Money in Iran is a complete enignma at the start. Everything is just so cheap there that you’ll rarely question the price of things. However, you need to be careful, as you yourself could be to blame for paying exactly 10 times as much for everything. Anyone that has been to Iran will know why – the difference between Rials and Toman. Monday’s Money Saving Tips today will clear up this beast for you, the Rivals v Toman debate. It is something that is rarely covered on travel blogs so I thought I’d step in to keep you all in the loop. It is important to understand that in Iran, there are two different prices quoted for a lot of things.
What is a Rial?
It’s the official unit of currency used in Iran. That’s all there is to it. It comes in denominations of:
100 Rial Notes (you rarely see them)
200 Rial Notes (you rarely see them)
500 Rial Notes – $0.02
1,000 Rial Notes – $0.04
2,000 Rial Notes – $0.08
5,000 Rial Notes – $0.20
10,000 Rial Notes – $0.40
20,000 Rial Notes – $0.80
50,000 Rial Notes – $2
100,000 Rial Notes – $4
So yes, when we were backpacking in Iran the highest value of one note was a mere $4US. It sounds crazy, but when you realise that for $4 you can get a bed for the night in some places, you’ll find that ardent backpackers can get by easily on $10 US a day.
What is a Toman?
A Toman is the local speak, it’s not the official currency but it’s what most people quote as the price for something. To work it out is easy – you just take a “0” off the Rial amount. The notes are the same of course, but they are quoted with the last zero removed.
Toman is used MORE often than Rial by locals when quoting prices, at least in the parts of Iran that we visited. So in other words if a guy tells you something costs 2,000. He probably means 2,000 Toman. Which is actually 20,000 Rials. We spent a month in Iran and after 2 days we were fully aware and asked for things in Toman a lot of the time just to confirm the price. Always start low and haggle, even in cheap markets as locals are becoming aware that some foreigners are not that clever and will pay the first price they are quoted. It’s essential for you to barter things down in this case as we want all fellow travellers to Iran to have a positive report of the people there. It’s not a poor country, it’s just that the money is worth less to them, it’s cheaper to foreigners.
In closing though, I will also add that it’s not actually that big an issue as Iranians are so friendly and it’s a very safe and welcoming country, but you need to confirm if you’re paying in Rials or Toman in advance anyway. The only people that really tried to rip us off in Iran were taxi drivers and haggling down too much is also not cool, Iranians are lovely people and while we want a bargain, let’s not deprive them the right to earn a decent wage.
Here are my other useful posts from backpacking in Iran:
– How to get an Iran Authorisation Code
– How to get an Iran Visa in Trabzon
– How to get from Turkey to Iran
– Working with Issa at Zarad Band in Iran
– Touring Kandovan Cave Town
– The Amazing Deserts of Kaluts
– Top 5 Sights Tabriz
– Top 10 Sights Kerman
– Top 11 Sights Yazd
– Top 7 Sights Shahr-e Kord
– Alamut Castle Gazor Khan
– Camel Riding in Mesr
– Food – Camel Meat Stew
– Food – Beer and Burgers
With my endless money saving travel tips and stories, I want to help you all save money as you travel the world! Check my advertising page if you have an idea for my Monday’s Money Saving Tips, and don’t forget I welcome free trips, free food and any spare Rials or Toman that are going…
10 thoughts on “Monday’s Money Saving Tips: Rials v Toman in Iran”
I really hated hearing about Toman instead of Rial while in Iran because every tourist knows in the national currency is the Rial and to hear the price in Tomans made me lay a few Rial notes on the counter and say: “please select the right rial note for me because to me your currency is Rial not Tomas”
My friends father was saying to be “I sent my son 5 millions Tomans a month to pay his rent” roughly about $300 rent for my friend
In Tehran i drove past a tall building that had the Rial sign lighted up in the distance.
Gosh the Rial hash been devaluated. I remember about 2 years ago the highest bank note was around $20 AUDD
$10 a night? That is super! I haven’t been to Iran, and I’ve been hearing how amazing this country is, also they say the Iranians are very friendly. I want to experience that myself.. hopefully soon! 🙂
Totally agree Martin – I hated it too but the locals love to talk in Toman so you kind of get used to it. Yes it’s a really cheap country and has been devalued quite a bit. I reckon now is the time to head there. Safe travels. Jonny
Hi Rachel – do it – Iran is a great country and is currently very cheap to travel in so now is the time to go. Safe travels. Jonny
Very useful post again, thanks! As you probably know, we are preparing to set off for our hitchhiking trip across Asia and I’m going to read all your posts about Iran as you cover most things I’d like to know 🙂
Hitch-Hikers Handbook recently posted…Ainsa Monument & Sights guide
Thanks for the comments guys – there won’t be much on Iran here the next 2 months as I’m out in Brazil and my Iran notebook is in Hong Kong, but I’m glad you like the ones so far! Safe travels. Jonny
Very helpful information, I will travel to Iran soon! Is there any way to book Domestic flights in Iran?
Hi Miranda, thanks for the comment. Yes you can do that no problem. You can book them on the high street in most Iranian cities in the little travel agents, very cheap too although we backpacked all of it overland on buses, cars, jeeps and trains. Enjoy Iran! Jonny
Hi Miranda, yes there is, I and my family traveled to Iran 3 months ago, We booked our travel services like flights online and with a credit card through https://1stquest.com/flight
Hi Bruno, Thanks for the comment and for checking my website. Apologies for the delay in response. Unfortunately I have been suffering from long-term depression caused by a liar and I wasn’t checking all comments and messages or replying. I hope you enjoyed my article on Iran. Stay safe. Jonny