We’ve never been to a desert before so we planned to visit a desert near a small town Varzaneh. Varzaneh desert is beautiful and has more to offer than just sand dunes. We spent there one day and had a wonderful time! We had so much fun there and felt like little children when sandboarding the dunes :) After reading this note, you’ll definitely put Varzaneh desert on your bucket list!
One Day In Varzaneh Desert
GETTING TO VARZANEH
As we wrote in a previous note Esfahan Iran – people we will never forget, we got to the Varzaneh town from Esfahan by taxi. The reason why we took this mean of transport was that it was Friday and the buses go very rarely on that day. We didn’t want to miss the whole day, because we would have waited for the next bus a couple of hours. Fortunately, there was one driver who also was planning to go to Varzaneh with his car and was looking for passengers to make some extra money. We picked him, because doing nothing at the station didn’t seem to be a brilliant idea.
As it turned out the guy was a breadstuff provider for small stores in villages around Esfahan. So we had a ride in a car with tons of fresh rolls and baguettes. Also we had a few stops in tiny, lovely villages on the way when the driver was delivering the food. It was a nice, exceptional experience as we saw the places that we would never see otherwise.
It cost us 500 000 IRR (approx. $12). The ride took about 1 hour and the taxi driver put us down in front of our hotel.
In Varzaneh we booked a traditional hotel. Most traditional hotels in Iran are square and have a patio without a roof in the center. We already visited such hotels in Yazd and you can read about it in our note Yazd city and the hotel with the most stars in the world. This hotel looked similar. When we came, the administrator of the hotel asked us to sit in the patio and wait for some time because the staff was still cleaning the rooms. We sat and met other hotel guests – everyone was from abroad. People we’ve met were staying in this hotel in Varzaneh for a week. We think it’s no need to stay in this town so long, especially that most of the time they were just sitting in the hotel. We decided to spend there one day and we think it’s absolutely enough.
WALK AROUND THE TOWN
In the meantime we went for a walk. The town is worth visiting also to see the architecture – it’s a real desertic town and for us it looked like in the movie. It was Friday noon so there was nobody around (it was hotter than in other cities as Varzaneh is very close to the desert), the buildings are made of yellow-orange bricks there and everything has a color of the sand – amazing place! A couple of times we passed by some locals that were mostly on motor scooters. One of them even proposed to take us on his scooter to his house for a tea :) but we didn’t have much time and had to come back to our hotel.
In Iran people can invite tourists to their places for a tea and most of them have good intentions but even locals say that just in case you should be careful. We’ve met only good people on our way but like everywhere: everything can happen.
DINNER – TRADITIONAL IRANIAN DISH
We came back and our room was ready, so we went to leave our stuff and then ate dinner in the hotel patio. Varzaneh is a very small desertic town and there are not many shops there. We don’t even know if we would find a place to eat dinner, if we wouldn’t order it at the hotel. Everything looked very solitary (also because it was Friday) and it was just easier to order the meals in the hotel. For dinner we tried Iranian dish called Ghormeh Sabzi. It’s kind of a soup and it’s based on chopped lamb meat with kidney beans or red beans and some other vegetables. It seem to be very healthy :)
Our hotel was organizing trips to the desert, so after dinner we could start our adventure. We rented a sandboard from the hotel – we took only one because it’s possible to sandboard together on one board. We went in one car with the driver and two Spanish girls that also came to the town on the same day as we did. It was good for us, because we could share the costs of hiring the car with them. Other hotel guests stayed at the hotel because they took the trip the day before.
ABANDONED ZOROASTRIAN TEMPLE
Our first stop was abandoned Zoroastrian temple. The ride to this place didn’t take us long and we spent about half an hour there. Near the temple, there is a small river. We could come close to the tiny spring and see and feel with hands how the water drains from it. Then we went closer to the temple. Although it’s not big, it makes a big impression – an abandoned temple in front of nowhere, just amazing! We went inside and could go up to see the surrounding from the top of it. We enjoyed the views to the lake, desert and mountains.
Next we got to the salt lake. At first we stopped at dry salt lake, which is a huge area that looks just like a desert but instead of salt, there is a salty soil. The ground is cracked is some places and we could see the water there.
Then we got to the proper salt lake. The lake and area looks beautiful – just like there was snow in the desert but it’s all salt. The lake is shallow, so we crossed it on foot. The water gives funny feeling as it’s effervescing a little and it’s warm and has a milky color. This place is just incredible :)
Next our driver took us to the highest dunes in the desert. We climbed up and were very happy that we took just one board because it’s very hard and exhausting to go up the dunes. It was windy there and we had sand everywhere :)
The view from the top is just wonderful – it is an exceptional feeling to be at the desert for the first time. We just couldn’t wait to start sandboarding. It was so much fun! But with each time it was harder and harder to climb up. After couple of slides we just sat at the top of one dune and watched the sunset. At the desert we spend maybe about 2 hours. It’s a great attraction and we felt like children being there.
After the sunset, we went to our driver – he was waiting for us all the time in front of his car. He had a thermos with tea and glasses and treated us with it. It was so delicious! We tried many great teas in Iran, but it was the best one!
On our way back, the driver stopped his car and showed us the milky way. The sky was beautiful. Our hotel had an option of sleeping at the desert and we thought of taking it but there was one problem. At the desert we’ve visited, there are poisonous scorpions and we decided not to risk. Still the time we had was amazing and we enjoyed it a lot. Altogether the trip took us about 6 hours. It was definitely a special day for us and we will never forget it :)
BACK TO THE HOTEL
We came back, changed and went to the patio to eat supper. We had a traditional Iranian meal called Kashk Bademjan. It’s a vegetarian traditional eggplant dish, which contains only vegtables, walnut and spices. All the dishes we ate in this hotel were traditional Iranian ones. They all were a new taste for us and we’re glad we tried them – definitely worth to :)
We were tired and went to our room after supper. Instead of a bed we had two mattresses to sleep. The funny thing is that we really had sand everywhere after coming back – in ears, hairs, pockets :) We needed a couple of baths to get rid of this unusual souvenir.
In the morning we ate breakfast and headed to the bus station – it was about 5 minutes by walking from our hotel and very easy to find. We just needed to go straight all the time till we get to the roundabout.
The bus station is just one small room with couple of seats and doesn’t really look like a bus station. We waited there for a while and some older nice ladies wanted to talk to Agata and asked something in Persian :) She tried to communicate with them but it wasn’t easy. Still, it was very nice of them to show some interest and we appreciate it.
Inside the bus looked different than all the buses we’ve ever took before. We can describe it as cozy :) Maybe it’s unusual for the buses to look cozy, but just look at the photo:
The ride to Esfahan took us about an hour and a half. Then we continued our trip in this city. You can read about it in our note Esfahan Iran – people we will never forget.