The best tea house treks in Nepal
This post is about the best tea house treks in Nepal. Tea house treks in Nepal make the mountains accessible to anyone who visits the country whether you are an amateur hiker or a professional mountaineer.
Nepal is home to some of the most spectacular mountain landscapes in the world, and a tea house trek allows you to experience this natural beauty in comfort.
What is a tea house trek in Nepal
Tea house treks in Nepal are multi day hikes that offer the convenience of staying in local guesthouses along the way, as opposed to camping. The lodges provide basic meals and supplies and provide a support system for trekkers.
The tea house treks in Nepal are popular. There are so many facilities on the trails that you have a lot of flexibility. You can set your own pace and make the trek as challenging or as easy as you like.
Tea house treks in Nepal therefore do not require hiring a guide or porter. There is also no need to carry heavy equipment like food, cooking utensils or a tent. As a result, tea house treks are a budget friendly way to see the mountains.
Staying in local tea houses and interacting with the local people along the way provides a unique opportunity for trekkers to immerse themselves in the culture and way of life of the Himalayan communities.
Overall, tea house treks in Nepal are considered to be a comfortable, accessible, and culturally-rich way to experience the Himalayas, while still offering the same stunning mountain views.
What to expect on a tea house trek in Nepal
The facilities on tea house treks in Nepal are improving year by year. Especially in the Everest region and the Annapurnas, lodges now often have warm water, western toilets and blankets.
Lodges are relatively cheap, but the owners expect you to order dinner and breakfast at their lodge and this is where they get their profit from. The good thing about tea house treks in Nepal is that however basic lodges might be, the food is often quite good, esprecially if you stick to Nepali cuisine.
When trekking in Nepal I eat Dahl bath at least once a day. This national dish of rice with lentils knows a huge variety in how it is prepared. Different vegetable curries from fermented spinach to roasted cauliflower and different pickles to spice it up. Not one dahl bath is the same. Other Nepali foods to try are Tibetan bread, Thukpa and Momo’s.
Where to go on a tea house trek in Nepal
In this post I will share with you the best tea house treks in Nepal. The best tea house treks are centered in three areas. The Annapurna’s, Everest and the Langtang region. These areas are accessible and the lodges are of good quality.
In the far western and eastern part of Nepal tea house treks are still very basic and sometimes require expensive permits. It is often an adventure in itself to even reach these remote regions. However, they do offer a more authentic experience and are relatively untouched by tourism.
The Manaslu Circuit, for example, goes through remote villages east of the popular Annapurna Circuit. Due to its proximity to the border with Tibet it is a restricted area and you can not go without a registered guide. The same counts for the beautiful Kanchenjunga Circuit trek in the Eastern part of Nepal and the Mustang trek north of the Annapurnas.
The Far Western part of Nepal has the beautiful Rara lake trek and the Dolpo Phoksundo lake trek where only a handful of basic lodges exist. Most tour agencies that arrange treks here still bring camping gear with them.
In this post I will only share tea house treks that you can do independent without a guide.
The best tea house treks in Nepal: Annapurna
The Annapurna mountain range is located in the western region of Nepal. It includes several peaks, the highest of which is Annapurna I, which stands at 8,091 meters tall. Others are well over 7,000 meters, such as Annapurna South, Annapurna II, Annapurna III, and Annapurna IV.
The tea house treks in the Annapurnas are a wonderful combination of beautiful natural scenery and culture due to the number of ethnic groups that live in the Annapurnas.
Ghorepani Poon hill trek
6 – 7 days
The Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek is one of the easiest tea house treks in Nepal. Although you stay in the lower foothills of the Himalayas, you still get stunning views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges.
The path winds through beautiful rhododendron forests and traditional villages. The highlight of the trek is a sunrise view from Poon Hill, which offers panoramic views of the Himalayas.
Choose this trek when you are short on time and you are looking for an easygoing trek.
