Kish Island located in the Persian Gulf of Iran, is a small but important holiday resort for Iranian holidaymakers. This tiny island which 5,000 people live on, is a place that reminds you that you have to rethink what comes to mind when Iran is said.
Kish Island, which occupy an area of about 90 square kilometers is like the Hawaiian Islands of Iran, with its endless beaches, crystal clear waters filled with corals, tropical climate and calm atmosphere. Every month of the year, it welcomes more than 1 million tourists, most of whom are Iranians coming from the Gulf countries.
Mostly, it is a place where foreigners whose visa is ended in Dubai, enter to have gone in abroad. Already, Kish Island is called "Small Dubai" among Iranians and Middle Eastern tourists.
Kish Island, where I landed in the cockpit of a plane with of a tiny propeller, although not related to Dubai, could convince me as a place I can recommend as a holiday route formed by creating an oasis in the middle of the desert.
If you imagine all of Iran, this is the only place where the Iranians can make beach resort vacations, at the same time. This island which once was a desert, was tried to be turned into a living space for the rich Iranians by the Son Shah in the 1960s.
Today Kish Island reflects a completely different Iranian picture with its 30 luxury hotels, apart hotels and resorts, amusement parks, gigantic trade and shopping centers, bicycle routes, dive spots and luxury cars.
The island, which was used as a semi-open prison for a while, which did not attract much interest of the Iranians fifty years ago, began to develop rapidly in 1989, when the Free Zone project was passed on. The tiny Kish Island now resembles a huge construction site.
I was surprised by the lack of traffic lights, moving of the luxury cars and taxis without horn noise in away from chaos you would see in other cities of Iran. There is a standard tariff taxi fare on the island, wherever you go, the taxi fee will be always less than 3$.
The temperature in the island is between 25-30 C. One of the cheapest alternatives for those who want to enjoy the sea and the sun during the winter holidays is aldo Kish Island.
3 star hotels on the island are around 30 $ per day. 5 star hotels average around 95 $. If we think of the bed capacity of the island and add the cost of being away from the mainland, these prices are on the level that can be said reasonable enough.
Although Kish island is a liberty island for the Iranians, women also have the obligation to wear headscarves, as it is all over Iran. Women can swim in the sea; the beaches of men and women are also in different places. Beach prices vary between 2 $ per person on average. Men can benefit from free public beaches in the island, of course.
Also water sports in the island are very economical. I made my first dive in Gulf in here. You can dive between corals in the bay for about 16 $. The variety of fish in the sea was really impressive.
The island also hosts a 2500 year old underground city called Kariz-e-Kish and 800 year old settlements. Frankly I did not know that the island has so long history.
I was quite surprised when i descended about 16 meters below the ground and when i walk through the well-lit streets of the historic underground city that resembled the labyrinth.
On the underground city which does not occupy 10,000 acres, rooms, tiny shops, cafes, bridges, thousands of years old fossils and remains are impressive.
The Harireh Antique City, built in the 8th century, is also another historic place that can be seen in the island. Harireh, where is said to have been built in the last periods of Sasanid reign,