Western Village Explorer
A Local Experience in Iran’s Cultural Lost World
Enter a cultural lost world on this expedition to discover Iran’s undisturbed and unique villages. Starting out from Isfahan, the ‘half of the world’, journey to the ‘Red Village’ of Abyaneh, a village nestled in the mountains and famed for its colourful appearance. Walk along the roof tops of the traditional terraced villages of Masuleh and Palangan. Take a boat ride along the Caspian Coast to see the colourful houses of Bandar Anzali, walk along the shores of the red Urmia Lake and spot local bird life on the lake of Naqadeh at sunset. Explore Mazichal the ‘village in the clouds’ frozen in time without electricity or modern conveniences and marvel how life here has not changed for centuries.
Stay in traditional family run homestays, hotels and eco-lodges in throughout for a local experience in Iran you will never forget. Sample home cooked meals in small villages and experience the warm hospitality of the Iranian people as well as take the opportunity to have dinner in a real Silk Road caravanserai in Isfahan.
- Visit the off the beaten path villages of Iran including Abyaneh – the so-called ‘Red Village’, Mazichal, the ‘Village in the Clouds’ and Bandar Anzali a colourful fishing village along the Caspian Coast
- Explore the ancient cave village of Kandovan, visit the red lake of Urmia and spot local bird life in the wetlands of Naqadeh
- Walk along the roofs of the terraced villages of Masuleh and Palangan
- Wander some of Iran’s larger cities beginning with Isfahan, the ‘half of the world’ and the remote city of Tabriz in western Iran
- Stay in locally run hotels, hostels, guest houses and caves and enjoy plenty of time to explore each village, meet friendly local people and have your own adventure!
Trip style: Explorer
Max group size: 15
Duration: 15 Days
Trip style: Explorer
Group size: Minimum 6 / Maximum 15
Trip code: WEIT
Cost: $6250.00 AUD twin share
Single supplement: $1555.00 AUD
- 14-nights’ accommodation in hostels, eco-lodges, cave hotels, guesthouses and local hotels
- Meals as specified in itinerary (B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / D = Dinner)
- All transport as specified in the itinerary
- Services of your Inverted Atlas trip leader and local guides
Optional experiences (not included):
- Isfahan: Dinner at the Abassi Hotel
- Naqadeh: Wetlands and Ancient City of Hasanlu
* Please note some optional experiences must be booked prior to travel. You will be given the option to add these experiences at check out
Trip price does not include
- International airfares or domestic airfares
- Airport transfers on arrival and departure
- Visa for Iran
- Any expenses associated with COVID-19
- Meals not included as per trip itinerary including drinks and mini bar
- Additional accommodation before or after the tour
- Items of a personal nature including but not limited to laundry, souvenirs, porterage etc.
- Travel insurance – please note comprehensive travel insurance is a condition of travel with Inverted Atlas
Journey Rating – Adventure
This trip is a local experience in Iran and as such it travels to parts of the country with limited infrastructure and where few travellers have ventured. There are a few very long travel days where we will be getting up early and arriving at our accommodation quite late, some of the time this accommodation will be a basic local hotel or guesthouse. Some of the accommodation on this trip will be of a shared nature where your own room may not be possible. We will mostly travel by a small local coach. This trip involves a strict dress code for women, who should come prepared with either floor length dresses with long sleeves or long trousers with khaftans that reach the knees, along with head scarves. The dress code is not optional, and it is illegal for women to keep their hair uncovered while in Iran. Men are advised to wear long trousers.
Good quality hospitals, pharmacies and other public amenities will be limited to large cities like Tehran, Tabriz, Yazd and Isfahan, and you should be prepared for eastern style squat toilets in public places.
We recommend that travellers on gluten free, vegetarian and vegan diets bring some supplemental snack food from home as it might be difficult to meet these dietary requirements while in remote parts of Iran.
A note about fitness
This local experience in Iran requires a good level of physical fitness. You should be able to walk up to 4km over at times, uneven surfaces during sightseeing, which will sometimes be at an incline. In addition, you should be able to climb up to 200 stairs unassisted, use an eastern style squat toilet (beware if you have knee issues) and be free from lung issues as a small portion of this journey will be at an altitude of over 2600m above sea level.
