Stride climate

Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Iran: Women's Expedition tour
Persepolis Shiraz Iran: Women's Expedition Trip

Iran: Women's Expedition

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4.7 . Excellent
98%
Travel Style: For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
12 days
From: $ 2,614 $ 218 / day
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Overview

Highlights

  • Shop for, prepare and enjoy a five-course meal at a local cooking school in Tehran. It’s a chance to not only experience a lively Iranian bazaar but learn age old secret recipes from local women.
  • Enjoy a picnic in one of Iran’s increasingly prevalent women’s-only parks, one of the few places women can enjoy the sunshine without a hijab
  • Immerse yourself in rural nomadic life on a beautifully remote homestay with the Qashqai people. Enjoy a meal, sing songs, try on the local dress, and give bread-baking a go
  • Step inside the fascinating hidden world of an Iranian beauty salon. You’ll see that these oases for many local women
  • Travel by public transport in the female-only carriage of the metro, local buses and an overnight train
  • Join a female scarf shop owner in Tehran to learn the many different ways of tying and wearing the iconic Middle Eastern garment
  • Experience the wondrous remains of the ancient capital of Persepolis – the scale and grandeur will leave you in no doubt that this was once the centre of the known world.
  • While summer is a tempting option, there’s the equally attractive option of beating the crowds and going in winter. It’s actually our favourite time of year to experience this magical country so consider booking on a departures that runs during the cooler months of December through to February.

Short Description

Join Intrepid on our first ever female-only, female-led 12-day expedition through Iran. Designed to allow travellers a unique opportunity to discover the customs, food, challenges and lives of local women of Iran through a range of experiences otherwise off limits to our normal mixed gender groups. Although gender segregation is not typically Iranian, strict dress codes imposed by Islamic Law have meant many places & ways of life have become segregated by default. Step inside the hidden world of an Iranian beauty salon, wander through a female only park, and travel by public transport in the female-only carriage of the metro, local buses and an overnight train. Experience rural nomadic life with Qashqai people, meet young female entrepreneurs, and learn secret recipes from those in the know. This trip will expose you to a range of fascinating local women; young, old, religious, conservative, rural, modern and liberal. We would love to open up these real life experiences to all our travellers; however, in order to operate in a socially responsible and culturally sensitive manner this is simply not possible. At least not yet! If you're interested in travelling to Iran on a similar itinerary, check out some of other group departures or speak to your booking agent about a tailor-made itinerary. Before booking on this trip we recommend that you read the ‘Safety’ section in the trip notes regarding special safety considerations for Iran trips.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Off the beaten track trips will stretch your comfort zone. They don't always feature tourist highlights, but dive deeper into local life and culture.
Itinerary Focus Off the Beaten Path
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport N/A
Start City Shiraz
End City Shiraz

Destinations

Iran

Cities & Attractions

Persepolis Shiraz

Activities

N/A

N/A
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Itinerary

Day 1 Shiraz

Welcome to Iran. You will be met on arrival at Shiraz International Airport and transferred to your hotel. The adventure starts with a welcome meeting at 12 pm. Many travellers arrive in Iran with a perception that's way off compass. There's an idea that it will be like, say, Saudi Arabia – that women are not allowed to drive, that they can’t work or get an education, that they are highly conservative and religious. And there’s no doubt that in Iran you will see very conservative, religious women dressed head-to-toe in the ‘Chador’ (meaning ‘tent’ in Farsi). But with half of Iran’s population younger than 35, you’ll find far more young Iranian women with head scarfs pushed back low on the head, bright coloured clothing (some of it figure-hugging), high heels, and an immaculately made-up look with red lipstick and nails. Parks exclusively for women are popping up all over Iranian cities. It is one of the few places women can exercise, picnic or simply enjoy the sun hijab free. You'll head to one with your leader for a stroll, a chat to the locals or perhaps a picnic. In the evening, dine in a traditional restaurant for a taste of some local dishes. Follow this with a visit to one of the many fashionable cafes which are quickly becoming a popular hang-out for young Iranians.

Day 2 Shiraz

Rise early and head to a local bakery to sample some fresh bread, before driving to Iran's premier attraction, Persepolis (approximately 1 hour) .Once the centre of the Persian Empire and one of the great cities of the ancient world, Persepolis was constructed in the reign of Darius I and took more than 150 years to complete. On the way back to the hotel we will make a special stop to visit the Shahcheragh shrine (Mosque). Shāh Chérāgh (Persian: شاه چراغ ) is a funerary monument and mosque in Shiraz, Iran, housing the tomb of the brothers Ahmad and Muhammad, sons of Mūsā al-Kādhim and brothers of 'Alī ar-Ridhā. Enter the female only section of the Mosque and have a talk with a female specialist guide who will explain more about the religious importance of the shrine, and the Islamic faith in general. Later, in the evening, we'll head to a popular gym to join a yoga class with local women. Yoga studios, gyms, swimming pools are among the ‘private’ spaces which have become segregated by default in modern Iranian life. They're safe and legal places where women can remove the Islamic dress, be themselves, and relax – without moral reprimand from the stricter elements in their society. Afterwards, enjoy a sample of some popular local street food.

