The term “Ecolodge” has become in vogue and overused in tourism marketing often used to describe hotels and chalets immersed in nature, but rarely do they consistently implement sustainable and ecological practices. Therefore, it was absolutely refreshing to experience Topas Ecolodge who live up to the term Eco Lodge in every sense of the word.
The location is in the most spectacular part of Hoang Lien National Park 45 minutes from Sapa town in Northern Vietnam.
Topas Express from Hanoi
Topas’s commitment to sustainability was apparent the moment we were whisked away by the Topas Express, the luxury limousine service takes you away from busy Hanoi to the mountains of Sapa in five hours.
Waiting on our seat was a reusable bamboo reusable flask filled with water and a delicious chocolate muffin in a paper bag.
I’m pleased to report the journey felt like a lot less than 5 hrs, of course big comfy seats with ample leg room and onboard internet helped the journey run smoothly even with our young daughters.
Arriving at Topas Ecolodge is an experience in itself as the resort sits quite literally on top of the mountain, as you enter the first reception and drink your welcome drink, in front of huge window with a panoramic view down into the valley. This was our first glimpse of how incredible the location is, with a 180 degree view of the mountain scenery.
We wandered down the winding path to the central part of the resort which has a large wooden Tay Stilt house, which has been dismantled from a local village and brought to Topas Ecolodge another example of Topas commitment to sustainability.
The guest manager explained that Topas makes every possible effort to incorporate the local community, for that reason the local Red Dao ethnic group that live in the village, still access their rice and corn fields by crossing the resort grounds.
After a quick check in we were shown to our granite stone built bungalows which are almost suspended over the valley. As I looked out of our bungalow, what struck me most of all, was how quiet it was! I could only hear the sounds of nature.
In Vietnam it’s actually quite rare to find such peace and quiet, a motorbike horn or building work will usually disturb that peace. But, here at Topas Ecolodge it was lovely to be able to savor that quiet, as well as unplug with no WiFi or TV in the bungalows.
There are only positive temptations pushing you to connect with the environment and your surroundings. It’s easy to understand why Topas Ecolodge is one of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World!
I also noted in the bungalow that no single use plastic was used and we were urged to refill our bamboo flasks at different points in the resort. In the bathroom toiletries were minimal and sustainable from bamboo toothbrushes, refillable shampoo and conditioner. Even the teabags were refillable which was something I hadn’t seen before.
Infinity Pool at Topas Ecolodge
Bella and Maya were eager to try out the stunning swimming pool they had seen in the photos we had shown them prior to our trip.
When we arrived at the pool the views were even more spectacular than the photos, once in the pool you have sense of quite literally swimming in the clouds.
We all loved these pools. The girls loved jumping in and feeling on top of the world. Marco and I loved the heated jacuzzi with a beer in hand taking in the spectacular views.
Not only is the pool beautiful, but sustainable too, using an eco-friendly system which uses 85% less energy than standard technology.
Relax or Trekking and Biking
The beauty of the Topas Ecolodge, you can do as much or little as you want, if your objective is to just to relax and immerse yourself in nature you can do that and even enjoy the spa and one of the traditional herbal baths. If you want to explore more the surrounding area, trekking and mountain biking can be organised to visit the surrounding villages and the local traditions of the minority villages.
Our time at Topas was short, so we were quite happy to immerse ourselves in the views from the pool with a beer in hand.
Overall we loved our experience and were only sorry we didn’t have more time to explore the area. The views from the lodge were probably some of the best we had experienced in the whole of vietnam.
Although our time at Topas Ecolodge was short, we were extremely excited to be moving on to Topas Riverside Lodge, which will allow us to enjoy a different experience even more immersed in nature and the culture of the Red Dao community.