I just completed a 14 day trip around Persia with G Adventures, and much to my surprise, Iran is not (at all) what I thought it’d be like!  Contrary to popular belief, Iran is extremely safe, with the most friendly people I’ve ever met who went out of their way to make sure I was safe and having a good time.  I have no incentive to lie to you about this — it is just the 100% truth.

Before I dive in any further, please take 2 minutes to watch this video — which currently has 4+ million views as I write this:

Is IRAN Safe? (Realizations from 14 Days in Iran)

IS IRAN SAFE TO VISIT?! 🇮🇷🇮🇷🇮🇷I just finished 2 weeks traveling all over this fascinating country with G Adventures, and let’s just say that IRAN IS NOT WHAT I EXPECTED!!

Unfortunately, the media makes Iran look extremely evil, when in reality, it is absoultey safe to visit, and the locals here are the most humble, honest and hospitable people that I’ve met in all of my travels. I am not joking!!

Over the next 14 days, I will be launching daily videos as they happened over the past 2 weeks of my life in this beautiful country. I will be digging deep into the ancient history, trying all of the best dishes, meeting eye to eye with locals and observing their unique lifestyle as I take you behind the scenes of this special nation.

Out of all 14 videos that you are about to see in my Iran series, this one has the strongest message — which is why I am sharing it first.

I truly hope you enjoy watching my raw perspectives around Iran, and I encourage you (as always) to comment below with any questions and and I’ll do my best to get back to you!

Follow Drew Binsky for daily travel videos, and come say hi on Insta @drewbinsky 🇮🇷

P.S. I apologize for the 2 week delay in sharing any videos — Truth be told, I decided to take a break from making videos so I could fully enjoy and appreciate this eye-opening trip to Iran. I haven’t gone more than 2 days without sharing a video over the last YEAR, so it was hard for me, but it was a nice detox. I’ve been so anxious to roll out these videos and I hope you find them valuable 🙂

Posted by Drew Binsky on Saturday, June 9, 2018

 

When we (Americans) think about Iran, we tend to only think of negative things such as terrorism.  But what about the 80 million innocent locals who live across this fascinating country? And all the history the land contains?  This is Iran at its core – hospitality and history – and I’m excited to give you a glimpse of what I just experienced.

This trip was the second that I have taken with G Adventures (the first was to Tajikistan & Uzbekistan last year) — and all I can say is positive things about my experience with G.  The schedule on our Iran trip was a perfect mixture of sightseeing and free time, while we moved around to Iran’s most historical cities.  Looking back, I honestly can’t think of a better way to spend 14 days in Persia (for a detailed look at our day-to-day itinerary, click this link).  Our group had 12 members, representing 9 different countries from Mexico to New Zealand to to the U.S. to Germany, and our guide, Amin, was a really cool dude who knows everything about Persia and Persian history.  Amin has turned into one of my good friends!

Here is a photo of our group, followed by a photo of Amin and I!

Soon after I arrived in Iran, I learned that the wifi situation is extremely slow, and therefore, I would be unable to upload daily videos like I usually do.   While I was originally frustrated, it ended up being a good thing – I was able to stress less and fully enjoy my time in Iran.

In this blog post, I’m going to share with you my top 5 favorite things about Iran, and whenever necessary, I will embed a video that is related to what I am talking about.  If you want to see all 14 videos that I made in Iran, please do so on my Facebook and/or YouTube pages.

5 Favorite Things About Iran

1. The People

No matter how many Instagram posts and videos I make about the friendliness of the people, it still won’t do justice by how over the top they truly are!  If you take away anything from this blog post, please let it be that Persians are the most hospitable, kind and humble people that I’ve met in all my travels to 139 countries.

I interacted with as many locals as I could, and not once on any occasion was I disrespected or even looked at funny.  I even told people that I was both American and Jewish, and it made them even more interested to get to know me.  I was invited (dozens of times) into peoples’ houses for a cup of tea and even offered a bed to sleep in.  One time in Isfahan, I walked into a hardware store in the evening and the owner wouldn’t let me leave because he wanted to talk to me all night and he kept feeding me tea!  I made many good friends while in Iran, and I can’t wait to go back and visit them all someday soon.

Here is a video I made all about the kindness of Iranian people:

The World’s FRIENDLIEST People! (IRAN)

Out of all my travels in 137 countries, it is right here, in Iran, where I have found the most hospitable and friendly people. Complete strangers coming up to me on the street, from big cities to small towns, offering me a cup of tea in their shop or a bed to sleep in their home.

