Nepali Travellers back with Swo-Yatra

Nepali Travellers, a community to inspire and support Nepali travellers who are eager to explore Nepal and the world.

The desire to bring forth a trend of solo travelling among Nepali people, two adrenaline seekers Jason Shah and Pemba Sherpa started their journey with Solo Women Travel Challenge. As a result of this platform, Nepali Travellers was initiated.

With fewer people travelling around and the idea of local tourism being an unorthodox perspective, a community was formed to inspire and support Nepali travellers who are up for an expedition. Their main goal is to encourage Nepali people to travel Nepal and beyond, and provide them with all the support and information to travel.

“In our community, we have many travellers. When we talk about a traveller, we usually tend to see the people who go around with a backpack. But here, we welcome all kind of travellers. Travellers are like everyone, photographers, climbers, our grandparents who go off to pilgrims, even they are travellers. Anyone who identifies them as Nepali and travels is in the community.  A community which is also a support group for each other. I mean it could be an information source for each other”—Juliana Shrestha, Nepali Travellers

Juliana herself was one of the participants of the Solo Women Travel Challenge (2017).

Like every year, Nepali Travellers has come up Solo Women Travel Challenge, which is now called Swo-Yatra 2018.

What is SWO-Yatra?

SWO-Yatra is organized by Nepali Travellers for women in Nepal. Via this initiative, Nepali Travellers provide financial grants and supports to female solo travellers in Nepal.

So if you want to travel around Nepal, make sure you fill the form and make a pleasant itinerary which would help you make it through the selection rounds. You think you are not ready? Don’t worry about it, when you are one of the selected participants, you will receive different workshop empowering you with the knowledge, hacks, and everything that is required for the journey.

This initiative helps to make women more competitive, adventurous and self-dependent.

How did it start?

Solo Women Travel was started in 2015 by Pemba Sherpa and Jason Shah. Both of them are travellers themselves and had been travelling solo inside and outside Nepal. They wanted to introduce solo travel in Nepal as people didn’t travel much; they wanted to bring the trend here.

They then came up with an initiation to encourage Nepali women to travel solo which would help them empower and be self-dependent.

Initially, it was called “Why I travel Challenge”. In the year 2015, when the challenge started, Sagarika Bhatta was the winner, and she went around the Khaptad Area. She was the first solo traveller to explore around with through this platform. That year, another participant travelled solo to South India; she was dared to leave Nepal within 24 hours after their discussion, so she did.

The year 2016 brought more applicants and in total 8 participants were sent for their trips. On the second year, they had changed its name to Solo Women Travel Challenge. The following year, they had a total of 18 participants.

Starting this year, Solo Expedition was introduced. It was open for both the genders which started from January to March. But they had to travel for a minimum of 60 days.

There were around 100 applicants which were later filtered through Facebook voting and interviews. But later a female participant was selected, Shanti Rai. She will be starting her journey in August. Her travel would be for 78 days. (almost all over Nepal).

This year, Nepali Travellers has planned to expand their challenge not just inside Nepal, but expand it to Southeast Asia as well. Two participants will be selected for the challenge; they will be travelling for a month.

Starting this year, they have three programs:

  • Swo-Yatra Nepal chapter
  • Swo-Yatra Southeast Asia chapter
  • Solo expedition (Open)


    • NRs. 300 application fee
    • Facebook voting procedure (1000 likes qualifies for interview)
    • Creative Itinerary will be highlighted and sent to Interview Round 1.
    • Interview Round 1: Top 50 gets selected. They are even handed with hampers from sponsors and workshop on risk management and itinerary building, budget planning and travelling as a woman. Based on the skills they have gained; they need prepare detailed itinerary
    • Interview Round 2: Top 20 gets selected based on their itinerary.
    • Final 10 will be selected from the Top 20
    • Top 10 will be given the full grant to travel in Nepal

 Once the Top 10 participants are selected, they are not just given the money and send off to travel. There are a number of processes they need to go through and prove that they are ready for the challenge. For which there is boot camp session, which would include wilderness first aid (compulsory for all top 10), self-defense, risk management, communication, documentation, everything required while travelling. They are all trained thoroughly in the boot camp.

After group sessions, there is an individual session, where one is organized. Unless they are sure that you can take the journey, you are not sent out.

This year Nepali Travellers is taking applications for SWO-Yatra 2018, Solo Woman Travel Challenge till 31st July 2018.

Another initiative taken by Nepali Travellers is Nepali travellers Hangout where a number of travellers meet in a common place and share their experiences.

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Written by Dorjee Khando

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