Enjoy a five-day hike in the stunning Annapurnas, while being completely supported by an all-female crew of leaders, guides, assistants, and even porters.. Visit an NGO working to abolish the practice of Chhaupadi, the illegal but socially common practice of forbidding women to enter their homes, kitchens, schools, and temples during their menstrual cycle, as they are thought to be rendered temporarily impure.. Visit Madi Valley, a homestay run by women that is working alleviate human impact on the surrounding nature and wildlife.. Learn how to create traditional Nepalese dishes while supporting a unique social enterprise that has changed the lives of more than 1,000 disadvantaged women in Nepal.
Through a mix of festival celebrations, cultural experiences and trekking in the Himalayas, this women’s only expedition will give you a unique insight into the diverse lives of Nepalese women. Meet a wide range of female trailblazers, from chefs at a social enterprise, women campaigning to end discrimination against women who are menstruating, to an all-female crew of mountain guides and porters. Hear a range of inspiring personal stories and spend some time reconnecting with nature at a female-run village homestay on the fringes of Chitwan National Park, which is helping to conserve wildlife in the area. You’ll also have the chance to take part in the Hartalika Teej Festival alongside the locals, a three-day women’s only Hindu celebration.
Breakfast Included: 6 Lunches Included: 4 Dinner Included: 6
Namaste! Welcome to Kathmandu. Your Nepal Women’s Only Expedition will begin with a welcome meeting held at the hotel at 6pm – please check with the hotel reception to find out where it will be. After the welcome meeting, join your local leader and other members of your group for an included dinner – your leader will take you to a local restaurant where you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy local delicacies like momos and dal bhat and see a traditional dance performance.
This morning head out for a three-hour trek to Buddhanikantha, a 30-minute drive from Kathmandu. On the way you’ll see everything from beautiful waterfalls to bustling village bazaars, before ending at the Hidden Monastery for lunch with the Buddhist nuns there. Once back in Kathmandu you’ll cook your own dinner at Seven Women, an organisation supported by The Intrepid Foundation that socially and economically empowers marginalised women in Nepal through a variety of education programs, skills training and income generation. While the initiative started with just seven participants, to date over 5,000 women have been educated, trained and employed by Seven Women. In the cooking class, you’ll learn how to make some delicious Nepali dishes and have the chance to talk to these amazing local women who have overcome discrimination to turn their lives around.
After breakfast this morning you’ll visit the Restless Development office in Kathmandu to learn about how this project is trying to eliminate Chhaupadi pratice in Nepal. Chhaupadi is a tradition associated with menstrual taboo in the western part of Nepal, which prohibits Hindu women and girls from participating in normal family activities while menstruating, as they are considered impure. The women are banned from the house and are required to live in a cattle shed or menstruation hut for the duration of their period. During this time, women and girls are restricted from participating in everyday life events, and from interacting with their communities and also risk their lives due to the poor ventilation conditions in the huts and sheds. After lunch you’ll take a 30-minute flight to Pokhara in Central Nepal. Once your feet are back on the ground, your leader will take you for an orientation walk around the the lakeside area to an elaborate Hindu temple and a Buddhist monastery. We'll walk along the lake (Phewa Tal), the second largest in Nepal, and take in spectacular views of the Annapurnas and the famous fishtail peak, Machhapuchhare.
Tonight, you’ll stay at 3 Sisters Guesthouse, owned by three sisters who work to promote and empower socially disadvantaged women through adventure tourism. They provide skills-based training programs with gainful employment opportunities to encourage other women to become self-supportive and independent.
Pokhara/Kalikasthan - Yangjakot trek (1440m)
This morning you’ll embark on a scenic hour and a half long drive to the outlying village of Kalikasthan, a perfect starting point for a hike in the Nepalese mountains. Here, you’ll meet your all-female hiking crew made up of a mountain guide, assistant guides, and porters. They will lead you into a world of friendly villagers, terraced fields, alpine meadows and rhododendron forests set before a back-drop of snow-clad peaks. Begin with a two-hour walk down to the Modi River, where you’ll pass through delightful little villages and enjoy mesmerising vistas of the Lamjung Himal and Annapurna II mountains. From here, it’s another three-hours of walking to the village of Yangjakot where we spend the night in a local homestay to get a real insight into village life.
Yangjakot - Tanting trek (1580m)
This morning you’ll leave the homestay and make a gradual descent back down to the Modi Valley to the village of Chasu, which takes about three hours. Here there’ll be an opportunity to rest and refuel before undertaking the two-hour ascent to the terraced fields to Tanting. This Gurung village is typical of the raw beauty of traditional Nepalese hillside villages. Tonight, you’ll spend the night in another homestay, with plenty of opportunities for local interaction.
