Welcome to the south venture of Iran, the land which is stretched from the west through the turquoise waters of the Persian Gulf to the east at the bad-land formations of the Martian mountains by the Gulf of Oman. From the pristine nature-made attractions of valleys and caves to the unique ecosystem of mangrove forest start to explore the most hospitable residents in Iran, getting the chance to observe the Bandari and Baluchi culture, culinary style and folk music which are unparalleled and indigenous. Catch a glimpse of the landscape from historic harbours and its semi-desert architecture at the foot of the sea while at a little distance you will be astonished knowing the knowledge of building the ancient lord of the seas and world's largest handicraft, Lenj.
This experiential tour is a blend of nature-based and cultural programs which covers significant parts of Hormozgan and Sistan Baluchestan provinces with a synergic approach of getting involved with the interesting cultural heritage and traditions of the hosts. Taste the daily catch of fish cooked with the flavour of southern spices and ride on a boat to the neighbour islands to camp by the seashore on the silver sandy beaches. Go for loaded natural phenomena and indigenous customs which are waiting for you to find out during this 8-day expedition.
Visiting the only UNESCO Global Geopark in the Middle East
Visiting the Lenj workshop whose knowledge of building is a UNESCO-listed intangible heritage of Iran
Riding on a speedboat to the Hengam Island to visit the sociable dolphins and camp by the Persian Gulf
Becoming familiar with the Bandari and Baluchi traditions, customs, foods and ceremonies
Discovering Bandar Abbas and Minab local Bazaar
Visiting the active Mud Volcano, a special rare geological landform
Eating delectable local foods for all meals and lodging in cozy ecolodges run by locals
Meeting dramatic Darak coast in Chabahar, one of the few coasts in the world where desert and sea get face to face
South of Iran is about the aroma of spices, the silver shores and khaki coloured buildings, each one possesses a dramatic Badgir on top in front of the turquoise blue scene of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Leave your imagination travelling and be sure it will never get bored of discovering Mother Nature's crafts of extraordinary geological features in the southern belt of Iran.
People of the South are warm-hearted and famous all around Iran for their unexampled hospitality. The culture of the south is profound and legendary. Enjoy the mouth-watering seafood with homemade pickles and give your sight to the glittery handicrafts made by women empowered to become breadwinners for their families.
In this expedition tour, we go beyond the sightseeing and list of landmarks to see the best of the south bedecked with untold secrets. You will open a window to the Persian Gulf from your camp tent; one day on Hengam Island and the other day behold the Gulf of Oman through the window of your room in a luxurious hotel.
The battleground of the Iranian patriots who defeated Portuguese invaders in the 16th century during the Safavid time is now a safe and sought destination which is inscribed in the UNESCO Global Geopark network.
The mere geopark of the Middle East in Qeshm made it the capital of Iran's Geotourism. Qeshm geopark includes various Geo sites with geological values that focus on the cultural heritage of the area.
Qeshm Island is the Land of Erosion. Once you put step on the island, you feel like you landed on Mars. In Chahkooh valley- the mountain of wells- where the rain erosion made the pass become a narrow crack surrounded by tall walls near to touch each other, or cryptic Star Vally which owns the tale of passing spirits at dark nights, if you are into the unexplained phenomena all around the Qeshm you will find interesting sightseeing and cultural attractions altogether.
Golabaton Douzi or Brocade shuttle-woven fabric, seashells crafts, date palm mat weaving are the most famous handicrafts local women produce. But the most iconic handicraft is not only the world's largest handicraft but also its knowledge of building according to the builder's imagination is a UNESCO-listed intangible heritage to be safeguarded.
This gigantic lord of the Seas is a waterproof vessel that takes almost 3 years to be built and has a charming story of ceremonial ship launching followed with folk music and native instruments to bless the Lenj in its long 100 years of life.
In the north centre of the Island, a great ecosystem of viviparous mangrove trees rises up out of the water to build a magnificent Avicenna Marine forest on the saltwater of the Persian Gulf. On a speedboat start your venture to discover the habitat of impressive birds and other aquatic animals.
