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Nepal Tea Houses – What To Expect

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Most trekkers in Nepal, both foreign and locals, make use of Nepal tea houses – small hotels known as bhatti in Nepalese that offer a place to sleep and home-cooked meals.

This obviates the need to cart around a tent and food. Quality varies according to competition and number of customers, which of course is a factor of footfall. Hence, popular routes like the EBC Trek and treks in the Annapurna Region have a wide variety of quality tea houses, whereas less well trodden paths in the far west and east of Nepal are characterised by rustic and very basic tea houses.

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Standard Tea House exterior

Nepal Tea House Accommodation and Facilities

Toilets, Showers and Communal Areas

In the popular trekking regions, the tea houses that are at a lower altitude tend to be very nice, often boasting flush toilets and hot showers (in return for a $4 fee).

As you move higher up into the Himalayas the toilet and shower facilities become more and more basic, starting with standard toilet systems without flushing mechanisms (you use a bucket of water to flush), to simple ceramic long drops and finally to outdoor natural long drops.

Hot water and showers become an increasing scarce facilities as you ascend in altitude. At the more remote tea houses you can pay for a pot of hot water to clean yourself.

Most tea houses have a communal restaurant area with a central yak-dung burner that provides great heat output. Trekkers will usually gather in the communal restaurant to eat, socialise or read. Yak dung stoves usually have a central chimney but sometimes smoke escapes the burner or the chimney, which can make the communal area very smoky.

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Tea House dining room

A night at these types of teahouses will cost anything from $3 to $10 a day. Prices get higher along with altitude and remoteness. Facilities will be rudimentary on less popular trekking routes.

Rooms, Electricity and Charging Points

Generally rooms are setup as twinshare, featuring two beds with a mattress, pillows, duvet (blanket) and sheets. Hygiene throughout most tea houses is not fantastic. We recommend putting a cover over the pillow and using a sleeping bag. It can get very cold at night, particularly higher up, so using a four season sleeping bag is recommended. Walls are not insulated and are thin, making earplugs a wise choice.

Most tea houses will have basic access to electricity for lighting and central plug points in the communal restaurant for charging devices like mobile phones, tablets and eReaders. Teahouses will charge between $3-$5 to charge your device. Please note that access to charging points are often limited in the busier tea houses where demand for charging points are high.

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Typical Tea House accommodation

Food in Nepal Tea Houses

Nowadays, tea houses on the most popular trekking routes offer a wide choice of beverages from traditional tea to beer and a large food menu. Drinks and snacks (like Pringles crisps and chocolates) increase in price as you ascend in altitude.

Generally you can get a variety of rice and noodle dishes in every tea house. The standard combination is a mixed vegetable rice or noodle dish with a choice of beef or chicken. We recommend not eating meat after Namche Bazaar on treks in the Everest region and after Chame in the Annapurna region. Dhal bhat – rice and lentils – is the national dish, which will be available at every tea house and is a great shout!

Many tea houses will also serve basic cheese and vegetable pizzas, garlic soup, omelets and chapati.

For breakfast you will have a choice of boiled eggs, omelets and porridge.

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Traditional dal bhat

Other Important Considerations

If you wish to stay in only good quality tea houses, you should confine yourself to inhabited areas on better-known routes. There may be no food if you pitch up late, after 19:00. In the busier seasons of March to April and October to November, accommodation may not be available in the best tea houses, and you may need to settle for lesser quality accommodation.

FAQ

If you have any further questions about Nepal tea house, please just leave a message below and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours! Thank you.

About the Author Andrew Roux

Andrew is one of the senior writers at Mountain IQ. A native of South Africa, Andrew has hiked and climbed all over the world. His favourite destination is Nepal and his most memorable hike was to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro!

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32 comments
Alex Barnard says November 19, 2016

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for the post. I’m keen to bring my (small) dog along for some trekking. He’s been on many long hikes before and never runs out of energy, but is calm indoors. From your experience, would tea houses allow for a small pet or is it more likely that the majority of places would refuse to allow him inside? My other concerns in the region were traveling with him on buses and trains.

Thank you/baie dankie.

Reply
    Mountain IQ says November 20, 2016

    Hi Alex, thanks for your question. To be honest, I don’t have a conclusive answer. I suspect most tea houses would be okay with him, but not sure whether they would allow him in your room. Sorry I can’t be of more help. In general I think it will be tough to travel with him in Nepal. Trains / buses and internal flights are not really equip for travelling with pets. That being said, it is always possible to negotiate your way into options so if you are willing to wing it then it could be a real adventure. All the best!