Annapurna Circuit trek
14 – 20 days
The Annapurna Circuit Trek is one of the classic tea house treks in Nepal famous for its natural and cultural diversity. The trek begins in Besishahar and follows the Marsyangdi River, passing through lush subtropical forests, traditional villages, and terraced farmlands.
The trail then climbs to the Thorong La Pass, which at an altitude of 5,416 meters is the highest point of the trek and offers spectacular views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges.
After crossing the pass, the trail descends through the arid and rugged Mustang region with its Tibetan culture, before entering the spectacular Kali Gandaki gorge with its Tamang villages.
The trek is challenging due to the high altitude on the Thorung La pass, but is also considered to be one of the most rewarding treks in Nepal due to the diverse cultural and natural experiences it offers.
Choose this trek if you prefer diversity and culture
Annapurna Base camp
10 – 12 day
The Annapurna Base Camp Trek brings you to the heart of the Annapurnas. The trek begins in Pokhara and follows the Modi Khola River, passing through traditional villages, lush rhododendron forests, and terraced farmlands.
The trail then climbs to Annapurna Base Camp, which sits at an altitude of 4,130 meters and offers panoramic views of the surrounding peaks including close-up views of Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, Gangapurna, and Machhapuchhre (Fishtail).
Choose this trek if you want high altitude mountain views on a relatively short trek. If you have more time it is easy to combine this trek with the Ghorepani Poon Hill trek.
The best tea house treks in Nepal: Everest
The Everest region, also known as the Khumbu region, is located in the northeastern part of Nepal and is home to the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest (also known as Sagarmatha in Nepali and Chomolungma in Tibetan), which stands at 8,848 meters (29,029 ft) tall.
The region is also home to several other peaks over 8,000 meters, such as Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu. There is no shortage of stunning mountain vistas.
Culturally, the Khumbu region is home to the Sherpa community. Their distinct culture and language is deeply influenced by Tibetan Buddhism. On the trails you will see Tibetan monasteries, mani stones and prayer wheels.
Gokyo Lakes trek
12 – 14 days
The Gokyo Lakes Trek is probably my favorite tea house treks in Nepal. The trek begins in Lukla, following the Dudh Kosi River and passing through traditional Sherpa villages, lush rhododendron forests, and high altitude alpine meadows with a series of high altitude glacial lakes.
The highlight of the trek is the climb to Gokyo Ri, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding peaks, including Mount Everest, and the Gokyo Lakes themselves.
Choose this trek for the spectacular scenery on a less crowded trail in the Everest region
Everest three passes trek
20 – 22 days
The Everest three passes trek is probably the most challenging tea house trek in Nepal. The trail starts in Lukla and crosses three high altitude passes: Kongma La Pass (5,535m), Cho La Pass (5,420m), and Renjo La Pass (5,340m).
The trail offers some of the most spectacular mountain views. It also allows trekkers to explore more remote areas of the Khumbu region, and to see a different perspective of Mount Everest.
Choose this trek if you are looking for a tough challenge and you are well prepared.
Everest Base Camp trek
16 – 18 days
The Everest Base Camp trek is the most popular tea house trek in Nepal. The highlight of the trek is the visit to the base camp of Mount Everest which is located at an altitude of 5,364 meters.
Along the way, trekkers will have the chance to see Mount Everest and other peaks of the Himalayas up close, visit ancient monasteries, and experience the unique culture of the Sherpa people.
The trek is considered as one of the most rewarding treks in Nepal due to the spectacular mountain views, the cultural experiences and the sense of accomplishment of reaching the base camp of the highest mountain in the world.
Choose this trek for the beautiful scenery. Yes, it is crowded, but for a reason.
Jiri to Lukla trek
7- 8 days
The Jiri to Lukla trek is a less traveled, but more sustainable option to reach Everest Base camp. It begins in the town of Jiri and ends in Lukla, the starting point of the popular Everest Base Camp trek and the Gokyo Lakes trek.
