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Southeastern Iran

Southeastern Iran is frontier territory. It combines harsh landscapes, periodic banditry and warm welcomes to form a unique and exotic travelling experience. The region stretches east across ancient Kerman province, through high deserts scarred by brown snow-capped mountain ranges and coloured by occasional oasis towns and seasonal lakes. Kerman, the main city, is, in effect, the cultural border separating the Persians and the more eastern-oriented Baluchis, whose dress and customs feel more Pakistani.

Following old caravan routes southeast across the edge of the forbidding Dasht-e Lut, most travellers will stop in historic Bam and, if heading to Pakistan, in Zahedan, where smugglers criss-cross the deserts and the rule of law is tenuous. Kerman city is the launch pad for the surrounding historic towns and incredible desert landscapes, including Mahan and the Kaluts.

Much of southeastern Iran is desert or semidesert and the best time to avoid the heat is between around November and March. During these times daytime temperatures are often quite comfortable between about 10°C and 20°C, but overnight temperatures regularly fall to -10°C. This is particularly so in Kerman city, where the 1754m elevation tempers the heat.

Most of the places in this part of Iran are very dry and towns depend on qanats (underground water channels or canals) for their water supply. The hottest months are June to August.