Question: I am writing in so as to establish feedback in an attempt to make a more precise decision on the country that I would want to spend a few months on a ‘Time-Out’ in a single country. The countries I am looking at are: a. Iran: Never been there and don’t speak Farsi BUT am keen to discover Isfahan. b. Pakistan: Been there on airline stopovers three times. Love their food! Don’t speak Urdu but would love to see the mountainous north and do some trekking. c. Syria: Been to Syria twice. Love their Mezzeh! I do speak fluent Arabic. Seriously considering their coastal region for my ‘Time-Out’. d. Yemen: Been to Yemen many times on assignments. Never explored out of Sana’a except once to Hodeidah for a weekend. Really would love to spend some time on their coast – the stretch between Aden and Mukalla.
Answer: For the Iran part, first of all you should try to secure a tourist visa. Tourist visa in Iran is at the maximum valid for one month which can be secure at an Iranian embassy or through a travel agent. Or depending on your nationality you can get an on arrival 14 days visa and extend it while you are in Iran. For visa you should fill in the visa form on http://www.uppersia.com/Iran-travel-services/iran-visa.html, it takes about 10 working days to get your reference number and two working days to collect your visa at the embassy by direct referral or one working week by posting the docs to the embassy. You can pay the visa fee in cash in Iran. Considering the sightseeing part, it is suggested to visit the must sees such as Shiraz, Isfahan and Yazd in about 15 days and then spend the rest in a villa in the Caspian Sea coastline to relax.