Saturday, September 01, 2012

Respect the Forest, Respect the Nature...

These days we are witnessing another nature tragedy in Malaga, Spain. A raging forest fire there, leaves one person dead and thousands evacuated as fire-fighters struggle to subdue the blaze. 
The fire, which is now thought to have been started deliberately, is affecting Coin, Monda, Ojen, Alhaurin, Mijas and Marbella.
It's a big drama for humanity and nature, both. Russia, Portugal, Brazil, China, Iran and many other countries have experienced same tragedies recently. The worst point is when we come to the fact, all these phenomena start directly or indirectly with human cause! global warming or simply leaving an open fire in the woods. the result is the same!

Dal-Khani Forest in Iran, a virgin jungle for respectful Tourists
Dalkhani is the name a virgin and untouched area in North of Iran, between Ramsar and Shahsavar (Tonekabon) city. the village had only three family as residents till 2005! but now it's a major tourist attraction in the area of Caspian Sea.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sarvelat, a paradise in North of Iran

Right in the border of Mazandaran and Gilan provinces in north of Iran, there's a small city called Chaboksar


3 km down to the west, up to the mountains of Alborz, you can drive in to one of your joyful moments of life: Sarvelat! the village of Sarvelat is located in the montain, with a view of Caspian Sea and sight of Hachiroud and Ramsar jungles. 
Caspian Sea from Chaboksar

Attractions of Sarvelat: 



  1. Traditional Restaurant
    in this restaurant which is famous for its traditional meals and dishes, you will just feel like home! the price of the meals are very affordable and the taste is great! I rank it top fifty among MUST TRY before you die bucket list!! 
  2. Rental cottages
    Have you ever dreamed of waking up in the jungle while you just don't remember what happened last night?!! try these cottages for as low as 20 USD per night (low season) up to 50 USD per night (high season)
  3. view of Mountain Alborz and Caspian Sea

for getting there:
you can go from Tehran to Qazvin (highway) and then take the Rasht Highway and then the road to Ramsar.
6 Km lef to Ramsar, Sarvelat's exit is on your right side

or you may go to Chalous from Karaj City and then to Ramsar. after 6 Km the exit is on your left!

and you definitely won't forget to RESPECT the nature while you visit this fabulous and virgin place :) 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Shemshak Ski resort in Iran (Tehran)

Nature inspires everyone, but which scene is really your type of inspiration? Sea, Mountains, Jungle, Desert, River, panoramic landscpaes, rocks, water falls...? mine is definitely Mountains.
Iran has all the above attractions for tourists. Deserts in central areas, sea and Ocean in North and South, mountains and high altitudes in north and south west parts etc.

I've been written about Ski resorts in Tehran before, and this time more about one specific one, Shemshak Ski Resort:


Shemshak Ski Resort
 
Shemshak is a famous ski resort located in the north east of Tehran city in the Alborz mountains. It's the second largest ski area in Iran after Dizin and even according to professional ski fans in Iran, more exciting than Dizin regarding its field shape. It includes two ski lifts, three dish teleskis and two Hammer teleskis. The slopes lie at an altitude of 2550m to 3050m above sea level, high enough to be able to Ski for almost 6 months a year. The resort includes two main slopes each with a chair lift that apex at the top and several lifts. There are also lighting facilities for night skiing.


Accommodation is available in Villas and Hotel
Shemshak has classically catered to more advanced skiers while Dizin has drawn beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers. The slopes are quite steep and many of the runs are mogul runs. the resort is about 1 hour drive from Tehran, 10 km from middle-slope parking of Dizin and 5 km from Darband-Sar ski resort. in the way to the resort from Tehran, there are many restaurants with Persian and European meals which themselves attract many tourists from Tehran.

Shemshak area in Alborz range of Mountains
I'd like to take you to this page to see more photos of the Ski field itself and Skiers. Other Ski Resorts close to Shemshak include: Darbandsar (2 km), Dizin (13 km), Tochal (22 km), Aab Ali (51 km), Pooladkaf Ski Resort (628 km)

Also take a look at this page for weather forecast, map overlay etc. all the pictures in this blog post are taken by Hassan Abbasnejad.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Buying a property in North of Iran, Good Idea or not?

