If you have not trekked in the Himalayas you may not be familiar with “Teahouse Trekking.” This is probably the most popular style of trekking and simply involves going from teahouse to teahouse. Teahouses are essentially small hotels found in local villages that offer both a place to sleep as well as home cooked meals. On routes with sufficient number of tea houses you don’t need to worry about brining a tent or carrying your own food. The actual quality of the teahouse varies quite a bit depending on the amount of foot traffic in the region, number of foreigners and competition. Teahouses in the Everest and Annapurna region are exceptionally nice and many boast of western style flush toilets, hot water showers, a selection of beverages including beer and a wide range of menu items. Teahouses along less popular trekking routes are usually more rudimentary and one might expect to sleep in a common room around a toasty stove after enjoying a meal of dhal bhatt (rice and lentils).
- Teahouses are pretty great! – If your trekking in the Everest and Annapurna region the tea houses are almost like small hotels but with a much more home-stay feeling. Most have a restaurant area where you can meet other trekkers and enjoy a little warmth from the stove while you eat or enjoy a beer in the evening before sleeping.
- Teahouse food is all the same – Despite the extensive menus and offerings I always get the feeling the food is all the same it’s just arranged differently. The traditional favorite is dhal bhatt and its always all you can eat so if your super hungry it’s a good option. If you like Korean food a few places on Everest Trek started selling some Kimchi which is pretty decent.
- Teahouse showers and electricity – Most the tea houses in the Everest and Annapurna region have cold showers available and a few even have hot water showers for extra cost of around $4. Electricity is usually available in the main dining area and is charged at an hourly rate of $1-2.
- Teahouse sleeping arrangements – Most rooms are shared with two small cots that have mattress, pillows and sheets. Blankets are also available upon request but might not live up to your expectation of cleanliness. The walls are pretty thin so noise carries and I recommend brining earplugs to get a good nights sleep. You might also want to bring your own pillow case to put over the pillow just in case. I only bring this up as I have gotten few cases of Pink eye (Conjunctivitis) while traveling (not in Nepal) and would have easily saved myself with a pillow case.
If you are outside of the main trekking areas like Everest, Annapurna and Langtang you will find that the teahouse accommodation is much more basic. In these places the menu is set and everyone might eat and sleep together in the same common area. If you don’t like being cramped you can always bring your own tent and then eat and enjoy common time with everyone else in the tea house. These tea houses are also quite smokey as the main fuel used for cooking is Yak dung which burns for a long time. No matter the quality of the tea house the friendly spirit of the local Nepalese is always present and they will do their best to make you feel welcome and comfortable. Trekking in the regions with the more basic teahouses is an experience not to be missed and shows you the other side of Nepal that very few tourists get to see.
TeaHouse Availability on Specific Nepal Treks
|Everest Base Camp||Wide variety of excellent teahouse accommodation.|
|Everest Three Passes||Wide variety of excellent teahouse accommodation.|
|Poon Hill||Wide variety of excellent teahouse accommodation.|
|Annapurna Base Camp||Wide variety of excellent teahouse accommodation.|
|Annapurna Circuit||Wide variety of excellent teahouse accommodation.|
|Manaslu Circuit Trek||Moderate number of teahouses varying in quality from basic to good.|
|Langtang Trek||Wide variety of good quality tea houses|
|Kangchenjunga Base Camp||Very basic teahouses are available|
|Phoksumdo Lake Trek||Very basic teahouses are available|
|Makalu Base Camp Trek||Very basic teahouses are available|
|Everest Base Camp via Jiri||Basic Teahouses available from Jiri to Lukla and then a wide variety of excellent teahouse accommodation available enroute to Everest Base Camp.|