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Visiting Tehran, the Capital of Iran: The First Contact by Gary Leow

19 July 2010 5,836 views 12 Comments

Visiting Tehran, the Capital of Iran: The First Contact by Gary Leow

This is a guest post by’s Gary Leow. Gary is a personal friend and he traveled to Tehran last year for a working project. As we heard so much about the beauty of Tehran, Gary explains his first contact or first hand experience with the beautiful city of Tehran, IRAN. He writes:
The flight was approximately 8 hours from KLIA to Tehran. Tehran is the capital of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Located on the slopes of the mountains and at the foot of the magnificent Mount Alborz, it has been the country’s capital city for over 200 years now. The population of Tehran City itself is close to 14 million people.

First impression of Tehran – feels very uptight because, minutes before the plane lands, there was an announcement to all female passengers to ensure that they put on their headscarf once they leave the aircraft.

While walking towards the check-out point, the airport seems very quiet though it is the main airport in the capital city. Unlike KLIA, it is not buzzing with activities and you see Iranian Police guards along the way. They have that terror looking face whereby you will be killed if you commit an offence kinda look.
At the check-out counter, the immigration officer is very unfriendly. Initial thoughts when they spoke to one another was Arabic but to which later was being told it is Persian. Wordings and markings all around the airport is not Jawi nor Arabic but Persian also.

Coming from an Islamic country i.e. Malaysia, the immigration officer does not ask much questions. They just do their routine check and I’m thru the check-out point in 3 mins. It was very fast but also very quiet. This is suddenly when you notice that everyone around is also very silently queueing for their turns to get thru the check-out counter.
Once thru, we took an escalator down to the luggage bay to wait for our luggage. Surprisingly, the service was very efficient because by the time we got there, our luggage were already out there waiting.

It was still sunny because it is only 3:30pm Iran local time. Malaysia was 8:30pm then. It was Spring and the temperature outside was approximately 16C. A very cooling and nice temperature compliments after a long tiring flight.

Once all my partners has re-grouped, we headed out towards the arrival hall where our liaison person from Tehran is already waiting there, holding on to a card with my partners name on it. “Mozer” was his name.

We greeted and shook hands trying to get acquainted with our liason person. His name was Javan and he speaks a perfect English except for the slight American accent. We chatted while walking towards the entrance of the hall where our car was waiting for us.

As we were walking out, I notice that there is a lot of Peugeot on the side road. Peugeot is somewhat like their national car as in comparison to Malaysia. I was driving a Peugeot then and I was under the impression that we would be picked up by a Peugeot. Unfortunately my dream was cut short when suddenly out of the corner a very familiar looking car turned and stop right in front of us.

Then we all suddenly burst out laughing. What more can we ask for of this trip than to be transported for the whole 5 days with our very own national car a Proton Waja to which in Iran is called a Proton Impiana, left hand drive though. The Proton Waja was our official car for the next 5 days and we have a English speaking guide and a driver for us as well. Apparently Malaysia exports 3 version of our national car to Iran namely Waja, Wira & Gen2.

Javan told us that he is being assigned to us for the next 5 days and he is to ensure that we get all that we asked for throughout our entire stay in Iran. This trip to Iran is to recee a site for our clients in Malaysia who has engaged us to consult them on how to operate and run a hypermarket. So this trip to Tehran is to see and understand the Iranian culture and also to meet up with a few influencial people in Tehran (namely the investors for this project) so as to convince them that they are making the right choice in trying to bring in a shopping mall concept with a hypermarket built in just like our very own Mid Valley Megamall.
Once we have all had a good feel of the cool and nice air around, we all jumped into the car and our journey into the City of Tehran begins. Javan told us that since it is 4:30pm then at that time and the after office traffic has begun, hence the journey will take us approximately 1 to 1:20 minutes to reach our hotel. Also it is because our hotel is situated at the other end of town. So instead of us traveling into town to cut our way across and get stucked in the rush hour traffic, he says we would be taking the outer route (something like MRR2 instead of going thru Pudu) to get to our destination. Traffic jam is still unavoidable at this point but it will not be as horrendous as the one if we are to cut across town directly.

So while we are on our way, we got to know Javan a little bit better and understand the culture of Iranians. Javan is married with no kids. 

On one part of the journey, we were passing by areas that look like the desert and it is very dusty with all the vehicles and lorries moving along the highway. Our driver is a speed demon. We were traveling at approximately 130 to 140km per hour. Zooming left and right overtaking cars and lorries on the highway. Thank god it is a Malaysian made car!!

After 30 minutes on the highway, we then hit into town and passing by another airport in town. Javan told us that in Tehran there are 3 airports all together. One is the new International Airport i.e. Imam Khomeini International Airport, one is the old international airport which is now being used for domestic airport and it is known as Mehr Abad airport and the last airport is the Army airport which is on the other side of town.
Our intended project site is actually very near the Nehr Abad Airport according to Javan. In fact the Mehr Abad airport is just exactly behind our project site.
(the project that we will be working on then was the Ekhbatan Mega Mall project and you can find out more information about it here at this URL

After almost 40 minutes into the journey, then we saw something breathtaking. It was the magnificent Mount Alborz, the very sight of this beauty is enough to make one speechless. For me, it was definitely the first time seeing a real snow capped mountain.

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  • It Box @ All Around the World News said:

    Road Rush…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)

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  • David @ Malaysia Asia said:

    I would love to visit Tehran too, just like everywhere else in the world but this place is special!

    .-= David @ Malaysia Asia´s last blog ..Pulau Sapi Island in Sabah =-.


    Super Wilson Reply:

    Heard so much about it and see it on my own, the place is a beauty!


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  • olive said:

    Iran is a marvelous country to visit with great hospitality. A country I will surely visit again one day!


  • Ario Barzan said:

    A lot of mis leading info in this article,
    about 70% of Iranians speak Persian as mother tongue(although in various dialects and accents) and more than 99% are fluent Persian speakers.


    Super Wilson Reply:

    Hi there,

    This was a guest post and sorry for the misleading information.



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