What to expect from Teahouse Trekking?
If you're off on a multi day trek in Nepal then you'll either be camping, or teahouse trekking. The chances are you'll have seen a tent before and know what to expect when staying in one, but the concept of a Teahouse may be unfamiliar. Let me explain....
Teahouses on the Trail
A teahouse is essentially a guesthouse. They tend to be of stone structure and the format inside is pretty similar. Some are really smart and well kept, whilst others can be a bit rough around the edges. On our treks we will always try and source the nicest and most hygienic teahouses available, but in some places such as Gorak Shep (just before EBC) the only option is basic.
As you enter the teahouse there is usually a communal dining room. This has benches around the outside and then tables. There will likely be a stove in the middle of the room providing some heat, fuelled by wood or yak dung. Quite often on the walls of these rooms you'll find Everest summit certificates owned by members of the family who run the teahouse. There is every chance, as I have been myself, you'll be served tea by someone who has been up Everest a dozen times.
The bedrooms are in most instances twin rooms, sometimes triple. There is no mass dormitory as you'd get in an Alpine Hut, and I find this is what most people actually expect. The rooms are compact, with a bed either side. You'll get a mattress, pillow and a blanket, but you'll also have your own sleeping bag to use of course. 9 times out of 10 the view out of your window is phenomenal, and 3 times out of 10, you can also get a view through the walls into your neighbours room!
Toileting is a mixed bag and it is something you just get to grips with. Some teahouses (especially on the EBC trail) have a western style porcelain throne, whilst others have a squat style bowl. Some teahouses still only have toilets outside, some of which are literally a drop down a hole and for these I recommend you take your buff to put over your face and just breathe through your mouth. Get in, get the job done, get out.
The food is generally pretty filling. The menus are near identical but the interpretation of that dish varies wildly. Nepalese dishes such as Daal Bhaat are super but you will find there is a time you have had enough rice. With that said, a tasty Daal Bhaat which is eaten by pretty much every Nepalese person twice, maybe three times a day, is better than a poorly executed 'Macaroni Cheese'. You'll soon find some dishes that work for you, and a firm favourite for me once I'm done with Daal Bhaat is a Cheese Toastie and Chips!
Breakfast items include eggs every which way, toast, porridge, Tibetan bread with Jam or Honey (yum!), Muesli and Chapatti.
The lunch and dinner menu are the same and if you have the appetite you can have a full meal at lunchtime as well as dinner. Due to the fact you are quite likely to lose your appetite at altitude, and you'll be burning a hefty number of calories per day, we recommend filling your boots at lunch and dinner time. You'll still get home having lost weight I can assure you!
Main meal options really are vast and it is worth sticking to a vegetarian diet where possible. Only in circumstances where we can verify the meat is very fresh will we let you pick a meat based meal. The Buff steak is pretty darn amazing though if the opportunity comes. Vegetarian options include Vegetable Pasta / Rice /Potatoes, Egg Pasta / Rice / Potatoes / Noodles, Veg & Egg Fried Rice / Potatoes / Noodles...you get the jist. But you'll also find things like Pizza or Sherpa Stew too.
At dinner you're encouraged to have a soup to start to help hydrate you, and this comes in a multitude of flavours. From Tomato or Mushroom to Garlic or Noodle.
A hot drink is never too far away and you'll get one or two with breakfast, one at lunch, one when you arrive at the teahouse in the afternoon and another after dinner. You're welcome to purchase more too. Hot drinks are again available in many different flavours, from standard black tea or Masaala, through to Lemon - Ginger - Honey or Hot Chocolate.
Fizzy drinks, biscuits and chocolate can all be purchased from the teahouses too.
As highlighted in out Tech blog, most teahouses have Wifi as well as options to charge your items.
One thing that is consistent with every teahouse is the hospitality. The people that run them want nothing more than for you to have a nice, relaxing stay. They really do help make our treks amazing.
Unless stated otherwise, all your food and drink that makes up the above layout (Breakfast, Lunch, Starter, Dinner, 4-5 Hot drinks a day) is included in the trek cost. Any additional meals, snacks, drinks are to be purchased independently.
We tend not to pick buildings like this one...