    Reply
Alex Barnard says November 21, 2016

That’s what I figured- it’s been very difficult to find any info at all and I was hesitant to take the risk. But adventures are always more fun with a pup… thank you so much for your time. Loving the site.

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Matt Beals says January 8, 2017

What is the distance between tea houses? Is there a gps map that you know of?

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    Mark Whitman says January 8, 2017

    Hi Matt, the distance between tea houses is sometimes as short as 2-3 km and as long as 8-10 km. There is usually a tea house stop every few hours on the Everest Base Camp trek.

    Reply
Joe Bieber says January 18, 2017

My friends and I will be doing the EBC trek in April. From the research I’ve done I understand April is a busy time for the trek. Is it necessary to bring a tent as a back up plan in case no room is left in any of the tea houses?

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    Mark Whitman says January 26, 2017

    Hi Joe, It is very unlikely that you won’t find available accomodation. Gorak Shep can get busy but other villages are well stocked with tea houses. I recommend sending your guide / porter ahead to reserve rooms each day. All the best!

    Reply
marisha says February 2, 2017

Hi Andrew, I am a type 1 diabetic so am trying to work out what supplement foods to bring. Can you tell me if the rice served in tea houses is basmati or not. Weird i know but I need low go options to manage blood sugar at altitude. Thanks

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    Mark Whitman says February 2, 2017

    Hi Marisha, in my experience most teahouses serve standard rice, not basmati. You can always bring your own rice and ask the kitchens to cook it for you. Hope this helps!

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Ganesh says February 14, 2017

Hi Andrew,

Thank you for the post. Very useful. I am going to EBC with a friend this April.
We are planning to trek via the Gokyo lake as the route is more scenic.Can you please advise if we will get accommodation without prior booking?
we will be travelling with out a guide / porter. Could you also please advise if it is advisable to travel with out a guide ?

Reply
    Mark Whitman says February 14, 2017

    Hi Ganesh, you can do the Gokyo trek without pre-booking teahouses, however I would recommend taking a guide or porter to help with wayfinding, additional safety and they can run ahead each day to secure teahouse rooms for you. All the best!

    Reply
Andy says February 22, 2017

Hi Andrew, might you please tell me something about the possibility to sleep in your own tent and buy food you cook on your own cooker along the EBC and 3 Passes trip?Is there something like markets where i can buy elementary food?

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Lasse says March 13, 2017

Hi Andrew,
I´m planning on doing the EBC Trek with my girlfriend in March 2018. We definitely want to do it without guides and porters.With other people sending their guides ahead and all, Is there any chance we will have difficulties finding a teahouse to stay at? We don´t care if the “good ones” are all full by the time we get to the village every night, as long as we have a place to stay..

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    Mark Whitman says March 14, 2017

    Hi Lasse, you should be fine finding accomodation in March. There are loads of teahouses scattered along the trail. The only two villages that have limited options are Lobuche and Gorek Shep, but generally you should be fine. All the best!

    Reply
Patti Barrett says March 19, 2017

Hello,
I will be doing the ABC trek in October 2017 with 3 other fit women. We will have a guide and porters. Is it necessary to carry all water for the day in our day packs or will there be chances to refill water during the day? I have a Steri Pen.
Thank you!

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    Mark Whitman says March 20, 2017

    Hi Patti, you will be able to get water refilled each day at the tea houses you use along the route. You will start each day with about 2-3 litres and by the time you reach your tea house for the evening you can refill your water. Good to hear you have a Steripen to filter your water. All the best!

    Reply
Megan says March 26, 2017

Hi Andrew!

I would like to do the EBC in April this year without a guide or porter, but am concerned about teahouse accommodation availability. Do you have to book in advance somehow?
Thank you!

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    Mark Whitman says April 1, 2017

    Hi Megan, You should be fine, although you might not get your first choice. Cheers!

    Reply
Megan Roper says April 2, 2017

Is there any way to book teahouses ahead of time? We are planning to arrive to kathmandu April 18. Is that so busy that it will be hard to find a tea house?