Day 3 Esfahan

Travel by local VIP bus to one of Iran's highlights, Esfahan (500 km; approximately 6–7 hours). We'll arrive in the late afternoon. Esfahan is simply one of the finest places in the Islamic world. A 16th-century rhyme called it 'half the world' and, after spending a few days here, you might agree. There's an abundance of fine Islamic buildings, most of which are covered with the blue mosaic tiles Iran is famous for. There's also an enormous bazaar, the perfect place to shop for exquisite Persian carpets. Or you can relax by the tranquil gardens, picturesque bridges and superb palaces. This evening, take a stroll down to the Zayandeh River and have a look at its historic bridges, which appear to have been lifted straight out of a fairytale. At several of the bridges local people gather to talk, drink tea and sing beautiful folk songs. It's a magical place to while away some time, and one of the most atmospheric places in all of Iran.

Day 4 Esfahan

Start the day with a half-day tour of the city, visiting the UNESCO heritage-listed Naqsh-e Jahan Square and the exquisite Sheik Lotfollah Mosque. At the latter site, your guide will you give you an insight into life under Persia's greatest ruler, Shah Abbas. The tour starts at the immense Imam Square (formerly Naqsh-e Jahan Square), the second-largest square in the world. Surrounding the square are several grand buildings, such as the Ali Qapu Palace, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Qeysarieh Portal and the majestic Imam Mosque. Located in the west of Imam Square, the Ali Qapu Palace covers six floors and was originally built as the main palace of Shah Abbas. In the afternoon, explore the atmospheric bazaar with its wonderful scents and spices, musical merchants' cries and, of course, thousands of locals bargaining for their most desired items. Walk the covered lanes of this sprawling marketplace, where shafts of light filter through celling and lattice, and browse for fabrics, spices, jewellery and other treasures. Along the way, we'll stop for a cup of tea in a old teahouse.

Day 5 Tehran

Travel to Tehran by public VIP bus (450 km; approximately 5–6 hours). On arrival check-in to your hotel and freshen up. Later this afternoon, embrace the lively Behjat Abad Market for an evening food adventure. Shop for fresh seasonal produce and fragrant spices. Then head over to the cooking school where one of the local female cooks will teach you how to create some of the most delectable Persian dishes.This class will include Tahchin and another side dish called Morasa polo, with appetizers like Mirza Qasemi, salads, and an Iranian dessert; Sholeh Zard. Once the wafting aroma of the delicious meal dissipates the kitchen, we’ll set the table and gather for a huge Persian feast as we chat and exchange experiences with these women.

Day 6 Overnight Train

Head out on a walking tour with your leader. Check out some of the small boutique fashion retailers that are popping up; you may have noticed by now that skirts and dresses are becoming increasingly common. Stop by a scarf shop and learn a few new techniques by which to tie a headscarf. Then experience the local metro, sitting in the women's only section. Later on, why not embrace the Iran's burgeoning cafe culture and visit one of many modern coffee shops inspired by images of the west on Pinterest and Instagram. Afterwards, head back to the hotel to freshen up before your overnight train journey. Although gender segregation as such is not a product of Iranian culture, strict dress codes imposed by Islamic Law have meant many places and ways of life have become segregated by default. Women can and often do opt to travel in a female only compartment of trains, buses and subways. This evening we will be travelling in the women-only compartment of the train. You may find the dress code far more relaxed in this domain.

Day 7 Yazd

One of Iran's most alluring cities, Yazd is the heart of the Zoroastrian religion. On arrival, set out on a walking tour visiting the Jameh Mosque, notable for its fine mosaics and beautiful exterior. From here you are ideally placed to explore the older parts of the city, which are some of the oldest on Earth according to UNESCO. Walk the narrow kuches (lanes), past simple courtyards and the ornate doors of the mud brick buildings. One of the most distinctive features of Yazd are the wind towers (‘badgirs’) that capture even the softest of breezes and send them to the buildings below; it's a kind of forerunner to modern air-con. The water museum shows how the quants (underground water channels) brought water to the city from the mountains for thousands of years. You will also visit the Fire Temple and Towers of Silence, both vestiges of the city’s Zoroastrian heritage. In the Zoroastrian religion, fire and water are agents of ritual purity, and the fire in the Atashkadeh Fire Temple is said to have been burning continuously since 470 AD.

