martes, 28 de noviembre de 2017

Do not use banks to exchange currency

A few travellers have used banks to change money. This is a mistake as the banks will buy your foreign currency at a lower state rate but will never sell you hard currency at that rate, in fact the banks never sell hard currencies to foreigners so you lose out if you go to a bank! There are legal bureau de change where you can buy and sell currency at the market rate. You can find them in most city centers as well as international airports. You do not need Iranian Rials to enter Iran, USD and Euros are readily exchangeable in Iran.

Iran, not a cheap destination

Iran is not a cheap country. Why? Because it has an inflammatory economy, the inflation is, depending on who you want to believe between 25-40%. Banks pay 17-26% interest on your deposit. Due to years of sanctions by the big powers Iranians have had to pay over European prices for imported commodities. The country is also heavily dependent on oil which means the country is relatively rich but the wealth is not fairly distributed. There is the real economy which is the free market economy and the state subsidized economy which only really caters for the most basic of commodities such as bread etc. The price of petrol in Iran although much lower than Europe is the highest in an oil producing country.

English speaking guides

Trekkers who are opting for an English speaking nature or mountain guide in Iran should be aware of the fact that the general level of English spoken by many of these guides is not up to the standard they might expect. Cultural guides usually have a better level of English than most nature or mountain guides. The reason many trekkers wish to have an English speaking guide is to interact with the locals more meaningfully and learn about local cultures, however, the English the guides speak may disappoint them. The reason is that English learnt by many of these guides when they undergo training is inadequate and unless they have a strong motivation to take extra lessons their knowledge of the language especially spoken language remains generally low. Besides, many of these guides never get the chance to travel outside Iran mainly because it is extremely difficult to get visas (bar for a few far eastern and middle eastern countries) and also because until recently the number of incoming tourists has been low.