Travellers planning to trek in Nepal, especially to those highlands and mountains, often get confused with the word "tea house". A frequent question has been asked, what are those tea houses found in Nepal? Is it just a coffee shop like those we normally find in big cities or in our surrounding areas? You can probably answer these questions from within yourself. If so, here we have the answer to your question. Tea houses are normally found in the high Himalayan regions (Everest, Manaslu, Annapurna, Langtang circuit, etc.) of Nepal. These tea houses are mountain shelters, similar to a lodge, with some basic facilities and accommodation, food, and drinks for the visitors in the mountains. When you check the itinerary of the travel agencies, you will find the word "tea house" being mentioned a number of times. Moreover, during the trek, you can encounter a number of tea houses on the trail. It’s better to have some knowledge about 'tea houses’ instead of getting confused.
Tea houses are generally small types of lodges, which can accommodate few people in the high altitude treks and are normally run by family members. Most of the "tea houses" are typical houses found in the mountains. This provides shelter to both families and to the visitors travelling on the route. They provide the visitors with the typical food available in those specific regions. So the hikers have to compromise with the things and food available, forgetting all the luxuries of their own houses and the big cities they belong to.
But on the most popular hiking trails, you can find good tea houses with better facilities than hotels and restaurants. A lot of improvements have been made by the owners of tea houses in recent years all along the hiking trails of Everest, Manaslu, Dhaulagiri, and Annapurna. Since people have a better connection with the outer world, the facilities and services have also been improved. So much of the time you spend in the high hills and mountains will be a "tea house".
Are the tea houses comfortable for overnight stays?
The tea houses found along the popular trekking route are quite comfortable. But you need to be careful while choosing them. The people are quite friendly if you are polite and provide better facilities. You should not be rude in the words and language you speak. Kind and polite words with the owner will make your stay quite a better experience in the teahouse. In the low region, the houses are quite better, and so the accommodation and facilities are quite better. They can provide you with services like comfortable beds, fresh hygienic food, internet or Wi-Fi, a good restroom, a better dining hall, hot and cold showers, drinks, and so on. They also serve you in a homely environment, ask about your health and condition, and talk to you in a very friendly manner.
But, as you walk uphill towards the remotest part, the facilities can be limited. If provided, they can charge extra. Anyway, in the tough conditions, you have to find accommodation in any of the tea houses available there and satisfy yourself with the basic facilities like shelter and food. At high altitudes, internet access can be weak and electricity problems can occur. All you need is courage and a bold decision (Yes, I will manage). For the adventurous soul, these problems are basic. But you should not worry much. Because the travel guide and travel agency know where you will hike and where to stay. They will take all the responsibility for your food and shelter.
Tea Café and Tea House
On the route, you can find plenty of cafes, tea shops, and local pubs. But you cannot call them tea houses. The sole purpose of those tea shops, cafes, and pubs is to serve café items, tea, coffee, and drinks to warm you in the cold climate. Moreover, some of the houses in the region serve you tea and also provide you with a place to stay. You should not misunderstand them as a tea house. The sole concept and purpose of a tea house are different. The tea house has a family purpose. They are run by family members, and the food available will be the same as what they usually eat. If you demand facilities, the charges can be extra. The expenses on the route and tea house fully depend on you.
Where is a tea house found in Nepal?
Most of the tea houses are situated between the Everest, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges in Nepal. If you are planning to hike towards the eastern Himalayan range, around the Kanchenjunga circuit, in the mid-west (Humla, Jumla, Mugu, Dolpa), and far- west of Nepal, it will be difficult for you to find tea houses, because they lack the tea house culture.
What typical foods are available in tea houses?
You know that the tea houses are available within the village community, which is normally the owner’s residential area. The food traditions of Nepali people are quite different from those of people living in the west. Nepali people have the same food culture throughout the country. In the high hills, you will be provided with steamed rice, pickle, lentils, and curry (typically dal, bhat, tarkari, or achar). Moreover, you can eat roti made up of maze, millet, and barley found in the high hills. The meat of Himalayan goats, roosters, and local drinks are also available, but they can charge extra money. The foods are a combination of carbohydrates and protein, which will provide you with energy for a day-long walk. Normally it can cost up to 500-1000 Nepali currency.
Are tea houses equipped with electricity and Wi-Fi?
The remotest part of Nepal still lacks electricity. It is not possible at some of the highest altitudes. It is not possible either. But solar energy has been managed so far and most of the houses in the mountain region have it. When the day is cloudy and foggy, it might not function well. So your early preparation for such cases is needed. Your mobiles and torch lights should be charged well. This helps you in many difficult situations. Furthermore, Wi-Fi access is also possible, and it is wireless internet. Sometimes the internet may not function well because of weather, wind, range, and so on. But anyway, the wireless internet (Wi-Fi) will help you keep in touch with your family members and friends. The owner might add extra charges for electricity and Wi-Fi.