Day 8 Yazd

Today you have the choice of taking an optional excursion outside of Yazd, which includes the impressive Kharanak mud brick village, Chak Chak fire temple, and the Meybod citadel. The impressive town of Kharanak is believed to be 1,000 years old and you can explore the abandoned structures of this hillside settlement, peering into the houses of wealthy merchants and hammans (bathhouses). You will also explore the valley and nearby mountains and get great pictures of the aqueducts that formed part of the underground water system. The system is still used to irrigate the fields here – great shocks of green that sit against the brown desert. Chak Chak is one of the most important Zoroastrian pilgrimage sites in Iran, and you’ll climb up the mountainside to reach the fire temple – your efforts rewarded with wonderful views. Chak Chak means ‘drip, drip’, named for a trickle of holy water that drips inside the temple. After lunch, check out Narin Castle, thought to be the oldest mudbrick structure in Iran, and explore the still growing town of Meybod before returning to Yazd. If you're after a more relaxing day, then you can simply stay at the hotel – a traditional 19th-century traditional mansion – puff on a qalyan or try the local favourite, camel fesenjun, in the shady courtyard.

Day 9 Eghlid

Head towards the town of Eghlid. In ancient times Eghlid acted as the principal gateway from the north to Persepolis, as other routes were too mountainous and difficult to pass. After checking into the hotel, we head out to visit Sassanid Empire ruins which date back 1,800 years, a Zoroastrian ‘Tower of Silence’, and the sacred shrine of Eghlid. Zoroastrianism, which dates back over 4,000 years, was the state religion of Iran before the arrival of Islam. Followers believe there is one God called Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord), and they worship communally in a Fire Temple or Agiary. The intriguing Towers of Silence are part of the Zoroastrian tradition. The towers are raised circular structures where the dead are laid out to be picked clean by scavenger birds.

Day 10 Village Stay

Continue towards the Fars Province, an area famous for its nomadic people. Here the barren landscape provides a stark contrast to the vibrancy and hospitality of its inhabitants. Iran has over 500 different nomadic tribes; the largest, the Qashqai, are Turkic pastoral nomads who winter near the Persian Gulf and summer on the central Iranian Plateau. The area north of Shiraz has been the home of nomadic tribes for centuries. Migration was a way of life and herding cattle, sewing carpets and embroidery formed the basis of these tribal economies. Today most of the nomads are more settled in the villages in the region but local tradition still prevails. We spend this evening in a simple local village home. Discover traditional costumes, share a meal, some stories, a song or two and perhaps even learn how to make local bread with our host.

Day 11 Shiraz

Make your way back to Shiraz, the ‘City of Flowers and Nightingales’ which has managed to retain its provincial, relaxed atmosphere. There we visit the colourfully decorated Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque, where sunlight streaming through stain glass windows fills the interior with kaleidoscopic colours. This afternoon we step inside the hidden world that is the Iranian hair salon.The hijab comes off, the conversation is lively, and the music is blaring. Treat yourself to a manicure, or perhaps a wash and blow wave. In post-revolution Iran, opening a beauty salon was one of the most conventional ways for Iranian women to attain financial independence. Often the basement of a building, or an extra room in the house, would be converted for this purpose. Off limits to men, these salons have become oases for many of Iran's women. Head to the supermarket with your leader to shop for ingredients before invited into a local home to cook and enjoy a meal. Such a first-hand experience of local life is a highlight for many travellers in Iran.

Day 12 Shiraz

With no further activities planned, you're free to depart at any time. Checkout time is 12 midday.

