American in Iran


At the tomb of the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

I haven’t been posting here for some time, not due to disinterest, but because I have been on a tour of Iran and independently traveling Armenia and the semi independent breakaway republic of Nagorno Karabakh, all without my laptop.

Making a trip to Iran has always been high up on my bucket list, but due to visa complexities for Americans, and dealing with remote and unresponsive Iranian tour companies, I have always believed a trip would be virtually impossible to setup.  Luckily I met the owner of Young Pioneer Tours last spring, and over tasty North Korean draft beers at the Paradise Microbrewery, Gareth invited me to join up with his company’s second trip to Iran.

With Young Pioneer Tours getting into Iran as an American was not a problem at all.  The visa process was effortless and they even accommodated my crazy request to pick up the visa at the Iranian Embassy in Budapest, Hungary.

Young Pioneers provided an extremely affordable tour that not only specialized in the all the must see historical sites and cities such as Shiraz, Isfahan, and Persepolis, but also hit the sites not normally visited by tourists such as the old US embassy, the Iran Iraq War Museum, Martyrs Cemetery, and the tomb of the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Old US Embassy Tehran, Iran

Driving by the old US Embassy – photos not allowed!

And don’t be afraid if you think you can’t handle a week in Iran without a drink, we were allowed access to the Armenia Club, the only place where you can legally get a vodka or bottle of wine as a foreigner – well actually it’s a gray area so it’s not exactly on the menu but booze is certainly available.  Local moonshine is available too if you discretely ask the right people….but of course I can’t officially condone such behavior on this site.

Young Pioneers brought in 9 people on this trip, just the right size in my opinion, and they plan to continue with up to 2 or 3 trips a year.  There were some slight restrictions for being an American but nothing like North Korea. Our local Iranian guide was required to escort me during our daily tours but in the evening after being officially dropped off at our hotel for the night I was allowed free time in the city.

Hanging With Locals in Iran

Hanging out with locals in Shiraz.

This Iran trip was a huge success and a ton of fun.  Currently I am traveling privately with Gareth, the owner of Young Pioneers on a research trip to develop an Iran extension option trip to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh – more on that part of this adventure on a post to come.  Right now I’m excited to announce that if anyone is interested in traveling to Iran with Young Pioneer Tours, through my referral I can get you 5% off on the trip.  I can also get this discount for any YPT North Korea tour, or any other custom trip you would want to develop with them, so please write and let me help with your travel plans.

7 responses

  1. terrific

    November 3, 2012 at 1:41 pm

  2. JM

    This is amazing! I would love to take a trip like this…now to work on financing.

    November 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm

  3. Awesome! I hope you get to feature other countries that have any sort of relations with North Korea as well! North Korea has agreements with other countries, and is increasing tourism to North Korea from other countries too (

    November 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm

  4. I have some really cool projects in the works, so yes, the future here should get really exciting with content completely unique!

    November 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm

  5. Pingback: And Opinion Rages on… « The Sexy Politico's Blog

  6. Great post. Would love to see more photos from your trip. Iran is waaaaay up on my bucket list too, and so is Armenia (and Nagorno Karabakh included). Wonderful that you’re travelling to all these regions which people would usually give a miss. Are you planning to head into Georgia and Abkhazia as well? Looking forward to your adventures!

    November 17, 2012 at 10:20 am

    • Thanks! I will get more photos up later on when I get back to home with my laptop, I’m just traveling with my iPad now. I did get to Georgia, it was wonderful until it got really cold. We also looked into Abkhazia but didn’t have time to set up the visa. I’m in Lebanon right now, very tense here and hasn’t been a good environment for taking pictures.

      November 17, 2012 at 6:19 pm

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