Earth : Asia : Middle East : Iran : Gulf Region (Iran) : Kish Island
Kish Island  is a beautiful island and touristic resort located on the north east of the Persian Gulf (Khalij-e Fars) about 17 km (10.2 miles) from the southern offshore of the mainland Iran. Kish is a free trade zone.
Kish Island, often called the Pearl of the Persian Gulf has an area of 90 square km (36 sq. miles). It is known for being a beautiful resort in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. Kish Island has relaxed laws in comparison to the rest of Iran. Like mainland Iran, the people of Kish are friendly and hospitable.
No entry visa is required for Kish. Foreign nationals need no entry visa at the authorized arrival and departure points in Kish Island. At Kish International Airport, the officials will take your photograph, fingerprints, and stamp your passport, allowing you to stay up to 14 days on the Island. Beware: if you are western, you may be sternly questioned as to the purpose of your visit. Make sure you bring all verification paperwork including hotel reservations with phone numbers, etc.
Upon arrival at Kish Airport, all female passengers will be immediately escorted to a room and very politely ordered to wear headscarves and long robes to cover their entire body. The clothing is available at the Airport, and passengers are expected to return them when leaving Kish. Female visitors may be detained for a period of time under the perception that they 'might have difficulty finding their way around the island'. However, the staff in general are very polite, but speak little English.
At present, there are a number of international airlines flying to Kish International Airport (IATA: KIH) . The most popular airline with the most regular domestic and international flights in Kish is "Kish Air" . Kish Air has international flights to Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Kish Air also offers domestic flights to Iran's main cities, including Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz and Mashhad.
Women who do not have appropriate Muslim dress (head scarves, long smocks or dresses) will be provided with those free of charge upon arrival prior to passing through customs and immigration. These complimentary loaners should be returned upon leaving.
Driving by car is an easy and smart option. Currently, there is only one route to Kish Island. If you are driving from Tehran, take care on the road and be alert of the highways and the pedestrians.
There are private buses that will take you from Tehran and other main cities to Kish Island. This is probably the safest way of travelling in Iran. Private buses in Iran are inexpensive compared to other countries in the Middle East.
There are boats that will take you from the port cities of Bandar-e Abbas, Bushehr, and Chahbahar. However, as of June 2009, this has reportedly been suspended.
If you are energetic, walking is your best option! However, like the rest of Iran, there are plenty of taxis - but without meters. It is advisable to fix the fare in advance, and to make sure that the driver understands exactly where you want to go. The majority of taxis on the island are Toyota Camrys and are fully air-conditioned. The normal fares are usually within the range of $2 USD to $5 USD depending upon the distance (which is never too long in any case, as the island is rather small).
Be careful to count your change as some taxi drivers will take advantage of tourists and attempt to short-change you on the fares.
Harireh Taxi Service +98 764 - 4451700
Paeeze Taxi Service +98 764 - 4451670
Toosan Taxi Service +98 764 - 4422400
Dalahoo Taxi Service +98 764 - 4451577
Popular tourist attractions
Snorkeling on the beaches of Kish Island is said to be amongst the best in the world, while the scuba-diving offers an even more spectacular insight of life beneath the waters. A variety of other water sports are also available: jet-skiing, sailing, fishing, parasailing, reef walking, coral viewing, boating and water-skiing are just a few of the popular ways to spend the time and enjoy yourself during your visit to the Island. A variety of other water sports are also available. The Kish coastline is one of the least dangerous coasts in the world. Kish has gorgeous white sandy beaches for relaxing walks.
Women-only beaches are available for the female tourists to the Island. Women do not have access to most beaches, or to the prime snorkeling areas. There used to be an "international beach" where male and female foreign tourists could swim together, but it has been closed by the government!.
Contrary to the above information regarding the Greek Ship, there is no restaurant on board what remains of the historic ship. Still, this is a beautiful island - and you could bring food along with you and enjoy the site while sitting at a shaded table nearby.
Kish is a trade free zone, making it the perfect place for profitable shopping and trading. The price of goods in Kish are notably cheaper than in mainland Iran. Many Iranians and tourists visit Kish to purchase duty free clothes, electronic goods, cosmetics, etc. There are a number of large shopping centres, most of them situated in the eastern part of the island. Due to the daytime heat, most shops are closed from 13.00 till around 17.30. Some stay open until late into the night. The shopping malls in Kish cater to every taste. However, be prepared to find numerous faux American and European brands such as Gucci, Prada, Diesel, The Gap, Ikea, and Starbucks. Very few merchandise is authentic. One exception is the 'Ikea' store, which is known for importing real Ikea merchandise such as ice-cube trays and dishes.
It is not difficult to find work on the Island. If you are sociable and hospitable, working in cafes and restaurants are the best way to go. If you are looking for work in the commercial and tourist sector, you must have at least some experience and knowledge of the Iranian economy and of Kish Island.
Most people on Kish Island work from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, including the government employees. On Thursdays, government employees work from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
Kish Island offers a wide selection of restaurants which range from Persian to International cuisines. Some of the most well-known restaurants include:
Nahange Sefid - a variety of Iranian food (live music).
Like mainland Iran, alcoholic beverages are not served on the Island. The tea is light, good in taste and is kept at every home, shop and other social places.
'Cafe Aquarium' (ground floor of Pardis II Shopping Mall.) This popular hangout serves "Starbucks" coffee, Italian style sandwiches, banana splits, and fresh juice to a young, hip crowd.
Accommodation in Kish is slightly more expensive than mainland Iran, however it is nothing too extortionate. Kish Island has a range of nice villas, hotels, and guest houses for tourists. Hotel reservations must be made through a travel agency in Tehran, which may be difficult if you are not Iranian and/or do not speak Persian.
There are various internet cafés on Kish Island. Internet speed varies from café to café. A popular internet café is The Kish Cyber Cafe  at Shayan Hotel, Tel: 4422771-5 (2623), [email protected], One hour is around $2.50 US.
If you feel like going to another beautiful island, Qeshm is also close by. It is not as tourist-friendly as Kish and is mostly visited by those interested in trade. You have the options of travelling by boat or plane. If you feel like going somewhere cultural and beautiful in mainland Iran, the city of Bushehr is anticipating your arrival.