My latest obsession with finding unfamiliar landscapes in Iran lead me to the province of Khuzestan, where I won the lottery in a tiny village called Pamenar. It was a bucolic heaven! 

I had heard of this place and even thought about including it in our itinerary long before we went off, but having to trim a whole day of our trip last-minute, messed up all the plan. I was bit meh about it first but there was only so much we could do.

Our trip to khuzestan was jam-packed with visits and day trips to other cities. We had hired a driver to take us around every single day which proved to be the greatest decision despite being a little too expensive. So when he told us that he could arrange to fit everything we wanted to see in 3 days and give us another day at Pamenar, we squealed in delight!

We knew of a family that could host us in the village. Apparently everyone else knew them too. We called them up, made a deal on the price and headed over to Pamenar on our last evening in Khuzestan. Our journey to the village turned out to be a battle of life and death! There was hardly any light in some parts of the way, the roads were bumpy and full of turns and twists and a driver with a poor night vision who wouldn’t accept us to take the role topped everything off! Nevertheless we arrived safe and sound and were greeted by Abootaleb, the youngest son of a family in Pamenar who are now renting two of their rooms beside the lake to visitors. The room was small, there was heating and all five of us were given mattresses, blankets and cushions for the night.

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Warm at last!

We could have asked for a chicken barbecue for dinner, but we had enough chicken for a lifetime (read here!) and decided to cook ourselves an omelet instead.

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Right before sleep, we went to wander in the village under a blanket of stars. Abootaleb told us one too many tales and stories of Pamenar and showed us the perfect spot to watch the sunrise incase we managed to pull ourselves from the blankets. Something I was not able to do.

Next day it was rise and shine. We had a huge breakfast and were off for a full morning over the lake. The lake in Pamenar is the result of the construction of Dez dam which was once one of the highest dams built in the world. It comes with the clearest water, tiny islands with rich vegetation and extraordinary wildlife.

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The dam

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We cruised around the lake on a bright sunny day with the wind gently stroking our faces and the mild heat not wanting us to ever go back home to chilly Tehran. It had been long since I had been anywhere that would convey the feeling of freedom so well and I did not want to leave.

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We got off on one of the islands and found campers who had succeeded in finding a little piece of heaven to lodge. Abootaleb told us that he would drop many of them here and bring them food and other stuff whenever needed. We were already regretting the idea of not staying there longer and were planning a trip to just here for God knows when.

We visited Khuzestan in early winter which was probably the most delightful time of the year. However up here in Pamenar, temperatures were a bit lower and not warm enough to go for a dip in the lake no matter how tempting it looked.

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See what I mean?

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I cannot really articulate the peace and calm we experienced while sitting on cliff tops and contemplating over the dramatic landscapes right before our eyes. Our time here was a sublimely charming one. 🙂

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According to Abootaleb, the whole field was going to be covered in red flowers in spring time. We were still grateful to see a few of them at least. 🙂

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After one satisfying morning and our full immersion in mother nature we got back to the house only to find Abootaleb’s mother busy preparing the most delicious fish from the lake. We had an incriminating amount of food and packed our stuff to leave for Andimeshk, from where we would take a train back to Tehran.

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Driving away from the village…
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My partners in crime who make every trip, an unforgettable memory to hold. 🙂

Facts:

