Mysterious Masks Worn by Women - Bandar Abbas - 1st stop of Iran

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– 2014 Getting away to Middle East Dubai Iran 1 Month Trip

The port of Bandar Abbas (Bandar Abbas Shahid Bahonar) is away from the city for around 5km. As there is no public bus I needed to take a cab into the city. Lastly I met a good guy and a less good guy. The good guy proactively asked me in english where did I want to go, I said I wanted to go to city and he just asked me to go with him and his friend and he treated the ride for the cab. He said Iran people are nice and good. In fact he and his friend were going somewhere in between the city and the port. He asked the taxi driver to drive me to the destination before they paid and got off from the cab. My destination was a travel agency (I wanted to ask some questions at the agency and hoped they can reply me in english.)

As the street names in the map of lonely planet were written in englsih, even if you handed the map to the driver, he did not know what was the street name. Lastly I arrived to the place using body language communication and the limited resource of the map. But the english of the staff in the agency were not good also. I oould only get the address of the ship company in Tehran. I needed this because in Dubai I could not buy the return ship ticket from Iran as it was too early. The ticket could only buy around the time I arrived Tehran.

The cultural shock started here in Bandar Abbas. All wordings in everywhere were in Persian. From street name (though some main streets have english names) to shop name, I really didn’t know what to do when firstly arrived there. And the weather was hot (could not imagine how hot it will reach in summer), I wanted to take the scarf off.

Next, I found out the hotel listed on the map of lonely planet, but the reception said it was fulled already. While other hotels were expensive, I decided to leave tonight. But it was difficult to exchange money and buy bus ticket. As what I said in another chapter Weather, culture, language and currency of Iran, the bus ticket shop and the exchange shop will not open in the afternoon, so I can only stroll around to wait for them to reopen, which was after 3 hours.

All shops close in the afternoon
Wherever I was on the street, people would look at me as I was too special with the Asian face. Strolling on the street till 6pm, I met two Chinese tourists. Seeing the familiar Asian faces, I was so excited. They were going to the bus station (another 5km distance), I instantly asked them can we go together, so that I could save money and it would be good to have company. Their next stop was Shiraz and mine was Kerman.
Thus I went to find them in their hotel after strolling around for some more time. There was wifi there and I could connect to whatsapp and say hi to my family.Facebook was prohibited there.

They were both travelling alone and met each other in the trip. As they had the same route they started travelling together. They went to Lebanon, India, Vietnam, etc.

Why did I come to Bandar Abbas

If I did not take ferry from Dubai to Iran, I believe I would not go to Bandar Abbas which is a very hot city and in the very south of Iran.

Apart from taking the ship, I came here to see a special scene. The women here wear differently compared to other cities. They have different colors of chador which is not only black in color They also wear mask which is made of either metal or rectangular shaped clothes. It is really attractive and amazing.

Colorful chador, you can see shops selling different color of them

Women who wear colorful rectangular masks

Apart from Bandar Abbas, nearby town/city Bandar Lengeh and Minab also have women wearing these special chador and masks. As I did not dare to ask for taking photos of them, you can search and know how they look like.

Link to Google to see the special clothings and masks women have here

Online said that this is a trend and traditional stuff. In hotel of Qeshm Island, a Persian woman told me it is because the sun is too bright here. Having the masks on can prevent the sun burning the face. Yes the sun is really horrible, even in winter I could feel the heat. I could not imagine how people can survive with their scarf on in summer…….

I was admired women here can still wear long sleeves and long pants.

Bandar Abbas bazaar

Fish market

Local kids

Banana milkshake with ice cream IRR$40,000

The famous tourist spots near Bandar Abbas are Qeshm Island, Kish Island and Hormuz. As I heard many people saying Kish Island is too touristic, I didn’t go.

Qeshm Island

Ship to Qeshm Island

A very popular vocation destination. There were many locals going to this Island as it was winter. Most people came from northern part as the weather in Qeshm Island was perfect for them.

Qeshm Island

7 wonders in Qeshm Island

We had two and a half days before heading back to Dubai. As all the spots are far from the city, we need to join the local tour to get to there. We saw a tour package in a hotel and we joined. 4 spots (Khorbas Cave(excluding entrance fee), Chahkouh Valley, beach and Mangrove Forest (excluding boat fee). Total of 3 hours, IRR$300,000 one person.

These spots are not far, there are some even further away but more beautiful. We needed to give up those due to lack of time.

But the fact is the tour was a rush one, each spot only stayed for 15 minutes. While you wanted to get further down and you already needed to head back. Also the guide only spoke Persian, we totally did not understand. Only two of us were non locals while others were all local in this tour.

Khorbas Cave

The ticket for non locals for Khorbas Cave was 10 times more expensive than the locals. They also felt unfair for us. Lastly we could get in with only purchasing one ticket for two people. And we only had 15 minutes and needed to get back to the car……

Chahkouh Valley

Chahkouh Valley, a beautiful valley, you can climb anywhere. But due to lack of time again, we could not get very inside.

Mangrove Forest

For Mangrove Forest, I recommended to take the boat trip (IRR$80,000 one person). As it was sunset time, the scene was gorgeous.

The accommodation and the tour are comparatively expensive in Qeshm Island. As here is a great place to hide from winter, locals all flock to here during this season.

This was the end of the days in Bandar Abbas~

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My Itinerary:
Dubai (1 day)-> Sharjah (Where the ferry was) -> 1. Bandar Abbas (1 day) -> 2. Kerman (1 day) -> 3. Bam (0.5 day) -> Kerman (1 day) -> 4. Yazd (2.5 days)-> 5. Kashan (Abyaneh , Maranjab) (3 days) -> 6. Tehran (2 days) -> 7. Sanandaj (Palangan) (2 days)-> 8. Kermanshah (2 days) -> 9. Isfahan (3 days) -> 10. Shiraz (3 days) -> 11. Bandar Abbas (2 days) -> Sharjah (Where we took the ferry)-> Dubai (0.5 day)

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