I’m convinced that I could come to Iran with $0 in my pocket and easily be able to make friends, find delicious meals and be welcomed in a comfortable home like family. Seriously, it’s almost like they force you into their homes (in a good way!)

Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve told dozens of Persians that I am both American and Jewish, and contrary to what you may think, it makes them like me even more, peaking their interest and asking more questions. I have not felt a minuscule of negative hostility yet from anyone in this country.

Also, as I have now published 10 videos about Iran so far — it really makes me laugh when I read some of the comments and hear people calling my videos “propaganda.” These videos are the farthest thing away from propaganda!!! They are telling you the downright truth from my experiences in the country. Nobody told me to make this video (or any video). I made this because I feel the need to share what I am seeing to you. And I hope that by watching this video (and my others about Iran) — that you will remove your negative stereotypes about this humble nation and realize that it’s one of the safest and best places to visit on our planet.

If you have ever been to Iran, and you agree with what I am saying, then please share your thoughts or a quick moment/story from your experience with the people here. I want the entire world to know!!!

Follow Drew Binsky for daily travel videos, and come say hi on Insta @drewbinsky 🙂

Music: Epidemic Sound

*Note* My trip to Iran was from May 26-June 9, but due to limited WiFi there, I decided to delay my videos until trip ended — which you are seeing in chronological order. Hope you enjoy!

Posted by Drew Binsky on Monday, June 18, 2018

 

2. The Historical Sites

Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations.  Human activity in this country dates back 40,000 years — and evidence of these ancient humans can be found in select places in Iran.  My favorite historical sites were Persepolis and the Rayan citadel.  Persepolis was the former capital of the great Persian empire, which was ordered by Darius the Great is 515 BC.   The site today, which is partly in ruins and patly in tact, is organized by about a dozen columns with extremely detailed inscriptions on the stone. The Rayan citadel is another built-up city from the same time frame, but it’s more compact and set alongside a beautiful mountain range.   It was abandoned soon after it was built, but the buildings are still remarkable to witness.  Both Persepolis and the Rayan Citadel are 2 of 22 UNESCO sites in Iran!

Here’s a video I made about Persepolis:

PERSEPOLIS: The Forgotten Wonder of the World?

You know how some places just WOW you? That’s what’s happening to me right now, at Persepolis in Iran.

Persepolis is the name of the former capital of the Achaemenid (Persian) Empire. Archaeologists and historians believe that this city began being built in 518 BC – or 2,530 years ago.

Today, as you wander around Persepolis, you can see incredible stone columns and walls with extremely detailed inscriptions, giving us insight for how these humans used to live their lives. The most impressive thing to me is that nothing in Perseoilis is restored — it’s all in its original form. I cannot imagine how much more polished this city looked back in its heyday!

After spending all day exploring Persepolis and being so stunned that my jaw is dropped to the ground, I cannot understant why it’s not considered in any of the ‘7 wonder of the world’ lists. I have been to all 7 wonders on each list, and Persepolis would easily be in my top 3!!!!

Have you ever heard of Persepolis? Are you as fascinated as I am by this place?

Follow Drew Binsky for daily travel videos, and come say hi on Insta @drewbinsky 🙂

Music: Epidemic Sound

*Note* My trip to Iran was from May 26-June 9, but due to limited WiFi there, I decided to delay my videos until trip ended — which you are now watching in chronological order as they happened. Hope you enjoy!

Posted by Drew Binsky on Friday, June 15, 2018

 

3. The Persian Gardens

When one thinks of Persia, he/she probably doesn’t think of gardens (after all, Iran is made up of 2/3rds desert!)  But somehow, thousands of years ago, the people of ancient Persia were able to figure out how to get water to create the most beautifully organized gardens.  The gardens of Iran are so spectacular that UNESCO recognized them as a world heritage site, as 9 of them are are scattered all around the country.  We visited 3 gardens, and my favorite was the one in Kerman.  I loved the central water canals, giant fountain, and towering wind tower overlooking the greenest trees and purple flowers!

4. The Society

Being in Iran is like entering a time warp back to the 1970s or 80s (not that I was alive in those decades, but from what I know, this is how the world looked like).  The models of cars on the road today don’t resemble anything modern (except for maybe a few neighborhoods in Tehran), there are NO international brands or chains anywhere to be seen except for Coca-Cola (no McDonald’s, Starbucks, Uber, Marriott, etc), and the wifi speeds will remind you of AOL dial up in the 1990s (yes, I do remember that!).

