3 Reasons Why Hiring Iranian Silent Guide Isn’t a Great Idea!
Recently I’ve noticed that large groups of international travelers visit Iran being accompanied by some guide coming from their countries who is specialized in some field somewhat related to what’s available in Iran. They could be specialized in Islamic studies, ancient history, Islamic architecture, etc. Of course, it could add a lot to the quality of the tours coming to visit our country. I appreciate those companies that send such proficient guides along with their groups although it would be much better if they also inform them what they know is part of what travelers want to know, not all of it.
I prefer to talk directly to those who travel to Iran in such groups and ask them not to miss the opportunity to learn from Iranian tour guides. They can do a lot for you. Here are three reasons why I say so:
1. You Travel to Iran to Hear the Voice of This Country
You have certainly waited for years for the right time to make this trip to Iran. Now, it’s your time to spend on such a tour to explore an unknown country and find out the realities first hand for yourselves. For years, you’ve been exposed to the available media at your countries and have read and learned several things from their perspectives. If you think you’ve learned sufficiently, there’s no reason to visit Iran anymore.
Therefore, there must be good reasons why you want to see the country for yourself. You certainly want to see what’s out there in the streets, countryside, etc. You want to hear from them what their worries are and how they plan for their lives. You want some real information from those who live there about their wishes, visions, needs, and so forth. Don’t you want to know how they handle different situations? Don’t you want to know how they get married, divorced, involved in business, travel, provide for their families, and many other things?
An Iranian silent guide isn’t the person to answer these questions even if you have a guide from your country who has traveled to Iran several times, studied several fields of arts, religions, anthropology, etc. The most accessible knowledgeable person who can answer all these questions and more is the one who travels with you all the time, the Iranian tour guide. Ask him and you will learn what Iranians’ perspectives are. I’m sure you will be amazed by the world of difference between what you’d heard and read before and what you discover for yourselves. In a word, let your guide speak out!
2. You Take a Tour to Iran to Learn about the Iranian Version of Things
Again, I speak from experience, you may have read several specialized books about archaeological findings in Iran, the cultural formation of an area, etc. Please go back to those books and see how old those books are, who has written them, etc. I assure you that you will hear new ideas and news in various issues. Even in architecture, a lot of books have been written after the 1979 revolution that has not been translated to other languages. They suggest new theories, introduce new sites and findings, etc which could principally change the entire landscape of what had been written four decades ago. These are some of the sources of information available to the guides in Iran.
Iran is a developing country in various aspects. Things change quite rapidly. Books and reports aren’t published and distributed across the world about such developments. When you travel to Iran and let your Iranian tour guide explain those things to you, you will hear things you’d not read or heard of before. This is the privilege of traveling to Iran and finding out the realities of today’s Iran for you.
A silent tour guide in Iran cannot give you the latest information you need to know. You may have a local guide accompanying you all the time. You also have your own guide with you. Does he let him talk to you directly and express himself or he takes hold of the microphone all the time and tries to impress you with his knowledge? Let your Iranian guide not remain a quiet one. Ask him and he will tell you a lot.
3. An Iranian Silent Guide Could Do Great for Your Nature Tour
I would say this isn’t right either. A safari tour, a mountain climbing tour, a bird watching tour, etc, could be the one you’ve taken to enjoy nature. Your local guide is the one who knows how things work in his/her country. If a situation doesn’t turn in your favor, you need someone to do something for you. If you’ve already established a powerful rapport with your guide, she/he would go an extra mile to get you out of the troubled situation, negotiate with locals of his/her country to make a way for you, connect with more and more people he knows to provide better for you, etc.
I wouldn’t imagine a silent member of the group who has been pressed to the corner to keep quiet, would voluntarily jump into every situation to impress you and help your journey to turn into a great one. Human interaction and closely-built connections can bring about miraculous results. How would you expect an Iranian silent tour guide to go forward persistently for something you desire to happen? Don’t you think you can count on someone who has been considered a pivotal member of the group both in words and action?
Final Word About Iranian Tour Guides
When I speak about Iranian tour guides, I’m telling you about a particular class of people who are in an international business experiencing a lot of various situations. They’ve seen so many people like you before. They’ve found themselves in tons of similar situations before in the same country. They have friends and connections all over the world. Many of them could have left their country to live somewhere else, but they have chosen to stay in Iran and present their countries as best as possible.
Iranian Tour guides go through tough tour guiding training and learn about several topics. Not every soul who graduated from such training courses become a national/local guide. It takes potential, dedication, and love. They don’t like to stay quiet and usually, they won’t as they feel they are there to say something.
No matter which style you prefer, you can always check out some of the guided tour packages of Iran here! Then, you can customize it. However, just remember we do not recommend you to ask for an Iranian silent guide.
“Having made two trips to Iran in recent years there is no doubt in my mind that travelling in Iran with a local Iranian guide is the way to go—in fact I believe it is the ONLY way to go.
I have also had the pleasure and privilege of having Rahman as my guide, and can assure you he has a wealth of knowledge of his country, its people, history, and traditions”
Thanks Graham for your comment. Actually, I’ve had a lot of fun traveling with you learning a lot about life and your rich experience of living a full life traveling to different corners of the world.
Hope to see you again in Iran!
I regard my 3 week tour of Iran as one of my three life-illuminating experiences:
1) the opportunity to travel to India in 1962, roaming around to 3 months, to experience the subtlety and mysticism of the culture and the Moghul architecture,
2) a tour to remote (but law abiding) area of Papua New Guinea, where one appreciated what the value of developed infrastructure means to life, and
3) Iran – a fabulous cultural experience, to open one’s eyes to the practical sophistication of generations to accomplish life in difficult conditions, the development of architectural understanding and method and a rich feast of hospitality and the wealth of the Persian empire and Islamic design.
Three weeks was far too short to experience the richness of the culture and variety of the landscape (like trying to cover Australia in the same time), but it did open my eyes to a culture and modern State of great interest. As a guide and tour organiser, Rahman was attentive to detail, extremely knowledgeable and ran to movement of 26 tourists with great skill. A memorable tour.
Thank you Marten. I appreciate your kind words. You were a group of experts knowing a lot about history, architecture and archaeology. So, it was a challenge for me to try to come up with the expectations. I’m happy Iran has been a great experience for you.
Very lovely reading and useful article. Thanks for sharing your experience with Iranian guides. It will be very helpful for the travelers who are traveling Iran for the first time. Tremendous work.