Like everyone else, I love to walk through some of the most charming countryside areas in the world, under the canopy of icy white glittering mountains. But, the only thing I hate about camping trek is sleeping in a cold and lonely tent.
Yes, Yes, I know! Regular Camping treks are not lonesome. In fact, there is a supply of all the camping equipments, along with the food, porters and Sherpa guides, and many people come to Nepal just to be a part of these treks but it’s simply not my cup of tea.
I am a kind of trekker who wants to be independent, seeks well facilitated accommodation, moves at her own pace, sets her own schedule and most importantly, experiences the real life in the rural areas. I realize that there are lots of people out there who think exactly like me.
For them, I would like to recommend tea house treks. Especially, the ones who want to try the main trekking routes in the Everest, Annapurna, Langtang and Helambu regions and also experience the homely atmosphere and the grace of local hosts. First and foremost, let me give you some insight into the basic concept of tea-house trekking in Nepal.
A Typical day in Tea House trekking:
The trek is divided into segments, each beginning from one tea house and ending at the other, for proper rest and provision of refreshments.
It usually starts at around 7:00- 7:30 after the breakfast. The trekkers only carry limited materials like water bottles, jacket, camera and other necessary items in their one day pack. Porters are hired to carry the rest of the luggage throughout the journey.
At around 11:00- 12:00, the trek halts at another tea house where meal is served and the trekkers either rest or recreate. The trek continues again after almost an hour.
The trek finally gets over at around 4:00- 5:00, at the last tea house where stay facility is arranged. They serve dinner at around 7:00 and a slight orientation, on the next day’s schedule, is observed. Finally, the day breaks.
The popular tea house treks in Nepal are the Khumbu (Everest) region, the Langtang area and the entire Annapurna region.
The tea house trek includes three basic meals; breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu varies daily from typical Nepali food to different ethnic and international cuisines. Since you are in Nepal, I suggest you to try Dal Bhat (Rice and Pulse Soup) which is served with Tarkari (Vegetable Curry). It is inexpensive, tasty and I bet that you’d enjoy it as much as the Nepalese do.
Lodges on teahouse treks generally have a common dormitory sleeping 6 or more people, several private rooms, an attached restaurant, toilet and a shower room. Most of the tea houses also provide twin-bedded rooms and solar heated shower rooms at a small extra cost! They are comfy, hygienic and managed by friendly local families.
In tea house treks, you can completely rely on tea houses for food and accommodation. The trekking package includes all meals, accommodation, national park fees, internal flight and transportation cost, allowing you to hike for more than a month in a remote mountainous and road-less area carrying just a little more than one day pack on as little as $10 to $15 a day. It’s cheap and highly rewarding.
As the tea house trekking organizes all required trekking crews, trekking permits, food and accommodation, all you need to bring are warm clothes for the evening, a water bottle and a good quality sleeping bag. You can also buy or hire sleeping bag and jackets at the lodges. Besides these, you need light trekking boots to keep your feet happy, flashlight with spare bulbs and batteries, maps just in case you drift apart from the group, gloves, sunglasses, sunscreen, toiletries, camera and most importantly, backpack without wheels and folding handles. The backpack varies from person to person, so pack your gear as per your need and preference.
Some of the trekkers tend to vie the accommodation and facilities at the local lodges to the European standards and complain about them. But in the recent years, the quality has improved enormously in the Himalayas. Moreover, all the tea house treks are planned carefully, giving an opportunity to trekkers to move around, take photographs and explore the countryside.
Personally, tea house treks are my favorites and I suggest all independent trekkers to pack their bags and walk along the trails in the Himalayas. It’s the peak trekking season in Nepal and I am heading for one more round!
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