The trail offers a more authentic and traditional experience of trekking in Nepal, passing through remote villages, lush forests, and terraced farmlands.
Choose this trek if you want to avoid the flight to Lukla.
The best tea house treks in Nepal: Langtang
The Langtang National Park is located in the Rasuwa district, north of Kathmandu. The trek to the Langtang valley offers stunning views of mountain peaks like the Langtang Lirung, the Ganesh Himal and Shishapangma.
It’s important to note that the Langtang region was heavily affected by the 2015 earthquake and some of the trails and tea houses were destroyed. However, the region is now recovering and still offers an amazing trekking experience.
7 – 8 days
The Langtang Trek is a relatively short tea house trek in Nepal not too far from Kathmandu.
The trek begins in Syabrubesi and follows the Langtang River, passing through lush rhododendron forests and alpine meadows. The trail then climbs to the viewpoint at Kyanjin Ri (4,773m) which offers panoramic views of the Langtang range.
The trek is a great alternative to the more popular trekking routes in the Annapurnas and the Everest Region. It offers the chance to explore a less crowded and more remote area. Trekkers can also learn about the unique culture of the Tamang people.
Choose this trek if you are looking for a relatively short trek close to Kathmandu that still offers stunning mountain vistas
6 – 7 days
The Helambu circuit is one of the most easygoing tea house treks in Nepal. The trek begins in Sundarijal, a short drive from Kathmandu and at the outskirts of the beautiful Kathmandu valley. The trail follows the Trisuli River, passing through traditional Sherpa and Tamang villages.
The trail then climbs to the viewpoint at Tarke Ghyang (2,543m) which offers panoramic views of the Langtang range.
The Helambu trek is an ideal option for those who want to experience the beauty of the Himalayas, but do not want to undertake a more strenuous trek.
8 – 9 days
The Gosainkund trek is one of the most spectacular tea house treks in the Langtang region. The highlight of the trek is the visit to the sacred Gosainkund Lakes, which are considered holy by both Hindus and Buddhists. The trail then climbs to the viewpoint at Lauribinayak Pass (4,610m) which offers panoramic views of the Langtang range.
It is easy to combine the Gosainkund trek with either the Helambu circuit or the Langtang trek.
How to prepare for a tea house trek in Nepal
When to go
The best time for a tea house trek is from either September to November and from March to May. The monsoon season is from June to August, which makes the trails muddy and the views obscured by clouds. In the winter, the trails may be snowy and cold.
March to May is in the dry season and while temperatures in the lowlands are very warm, the mountains offer temperatures that are just right. This is also the time the rhododendron forests in the foothills of the Himalayas are in bloom
September to November offers the best weather with clear blue skies and minimal chance of snow and rain. This is also the time to witness some of the biggest festivals in Nepal such as Dasain and Tihar. In the Everest region you can also see the Mani Rimdu festival in Tengboche that is usually in October.
In most cases you need at least two permits if you go on a trek. It is best to arrange your permits in Kathmandu at the Tourism Board Office at Bhrikuti Mandap in Kathmandu beforehand.
TIMS card: The Trekkers information management card is necessary for almost all treks in Nepal. You can get your TIMS card at the Tourism Board office at Bhrikuti Mandap in Kathmandu. Bring your passport and two passport size photos. The TIMS card costs 2000 nepalese rupees.
In addition you will need national park entrance permits. For the Annapurnas this is the Annapurna Conservation Permit, for Everest the Sagarmatha National Park entrance permit and for the Langtang Valley the Langtang National Park entrance permit. If you enter Langtang through the Helambu circuit you also need the Shivapuri National Park Entrance Permit. All of these can be arranged in Kathmandu.
The situation on Everest is slightly different. Local people felt that most of the money stayed in Kathmandu. Therefore they installed their own permit. The Khumbu entrance permit can not be arranged in Kathmandu and has to be bought at the entrance point in Monjo.
