It is a well-known fact that Nepal is home to one-third of the awesome Himalayans. The country is significantly tiny but houses 800 kilometers out of 2400 kilometers long Himalayans. Thus, it is only natural that Nepal offers hundreds of trekking routes and destinations that start from the foothills of the peaks and then take you right into their hearts. Every year, thousands of trekkers fly into the country to just trek. So, trekking is the most popular adventure sport in Nepal. There are all kinds of treks to suit your budget, time length, health level, and extent of experience. But most treks fall into two categories: Teahouse Trek and Camping Trek.
The major trekking trails across the nation have lodges, which are also known as teahouses, along their entire length. It means that you can walk for few weeks without having to carry too many equipment or essentials with you. After a hard, long day of trek through the isolated and remote trail, you can still count on to a teahouse to spend the night in.
By arranging your food and accommodation locally, right away, you can trek at your own speed, set your own itinerary, and take spontaneous side trips or day offs that may not have been possible otherwise. Also, by spending bucks in the teahouses, you will be helping boost the local economy in the Himalayans that almost entirely depends on tourism.
However, it isn’t exactly free of downsides as well. Since you depend on finding a place to sleep and have a meal every day, you are restricted to only popular trekking routes that are densely populated with teahouses, in the company of other trekkers. Thus, it won’t be wrong to say that teahouse treks are also sociable events, which isn’t bad, but much of your social and cultural interactions will happen with other foreigners and not local Nepalis.
Still, teahouse trek is an absolute luxury that I think no other places in the world offer. You could be trekking through the most remote trails in the morning, crossing the high passes by noon, and still be back to a lodge for a slice of apple pie and hot tea by the evening. There is no better way to trek in comfort and freedom right into the heart of mountains. Most routes in the Everest and Annapurna region can be trekked easily as teahouse treks. It is also possible in Langtang area and Manaslu.
In more rural and inaccessible regions, you can depend on finding lodges for accommodation, so you will need to arrange a full camping trek. If you are following this style of trek, it is not recommended to trek independently. If you book your trek through a travel agency, they will manage everything from tents to cooks to porters.
For a camping trek, even if you are travelling lightly in a small group of two or three, you will still need a minimum number of crew. You will need more than two porters at least, since they will be carrying your luggage, equipment, food, stove, and everything necessary.
The best advantage of this style of trekking is that you don’t have to camp near villages. You can comfortably spend the night at very remote regions and high altitudes, enjoying in the solitude of mysterious valleys and magnificent views.
However, like everything else, you have to take this too with a little pinch of salt. Since the itineraries and camping spots are quite standardized on several treks, you might find yourself sharing the camping site with few other trekking groups. Sometimes, you even get into an undeclared competition with other groups for the best sites. You have to keep in mind that just because you are on a camping trek, you have all the place yourself.
This type of treks is suited for high altitude treks where there are no villages, or absolutely remote and far-flung regions like Dolpo where the concept of teahouses are yet to be introduced.
Lastly, these are the two main style of trekking in Nepal. Both styles have their fair share of distinct pros and cons, although the cons are exactly too grave. Irrespective of the trekking style, we can guarantee that you will have the best time of your lives in the Himalayans.