Iranians are some of the most encouraging people when it comes to speaking their language. They’ll not only cheer you on for attempting to say a few words, but they’ll also teach you more and help perfect your pronunciation. So, don’t be shy! And use our list of the essential Persian phrases as a starting point for interacting with locals and making new friends.
Did you know you can now travel with Culture Trip? Book now and join one of our premium small-group tours to discover the world like never before.
Greetings and Essentials
Salâm / Dorood — Hello
Start with a smile and one of these words. Salâm is probably the most routine way to say “hello,” but since it’s an Arabic-rooted word, many Iranians opt to use the authentically Persian dorood. Choose whichever you like (or whichever is easier to remember).
Khasteh nabâshid (khas-teh na-baa-sheed)
There’s no English translation for this because it’s a cultural phrase rooted in Iranian taarof. It literally means “don’t be tired” and is used as a way to recognize and appreciate a person’s hard work. Use it as a greeting alone or right after “hello” as a super polite greeting. The standard answer is salâmat bâshid, “may you be healthy.”
Merci / Kheyli mamnoon / Sepâs — Thank you
Persian has several ways to say “thank you,” and they’re often used together in combination. Take your pick from one of these. Similar to “hello” above, if you want to use the authentic Persian word, go with sepâs.
Khâhesh mikonam — You’re welcome, or Please, I insist.
This phrase can be a simple answer to “thank you.” But when an Iranian says ghâbel nadâre,implying that you don’t need to pay, you can use khâhesh mikonam to insist. They’ll be astonished (and relieved) you recognized it as taarof and take your money.
Baleh / Na — Yes / No
Two of the most basic words, you’ll be surprised how far they can get you.
Befarmâid (be-far-mâ-eed) — Here you go.
Another taarof-related phrase, this one can be used in many contexts, but it’ll be most helpful to you when you want to hand someone money. Otherwise, you might hear it when someone offers you something or directs you—as if to say, “go ahead.”
Bebakhshid (be-bakh-sheed) — Excuse Me
Appropriate when you want to get someone’s attention or if you accidentally bump into someone.
Khodâ hâfez — Goodbye
When parting ways, a simple khodâ hâfez (run together to sound like khodâfez) will suffice. The response might be this same phrase or khodâ negahdâr, “may God protect you.”
Servees behdâshti kojâs? — Where is the bathroom?
Take advantage of bathrooms in any restaurants or attractions you visit and be prepared for the squat kind. If you don’t remember this phrase, use the universally understood “WC.”
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
At a restaurant
Man giâhkhoram (man gee-âh-khor-am) — I’m a vegetarian.
Vegetarianism is very slowly (but surely) growing in Iran, but still, Persian cuisine is highly meat-based. This phrase may come in handy in case anyone is in shock as to why you aren’t inhaling that plate of chelow kebab, the national dish.
Kheyli khosh mazas — It’s delicious.
Iranians are proud of their cuisine, and dinner for a normal-sized group can yield enough to feed a small army. Compliment the chef for the delicious food you’ve just devoured, and give them an enormous sense of self-satisfaction at having fed you well.
Daste shomâ dard nakone — Thank you (for the meal)
Yet another phrase for “thank you,” this one is taarof-based and literally means “may your hand not hurt.” Impress the locals and appear like one yourself when you thank someone for a meal.
Nooshe jân! — Bon appétit!
Though you’re more likely to hear this phrase, it’s a good one to know because it’s so common. It’s used by the cook both before a meal, like bon appétit, and after to express delight that you enjoyed the dish.
Seer shodam — I’m full
Iranians will constantly try to feed you and won’t be content unless you’ve left the country with a few extra kilos. Don’t be afraid to tell them you are full—they’ll just pack you a to-go box for later.
Ye delester lotfan — One non-alcoholic beer, please.
There’s no beer or wine served in restaurants, so you’ll have to settle for soft drinks or delester, non-alcoholic beer. Try it in original or fruity flavors.
Een chande? — How much is it?
Since prices aren’t often listed, you’ll need this if you plan to do any shopping.
Âkharesh chand meedeen? — How much will you give it to me?
There’s always a little wiggle room when it comes to the price, especially in the bazaars, and asking for a discount is commonplace. This question cuts to the chase—in the end, how much will you give it to me? At which point you can buy it or walk away.
Chetori? — How are you?
Iranians first ask how someone is doing, even if they just spoke two minutes ago. Get used to asking this question and answering it with khubam, which means I’m well.
Man ahle ___ hastam. — I’m from ___.
The inherently curious nature of Iranians peaks when they see a foreign tourist, wanting to know which part of the world they’re from. Learn how to say your country, and throw them off guard when you give a Persian answer to their English question. They’ll love you for it.
Khosh bakhtam — Nice to meet you
Felan — Bye, for now / Talk soon
This informal word is used between friends and sometimes followed by khodâ hâfez (goodbye).
If you’re interested in exploring more of the Middle East, why not join our premium nine-day adventure to Jordan? Or for more travel inspiration, browse our collections of Epic Trips, Mini Trips and Sailing Trips to find your next exciting destination.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.