From 2018 they will no longer check your TIMS card in the Everest region. A controversial topic and therefore this situation might change. Check before getting or not getting your TIMS card.
Independent or a guide?
Because of the excellent facilities on the tea house treks in Nepal there is no need to go with a guide. The trails are well marked and there are enough people on the trail that can help you out if anything goes wrong.
I did several tea house treks in Nepal as a solo female traveller and never felt unsafe. However, If you are alone and not that experienced you might want to consider joining a guided trek or hiring a guide, porter or porter guide.
In Nepal there is a clear distinction between a porter and a guide. A guide shows you the way and can tell you more about the history and the culture of the places you visit. A porter will only carry your luggage. Despite their heavy burden they often walk far in front of you and might have reached the lodge when you are only midway. A porterguide is less common, but does both.
If you prefer a female guide I can recommend the 3 sisters adventure trekking that works to empower women and trains women to become trekking guides in Nepal.
How to deal with the Altitude
The tea house treks in Nepal made the Himalayas accessible for all. It is therefore important to take into account the dangers of trekking in the high mountains. The biggest risk on a tea house trek in Nepal is altitude sickness.
Because of all the facilities and well marked trails it is very easy to go too high too fast.
The key to prevent altitude sickness is to take it slow, give your body enough time to adjust to the height and to drink enough water. Experts advise to not ascend more than 300 – 400 meters per day once you are above 3000 meters.
Diamox is a medicine that might help your body to acclimatize, but will not cure altitude sickness once you have severe symptoms. In that case, the only remedy is to go down to a lower altitude as soon as possible.
Mild symptoms may include being tired and more easily out of breath. More severe symptoms of high altitude sickness are headache, dizziness, trouble sleeping, breathing problems, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.
Severe symptoms indicate you are developing high altitude cerebral edema (HACE) or high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE). Both conditions are fatal if you do not get to a lower altitude on time.
Take these symptoms seriously and watch out for symptoms in others, even in your nepali guides or porters. It is a misconception that they cannot get altitude sickness.
Books and Guides
Cicerone and trailblazer both have excellent and comprehensive guides about treks in Nepal with detailed guides about the Annapurnas and Everest region. Another option is the Lonely Planet’s trekking in the Nepal Himalayas guide.
What to bring
If you need to carry your own bag on a multi day trek, the advice is to bring as little as possible. There is no need to bring a tent or food on a tea house trek in Nepal, but below are a few things to consider
Sun protection: no matter what time of the year you will need to bring protection against the sun. Sunscreen and a hat are a must.
Rain protection: there is always a risk of rain. I brought a poncho along that protected both me and my backpack from the rain.
Sturdy shoes: There is no need for professional hiking boots. However, there are some rocky trails so do bring sturdy shoes that fit you well. It’s important you don’t bring brand new shoes. Make sure your shoes are tested and comfortable to prevent blisters.
Hiking socks: Besides good shoes, good hiking socks are key to prevent blisters. Merino wool socks are lightweight and dry quickly. Wrightsocks are specially designed with double layers to prevent blisters. Decathlon has good merino wool socks too.
Layers: there can be a big difference in temperatures during the day and night. The best way to deal with this is to wear layers. As a base layer I bought merino wool tshirts at Decathlon. They are lightweight and dry quickly. I had a fleece vest as a midlayer and as the upper layer I had a windproof jacket.
Backpack: Your shoes and backpack are two things that will have a big influence on the comfort of your multi day trek. I recommend going to an outdoor store to get some good advice to buy a backpack that fits your torso length and that is comfortable when you wear it. I own the Osprey Fairview trek 50 that I am very happy with.
Reusable water bottle: to prevent plastic waste I always bring a reusable water bottle with me and a water filter or steri pen.
Disclaimer: This post with a travel guide about the best tea house treks in Nepal contains affiliate links. If you buy any service through any of my links, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you. These earnings help me to keep Backpack Adventures alive! Thanks for your support!