In Nepal, there are two ways you can trek- a tea house trek or camping. You can also choose a combination of the two.
Tea House Trekking in Nepal means you will spend every night of the trek in a simple lodge with basic rooms and meals. This is quite an easy option than camping where you have to arrange everything by yourself for accommodation.
It is a more popular and comfortable way of trekking in Nepal. Almost all the major trekking routes in Nepal have this option.
- Tea House Trekking in Nepal
- What is a Tea House?
- Facilities Provided by a Tea House
- Etiquette to Follow During Tea House Trekking in Nepal
- Why Tea House Trekking in Nepal?
- Popular Tea House Treks in Nepal
- General Tips for Tea House Trekking in Nepal
- Final Say,
Tea House Trekking in Nepal
Tea house treks are an ideal way of trekking for both domestic and foreign visitors. It is a popular trekking option for routes where there is a good number of teahouses to choose from. In Nepal, these include popular trekking regions of Everest, Annapurna, and Langtang.
In the trekking trails of Nepal, tea houses are basic lodges along the trekking trails. Local families in the village own, run and live in most of the teahouses. Hence, you will be staying in rooms adjoining their home in almost all tea houses.
These tea houses provide you with home cooked meals and cozy, clean accommodation with other basic facilities. These stays are also great chances to know the local lifestyle and culture.
On average, the quality of the tea houses varies on the number of visitors in the region and competition in the region. In some teahouses, if you have your meals at the tea shop, you could get a place on the floor to sleep for free.
What is a Tea House?
A typical tea house in Nepal is a simple stone and wooden house or hut with a kitchen, communal eating hall, bathroom, and basic bedrooms. These bedrooms usually have 2 single beds with the basics. In popular and more trekked regions of Nepal, people build teahouses specifically for visitors and trekkers.
Facilities Provided by a Tea House
On average, along with the trekking routes, all tea houses offer twin rooms. That is, two single beds in one room. The beds are a simple wooden structure with a pillow, mattress, blanket, and sheets for a good sleep. In some teahouses, they offer extra blankets in cold night depending on the number of trekkers in the place.
The rooms are simple, clean and basic. It is the perfect place to rest and sleep. Some rooms offer great panoramic views of the mountains.
In the higher altitudes, the nights can get very cold. Most of the tea houses do not have a central heating system. The rooms also can get drafty. For such condition, you can pack a good sleeping bag for extra warmth.
The availability, quality, and price of the rooms depend on the inflow of visitors. The walls can be thin so the noises will carry. So, if you are a light sleeper, it is best to bring in earplugs for a good sleep.
Meals and Drinks
Almost all the tea houses offer local, Nepali food. This includes Dal- Bhat- Tarkari, Potatoes (Fried, Boiled), Noodles (Soup, Fried). Most of the traditional tea houses have a common dining room. The food at the tea houses is hygienic, plentiful and delicious. They offer seasonal vegetable grown in the local villages. Hence, the meals are healthy and organic.
They also offer local milk tea, hot and cold water. It includes several drinks option like soup, ea, coffee, and so on.
On the popular trekking routes, the tea house offers a wider menu. These can include local, Indian, Tibetan, Chinese and Italian cuisine. The menu of a typical Tea house can look like this:
- Pancakes served with peanut butter or honey
- Egg items bread (toast or chapatti)
- Tea, Coffee
Lunch and Dinner:
- Soup (Vegetables, Meat, Mushroom)
- Noodles (Fried, With soup)
- Potato (curried, boiled, and fried)
- Momos (Steamed, Fried, Soup)
- Some teahouses also offer desserts (pastries, puffs, bread).
- Soft drinks (coca cola, Sprite, Fanta, Pepsi)
- Seasonal fruit juice
- Hot and cold flavored drinks (strawberry, chocolate, vanilla)
Note: In the remote and less trekked routes, the tea houses may have fewer items on the menu than mentioned above.
Wi-Fi & Electricity
In the popular trekking trails and regions, most of the tea houses have electricity and wi-fi. Yet the connection speed and availability may not be reliable in some places. Some popular trekking rest stops like Solukhumbu, Namche Bazaar have a good connection.
Most tea houses have electricity and back up from solar panels, generators. However, tea houses at higher regions of the trek can ask for extra amount you to charge your electronic devices.
Toilet and Shower
On the lower altitudes of the popular trekking destinations, most of the tea houses will have attached bathrooms. These can be western styled flush toilets. This is true throughout the popular short treks of Nepal.
As you trek higher, the tea houses have squat toilets. You will also have to flush the toilet using bucket water. Also, will have communal bathrooms. You may have to share it with the rest of the visitors as well as other locals.
