With great and audacious Himalayan trails, Nepal has set itself as a go-to land for trekkers.
Trekking in Nepal is generally categorized in terms of level of difficulty as easy and tough treks. But you may have also heard about the other type of trek based on availability of accommodations. These are typically of two types, wiz. Teahouse and Camping.
In Nepal, people use a local name for Teahouses. It is called ‘Bhatti’ in native language. And Bhattis are quite popular in the well-known trek routes in Nepal.
It might be a bit confusing for tourists as the word ‘Hotel’ is generally used by the locals as a reference to a place where they can eat but not sleep. A better word that you can use can be ‘Lodge’. They will understand that you want a place to accommodate.
You will also find boards that clarify your confusion by mentioning the available services as ‘Hotel and Lodge’ or ‘Hotel, Lodge and Teahouse’ at many places throughout the trek route. These boards help trekkers coming from around the world to understand where to go for their required needs.
Tea Houses are basically referred to as the local lodges where you can eat and accommodate during your trek.
If are wondering about how a teahouse trek would be like, it is a trek where you halt at these teahouses for rest during your trek journey. They will provide you with food and bedding facilities. There are certainly categories of teahouse based on quality, but you should not expect them to be exotic or full-fledged. Since the trekking routes are usually not connected to roads for transportation, the services can be quite basic only.
Teahouse vs Camping
Trekking at high altitude areas can be quite challenging due to weather and limited facilities. Therefore, camping alone or when with a large group may not be suitable. This is where the need of the tea house emerges. Since the popular trek routes attract many visitors on a regular basis, there are multiple tea houses in every few hours distance of the trekking trail. These places help you ease your luggage load while you halt for some rest.
A backpack with all the essential items including tents, towels, snacks, water bottles, and so on, can be quite heavy for your body, making you want to release it and stretch out your muscles.
Therefore, teahouse treks adds enough flexibility to your trekking schedule so that you can listen to your body’s desire for rest unlike the camping treks where you need to rush with a fear of being left-out in the group.
In addition, you will also be able to experience the richness of the ethnic culture and tradition if you choose to stay with the locals at their tea houses. It is the best way to showcase the pseudo-culture of the locals.
Nepal Tea house Trek Recommendations
Tea house trek is quite popular in Nepal, you can choose this trek in most of the regions of the country. You are likely to find tea houses at distinct milestones in these trek routes.
The quality of services they provide have improved quite a lot in the past few years. As these trek trails have been flooded with both local and international tourists in the last couple of years. Certainly because of the competition, there is a drastic improvement in the aesthetic ambience and quality of services.
Everest Base Camp Trek
Nepal and Everest are synonymous. People from around the world come here to explore the beauty of the highest peak of the world. Therefore, making the Everest Base Camp Trek as the most popular trek route in Nepal. Nevertheless there are a lot of other treks in the Everest region.
There are about 30000 visitors yearly for the Everest Base Camp Trek. Therefore, to facilitate the emerging rate of tourists, there are many tea houses made available throughout the trail. You can find many tea houses with basic facilities in between Jiri and Lukla. While for Lukla to Everest Base Camp, you can get better quality tea houses.
A well-equipped tea house may cost you around USD 5 to 10 per night. If you pre-booked your trip, the agency usually takes care of all the basic accommodation.
Usually you get a twin room offering two single beds with pillow, sheets and bed cover. If you are conscious about hygiene, you can use a pillow liner or your sleeping bag.
They also offer you internet service based on the area of connectivity. It can be difficult to get hot water supply in the higher altitude. However, some tea houses will provide you a bucket of hot water with some additional charges.
And yes, if you are a meat-lover, you should understand that you will not get fresh meat at this altitude. All the goods are carried to this place by porters and mountain yaks. And it takes a few days to travel. So avoiding meat during your trek days will lower your risk to ill health. Rather, you should opt for food made out of flour and cereals to provide you with required nutritions.
Nepalese traditional meal – Dal Bhat will make the best meal during the trek. It will treat your taste buds and at the same time provide you with the required nutrients.
Also, the vegetables are organic and locally grown.
Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) Trek is a fine 2 weeks tea house trek in the Annapurna region. The Annapurna base camp is surrounded by a range of magnificent mountains including Annapurna range, Machhapuchhre and Dhaulagiri.