It's in the early morning that we set foot out of the largest island in Iran to taste a bit of the neighbour island, Hengam. Riding on a speedboat for an hour to give our soul into the hands of a peaceful small land on the Persian Gulf.
Hengam district is the only place where the pod of bottlenose Dolphins live and you can watch them playing and jumping out of the water so friendly.
To get the utmost benefit of the specific wildlife of the southern islands, we will camp in Hengam island in the silver sand beach to catch our chance for seeing gazelles and photography the glowing bioluminescence planktons at the shore. At night, while camping, you can enjoy walking in the sea while the light shines in each step of your foot.
It is officially famous among Iranians and a number of foreign visitors as the Colourful Island. From the brick red beach to the silver-covered shores and from the show white mountain to the rainbow hills, the mythical attractions of Hormuz draws your heart top on the high rock cliff terrace that opens to the Persian Gulf through the passes of the statue valley. Salty coloured soil of Hormuz highlights your south venture to the point that you will hanker for its peace and special variety, long after you have returned home.
Hormozgan is the paradise of seafood. The flavour of special spices sounds unprecedented. Make sure to set an exercise program for your fitness after you have returned home because if you are a seafood lover, you are at a great threat of gaining weight. The daily catch of fish and various sea aquatics in company with the southern flavour and spices will leave you appreciated.
Off to the small city of Minab where is famous for its shrimp fishing, date palm trees and of course the colourful Thursday market we say farewell to Bandar Abbas and Islands.
Heading toward the east, we will stop at Zarabad state in Baluchistan province to visit the end of the world! Darak coast. The scenery of palm date trees and grazing camels on the golden sands ends up to an infinite blue sea. Although Iranians address darak as the worst place in hell certainly this Darak doesn't have anything to do with hell. Challenge yourself to capture the frame of the desert and the sea face to face which only a few locations of this kind can be found in the world.
The next natural attraction on our way is an active Mud Volcano! A significant geological phenomenon in the world is the grey-coloured brother of Geysers. Try to climb up to the mud mound and catch a view over the flat land to see how the crater makes mud bubbles and throw warm silt with the power of chemical gases like Methane and Sulfur that come from the heart of the earth. Locals give the name of "Napak" to them which means the earth's belly button.
As we continue our journey to the east, on the left side of the endless road, while the sea still remains accompanying us on the right side, Mars just appears in our sight. The so-called badlands of Baluchistan who are famous In the name of Martian mountains give you a canvas of Mars.
But yet it is not the end of our story on geographical attractions before seeing one of the five pink lakes of the world a few steps to the free waters in the east corner of beautiful Baluchistan. Lipar pink wetland will grab your heart with its soft pink colour being extended over a white salty ground which is being poured from the water coming from the Makoran Sea upstream.
Picking up at the BandarabbasAirport, Driving to Guran village, Spending Night at Local guest house
Driving to the Sea after Breakfast, Riding Cruise through Hera Jungles. Driving to Chahkooh valley and Valley of statues, overnight in Qeshm at an ecolodge
Riding on to Hormoz Island on a water bus, discovering the amazing rock cliffs and red coast of Colorful Hormoz Island, Having lunch at Hormoz Island in a local restaurant, back to the ecolodge in Qeshm
Hanging around Qeshm Island to see its numerous attractions: Naz Islands, Star Valley (optional sea sports or paraglider), overnight at a traditional ecolodge in Qeshm
Leaving Qeshm to Hengam Island in the early morning from Shib Deraz harbour riding the boat, watching Local Gazelles and Dolphins nearby, Camping by the fire, experience touching bioluminescent Planktons (let's cross fingers)
Visiting Lenj workshop and Laft historic village and harbour over the dreamy landscape of wind towers facing to the blue deep sea, heading back to Bandar Abbas by water bus and getting to see its local Bazaar, driving to Minab, overnight at Traditional guest house in Minab
Darak beach, Mud volcano, Chabahar, overnight at Hotel in Chabahar, Walking in the local night Bazaar of Chabahar and enjoying the Gulf of Chabahar
Martian mountains, Makran coast, Lipar pink lake, end of the tour