How to travel to desert without a car?Date: 31 January 2017   |    Source: Iman Nosrati and Mona Ebrahimi
Many people wish to visit the desert and its great beauties but may think they should have a very good car like a 4WD and lots of equipment such as a GPS or camping gear. Perhaps they are needed in some areas but it is possible to experience being in the desert and enjoy all the unique beauty without the equipment as well.
Of course I do not mean to suggest tours and travel agencies but I want to explain about a low-cost and convenient trip so that you can travel to the central desert whenever you like. I am based in Tehran and obviously I consider Tehran as the departure point. You can simulate it for your city.
I do not intend to describe Mesr and Farahzad villages and Tabatabaei Barandaz Lodge since it has been done so many times before and many desert travelers have written detailed articles about the region and its attractions.
I am going to introduce a simple way to travel to central desert and the beautiful Mesr and Farahzad villages without any cars and equipment.
I will write the steps in sequence so that you can easily follow them:
- Call Tabatabaei Barandaz Lodge and book a room for as long as you plan to stay there. Take this seriously because if you go without a reservation, most likely there will be no vacancy. (You can decide how long to stay there but I think you need at least three days to fully feel the silence and beauty of the desert.)
- Get a bus ticket from South Terminal in Tehran. You can take the buses to Birjand, Tabas or Kerman and get off in Khur. But do not forget to say at the ticket window that you want to go to Khur so that you will pay just the price to Khur not the whole trip to the final destination. Personally I prefer Transportation Company No. 8 which offers both normal and VIP services. Buying two VIP tickets, my wife and I felt we were in a plane first-class section. We did not get tired until we arrived in Khur. If you want to spend less, you can get a normal service, which are Scania buses. It takes 8 hours from Tehran to Khur, and the bus passes Qom, Kashan, Nain and Anarak to reach Khur.
- After buying the tickets, you can call Mr. Tabatabaei again to send you a taxi for the time you arrive there. As for my personal experience, a lovely man was waiting for us at three o’clock after midnight. Of course, we had asked for his number from Mr. Tabatabaei and called him when we got to the Farrokhi (a city near Khur) and he was waiting for us in the main square of Khur before we arrive there.
- From there onwards, it is very convenient because a driver takes you to Barandaz. We were surprised to see Mr. Tabatabaei was awake and waiting for us. Barandaz is one hour away from Khur. My wife and I we arrived at 4 am and cannot imagine what a beautiful house we saw when we woke up in the morning.
- Take the Tehran (or your city) ticket office and the bus driver’s phone number and tell them you want to return with them as well. One day before coming back, call the driver and see when and where exactly you should get on the bus. Of course, as they should keep some seats vacant for you on the return trip from the point of departure (e.g. Birjand), you have to pay the entire route cost (from Birjand to Tehran).
- To leave Barandaz, tell Mr. Tabatabaei do arrangements for you. He will take a taxi that takes you to Khur and there you get on the bus. Get sure to call the bus driver several times to check the arrival time and if there are seats left for you.
In the end, I should add that you need no equipment to take with you even a sleeping bag. My wife and I are very sensitive about where we sleep and its cleanliness, but we did not use the sheets we had brought with us and slept so comfortably that it felt like home. Tabatabaei Barandaz Lodge is equipped with radiators. You can have the delicious home food is served at Barandaz for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If not, you can take your own food with you there. In case you are interested, they will provide you with a great opportunity to go on safari.