Tanting - Sikles trek (1980m)
This morning you’ll trek to Sikles, which takes about four hours in total and is your final destination for the day. This village is full of welcoming locals, picturesque terraced fields, alpine meadows and views of the giants of the Annapurnas section of the Himalayas: Annapurna IV which is 7,525 metres high and Annapurna II which towers at 7,937m, as well as the monolithic hulk of Lamjung Himal. There are many optional activities to fill your afternoon. If you haven’t had enough walking over the past few days, you can hike to viewpoints, pop into the small but charming Eco-Museum in Sikles, or just soak up the rhythm of local life. You can also help the host at your homestay with the daily chores, perhaps getting your hands dirty on the farm.
Sikles to Ghalegaun trek (1620m)
Set out on the longest section of your trek. Leave the village in the morning and enter deep woods trekking westwards with snow-capped peaks to your right. From here, you’ll make the steep climb up to a grassy wooded knoll known as Tara Top, which will take about four hours in total. This is the vantage-point for a spectacular 360-degree view that encompasses most of the Annapurna mountain chain. From here, you’ll descend for three hours through the shady forests of mossy rhododendron with wild flowers on the sunnier banks and wild orchids attached to the branches above, before arriving at Ghalegaun. A homestay in Ghalegaun will be your well-earned resting place for the night.
Ghalegaun to Bhurjung Khola trek/Pokhara
This morning is your last day of trekking for the trip. After breakfast, head down to Bhurjung Khola, an arm of the Seti River. You’ll follow it south until you reach the road, which will take about two hours. From here, your private vehicle will be here to take you back to Pokhara, an hour and a half long journey. You’ll have a free afternoon and evening to relax and enjoy everything Pokhara has to offer. Treat yourself to a massage as a reward for all your hard work or maybe shop for a red sari as is traditionally worn by local women over upcoming Teej festival.
Enjoy a free morning before boarding the 20-minute afternoon flight to Chitwan. From here, you’ll take a two-and-a-half-hour drive to Madi Valley. Tonight, we’ll be staying at Intrepid’s community based tourism project, the Madi Valley Homestay program. This project provides sustainable income and encourages the communities living on the fringes of Chitwan National Park to conserve the wilderness and wildlife around them. On our arrival, the local women, dressed in their traditional Magar attire, will be there to greet you and welcome you into their homes. In the evening the women will teach you to cook local dishes to enjoy for dinner as a group. It’s also a great opportunity to chat to the women about their lives and work. After dinner, you’ll be treated to a cultural performance by the local women, where they demonstrate one of the oldest ethnic dance forms of the Magar community; the Maruni Naach.
Chitwan National Park
After breakfast, you’ll be driven to Chitwan National Park for a half-day safari. Upon arrival, you’ll be introduced to the camp staff and resident naturalists, who will take you on a safari through the forests and across grasslands to observe the varied and exciting wildlife in the park. In the afternoon, you’ll make the drive to Kasara Jungle Resort, your luxurious home for the evening in the heart of the national park. You’ll have time to relax or the option of a swim or spa treatment before taking the hour and a half drive by private vehicle to Tharu Village. Here you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the lifestyles of the Tharu women and observe a cookery demonstration of the local cuisine, before sharing dinner together.
Chitwan National Park - Kathmandu
This morning you’ll be leaving Chitwan early for your hour and a half journey back to Kathmandu.Upon your return to Kathmandu, you’ll join local women as they prepare for tomorrows very special celebration – Hartalika Teej, the fasting festival exclusive to the women of Nepal. Tomorrow, during the festival, Nepalese women will dress in beautiful red sarees, fast throughout the day, and pray to Lord Shiva, one of the three main Hindu gods, for a happy marriage. Tonight we'll join local women while they prepare for tomorrows fast by feasting on a special home cooked meal and dancing together in their red sarees.
Hartalika Teej Festival
This morning join the local women as they sing and dance their way to Pashupatinath Temple, located on the bank of the holy Bagmati River. It is the most important Hindu temple in Nepal and is exclusively accessible to women over Hartalika Teej Festival.
This evening we head to Village Café for an included farewell dinner. The Village Café allows women who would otherwise be based at home to earn a living cooking traditional Nepali cuisine, using ingredients they have grown in their own fields. It is the ideal place to say goodbye to your fellow female adventurers and celebrate the connections you’ve made with other women from around the world.