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Monday, 1 August 2016

Quick Guide: Nepalese Hiking Lodges

While trekking in Nepal I stayed in over 30 different lodges hiking the Annapurna Circuit and the Everest region. While some offered local delicacies and yak burgers, most were very simple. Have a look at the quick guide I've put together about Nepalese hiking lodges.

A standard twin room transformed into a king-megabed. 
Facilities 

Ideally, if you're like me and the people I was travelling with, you would ask if their facilities include:
  1. Wifi
  2. Western toilets
  3. Hot showers
  4. A fireplace
  5. A cheap menu
  6. Power sockets 
Rarely would you find a lodge with all six prized tokens, but you'll adapt quickly. Please note you will never find:
  • Fast wifi
  • A washer/dryer
  • Double beds
  • Any food you're craving
  • Cheap beer
Price

During low-mid season you shouldn't have trouble getting a free bed. I think I only paid for a room in the mountains three times, and each time I only had to pay 100-200 Nepalese Rupees ($1-2 USD). Complimentary housing operates on the condition that you will eat all following meals at the lodge. If you arrive early, this will often mean lunch, dinner, and breakfast. You pay your bill after breakfast in the morning. Depending on how much you choose to treat yourself, your bill will usually fall between 800-1600 Nepalese Rupees ($8-16 USD). I would say my average during low season was 1100 Nepalese Rupees ($11 USD).

Rooms

Most often the lodges are split up into twin rooms: 1 room, two single beds. Sometimes dorms are available, but ask for a room to yourself, it's nice to be able to lay your things down all over the room after a long day. 

A standard twin room in the mountains. 
Bathrooms

I think only one of the rooms I stayed in had an ensuite, and it was just a squat toilet. Toilets and showers are usually at the end of the hall, shared by all guests. Often you will find western toilets, but be ready to squat, and keep in mind that you always have to bring your own toilet paper. Cold showers are free. Hot showers cost between 200-500 Nepalese Rupees ($2-5 USD).

Food

Two words: Dal Bhat. It's the only food you'll see on every menu in Nepal. There are two guaranteed ingredients: white rice, and lentil soup. Sometimes it also comes with a simple vegetable curry that you can see here. The price will range between 200 Nepalese Rupees ($2 USD) at lower altitudes, to 800 Nepalese Rupees ($8 USD) when at higher elevation. It's not full of flavour, but it is full of energy. If you're willing to pay a bit extra, you can also get western foods like pizza, burgers, and deep fried Mars bars. Keep in mind that during low season everything is negotiable. I would often try to ask if I could have a pizza and momo (a bit like dumplings) combo for 700 Nepalese Rupees ($7 USD).

Money saving tip: Buy tea, peanut butter, granola bars, and muesli in Kathmandu. Everything gets more expensive as you go higher and higher in the mountains. I noticed the price of dhal bat rose from 250 Nepalese Rupees in Jiri (1,905 metres above sea level) to 750 Nepalese Rupees in Gorak Shep (5,164 metres above sea level). 

My friend Sam enjoying his first dal bhat.
Washing

Forget washing machines and electric dryers. If you need to wash your clothes, you'll need to use a bucket, and a bar of soap. You'll usually find a tap in the courtyard. If you're just trying to blast the sweat from your clothes you can wash them in the shower. Try to hang things by the fireplace, or out in the sun for a few hours. If you leave things out overnight they'll often still feel wet in the morning, so hang them from your backpack while you walk until they're dry. 

Views

By far, my favourite thing about the lodges in Nepal are the gorgeous views. Mountains, sunrises, and gorgeous lakes. I can't say the views make waking up fun, but they do make it easier. 

The view from my room - Gokyo Lake. 

* * *

I really loved my stay in the mountains of Nepal. Above everything I've listed above, what made the lodges special were the families that operated them. Try your best to joke around with the owners, they're some of the nicest people I've ever met. Have fun and take care!

7 comments:

  1. Grt summary. And no matter how simple the lodge, they come with stunning views (gratis)!

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  2. Useful to know for our trip! Thanks Pete!

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