temples near Esfahan, where you get incredible views over the city and the surrounding valley

IRR 40000
Day 14 - Tehran ( 4th May 2019 )

Today we will have a full day drive to the chaotic Iranian capital of Tehran.

In Tehran we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore the former royal complex of Golestan Palace, a huge site built in the 16th century and Tehran's oldest monument

Included in Kitty

Learn all about Iran's rich and fascinating history at Tehran's National Museum of Iran

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the Iranian Artists' Forum in Tehran, a large gallery for the country's best young artists to feature their work

Free

Explore the S'ad Abad Museum in the spectacular mountainside near Tehran, once a royal summer home during the Pahlavi period

USD 4.5

Visit the shocking Ebrat Museum, once the prison used by the Shah's brutal secret police before the revolution of 1979

USD 5

See some of Iran's most precious treasures at the Treasury of National Jewels, including the 182 carat Darya-ye-Nur (Sea of Light) which is thought to be the world's largest uncut diamond, and the phenomenal 34kg Globe of Jewels, made with over 51,000 precious stones

USD 4.5

Visit the Laleh Park in central Tehran, an oasis of calm and a well-designed green space to observe local life pass by

Free

Visit the viewing tower at the top of the iconic Milad Tower, one of the world's tallest towers at a height of 435 metres

USD 8

See Tehran's iconic Azadi Tower, the inverted Y-shaped memorial built in 1971 to commemorate the 2500th anniversary of the first Persian Empire

USD 2.5
Day 15 - Tehran ( 5th May 2019 )

Today we will have an included tour of the stunning Golestan Palace and the fascinating National Museum of Iran.

Day 16 - Tehran ( 6th May 2019 )

Border Information: if finishing in Tehran, you will most likely exit Iran at Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport (IATA code: IKA).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Tehran. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight.

Please note that due to restrictions on citizens of the UK, USA and Canada being permitted to remain unaccompanied in Iran, passengers of the above nationalities will need to fly out on the same day the trip finishes. All passengers departing on the final day of the trip will have transfers to the airport automatically included. Please ensure the correct dates for your plans are clearly stated on all your visa applications.

DATES & PRICES

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Trip Notes
Departing: 21 Apr 2019
Returning: 6 May 2019
Duration: 16 days
Route: Ashgabat - Tehran
$1,764 USD + $810 Kitty (USD)
Was $2075.00 - Save $311.25
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 22 Sep 2019
Returning: 7 Oct 2019
Duration: 16 days
Route: Ashgabat - Tehran
$2,075 USD + $810 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
closed
FULLY BOOKED
Departing: 19 Apr 2020
Returning: 4 May 2020
Duration: 16 days
Route: Tehran - Ashgabat
$2,165 USD + $820 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 14 Sep 2020
Returning: 29 Sep 2020
Duration: 16 days
Route: Ashgabat - Tehran
$2,165 USD + $810 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
* Sale price is for a limited time only and is subject to change at any time.

WHAT OUR PASSENGERS SAY

Despite this being an exploratory trip, I felt it was well organised with a great variety of places visited and places of interest included.
Elva G
I did enjoy most of the trip but the included activities are not enough
Yuet Sim L