Intrepid Travel, the world’s largest B-Corp-certified travel company, is introducing brand new women’s trips and experiences for 2023, including its first ever Women’s Expedition in Pakistan.
Intrepid’s Women’s Expeditions, which first launched in 2018, are a collection of tours led entirely by female leaders that aim to break down barriers for female travellers, debunk misconceptions about gender norms and celebrate the similarities and differences of women around the globe.
Highlighting the new Women’s Expeditions for 2023 is the 12-Day Pakistan Women’s Expedition (from $5,275 AUD), which will have its first-ever departure on 17 September 2023 from Lahore, Pakistan. This itinerary connects travellers with local women in engaging settings typically off-limits to mixed-gender groups. Travellers will have the unique opportunity of experiencing one of the country’s few female-only salons in the ancient town of Gulmit, which provides women with hijabs a safe and respectful place to get their haircut. They will also discover Pakistan’s underestimated natural beauty, with the country holding the second highest record of mountains over 8,000 metres, just after Nepal. Travellers will join a local female leader on a journey through the Hunza Valley, discovering the communities and landscapes of the Hallowed Karakorum and Hindu Kush mountains.
Intrepid Pakistani Tour Leader Aneeqa Ali, who has helped lead the development of this tour, has witnessed the global misrepresentation of Pakistan and the lack of female inclusion in her home country’s tourism efforts. “Even the most adventurous travellers who have been all over the world don’t know much about Pakistan. When travellers want to visit, women in particular want a female tour guide because of the news they’ve heard about Pakistan, but if you look at Pakistan’s tourism industry, it’s like a world of men,” said Ali. “I’ve faced these challenges firsthand and thought ‘Why not be the change you want to see in the world?,’” she added.
Aneeqa is the founder of The Mad Hatters, a female-led travel company focused on empowerment, engagement and connection. Intrepid has partnered with Aneeqa to help provide more opportunities for female tour leaders in Pakistan. Through this Intrepid expedition, Aneeqa hopes more women in the world will come to discover Pakistan’s beauty and rich culture while supporting local female-owned businesses.
Alongside the Pakistan Expedition, Intrepid is also debuting a Nepal Women’s Expedition, which will run for the first time this year. The Intrepid Women’s Expeditions range will feature six trips in 2023, each one carefully designed to support employment opportunities for women while expanding the possibilities of female travel.
Other highlights of the full range Include:
Nepal Women’s Expedition: (13-Days, from $2,295 AUD)
Intrepid travellers will enjoy a five-day hike in the breathtaking Annapurna Mountain range, accompanied by an all-female crew of guides and porters. Travellers will learn about the challenges of local Buddhist nuns in an all-female monastery contradicting custom patriarchal traditions, and meet an NGO working to abolish the practice of Chhaupadi, the illegal but socially common tradition of banning women from homes, schools and temples during their menstrual cycle. They will also enjoy traditional Nepalese dishes at a MoMo cooking class with Ms. Dolma and experience a homestay in Madi Valley where local women are working to alleviate the impact of human activity on surrounding wildlife and nature.
Morocco Women’s Expedition: (8-Days, from $1,369 AUD)
Travellers will make their way through the ancient medina of Marrakech, getting lost in the labyrinth of pathways, shops and riads, before enjoying a home-cooked meal with Zineb, a local Marrakech woman and chef. Travellers will also be welcomed with open arms into the homes of Amazigh families for a traditional Moroccan feast, see how an artist co-op is empowering female rug-weavers in small villages, take in the verdant beauty of the far-flung M’goun Valley, and enjoy the singing and dancing of Moroccan women in small village ceremonies.
India Women’s Expedition: (12-Days, from $1,764 AUD)
In India, Intrepid groups will travel by public transport in the female-only carriage of the Delhi Metro and explore the colourful bazaars and architectural delights of Old Delhi. They will head out into the remote dunes of the Thar Desert to spend a night under the stars with traditional food and dance performances by the local women – while the men go off and cook dinner. They will also take a city tour on board the eye-catching pink rickshaws of Pink City Rickshaw Co, a non-profit that supports female livelihood in India.
Jordan Women’s Expedition: (8-Days, from $2,736 AUD)
On Intrepid’s eight-day Jordan Women’s Expedition, travellers have the unique opportunity of developing a deeper understanding of Middle Eastern women, learning the art and significance of henna to Bedouin women, celebrating sisterhood at a female-run cooking school dedicated to tradition, floating in the dead-sea at a female-only beach, and enjoying tea and chit chat with a renowned female matchmaker to learn about the customs of marriage and relationships in Jordan.
Iran Women’s Expedition: (12-Days, from $3,835 AUD)
In Iran, Intrepid travellers will have the freedom to connect with strong Iranian women of all ages and backgrounds, discovering the fascinating culture of the region and the remains of the ancient capital through a new lens. Groups will see the inside of a beauty salon, an oasis for many local women, and enjoy a picnic in a female-only park, one of the few places where women can enjoy the sunshine without a hijab. Travellers will also immerse themselves in nomadic life, tasting traditional meals, learning songs, exploring the local dress and baking fresh breads. (Note: All Intrepid departures in Iran are scheduled to resume on 19 August 2023. Updates are available on the Intrepid Travel Alerts page)
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