Tea houses on the Everest Trail- 6 things you need to know!
On all of our treks we choose to stay in tea houses, they are in fact small lodges but have been named by the Sherpa people as tea houses as they are also used to serve trekkers tea and food. The tea houses are often compared favourably to Swiss Chalets but it would be unfair to expect the same level of service and facilities in the remote Himalayan mountains. Some companies use tents along the way, when you see the tents and experience the cold climate I can assure you that you’ll be very happy to be staying in tea houses. The trekking companies using tents do so to save money, we believe in supporting the Sherpa families who own and operate the tea houses. We love the interaction that happens between the local families and trekkers. The tea houses are an inviting sanctuary, a place to rest and reflect on the day that has just passed and to enjoy great company and a hearty meal before resting for the night. Read on for more information about what to expect of your accommodation during your Everest Base Camp Trek.
The central meeting point of the tea house is the dining room. The dining room is where trekkers hang out after a days trekking, this is where you will have your dinner and breakfast, it’s also where you will debrief and be briefed by your guides about the following day. Many of your fondest memories of the trek will be created in these dining rooms. All of the dining rooms follow a similar style throughout the entire trek, their interiors are lined with wood panels, they have a pot bellied style fire in the centre of the room (fueled using Yak poo!) and photos of expeditions or images of the mountains.
Be prepared for the most basic rooms you are ever likely to encounter! Always keep in mind that the bedrooms are just for sleeping, the rest of your time will be spent on the trails and in the dining rooms. The rooms are small, just big enough for 2 single beds. The beds will have sheets on them, a pillow and a blanket. Be waned that he bedding is not changed everyday, we recommend have a little slip to go over the pillows. You will have your own down sleeping bag for the trek, and this is all you will need in the way of bedding.
There are no bathrooms as such in the tea lodges, there are toilets and then a communal sink or two outside of the toilets. For the first few days of the trek you will have flush toilets but as you gain altitude the toilet situation worsens, you may have to use squat toilets or if Western style toilets are available you will be flushing using a jug of placed in a big barrel of water next to the toilet. For trekkers trekking in the colder months, this barrel of water may freeze leaving it impossible to flush the toilet. In the interest of keeping it real, we are giving you worst case scenarios! Toilet paper is not provided in the teahouses, you will need to bring this with you.
The food provided by the Sherpa lodge owners is amazing! You will be well fed and satisfied by the large choice of food on offer. Go to our blog on meals during the Everest Base Camp Trek for more in depth information on this. Pay close attention to the information on food we recommend avoiding during the trek.
The tea house won’t provide you with hot water, before rolling your eyes remember that you will be high in the Himalayas, they boil water by either using gas bottles which have to be helicoptered into Lukla and then carried up by a porter to the lodge, the other means of boiling water is by burning wood or Yak Poo, again this requires physical labour. However, paying approximately $4 for hot water in your bottle is well worth it. For the exact same reason you need to pay extra for a hot shower, most trekkers during the trek will take on average 2 hot showers, some people will go without for the duration, the showers are often in outhouses and in the cold climate it can become too much of a chore. After this trek you will have a whole new appreciation of hot showers. The tea houses also charge for phone and camera charging and most offer the option to purchase wi-fi. The costs of luxury items for sale in the tea houses are higher that what we are used to paying in Australia but we always recommend not to deny yourself something that will bring you happiness, Pringles taste amazing above 4000 metres!
Imagine yourself waking up to the early morning noises of trekkers waking up, dishes clanging, people preparing for their day ahead. You wiggle out of your sleeping bag, reach over to the window to wipe away the condensation and you are met with the most breathtaking view you could ever imagine, day after day! This is what will happen during this trek. Most days the clouds stand to come in at around 2-3pm, which means that you may not get a sense of what the views are going to be like the following morning. Awakening to the most breathtaking and awe inspiring views every morning is sure to guarantee you a special day ahead. Gratitude is a word we often hear during the trek, it’s these very views that give us that feeling. A cup of tea, breakfast, lunch or dinner in a cosy dining room with mind blowing views of the Himalayas will never become tiresome. After all, that’s what most people are there for these unbelievable views.
© Take on Nepal 2019