For a long time, coast of Caspian sea (aka Khazar lake), in the north of Iran has been a major destination for capital residents, Tehrani people. Caspian sea or Khazar or Mazandaran lake is the largest lake on the planet by area. beauties of the coast of Caspian in north of Iran is not limited to the sea shore, because of Alborz mountains and forests located in the area, Mazandaran and Gilan province are hosting a very beautiful and various natural sceneries. 
Caspian Sea shore in Iran
in many countries touristic areas are popular places for investors, constructors and holiday makers to build, buy and invest in holiday resorts and tourism facilities. Khazar's sea shore is not an exception. in high season period and during 3-4 days holidays, you can see people rushing from Tehran to Mazandaran and Gilan provinces causing huge traffic jams in Chalous, Haraz, Firouzkouh and Rasht highways. this fact had been shown a strong impact on local people's lives and income.
Villa in Sisangan area, Mazandaran
So Tourism has became a major economy key for this region and side businesses have experienced a significant growth during pas decades. one of these businesses is construction and property. Prices of properties in Khazar area has been grown for more than 1000 times during my lifetime (3 decades). with the property crisis and credit crunch in west, Iranian people who had invested in to overseas properties like Dubai and Europe, again attracted to national investment opportunities since they believed Iran has not any link to int'l economy (which is true) but they ignored the fact national economy doesn't have the potential to grow anymore as well as under recession international economy. So after a while we had a bulb on prices and obviously a crunch after that. and now we are in a 2 year old recession which I believe will last till another fresh air in tourism industry in Iran. some consequences of such recession are listed below:
  • many jobs have been lost
    construction has stopped in large quantities and many are out of job now. including Afghan and Iranian workers and labors, real estate agents, services etc
  • a big portion of capital is frozen on half completed construction sights
  • people who have invested their capital in properties face credit and cash problems
  • banks face problems with those who have borrowed
  • customer behavior has changed. for example now investors prefer to buy apartments rather than Villas, which was somehow unusual in Mazandaran and Gilan provinces so far 
still buying property in North of Iran, coast of Caspian sea is known investment method for many Iranian. and I believe the biggest challenge in future for them will be a competition which soon or late will begin with overseas properties. right now countries like UAE, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Turkey and Spain have attracted many Iranian as investors.
property prices in Mazandaran province vary from 200,000 USD up to millions depending on the location and construction quality, and with the same money you can buy a villa in Cyprus or even cheaper in Turkey. at the other hand property mortgages are not available for more than 10% at unbelievable rate of 12% interest!! and even for more portion mortgage like 60-70% you have to obtain it from private banks in Iran which will charge you up to 30% of the money annually. comparing to 4-6% rates in Europe this is completely crazy. another option buying a property in other countries can offer which Caspian region can't offer is residency. countries who offer residency upon buying a property have this advantage comparing to their national rival.



Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Iranian speak Persian not Arabic!

Achaemenid Standard
I have met many people from around the world and as an Iranian nationality, I have some major problems with the lack of knowledge among people (mostly Americans) about my country, Iran. I can't believe sometime how people can be influenced and mislead by the media propaganda and sometimes how they can get fooled by irrelevant and wrong information. one of these wrong issues is some people think we, Iranian or Persian people speak Arabic!! The language of Iranian people is Persian (also called Parsi or Farsi). We ARE NOT ARABS!!! Persia or Iran is a country with 4500 years of civilization and Arab countries were just colonies of Persian Empire till 1400 years back. And a country called United Arab Emirates or Bahrain or Qatar wasn’t exist 50 years ago!! Though I respect Arab race as human and our neighbors, but it’s very sad that some western people think Iranian people speak Arabic which is only due to their lack of knowledge and education.
I know most of people in US and Europe are aware of Iranian history and facts, but still it's funny to have such beliefs in a minority of people. 
Map of the Achaemenid Empire - 550-330 BCE
if you want to learn more about Ancient Persia, you can take a look at Achaemenid Empire in wikipedia.

Cyrus the great was the founder of the Persian Empire under the Achaemenid dynasty. Regarding the most known and trusted encyclopedias including Britanica and Wikipedia, it was under his own rule that the empire embraced all previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much of Central Asia, parts of Europe and Caucasus. From the Mediterranean sea and the Hellespont in the west to the Indus River in the east, to create the largest empire the world had yet seen.
Darius the Great
Just imagine the facet Cyrus the Great respected the customs and religions of the lands he conquered, which is not yet seen in many countries around the world (and I confess including today Iran). It is said that in universal history, the role of the Achaemenid empire founded by Cyrus lies in its very successful model for centralized administration and establishing a government working to the advantage and profit of its subjects. In fact, the administration of the empire through satraps and the vital principle of forming a government at Pasargadae were the work of Cyrus. Aside from his own nation, Persia (modern Iran), Cyrus also left a lasting legacy on Jewish religion (through his Edict of Restoration), human rights, politics, and military strategy, as well as on both Eastern and Western civilizations.
I ain't a Racist in no way and I strongly believe in respecting all the nations and races including Turks, Arabs, Indians etc, but I don't know if you ever have experienced being misjudged and mistaken by your root and race facts. It's very unpleasant and today, because of news published over the world and the government we have (with its specific method of communicating with the rest of the world, which I don't agree or disagree) people around the world misjudge Iranian people. You have to consider people of a country independent and separate from their governors, especially in a country like Iran. Professor Patrick Hunt, an American archeologist and history author says: "If you are looking at the greatest personages in History who have affected the World, 'Cyrus the Great' is one of the few who deserves that epithet, the one who deserves to be called 'the Great'. The empire over which Cyrus ruled was the largest the Ancient World had ever seen and may be to this day the largest empire ever."

