One of the greatest pleasures of trekking in Nepal is to explore the magnificent beauty of nature. There are different types of trekking, two of which are tea house trekking and camping trekking. Both have their unique features, and the experience they provide is different. Nevertheless, the rewards each of the treks reaps is unparalleled.
Tea House Trek and Camping Trek
Tea House treks and Camping treks are the two most popular types of treks of Nepal. These two have fundamental differences in them: starting from accommodation to food and key essentials that are available on the journey.
Most treks that include accommodation at tea houses are now known as tea house treks. On the other hand, camping trek explores more of the extreme rural side of the country. This classic way of traveling takes you to regions that have barely seen any development and house little to no infrastructures. But even with their differences, we cannot compare whether one is better than the other as each of these treks are different and beautiful in their way.
Choosing one of these treks heavily depends on your preferences of accommodation, food, comfort, and similar factors. Here is a detailed view of the key differences and what one can find on these two treks.
Food in Tea House and Camping Trek
- Local people run almost all the tea houses found around the trails. This implies the fact that the menu will mostly have local delicacies with the usual Dal-Bhat and generic snacks such as eggs, pancakes, muesli, etc. But the key part of the food they provide is that local agro-products are used to prepare most of the food. Moreover, the food they provide is hygienic and healthy. A basic menu for a tea house would consist of a variety of potatoes, curries, rice, noodles or pasta, spring rolls, soup with seasonal vegetables, and a Dal-Bhat set.
- On the other hand, you do not get so many choices if you are on a camping trek. All your meals are pre-planned. Thus, you will only be carrying a limited variety of food items. Your camping staff will prepare all your meals. Your crew will set up a designated kitchen area and prepare food for you at each stop. Food prepared by your staff will be clean, healthy, and delicious. The meal depends on what you plan to take for your trek.
Accommodation during Tea House and Camping Trek
- The tea houses found on the trails have developed over time to become well-functioning lodges. These tea houses have quality accommodation equipped with proper facilities for their guests. Tea house rooms are generally small. Nevertheless, they are comfortable and cozy. You will be sleeping on a bed and will be provided with enough blankets to keep you warm for the night. When you plan for a tea house trek, pre-booking rooms is necessary. If, in any case, you are unable to book a room and find that there are no rooms available, you can share rooms with fellow travelers upon their agreement.
- Camping, as the name suggests, requires you to camp outside in nature with tents and sleep inside sleeping bags on mats. Your crew will be carrying all the needful equipment such as tarpaulins, tent poles, mats, and even your sleeping bag. The camp will be set up by the staff at every stop point. Camping treks generally take you to locations that are extremely rural and have no tea houses for accommodation.
The Key Essentials: Toilets, Showers, Electricity, Wi-Fi
- When you are traveling to difficult regions, such as the Himalayas, you need to manage your expectations accordingly. Only a small number of tea houses will provide you with attached toilets. You need to share a bathroom with fellow lodgers in most tea houses. Toilets may also sometimes be located outside the lodge.
Not all tea houses offer you shower facilities. It is difficult to get hot water for bathing and you will not want to take a bath in cold water at such high regions. Those who offer you hot water will charge you extra fees as services such as those are not easily available in the region.
Electricity is another scarce resource and thus, needs to be managed very wisely by the tea house. Not all rooms will have a plug socket. You will have to charge your electronic devices down in the hall. Some tea houses may charge you additional fees for charging appliances. Finally, the Internet is something you should stay away from while you enjoy nature at its best. But for those who require it, some tea houses do offer Wi-Fi at additional costs.
- Toilets and shower camps will be set up when you are on a camping trek. Toilets are a tent with a hole dug down on the ground. Similarly, there will also be a shower tent. The kitchen staff will provide you hot water but unlike tea house treks, you will not be charged extra. There will be no electricity or Wi-Fi throughout the trek unless there is a lodge or a tea house nearby in which case you will have to pay an extra amount to charge devices. It is best to carry a solar-powered portable charger to charge your devices if needed. The camp crew will carry enough torch lights, emergency lights, and candles for the whole trek.
Cost of Tea House and Camping Trek
Camping treks are often more expensive than tea house treks. Since you will be carrying all your essential equipment, you require a huge team. To pay off each of the staff’s salaries and to rent all the equipment costs more than simply staying at lodges on your trip. There are various other hidden costs in camping treks. On the contrary, tea house treks have visible costs such as room rent, food costs, guide, and porter fees.
As mentioned earlier, tea house treks are possible where there are lodges and tea houses available.
On the other hand, camping treks are recommended for those routes that do not house any of these facilities. Some of the most famous tea house treks in Nepal are Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Everest Base Camp Trek, Langtang Valley Trek, and Manaslu Circuit.
Similarly, some of the most famous camping treks in Nepal are Dhaulagiri Trek, Dolpo Trek, Rara lake Trek, and Rolwaling Trek.
One of these two treks is generally outside of one’s comfort zone. Thus, it is crucial to find out the way you want to travel and the type of trek that will give you the maximum pleasure you seek. Nevertheless, it is no doubt to say that both these treks are magnificent in their ways.