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    Mark Whitman says April 2, 2017

    Hi Megan, unfortunately almost all teahouses can’t be pre-booked. If you are taking a guide or porters they usually charge ahead after lunch to secure rooms in the best teahouses, otherwise you might need to shop around when you get into a village to find a room. All the best!

    Reply
Patti Barrett says June 25, 2017

Thank you for your last response! I have a couple of down sleeping bags and am wondering what degree bag to bring for the ABC trek in October. I understand the tea house bedrooms can be quite cold.

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Kayleigh says July 7, 2017

Where can i book teahouses please. There must be general website as last time i went they were all prebooked rooms. Theres 7 of us in april/may so its best to prebook

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    Mark Whitman says July 8, 2017

    Hey Kayleigh, most teahouses can’t be pre-booked. You may be able to find some teahouses in Namche where you can prebook. The best way to secure teahouses is to send a porter or guide ahead of you on the trail. He will get to villages a few hours before you and most other groups on the trail and can get rooms at the best teahouses.

    Reply
Shawn says August 4, 2017

Hi, thanks for all the information. I am not reading a lot about the toilet accommodations. If you have a full tea house and communal toilet or squat, will people be lining up holding it in? I will be doing the AST in October with a guide company out Australia.Also, would you recommend high trail shoes and regular. My husband wants to bring both and it seems like regular would be sufficient in October. Thoughts? Thank you

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Peter says August 24, 2017

Hi Andrew! Thank you for a great blog! I would like to ask you if there is any GPS map where to find the tea houses? I would also like to have you opinon about biking (mtb) in Nepal! I would like to bike the great Himalayan route. Thank you for your help! //Peter

Reply
    Mark Whitman says September 1, 2017

    Hi Peter, Maps of the Everest and Annapurna region are pretty good, and do show the coordinates of villages. You can pick up a map in Kathmandu. As for mountain biking, the Annapurna region is your best option, you may be able to do short sections of the Great Himalayan Route in the Annapurnas. Further afield and I’m afraid I wouldn’t know. All the best!

    Reply
Don Maisel says September 12, 2017

Hi Andrew,

I don’t know if you are still receiving these, my son is about to go on the “Three Passes” , Which does include Everest base camp

He recently stayed in tea houses and he quickly got a fever, and diarrhea, and felt that the food he was served, he had no options in terms of trying to protect myself

He does have his own drinking cup, but other than that, if everyone is being served the same food, how can one avoid getting travelers diarrhea?

You also mentioned that after a certain place, don’t eat any meat.

Is it because it’s likely to be contaminated?

It’s a three week trek, and along that route, options about the quality of tea houses, and if so, are there any strategies about getting a tea house, if there is a choice, that is less likely to cause health issues ?

Thanks for your time and expertise

Don

Reply
    Mark Whitman says September 13, 2017

    Hi Don,

    Unfortunately hygiene standards in most teahouses are nowhere near Western standards so one always runs the risk of getting a stomach bug. My recommendation is to try stay in the best looking teahouses (i.e. not the ones that are super cheap!). The better teahouses usually have better kitchens.

    Make sure your son never drinks the water unless he has purified it. Water purification tablets work well. This includes not brushing your teeth with water that hasn’t been purified.

    Order simple cooked foods (no raw foods like salad) – pasta with vegetables, porridge, sherpa stew is usually good, boiled eggs etc. Avoid meat as it is against Buddhist tradition and law to slaughter animals above Lukla. This means that any meat sold in teahouses is usually bought in Lukla and walked to the teahouse in question (some of these journeys can be two days long!). It therefore has a higher probability of contamination. You can sometimes get away with eating chicken, but its worth asking the teahouse owner where and when the chicken was killed.

    Apart from that be meticulous at cleaning your hands – take anti-bacterial hand-gel and be vigilant in what you put in your mouth.

    Hope this helps!

    Reply
Lama says September 12, 2017

Hey hey !
What about wifi in teahouses?

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Johan says October 2, 2017

Wondering if there are Tea houses near Namo Buddha?
I want to go there but the monastery has informed me their guest house if fully booked and there is an eco resort which is way over my budget.
Do you know if there are home stays or tea houses around?

Kind regards,
Johan

Reply
    Mark Whitman says October 2, 2017

    Hi Johan, I haven’t been to Namo Buddha so unfortunately can’t comment. But according to this wikitravel article it looks like there are a few accommodation options: https://wikitravel.org/en/Namo_Buddha

    Reply
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