Monday, November 01, 2010

Plan your Budget Travel to Iran

Back Pack Budget Traveling tips and ideas for Iran

if you believe it's a good time to travel to Iran, and if you are a Budget traveler,then you may love this blog post!! I'll let you know some tips about how to plan a budget trip to Iran:

  1. Accommodation:
    Hotels are so expensive in Iran, specially if you try to relate the price and the quality of service anyhow (who shouldn't care this relation?!) a 5 star hotel providing a 3 star service(!) costs you 220 USD in Tehran. and a 3 star hotel costs 90 USD per night
    resolution:
    try to find a host using websites like hospitalityclub
    or try to find a furnished apartment for short term.
  2. Transportation:
    taxis and other transportations in Iran are roughly cheap. the cheapest way of traveling inside Iran is almost always Buses, also for some routes you can check up with trains.
    if you want to travel inside Tehran, which is the most expensive city in Iran, as a budget traveler don't get in a Taxi and say your destination. it will work like a Yellow Cab in London (expensive)! instead you can ask other people how you can get there.
    for Bikers and Motorcycle riders things can be different. petrol is cheap in Iran (roughly 40 USD cents per Liter)
  3. meals:
    Meals in some restaurants can cost you 30-100 USD per person! Restaurants like Nayeb, Shandiz, Shamdan, Alborz and many others start from 20-25 per person. even restaurants like Taj Mahal, ّFrench and Japanese restaurants can cost up to 100 bucks!
    instead of trying these restaurants for a simple meal you can cook very cheap and healthy food using rice, meet, beef, chicken and vegetables.
    rough prices:
    rice: 2 USD per Kg - chicken: 3-4 USD per Kg - beef: 8 USD per Kg - vegetables: 1 USD per Kg
    fruits (average): 2-3 USD per Kg
    NOTICE: Iranian restaurants, mostly, are not Vegetarian friendly!
  4. Touristic areas and sights:many of them are free and the rest are cheap enough. beside you don't have any other option to pay less!
  5. Money Exchange:
    this can hurt!! in many cities you will experience problems with exchanging money. not too many in small cities and very limited open hours. also most of banks only deal with foreign currencies only 2 hours a day (11:00-13:00 local time)
    SO CARRY enough Iranian money when you are out of Tehran or large cities. I know for most of westerners it sounds crazy, but you should.
    there's no ATM accepting VISA, MasterCard etc. so you may not use them.
    paying in USD or Euro etc to ordinary people and store keepers can cost you more than what you should usually pay.
I hope you enjoy your trip!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Respect the Nature

Rubbish left by fishers
If you are a back pack traveler or eco-tourist or even if you're just a nature lover, you should have been so concerned about the nature and how people should treat it. unfortunately in my country, Iran, the culture of touring and camping has been considered unimportant! you see nothing about it in media propaganda, public ads and even it's not in agenda for parents to teach their children in many cases. it takes all parts of society to change this culture and make our country a better place in future.
If you have been to places like North of Iran, the Caspian sea coast or to mountains and jungles, you see sad things like left rubbish and ruined nature objects like trees, river side etc. as far as I know it takes 300 years for a glass made bottle to get recycled in nature and a lifetime for a plastic bag!!
Left Garbages in the nature can affect the plants by killing them by suffocating the plants by the rapping of the rubbish around the plants steam. Also rubbish can affect the plants by them not getting enough sunlight, water and air. Also rubbish can kill fish, birds and animals. it's not a joke! Fish and sea animals die everyday because of dirt produced by our rubbish in the water.

In my post about Taleghan years back, some visitors has commented which I just preferred to publish them here:

Pontia has said:
I was so happy to see this. My dad is actually from Koolaj. Taleghan is really beautiful,especially now that they have opened up the dam. I don't know how recently you were there, but since Tehrani's have discovered Taleghan, weekends here are full of campers along the water. And when they leave, they also leave a lot of trash behind. Very sad. Taleghan is becoming so crowded. 

Anonymous said:
I too, like Pontia in the comment above, have family from Koolaj.
Having just visited Taleghan in the last month, I was saddened to see all the rubbish tourists leave behind.

People really need to learn to clean up after themselves and take their rubbish home with them. All the plastic they leave behind will not magically disintegrate or vanish.

It is very unfortunate that many Iranian people still do not understand the concept of not littering!

I urge anyone visiting Taleghan to treat the place with respect and clean up their rubbish behind them. Also camping on people's private land is just not on!

So let me just reiterate:
(a) Take your rubbish with you...leave the place just as you found it!
(b) Ask permission of the land owner before you camp on their land!

Thank you.