“Everything happens for a reason”… and so it happened! After Tabriz the next destination was the village of Masuleh, located in the foothills of Mount Talesh where the humid climate turns dry landscape in a green forest.
For over four hours, they were passing by the bus window desert landscapes almost with out vegetation, where the flat straight road is the only trace of human presence. Untouched plains intercepted by dry river beds, interrupted by small, gentle hills, which when approaching exhibit different textures, soft colors ranging from beige to brown, from gray to reddish shades. Occasionally arises a village of brick built houses whose color is difficult to distinguish from the surrounding landscape, which maintains the same look desert.
But “destiny” would change the turns to plans drawn by “man”, making the driver of the bus between Tabriz and Tehran, forget to leave me in an intermediate stop, Qazvin where it would change bus to reach Masuleh. The mistake was only detected upon arrival to the outskirts of big capital, where there was no way to return to Qazvin.
I found myself unexpectedly in the gigantic bus station in a city with over 15 million inhabitants, a few days ahead of schedule, without preparation, without plans, without a map or even route.
But believing that everything happens for a reason, this was the way to meet with a friend, with later shared with me the trip to Masuleh, making this a special itinerary in the trip by Iran. An inspected situation on the course of the events that reveals to be a balm to the lonely, grey and lonely days spent in Tabriz.
The trip Tabriz – Tehran takes about 4 hours but maybe take more time if the arrival in Tehran coincides with the rush-hour, with road congestion.
From Tabriz Bus Terminal (the only one in town for long distance buses) buses depart roughly every hour, with several companies doing this connection. The first buses leave by 6 am and last for 24 hours.
Bus ticket costs 155,000 rials.
Buses in Iran are a great choice for long-distance travel, and there are regular services, with good frequency between major cities: Tabriz, Tehran, Esfahan, Shiraz, Yazd, Mashad, Kerman, Bandar Abbas… as we move away from this itinerary, the offer is less in terms of schedules and sometimes the quality of buses decrease.
The main roads are good, flat and with few curves, often with two lanes, making a comfortable ride; however existing speed brakes can often be quite disturbing during sleep. In mountainous areas, such as Kurdistan, or near the Caspian Sea roads become more sinuous, but usually with good pavement.
The prices are very attractive, with travel between major cities to costing between 100,000 and 200,000 rials (approximately 3:05 €; Out.2015 values).
The price varies depending on the kilometers and the type of service: normal or VIP and did not differ significantly depending on the transport company.
In the VIP service is provided a small snack (biscuits, cake, chocolate and packaged juice); in normal service sometimes tea and water.
When the trip coincides with mealtime and frequent stop for meals.
VIP buses have only 3 passengers per row, with wide and comfortable sets that look more like sofas, with armrest, reclining chairs and some with support that allows elevate your feet. Recommended for overnight trips because the price is not significantly higher.
Normal buses have 4 passengers per row, usually without armrest between seats.
In either option the space between seats is generous, allowing stretch your legs without problems, even for taller people.
All have air-conditioner, which not being too strong can offer enough comfort.
If we are to make a night of long-distance travel (5 or more hours in length) is recommended to confirm the departure time of the last bus, and if possible buy the ticket in advance, at least one day.
Festive seasons such as Nowruz – New Year’s Eve according to the Persian calendar – which coincides with the beginning of spring, are times when the bus, train and plane tickers and difficult to get, so traveling in Iran during is time implies careful planning.
When the number of passengers is not enough to fill a bus, is often different companies join efforts and move all the passengers a single bus, which may delay somewhat the departure and consequently the arrival, although the delay are not usually more than half hour.
Stops right outside the cities to collect passengers (and occasionally goods) are also common in day trips, but virtually nonexistent in night trips.