Our minds are often fascinated by some of the highest points in the world. The highest peak, the highest building, the highest lake, the list goes on and on by how so many places from around the world become popular destinations with the tag of being the highest getting attached to them. Needless to say, most of these locations do make for quite the scenic sights as they stand surrounded by snow which makes them quite the magical delights. Now, what about the highest cafeterias in the world? I mean when “food is love” and such is the satisfaction with high-altitude destinations, then we thought why not look into which are the highest cafes! Have a look:
Rinchen, Ladakh, India
Altitude: 18,380 ft.
How to reach: Either fly down directly to Leh or till Srinagar and from there by road till Leh. From Leh book a vehicle to visit Khardungla Pass.
Best time to visit: June to September
Must try dishes: Rinchen’s Hot Chocolate!
The world’s highest café, as it stands today, is found in none other than India! You may have heard the name of Khardungla Pass. It is famous for being the highest motorable pass in the world. Since this has brought Khardungla quite the number of visitors, eateries started to sprout up. And, Rinchen’s Café prides itself for being the eatery standing at the highest altitude in the world. The café is maintained by the Army and is named after Col. Chewang Rinchen who played a pivotal role in the seizing of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. In addition to that the café actually mentions the history of Maggi, so, your mind can read about the peculiar facts too. Hot chocolate in a cold desert? Count me in!
Café at Mount Dagu, Sichuan Province, China
Altitude: 15,944 ft.
How to reach: Fly in to Hongyuan and from there book a taxi till Dagu Glacier Park.
Best time to visit: August to October
Must try dishes: Sichuan Pork, Dumplings
There is a Dagu Glacier National Park which is home to one of the world’s most beautiful glaciers that happens to bear the same name. In addition, it also offers visitors attractions such as Inhou lake (Golden Monkey Lake), Hongshipo Slope, Fangsheng lake, Dagu lake, Lingyun waterfall, etc. Now as you’re busy exploring these scenic wonders, if you find yourself craving for a bite then you can head to one of the highest cafes in the world! Due to its location some even dub it as “the loneliest café in the world”. The café was precariously built by bringing building materials using cable car services. Certainly, the efforts have paid off for the café with its full-length windows does offer quite the view.
World’s Highest Bakery Café, Lobuche, Nepal
Altitude: 15,400 ft.
How to reach: Now this is a café that not everyone can reach because it falls in Lobuche which trekkers arrive at two days prior to reaching Everest Base Camp.
Best time to visit: March to May, October to November
Must try dishes: Apple pie, baked goodies!
Yes, so, now here’s a café that you cannot just casually breeze into for a bite, here’s a café that you have work towards in order to visit! If the café falls on way to the Everest Base Camp, you already know what a source of respite it must be to the alpinists heading on an adventure of a lifetime. And no, before you think that the café would just have coffee or instant noodles, you should know that it performs way better and plays a stellar host offering items such as baked goodies to even chilled beer! Now that’s something that you just don’t picture when you think of folks heading to Everest, right? Located in Lobuche, the area is even a monument for lost mountaineers such as Scott Fischer who died here back in 1996. And, to keep your spirits pumped up, the café even plays documentaries inside to leave not just your hunger satisfied but even you yourself motivated for the next leg of the trek to come.
Army Cafeteria, Arunachal Pradesh, India
Altitude: 15,200 ft.
Best time to visit: April to June, September to October
Must try dishes: Maggie
Arunachal Pradesh and within it Tawang remain some much lesser explored destinations within India. And, I must say that that’s quite surprising because of how gorgeous Tawang is. If you happen to pay a visit, then make sure to head to Bum La Pass. It is not only beautiful but also of great significance to our country due to its location close to the China border. You can actually see China from here! The place had witnessed a fierce battle between the two countries and today plays a check post. Here you will find a simple cafeteria run by the Indian Army feeding you Maggie, hot coffee and tea and on some days, even paranthas. They play a documentary here about the history of the place which you could watch to learn more about it. This café more than the food makes for quite a memorable experience as you interact with the soldiers here and learn from them about their lives are led in such a location.
World’s Highest Café, Spiti Valley, India
Altitude: 14,567 ft.
How to reach: Fly down to Bhuntar or Delhi and from there head to Manali. From Manali head to Kaza and once in Kaza you can easily visit Hikkim by road.
Best time to visit: June to August
Must try dishes: local tea, wine
Hikkim has earned itself quite the name on account of being the highest post office in the whole wide world! While people may not have written letters for years, here at this post office I have first-hand witnessed people writing postcard after postcard to send to their loved ones. How many times in the world will you get to send them mail from the highest one after all? And, as the practice of penning handwritten messages, the backdrop and the winds all start to make you nostalgic, your eyes will fall upon the tiny little café bang opposite to this post office. It too claims to the world’s highest café! I love how all of them make the same claim. Nearby villages too have their own “highest cafe”. Hah! It may not be THE highest but it certainly is one amongst them. Sip on the locally made tea which comes in a striking orange colour and leaves you feeling warm and energized due to their clever use of ingredients. A story to recapture in your letter?
Once upon a time in Chacaltaya, Bolivia stood another one of the highest cafes in the world. This one stood at a staggering height of 17,060 ft.! Unfortunately, the ill effects of climate change came to affect the area heavily and now it is no longer open. Here’s hoping that the others survive at least.
So, tell me, where would you want to head for a nice hot cuppa first and foremost?!