Availability

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Price From $ 2,614
Price Per Day: $ 218 per day
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Checking price
Start DateFinish DateBase PriceDeparture GuaranteedAvailability 
Sep-21-2019Oct-02-2019$ 3,315NoSold Out Reserve
Sep-28-2019Oct-09-2019$ 3,315NoSold Out Reserve
Oct-03-2019Oct-14-2019$ 3,285NoSold Out Reserve
Oct-10-2019Oct-21-2019$ 3,315NoSold Out Reserve
Oct-12-2019Oct-23-2019$ 2,614NoSold Out Reserve
Oct-19-2019Oct-30-2019$ 3,285Yes4 spots left Reserve
Oct-26-2019Nov-06-2019$ 3,105Yes4 spots left Reserve
Nov-02-2019Nov-13-2019$ 3,315Yes4 spots left Reserve
Nov-09-2019Nov-20-2019$ 3,285Yes6 spots left Reserve
Nov-16-2019Nov-27-2019$ 3,015Yes9 spots left Reserve
Jan-18-2020Jan-29-2020$ 3,015No10 spots left Reserve
Feb-15-2020Feb-26-2020$ 3,015No11 spots left Reserve
Mar-07-2020Mar-18-2020$ 3,015No9 spots left Reserve
Mar-21-2020Apr-01-2020$ 3,015YesSold Out Reserve
Apr-04-2020Apr-15-2020$ 3,165Yes2 spots left Reserve
Apr-11-2020Apr-22-2020$ 3,015Yes8 spots left Reserve
Apr-18-2020Apr-29-2020$ 3,030Yes8 spots left Reserve
May-09-2020May-20-2020$ 3,015No12 spots left Reserve
May-23-2020Jun-03-2020$ 3,015No11 spots left Reserve
Sep-05-2020Sep-16-2020$ 3,015No12 spots left Reserve
Sep-19-2020Sep-30-2020$ 3,015No12 spots left Reserve
Sep-26-2020Oct-07-2020$ 3,015No10 spots left Reserve
Oct-03-2020Oct-14-2020$ 3,015No12 spots left Reserve
Oct-10-2020Oct-21-2020$ 3,015No9 spots left Reserve
Oct-17-2020Oct-28-2020$ 3,015No11 spots left Reserve
Oct-24-2020Nov-04-2020$ 3,015No11 spots left Reserve
Oct-31-2020Nov-11-2020$ 3,015No11 spots left Reserve
Nov-07-2020Nov-18-2020$ 3,015No12 spots left Reserve
Nov-14-2020Nov-25-2020$ 3,015No12 spots left Reserve
Nov-21-2020Dec-02-2020$ 3,015No12 spots left Reserve
Nov-28-2020Dec-09-2020$ 3,015No12 spots left Reserve
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3,182 Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings

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4.7 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
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Iran: Women's Expedition

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Highly recommend intrepid

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Recently went on the USA western highlights trek, had the most amazing experience ever, well organised, our guides Jenn and Tyler were amazing, friendly & helpful, can’t wait to book another trip, highly recommend intrepid
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Amazing local knowledge!!

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At the airport in Chang Mai at the end of my tour with the amazing Gung. I can’t wait to travel Intrepid again! I was able to still be independent with just the addition of amazing local knowledge!! Gung you are family now xo I also made new friends that I think I will visit over the next couple of years. Thinking Africa on some back to back tours in a couple of years.
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Just finished a brilliant tour

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Just finished a brilliant food tour of Japan with Intrepid. It was extremely well organised, brillant from start to finish.Our Intrepid guide was very knowledgeable and really made our trip extra special. We are now looking at the next tour!
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Amazing beyond any expectation

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I've sadly just finished the Serengeti Trail. Words cannot describe how amazing this was. We had 13 awesome people in the group and the 3 crew - Benson, Kioko and Kennedy were amazing beyond any expectation. Everything was smooth, no hiccups, campsites and lodgings were fantastic. We saw 4 of the Big 5 and even experienced some things that the crew hadn't seen before. I've learnt so much and now enjoying some downtime in Zanzibar.
If I could suggest 1 thing, would be another electric fridge for our drinks, there is one for the meat. After drinking warm everything for 3 days, we were dying for a cold drink and you couldn't get ice.
Im glad the tour wasn't full too so we could spread out a bit on the truck.
If you are lucky enough to get our crew, you are in good hands.
Recommend single supplement for solo travelers, just makes it a little less awkward and more comfy
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Great first class

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Great first class professional staff - great local guides exceptional- the group sizes and mix perfect. We are traveling again soon with intrepid.
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What an amazing group, one big happy

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This was our 6th adventure with Intrepid and equally as brilliant as our previous 5.
A fantastic 17 day basic tour "Maya encounter".
What an amazing group, one big happy Intrepid family. Our tour leader Jason Atilano was a dream, a truly wonderful man who organised everything and made dreams come true, from arranging local transport, amazing and affordable restaurants, hidden adventures and even a tarantula visit in Tikal.
I love Intrepid tours, simply because they take you into the heart of the community and allow you to absorb the real atmosphere of these beautiful countries in a responsible way. They allow you to step out of your "comfort zones" should you so choose, but it's optional. A home stay with a local family was an absolute honor and a privilage. A night camping under the stars in rain Forrest was a definite highlight. Looking up at the Milky way and an early wake up alarm from the howler monkeys, not something you get to experience every
night.
This is why I always choose Intrepid, every new trip is another new and very memorable adventure. Just like life, you get out of it what you choose to put in.
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Details

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 12

Accomodations

Hotel (8 nights),Guesthouse (1 night),Home Stay (1 night)

Guides

All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. You can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. In Iran, in accordance with local regulations your Leader will also be a licensed Tour Guide and will not only have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip; but will also have specialised knowledge on the sites visited and provide full guiding services.

Additional Information:

Finish point

  • Forough Boutique Hotel
  • District 8 Fars Provence
  • Shiraz
  • Shiraz
  • IRAN, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF

Trip ID#:

intrepid-HPSF

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