While time travel may be as normal as driving a car to many of the people we met in Rishikesh, it is only available to the rest of us through visiting villages reminiscent of a bygone era. The only place that has provided this opportunity is Nepal, where hiking in the Himalayas is how I imagine it has been for decades. Outside of Kathmandu you are transported back centuries in time where water must be fetched from the town pump, field work is done by hand and food is cooked over an open fire in a mud brick building.
Tea house trekking in the Himalayas may not offer you luxury, but your hike will reward you with a glimpse into traditional village life. You will walk through stunning scenery, different cultures and observe traditions that are specific only to the Himalayas. For the best view of small town Nepal nothing beats the Annapurna region. The Everest region consists mostly of seasonal villages supporting trekkers on their way to base camp, however the Sherpa people living from Namche Bazaar to Pangboche are warm and welcoming.
It is nearly impossible to pick a favorite place or describe the rich culture along the trail. Trekking in Nepal will change your view of hospitality forever as people invite you into their homes. It may not be the same customer service that we are accustomed to, but people were eager to greet us around each bend.
This man was happy to provide hiking sticks to passing hikers, for only a dollar it was a deal that was hard to pass up.
We walked through the cobblestone streets of small towns where the residents were doing laundry or tending to their flock. This was no tourist town, the magic of tramping through these small settlements was that we could watch life unfold unaffected by our presence.
We followed the trail through tiny one road hamlets where we were the only guests and treated like family.
We met children of all ages and I was able to attend school with the kids in Kagbeni.
I often struggle to find the words to describe the places we’ve been and it becomes even more difficult in the case of Nepal as we walked through many different villages every day. As with most travel experiences you have to experience it first hand to get a true flavor for village life in Nepal, but I hope this piques your interest in this amazing corner of the world.