For a shower, you will have options of both hot and cold showers in the lower regions of the popular trails. But, as you go higher, shower facilities become scarce. Hot showers are rare. You may need to ask for a bucket filled with hot water for this.
Etiquette to Follow During Tea House Trekking in Nepal
Tea houses in Nepal are simple and do not have many rules. Some basic things to keep in mind are:
- Most owners of the tea house make most of their money from meals and beverages. The cost of the rooms is cheap. Hence, they expect trekkers to eat all their meals where they choose to stay for the night.
- Your trekking boots will be dirty after the day’s hike. So, it is considerate to leave them outside your room. You can use trekking sandals or slippers inside.
- The typical, local tea houses’ toilets may be unable to flush paper without clogging. So, have some other ways to dispose of it after you use it.
Why Tea House Trekking in Nepal?
- Travel light: You can trek light during a tea house trek. You don’t need to carry camping equipment or food. Hence, your trekking pack will be lighter and easier to carry.
- A chance to explore the lifestyle and culture of the local people: The tea houses give you a glimpse into the eating, living, and sleeping manner with the local families who run and own it.
- Suitable for families, solo, independent travelers: Tea house treks in Nepal are a comfortable affair. It is the ideal way of trekking for families or solo trekkers. It is also budget-friendly.
- Affordable: Tea house treks are cheaper than camping. You don’t need to have as much equipment, supplies, and trekking staff.
- Comfortable: Tea house treks are comfortable. You will have a good, warm place to sleep and fresh, home-cooked meals to eat.
Popular Tea House Treks in Nepal
Everest region is home to some of the world’s highest mountains. Hence, it is one of the most popular trekking regions in Nepal.
This region is also home to some of the most sought after tea house treks. These include the famous Everest Base Camp trek.
From Jiri to Lukla, there are basic tea houses. These places are the start point of your actual trek on foot. From Lukla to Everest Base Camp, the quality of tea houses gets better and wider. You get options of basic tea houses to excellent tea houses on the routes.
All the tea houses provide all the basic facilities. The good and excellent ones have extra facilities. Extra facilities can include the following:
- Extended menu with more dishes and drinks.
- Free wifi
- Hot and cold showers
- Attached bathrooms
- Fabulous mountain views
The Annapurna region is home to outstanding long and short duration treks. It is also one of the most popular trekking routes of Nepal. Hence, the routes have well-managed tea houses.
Most of the trekking routes in these regions have wide options of tea houses. You will definitely find something to suit your budget and liking.
Yet, most of the tea houses are quite basic and are small family run hotels. These have a large kitchen to cook for everyone.
Tea houses in Langtang region offer wonderful facilities. You will find many clean and hospitable tea houses.
Most of the tea houses in this region is basic with offers of double-bedded rooms with a bed, pillow, and blankets.
It was one of the worst affected trekking routes of Nepal. You can see the rubbles of the old villages, tea houses, and trails. The new trails take you through the new villages and new, good quality tea houses.
On this route, hot shower is available in most tea houses at an extra cost. There is 24 hr. electricity available with facilities of charging your phone and camera as well. Some places do charge extra for these as well.
This region has no proper internet access. Syabrubesi is the only town with reliable internet.
To stay connected you can use the landline phones at tea houses.
In the main settlement areas of Langtang region like Langtang (town) and Kyanjin Gompa, the tea houses are a bit better and bigger.
Manaslu Circuit Trek in the Manaslu region is emerging as the new trekker’s paradise. Hence, the number and quality of the tea houses on the trails are improving. The new tea houses are comfortable, warm and provide basic facilities.
General Tips for Tea House Trekking in Nepal
- Try and get to your tea house before 7 PM if you have not booked one. Many tea houses do not serve meals after this time.
- For extra warmth, bring your sleeping bag and a liner. This can come in handy during the peak season. The tea houses may run out of extra blankets.
- On the higher regions of the trek, the communal toilets are usually outside the tea house. Hence, a head torch or flashlight can be useful for midnight toilet breaks..
- Bring enough toilet (tissue) paper to last you throughout the trek. In the higher regions, it is a rare commodity. Most of the toilets will not have them. So, you need to bring your own.
- Have a backup plan: During the peak season, the popular trails can fill up fast. Make sure you have enough time to go to another settlement if you need to. Else, bring a sleeping bag to spend the night on the floor of the tea house.
- If trekking alone or with people who have never been on the trails, ask fellow trekkers for a good tea house recommendation. This ensures you stay in reliable, good tea houses. You can also ask the hotels you stay at in Kathmandu, Pokhara or research online.
Tea House Trekking in Nepal is a comfortable and affordable trek option. It provides you with basic accommodation, meals, and other facilities. As a bonus, it also gives you the opportunity to know the Nepalese culture through these stays.