  • This place is still very unknown even among Iranians, so it’s the perfect place if you’re looking for somewhere to relax and enjoy the nature. Our accommodation was basic. Toilets were outdoors but were clean and came with warm water. There’s decent heating and the blankets were clean enough, even though we had taken our own sheets. Something I’d suggest doing.
  • Price for accommodation was 30 Tomans per person with breakfast. That’s about 8€.
  • There are only two rooms and honestly I don’t think anymore than 5 people could have slept in each of them.
  • Lunch prepared by the family costs about 25 Tomans per person. I thought that was too expensive considering we had eaten a lot cheaper all over Khuzestan, but it was absolutely delicious.
  • Usually your rent comes with a boat ride over the lake, however we paid an extra 200 Tomans (50€) since we had the boat all to us for almost 2-3 hours.
  • According to Abootaleb who is also an official local guide of the region, the best time to visit here would be just before Nowruz. The weather would be warm enough to go for a swim and flowers would have already bloomed all across the island.
  • By any chance, do not drive to this place at night! There’s not enough light and road conditions are not exactly the best.
  • We arrived here when it was dark but we could see the sun setting over the lake on our way and it was absolutely sublime. If we didn’t have tickets for Tehran the next day, we would have stayed another night just to watch the sunset.
  • I would say give yourself two full days here to explore everything.

I know so many of you come to Iran for the culture, the architecture and the desert. But Iran has so many faces and so many other natural sceneries that are left undiscovered. Next time you visit, consider hitting the jackpot before it’s too late. Because they won’t be unknown for long. 😉

Village of Pamenar: The Other Face of Iran
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Want to read more about voyage through Khuzestan? Check out these links:

Coffee and tea rituals in an Iranian Arabic Mozif, Khuzestan

Our travels and adventures through Khuzestan in pictures. 

Photo Essay: Life by the Shadegan lagoon

 

10 thoughts on “Village of Pamenar: The Other Face of Iran

  1. Yenny Tang says:

    Hi Matin

    I really really enjoyed this post! It looks like it’s a great adventure and your pictures are beautiful. I am wondering if you mind sharing with a bit of information about how you arranged for this trip? Do you mind sharing the contact information of the guide that you hired? How much is the total cost for 3 days? I am going to Iran in Apr by myself and I stumbled upon your post so I want to see if I can fit it in my itinerary. Thank you. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Why Visiting Iran NOW is the Best Travel Decision You've Made! - Travestyle

  3. Laia says:

    What a wonderful place Matin! I do believe that Iran has many faces, even though when we think of it the first image we get is Persepolis and the desert. I like places with water and mountains, Pamenar is definitely the kind of place I’d love! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Fabrice Moreau says:

    Should I understand that in 2016, 1 toman = 10 000 rials officially?

    During my last trip in Iran, in 2010, 1 toman = 10 rials, even if the ‘000 were usualy eluded.

    Fabrice

  5. M says:

    Thanks aswell for this blogpost! Besides Kurdistan, we also visited Pamenar because of your blog. Amazing village!
    We stayed with Darius, his lovely wife and their son. They are amazingly friendly people. Is this the same family? Darius asked us if we could post his number: +(98)9371221025. You can contact him if you want accommodation/a boattrip. He owns a boat and knows a lot about Pamenar.

    • Matin Lashkari says:

      I don’t know Darius. The guy we stayed with was called Abolfazl. Pamenar is an absolute charm and definitely off the beaten path. You and your husband seem to have had an amazing itinerary for Iran. I wonder where else you’ve visited?!

  6. Fabian says:

    Hey Matin,

    what a great description about your trip to Pamenar ! As the place is so tremendous beautiful and pretty unknown, my girlfriend and I will visit this breathtaking area when staying in Iran this summer in August !! We´re really really looking forward to getting know the hospitality of Iranian people, their culture and especially all the beautiful landscapes and architecture 🙂 I was just wondering if you can give me your e-mail so I can contact you privately regarding information of your local guide in Pamenar !
    Thanks soo much in advance and have a great time,

    Fabian

    • Matin Lashkari says:

      Hello Fabian, You’re absolutely welcome and I’m glad you found the article inspiring.
      You can find my email in the about me section of the blog (matinl90[@]gmail.com).
      I’m not sure how much English he speaks but it’s worth the shot. Keep in mind that the whole Khuzestan region will be extremely hot and humid in August. I’d personally recommend going to the North instead. I’ve got plenty of articles on places with great landscapes from the north of Iran. 🙂

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