After obtaining an Iran Visa, most travelers are concerned with accommodation and getting around in the country. In another post from Iran Travel Guide series, I will show the ins and outs of accommodation in Tehran. For now, read on to know more about traveling by bus in Iran which is the most inexpensive and available means of transportation.
Buses in Iran: They Go Everywhere
Distances in Iran are more known by “hour” than a unit of measurements like kilometer or mile. People ask, for example, so how long is it from Tehran to Isfahan? “Six hours…” would be the answer. The most readily available means of transportation for the backpackers and those who desire to discover the country on their own is the bus. There are plenty of, not daily, but hourly buses that connect major cities together. For example, every half hour, you can jump on a bus that takes you from Tehran to Kashan. Distances of more than 10 hours often debut in the afternoon on the buses called ‘over-night buses’ by most Westerners.
How to Inquire the Departure time?
The best way to inquire about the departure time of such buses is to call the offices. The people who work in the offices often speak some English, yet you might be better off if you employ a Persian speaker to make that inquiry on your behalf.
You can also check their websites. But there is a big problem! No company has an English interface and you need to know Farsi to work with these sites. So, to avoid any trouble, check out Iran domestic bus page to search and book among thousands of domestic buses in Iran. It will give you complete information on departure dates and times, prices, duration, etc. You can book and pay for your ticket online with the best price guarantee.
Bus Rides Are Simple
Except during the Nowruz vacations and a few other highly trafficked occasions, one does not really need a reservation to get on one of these buses. All you need is to show up and get your ticket from the bus company’s office in the terminal, or maybe from the driver himself. The prices are fixed and relatively inexpensive—the longer the route, the more expensive it becomes. A bus ticket from Shiraz to Tehran—a distance of 1000 kilometers—costs 570,000 Rials (about 18 USD); to Isfahan, the city located squarely in the middle of the two, you shall pay half that price. Most towns only have one bus terminal. The word “terminal” can be handy if you need to ask for directions or need a taxi ride; Farsi shares this word with French and English. If you want to travel Iran by bus, you can also book your bus tickets online with no need to know Farsi or Iranian currency through 1stQuest at Iran bus online reservation.
Tehran’s Bus Terminals
As you pass probably in Tehran at one point in your trip, you should know that Tehran has three bus Terminals: Terminal Jonoub (South), Terminal Beihaghi (Argentine), and Terminal Gharb (West). The terminals are more or less designated by their names. Isfahan and Shiraz also have more than one bus terminal; though they are probably less complicated to navigate than the ones in the capital.
Terminal Jonoub (The South Terminal)
The South Terminal mostly covers the destinations in what lies to the south of Tehran. From Bandar Abbas to Kerman, Shiraz, Yazd… basically all of the cities in the bottom half of Iran, you shall find a bus here. Though, connection to Mashhad is easily findable as well (many passengers change buses here). To go to Terminal Jonoub, look at a Metro map and find a metro station (line 1) with the same name. [Terminal Jonoub Location]
Terminal Beihaghi (Arjantin)
This terminal is ideal if you are located in the north of Tehran and wish to avoid long traffic jams in the city. You can find connections to all major cities in both Beihaghi and South Terminal. In the case of Mashhad, the capital of the province to the northeast of, major religious touristic attractions and a point of connection to Turkmenistan, you will find more frequent buses if you go to Arjantin Square. Beihaghi Terminal is not adjacent to the Metro, though a BRT line or a short taxi ride can take you to Mossala Metro Station (Line 1) very quickly. [Terminal Beihaghi Location]
Terminal Gharb (The West Terminal)
If you have entered Iran from Armenia or Turkey, your bus will drop you off at the West Terminal upon arrival in Tehran. Similarly, if you wish to discover Alamut or Kurdistan regions, you should mount your bus here. This terminal is next to Meydan-e Azadi, and the tower that stood symbol of Tehran for decades. Azadi Square has abundant public transport connections: Meydan-e Azadi Metro Station (Line 4) and many other bus lines. [Terminal Gharb Location]
Transportation from Imam Khomeini International Airport
If you land in Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport, your best and the most convenient option of transport to the city is an airport taxi. IKA is about 35 kilometers to the south of Tehran; hence, it is neither cheap nor fast to get there. You should expect a flat-rate fare of 18 EUR (20 USD). At night, when Tehran’s highways are half empty, anticipate a fifty-minute ride from the center. At day, you should also factor in the traffic. The city has initiated plans to connect IKA to Tehran’s Metro network. However, one cannot expect any trains to run before the middle of 2016.
Meanwhile, for those who look for a more reasonably priced alternative to taxis, you should look for the green vans that ferry passengers from Shahed Metro Station or Azadi Square. The problem with this method is that they do not run according to a schedule; you will have to wait for the cars to be full before it leaves for your desired destination. Additionally, they do not run around the clock. Keep in mind also, that Tehran’s metro works from 6 in the morning till circa 23:00. If you have a flight out of IKA, you can probably make Isfahan your last stop and find a direct bus to IKA. It should be the same price as a ticket to Tehran. You are more likely to find those buses in Kaveh Terminal.
Another thing you should note is that Tehran has a dedicated airport for domestic flights. So for example, if you get on one of the frequent flights to Tehran from Shiraz, you will land in Mehrabad and you need further transportation to the IKA. There are shuttles that connect the two airports together.
By Ali Jafari