You will need to be able to carry your own luggage to and from the coach and on and off the train. (Due to OH&S regulations our trip leaders are not able to assist with luggage.) The overnight train is a 4-berth bunk configuration, and you must be able to climb into and out of a top bunk as bottom bunks cannot be guaranteed.
In addition, you should be in good health, with no major chronic conditions requiring frequent medical attention. This trip often travels through remote locations where the availability of a hospital or even phone reception to call an ambulance is limited. While all our trip leaders are required to have a valid first aid certificate, they are far from doctors and any assistance they are able to provide will be limited to basic first aid. For more information please see our booking conditions.
Traveling by yourself? No problem, we love single travellers and don’t believe in penalising them by charging half the trip price again for our single supplement. With us you are only paying the actual cost to have a room all to yourself. If you’re up for making a new friend, you can elect to share with another single traveller of the same sex and only pay the twin-share price. The choice is yours!
Please note that on this trip the single supplement on this trip only includes nights spent in twin share accommodation, it is not possible to provide a single room on the train, while camping or while at small homestays and guest houses.
Trip leader description
Accompanying you along your journey will be your Inverted Atlas trip leader. Your trip leader is a logistics extraordinaire, keeps the trip running smoothly and ensures you have the best time possible on your trip. It is important to know that while your trip leader has the best job in the world, they aren’t actually on holidays, but rather they are there to make sure you have the best time while you are on your holiday! Your trip leader may at times need some time out so that they can complete back of house tasks that ensure everyone continues to enjoy the trip. It is also your trip leaders’ job to handle any issues (heaven forbid!) that come up while you’re on your trip like:
- If you lose your passport or other travel documents
- If there is a problem with your room at the booked accommodation – seriously please tell your trip leader don’t wait until you leave
- If you become unwell and need to find a pharmacy
- Assisting with restaurant recommendations or additional sightseeing during free time
- Questions regarding the itinerary
Your trip leader will have some good local knowledge about the destination in which you are traveling, however they are not a ‘local guide’. You’re welcome to ask your trip leader anything about the trip and if they don’t know they will find out and get back to you. Other people you will meet along the way are ‘local guides’ who are generally available to the group in specific towns or at specific sites like national parks, temples or archaeological sites. These people are the local experts and will be able to answer any questions you may have about the history and culture of a specific site.
This itinerary is correct at the time of upload to our website and we have composed it in good faith. From time to time we may elect to make changes before departure, if we are making a big change we will of course notify you, however if it is a small change this will be reflected in the final trip notes. So, make sure you download these prior to departure. Small changes prior to departure are usually made with the groups best interests in mind and come about due to liaising with our best resources – our past travelers and of course our trip leaders! The ability to change and evolve depending on what our travelers enjoy is what makes us such a great trip operator.
While we strive to operate our trips exactly to the letter of the itinerary, sometimes we may need to make changes on the ground while the group is on the road. This is all part of the adventure of traveling and we would ask that you come on your trip with an open mind and a good sense of humour because as much as we want it to, everything doesn’t always go to plan. In fact, these impromptu situations often make the best stories that you can have a laugh with your friends about later.
Minimum Age: 18 years
Due to the nature of this trip and the shared nature of some of the accommodation children are not permitted for their own safety.
There is no upper age limit for this trip, but you should consider the above fitness requirements prior to booking. If you are 65 years or over, you will be asked to complete our Health Check Form and have your medical practitioner sign it to confirm you are in good health and able to participate safely on this trip.
Please note that comprehensive travel insurance is a condition of travel with Inverted Atlas. Insurance must include provision for medical situations, emergency medical repatriation to your home country and personal liability at a minimum. Proof of valid travel insurance will be requested by your trip leader on arrival at the pre-departure meeting. Please have this paperwork available for them. If you are unable to provide proof of comprehensive travel insurance, you may not be allowed to join the trip and no refund will be payable.