this book is a 'must have' if you have never been to Iran before-----full of the usual tourist information but containing so much more---invaluable tips and advice on every page, with touches of humour at times to make you laugh.... Helpful explanations are here to help you from the start of your trip planning, namely about currency and how to get a Visa----- the process described of getting a Visa for a UK traveller is a little outdated now but that could mainly be the fault of the Iranian Consulates. Restaurant and Hotel reviews in the book are for the most part correct for the ones that we used. Contrary to one reviewer, there are plenty of high end restaurants and Hotels in the 4 or 5 star category to read about. Its not just for the use of packpackers and travellers on a budget. I carried this book everywhere for the guide and for the Maps, which I used for directing Iranian taxi drivers to my destination because non of them have a clue about how to get to tourist sites--- but they are happy to try and charge you more than the agreed fare. As this book says at the beginning----if you ever thought of going to Iran, then GO and don't be put off by the difficulties in getting there.... this book is right--- Iran and its people are wonderful---I will go again next year and will be taking this Guide with me.
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As the only guide to Iran it is indispensable for solo travellers especially as tourism infrastructure is virtually non existent in Iran and you would find it difficult to discover the most important sites or interesting towns and villages. Some very nice touches include the Roman/Farsi numeral translation which I used to make sure I got on the right flight and it can be used to figure out prices! The new format maps are much easier to read but they simply join the dots, so between point a and b as you cross motorways, traverse blocks and so on, you are travelling blind as none of the roads between points of interest or noted (the occasional one would do to let you know you are on the right track). However (and I have a virtual library of LP Guides) I got a distinct impression that the authors didn't actually stay in some of the places recommended and as sure as the curse of lonely planet exists, some of these places listed would not have only been very bad value initially but had upped the price due to the endorsement. I stayed in one place that charged $60 per night (which is what I paid in Tehran previously for a four star hotel with pool, sauna and several restaurants) that had the previous guests dinner in the loo, sheet not changed for a month, nail clippings all over the filthy and threadbare carpet, a melted aircon unit on the wal, holes in the wall and bricks missing, mould everywhere, and the balcony used to store rubbish. I even went outside to double check I was in the right hotel - In LP they call it the 'best option' in this location even though the reception ceiling is caving in and up the road is an international standard hotel that was cheaper. One premises owner relayed to me how an LP author trundled up to him and introduced himself as a Lonely Planet writer. The hotel owner had never heard of LP to that date and is now a 'Top Choice' serving the best food in the city. I was offered potato omelette and boiled beetroot during my stay. Another 'Top Choice' venue is literally a massive rubbish tip criss-crossed by endless pylons. It's a good book, it could be great though. P.S if you are considering going to Iran - I have been travelling to far corners of the world for over twenty years and this country truly stole my heart. It does deserve the accolade of the friendliest country in the world and Tehran is the one metropolis on this planet where I felt totally safe. Just Go.
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As always, with Lonely Planet guides, I bought this only because there is no other guide book from a competitor on the market. I tried to keep an open mind when reading it - previous experiences with Lonely Planet Guides told me that they are written by the writers often to almost seemingly boast about the experiences they had had on their particular trips to a country, they give you directions but only to a point where you MIGHT be able to find what they are talking about, there are barely any pictures and the maps and information are out of date. Sadly, as always I found all this to be true in this guide.
Pluses: it's the only one available, it's comprehensive and I must admit gives fantastic advice on visas and practical information as well; some of the extra info/recommendations regarding guides e.g. Mohsen in Yazd is fantastic and made my holiday - I got his details from the guide.
Minuses: it is primarily geared to the budget, obnoxious gap-year "I'm so adventurous and revolutionary for not going to Tenerife" traveller - not for anyone who likes a bit of luxury on their travels - everything seems to be geared to be fleecing a few pennies from anywhere and staying in squalor if it saves you 28p vs a regular place; the biggest problem - ridiculous US $ costings in a guide where NO ONE will use US Dollars as their home currency as US travellers cannot travel independently! Why not use the local currency (despite the guide saying inflation and instability are high you can still use the previous price to compare it to others) or even the euro - so much better than the US Dollar for comparison purposes given the political situation; the only pictures are at the beginning as always - so many descriptions etc would benefit from a picture to help you visualise things - especially in a country such as Iran where a picture tells a thousand stories and helps you get your bearings more easily; the maps are out of date and very, very poorly drawn up - e.g. Shiraz - appalling map that contradicts the roads - I normally just follow my instinct - I wasted half an hour due to their map; the information has NOT been updated in many sections; there are mistakes; also see previous comments regarding the writing style - it seems the writers at times are more interested in boasting about how they've had the best travel experience rather than giving you information.
Overall - you'll probably end up buying it because there is nothing else at all, but rest assured it has the usual flaws of Lonely Planet guides vs the infinitely more practical, helpful and image-littered Time Out guides, plus the additional points mentioned above. My other advice would be if you are thinking of going to Iran - do it! A wonderful, extremely safe and fascinating country with impossibly friendly people (something the guide was spot on about).
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I'll keep this short and to the point. I spent a month in Iran sn and I was disappointed with this edition. Pros: generally accurate informagion on major sites, opening times, transport links Cons: maps are virtually useless on KindlePaperwhite - you just get grey fuzz, the one I could read had mis-named two streets (Qazvin). Quite a few missing places, I was more surpfised when a place was actually where they said it was than not. Mostly frustrating was their spelling - they seem to have made up their transliteration, even when Wikipedia and maps.ms have the same one. It makes finding things very difficult, especially when you can't use theirs.