It is common to stay overnight in Tea Houses when trekking in Nepal. As the name suggests you can get tea and also food at tea houses along the track at any time of the day and each may provide you with a welcome break while you are trekking up into the mountains. There are often seats or benches outside from where you can look out over the incredible vistas or watch local people and their animals passing by. The menu is similar in each Tea House but the actual dishes will vary from area to area, depending on what ingredients are available and who is cooking the food.
What to expect when Tea House Trekking in Nepal.
Tea houses offer accommodation, meals and bathrooms. They can be quite simple by western standards so check the room you are offered and the bathroom to make sure it is suitable for you to use. Generally the rooms a twin share and the bathroom is shared by the whole floor. Some rooms have the most amazing views and if you take a room that is on the top floor you will have the best chance to see the view from a different perspective than from the street.
Also check what is included in the price. Your room may be free if you eat dinner and breakfast in the tea house particularly if you are trekking without a guide. Sometimes there is a small fee for a room as well as for your meals. You should expect to pay for hot water and to charge the batteries for your electronic gear especially in the higher regions. It makes sense to plan when you need to charge batteries so that you are not charging every night.
When you arrive at the village you are planning to stay in it is a good idea to find your room before you go out sight seeing or attend to chores. If you have a guide they will usually negotiate for you and get you the best available room. You will have the final say but in my experience, the guide does a great job and I have always accepted the guide’s choice.
You will be able to organise a shower, unless it is too cold and the pipes have frozen, or do some laundry or just have an afternoon nap. Going for a walk around the village is a lovely way to interact with locals and to soak up the atmosphere of such an amazing country. At about 5.00pm, 1700hrs, you will be asked to order dinner.
One of the lovely things about staying in a tea house is that you will get a home cooked meal that uses local ingredients. Sherpa stew is a hearty meal and can be eaten at any time of the day as can dal bhat, a lentil stew with vegetable curry and rice. Eggs are usually available and are a good source of protein in what is essentially a vegetarian diet. You decide on a time that you would like to eat and your meal will be served as close to that time as possible. After dinner you will be asked to order your breakfast and again, give a time that you would like it to be served.
The dining rooms are a good place to mingle with other trekkers, swapping stories and good places to visit. They tend to be heated by a single wood fire in the centre of the room. Everyone likes to sit close to the fire to keep warm! The bedrooms are not heated.
You can ask for your water bottle to be filled with hot water for the next day and use the bottle to warm your bed! I always sterilize the water using a steripen even if it is hot or you can use water purification tablets. After a long day of trekking most people are asleep by about 10.00pm!
In the morning you pack your bags and leave your duffel for your porter to collect outside your door or in a place that they can find it easily and you go and eat breakfast. You will usually leave the Tea House between 7.30am and 8.30am. If you have a guide, they will stay with you for the day but your porter will go ahead, walking at his own pace.
Staying in tea houses while trekking in Nepal allows you to freely interact with the local people and enjoy the warm hospitality they offer to all trekkers.