But that all being said, it is somewhat of a refresher to be immersed in such a society, which is opposite to most countries that are overrun by tourists (like where I am right now in Bangkok).  There are no scams in Iran.  Life is as real and genuine as it gets.

5. The Food

Ah, last but not least — the food!  Who doesn’t travel for food?  Iranian cuisine will not leave you disappointed.  The cuisine is based on a combination of rice, meat, vegetables and nuts.  Common herbs include saffron, cinnamon and parsley, and fruits include plum, pomegranate, apricots and raisins.   Most of the meat takes form of a ‘kebab’ which is minced beef/lamb/chicken served on a plate alongside fresh vegetables like tomato, cucumber, olives, onion and lettuce.  If you like nuts, then you are in for a treat because most dishes have them and Iran is actually the world’s largest producer of pistachio nuts!   And Lastly, the watermelon juice is so fresh and you should give it a try.

As you can see, I have developed a deep love for Iran and I am already planning my next trip back soon 🙂 If you have any questions on Iran or my experience with G Adventures, please comment them below or email me and I’ll get back to you!  Lastly, don’t forget to book your trip on this link!

Disclosure: I was invited on this trip by G Adventures, and received financial compensation from them for the execution of videos and social media content. As always, this post was written by me and is honest from my own personal experiences.

Drew Binsky

A graduate from The University of Wisconsin-Madison, Drew Binsky has visited 120+ Countries since 2012.He first caught the travel bug while studying abroad in Prague, then taught English in Korea, and now he's on a mission to visit every country on earth.Follow his journey on Facebook & Instagram @drewbinsky 🙂

Latest posts by Drew Binsky (see all)

29 thoughts on “Iran is NOT What You Think!!

  1. Iranian people really love foreign and they are more hospitable than everybody think! Iran has great history and culture. when you travel to Iran, it will be the best journey in your life.

  2. I enjoyed your beautiful video.. such a amazing photos and The Persian Gardens is highlighted in my head..overall it’s nice blog. Thank you for posting.

  3. Drew, this is exactly what I tell ALL of my friends! Never judge a book by its cover and especially an entire nation without even paying a visit. I think the western news outlets are to blame as the only new that does come out of the middle east is that of terrorism and bad news. I hope we can start to change here in the United States (I’m from the United States).

    Love the article Drew and wanted to let you know that I will be traveling to Sudan later this year. Any tips for traveling there?

    Wishing you good health on your travels,
    Mark

  4. Drew, this is such an inspiring article! Your story about Iran is really heart-warming. It’s true that a lot of people see it as a dangerous place because of its history but I hope a lot of people would be able to read your blog, specifically this post, and have a change of heart even by just a little. Thank you so much!

  5. Thanks Drew for the nice article about this beautiful country. I had the opportunity to spend two weeks in Tehran myself and even though I had no prejudice about Iran it still have surprised me by its charm and kindness of its people. I hope more people will look at Persia as opportunity rather than a threat especially when nowadays it’s opening more and more every day. Two years ago you wouldn’t see a boy and a girl walking hand in hand on the street which is now reality in the big cities and the law that they are not selling any alcohol is also refreshing (you can enjoy huge variety of non-alcoholic fruit infused beers).

  6. Hey Drew! My name is Tyler and I was inspired to follow in your footsteps and become a travel blogger myself back in January of this year. I’m hoping that once I graduate from college, I will be able to teach English abroad (I already have my TEFL certification) and eventually transition into a full-time travel blogger.

    I just wanted to say a quick thank you for giving Iran a chance. My mother was born in Tehran but moved to the States when she was very young; because of all that has happened on the news since then, I haven’t had the opportunity to visit this amazing country. Thanks to what I have heard and seen from your journey, I have hopes that I can visit Iran soon.

    Good luck with your future travels,
    Tyler

  7. Thanks for putting Iran into perspective for me. I never did expect this would be Iran because of how the media portrays it. Those gardens are out of this world though! Cheers!

  8. Wonderful article. Though many people see Iran as a dangerous country because of its history. Everyone should Read this article and change their perspective on Iran, I’m looking forward to visiting this country. Thank you so much! 🙂

  9. Wow! Thank you Drew, I love your story about Iran. I have to say it wasn´t on our travel list at first, but I have been inspired by so many great travel stories including yours of course! I really want to see myself.
    You are absolutely inspiring and my husband and I will keep following your great stories.
    Thanks,
    Maike

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