Nepal Tea House: Your Mountain Home in the Nepali Himalayas

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Nepal Tea House: Your Mountain Home in the Nepali Himalayas
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Trekking in Nepal is so much more than huge glaciated mountains and endless rhododendron forests. The Nepali Himalayas is inhabited by a number of ethnic groups of people such as the Sherpa and Tamang. Settlements can be found in the most remote corners of this enormous mountain range. And what better way to experience the rich mountain culture than to stay with the people who live along your trekking route! With the influx of tourists more local businesses converted their “tea house” into guest houses to meet the increasing demand for lodging. These days the accommodation of the most popular trekking routes are fully covered by tea houses, making the need to camp obsolete.

At we take care of securing the best tea houses available on your trek. In this blog post we share what Nepalese tea houses are and what it’s like to stay at them from our own experience. Join us on one of our Nepal tea house treks!

What Is a Tea House in Nepal?

In the European mountains you’ve got hut to hut treks and Nepal has tea house trekking. The principle is the same. Tea houses are basic mountain guest houses Nepali style, also known as bhatti in Nepalese. They offer a place to sleep and to eat and they are a great place to connect with fellow trekkers. Originally these were local homes converted into a guesthouse. Sometimes that’s still the case, but you see more and more tea houses that are purposely built accommodations for trekkers. The set up throughout Nepal is very similar. All of them have a cozy common space where people eat, sip endless cups of tea while staying warm around the wood burner. At lower elevations you probably sleep in a small bedroom while higher up you may share a dorm. Although some tea houses offer blankets, you do need to bring a warm sleeping bag. At higher elevations it can be bitterly cold, also inside the bedrooms as it’s unlikely the rooms are heated. Despite all this, it’s a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture. The family that owns the tea house are likely to live in the same building or next door, allowing you to catch a glimpse of life in the mountains of Nepal.

What Is a Tea House in Nepal?

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What Facilities Can I Expect in a Tea House?

The level of facilities in a tea house depends on the location and elevation. The tea houses on the more popular routes such as the Everest Base Camp trek or the Annapurna Circuit are generally well equipped. Most of them will have WiFi and hot showers for which you pay a small fee. The internet speed may not be very fast and the water could be lukewarm but these amenities remain a luxury in these remote corners of the Himalayas. You can also expect a western style flush toilet and electricity that allows you to charge your phone or other devices. This does depend on the weather as most power is generated by solar. You pay extra for charging your electronics, so you may want to bring a power bank.

If the trek is more remote or at higher elevations the tea houses become more basic. You may have to share a dorm room, it’s unlikely there is any network connection to enable WiFi and you’ll use a squatting toilet. At best you can get a hot bucket shower, but having a shower definitely drops on your priority list. Enjoy the simplicity of mountain life, sipping a hot tea with world class views across the Himalayas. What else do you need?

What Facilities Can I Expect in a Tea House?

What Is The Food Like in a Tea House?

The staple food of Nepal is Dal Bhat and you are likely to eat this a lot. It’s a hearty meal, with rice and lentils as the main elements enriched by some greens, papadum, veg and sometimes a bit of meat. Nowadays the menu has expanded to cater to the western taste buds. In many tea houses you can expect pancakes, porridge, eggs any style, toast with butter, jam and honey that you can wash away with a cup of coffee or, of course, tea. Dinner may include pizza, soup, momos (dumplings) and various pasta and noodle dishes. The food is home-cooked and most ingredients are locally sourced. On the trail you will have lunch in a tea house along the way.

What Is The Food Like in a Tea House?

Do's and Don't in a Nepal Tea House

For some things like souvenirs you can haggle for the price. However, the prices of accommodation on a tea house trek are fixed. It is rude to negotiate the price down. Most tea houses are pretty cheap to stay at, so why haggle? Nepal is a conservative country, and in the mountains even more so. Dress modestly, also when you are in a public area of a tea house. That means no short skirts or tank tops. Also kissing / affection in public places is a no-no, so try to keep your public appearance with your partner platonic.

How you use your hands and feet is important. Don’t give or receive anything with the left hand as this hand is considered unclean. Hand shakes are also done with the right hand (but greetings are mostly both hands folded while saying Namaste). Feet are also considered unclean. Don’t step over food or people and give others space to pass without stepping over you.

Bring everything out that you brought in. That means waste that is not organic should be carried out of the mountains, such as single use plastics, empty batteries and sanitary products. The environmental strain from the tourist industry is huge and small mountain communities haven’t got the means to dispose of the waste in a sustainable manner. Rubbish ends up in rivers, open dumps or it gets burned with exposure to toxic fumes as a result.

Finally it’s important to keep your cool. If things don’t go your way and you express anger or irritation it’s a loss of face and you will lose respect from the person you have an issue with. And never swear. It can get you in trouble. It’s an adventure and things sometimes go differently than planned!

5 Tips To Make The Most Of Your Tea House Stay

1. Bring earplugs. The walls are really thin.

2. Bring some Nepali rupees in small denominations for snacks, sodas etc

3. Comfy (non-hiking) clothing and slippers make it more comfortable inside

4. Take a head torch (with spare batteries) in case of an electricity outage

5. Have a chat with your host to get to know the culture a little better


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