Teahouses versus Camping
The debate about teahouses versus camping whilst trekking in Nepal has been ongoing for many years. When we first started treks to Everest Base Camp in the late 1970's we chose to camp as the teahouses and accommodation along the route wasn't of a suitable standard for our clients. Although we camped we utilised many of the teahouses - camping in the gardens and stopping for refreshments on the way. The income generated by groups of trekkers like ourselves in Nepal has now meant the teahouses have developed to accommodate the demands of international tourism, creating comfortable sleeping areas and warm communal dining rooms, and more recently many have added solar power, inside toilets and warm running water.
Although most teahouses are still basic it is our belief that these offer greater comfort than camping on the most popular routes. Camping is an option for some companies but as most of the campsites still remain within the key settlements and are often crowded and located in the back garden a teahouse, we strongly believe that teahouse accommodation is the correct option. Staying in them is the best way of ensuring that the local communities receive a steady income from the treks passing through, allowing a sustainable living throughout the year, providing opportunities for locals to develop language skills whilst providing trekkers with opportunities to understand more about the local Sherpa population.
Whilst we still use tents when we travel on sparsely trodden routes or are heading for peaks, we strongly suggest that for the more popular routes in Nepal, teahouses are the most comfortable and responsible way to trek!