The tea houses found in this region is the major business and source of income for local families residing here. They have a big kitchen to prepare a meal for every guest. The rooms are also cheap and affordable, costing you around USD 2 to 3 per room per night.
If you take your meal in the same teahouse where you reside, the charges can be negotiated to USD 1-2 per night.
However, the meal can get a bit more expensive than the bedding as the cost of food supply increases with the altitude. The rate of meals can be around USD 3-5 per person. At this rate, you will get 3 typical Nepali meals a day.
While there are adequate number of teahouses available on this route, it can be difficult to find a room to accommodate during the peak seasons. Therefore, pre-booking your trips to secure good accommodation can save you from possible difficulties during your trip.
It is essential to communicate with a travel agency or a local guide who can provide you with all the information you will need.
ABC trek will give you the privilege to also closely observe the different ethnic communities and their typical lifestyle. This trip will allow you to learn more about the unique culture of tribal Gurungs, Magars, Tamangs, and Chettris of this region. There are a lot more treks that are possible in the Annapurna Region.
Langtang Circuit Trek
Langtang circuit trek is another amazing adventure for trek enthusiasts around the world. Though listed as a short and easy trek route, it is one of the popular trekking spots in Nepal.
This trek will give you an exposure to the beauty of Mother Nature. You can find diverging landscapes, and ample of green forests and waterfalls in this trek route. Langtang is a home to spectacular mountain ranges like Langtang Lirung, Gang Chhenpo, Lenpo Gang, and Dorje Lakpa.
Tea house trek is also possible in the Langtang Region. There are a variety of options to choose from.
The charges for night stay may range from USD 2 to 4 per night. The cost of a dish an vary from USD 2-6. Therefore, for a group of two people, an average per day charge can range between USD 20 to 30.
The tea houses will provide you with a basic accommodation of twin beds along with blankets and pillows. You can find two types of rooms – one with attached toilet and another with a common (shared) toilet. The price of the room will vary accordingly.
You can find a hot water shower in some tea houses while lack of solar panel in some teahouse will limit you from acquiring this facility. However, they can provide you with a bucket of hot water with some additional charges.
For obvious reasons, the facilities that you can expect decreases with the increase in altitude.
It is difficult to find for a proper internet connection in this region. A reliable internet access can be found only in a town called Syabrubesi. However, you’ll find landline phones at multiple tea houses that will give you the facility to make phone calls at a defined rate.
Manaslu Circuit Trek
Manaslu Circuit is another amazing trek destination and a very good alternative to Annapurna Circuit Trek. The astonishing sceneries, diverse culture, and tribal villages of Midwest Himalaya are definitely worth exploring.
This region is slowly growing as the next go-to places for passionate trekkers. With increasing number of annual visitors, this region has been growing as a tourist destination. Many comfortable and quality tea houses have been established since then.
This circuit trek will give you the opportunity to closely examine the enchanting view of Mt. Manaslu, Annapurna I, Annapurna South, Gangapurna and Annapurna III.
The cost of your teahouse stay depends on two things, the altitude of the place (measured by the difficulty in bringing the required goods to this altitude without any means of transportation) and the standard of the services they are providing.
Basically, an average cost per day can vary from USD 10 to USD 30 per person depending on the quality of services.
The concept of Tea houses began keeping comfort and convenience in mind. And availability and local culture plays a major role in the continuity and popularity of this emerging concept in the Himalayas.
The main objective of the tea houses is to provide the trekkers with basic facilities for food and shelter. Some additional services for hot water, electricity, internet and others adds in, in making the journey of the trekkers a bit more comfortable.
Why not, right?
Tea house trekking will make you more comfortable with the people and the landscape. It is a great way to understand their culture, traditions and some local language. Living in the mountains in a native way is must-try experience.
Though there are adequate places to stay in the teahouse trek routes, it is always recommended to be prepared for the worst case. If you are planning to travel during the peak seasons, it is wise to pre-book your trips.
Some guides from the trekking agencies could know some teahouses. This could mean discounts, better rooms with better views.
Well, why stay behind?
Trekking in rural parts of Nepal is always adventurous so you should keep yourself prepared for everything that can come to your way.