About Topas Ecolodge
Sapa is a major tourist destination in Northern Vietnam and a natural starting point for those discovering the unique mountainous area, including the Hoang Lien Son mountain range and Mt Fansipan – Indochina’s highest peak at 3,143m. The region is also home to five different hill-tribes, each with its own distinct language, dress and cultural values. Some of the villages, especially those located deep in more remote areas, are still largely untouched by modern life.
The main attraction for travelers visiting Sapa is to visit the ethnic minority villages and there are an array of opportunities to experience the hidden trails, breathtaking scenery, fascinating local culture and way of life of these mountainous people.
There are few options for accommodation outside of the hotels in Sapa town other than sleeping in local houses or in tents outside one of the villages.
This is where the idea of Topas Ecolodge began. Topas Ecolodge is the only one of its kind in Vietnam and has an unrivalled, perfect location – situated atop two cone formed hills, set deep in the spectacular Sapa valley of northern Vietnam.
Topas Ecolodge is based on sustainable hotel operation values to ensure minimum impact on the surrounding environment. We employ people from nearby villages and use local products and goods in order to bring economic benefits to our regional communities. Amongst other initiatives, we use a wastewater treatment facility, have our own waste incinerator and use a glass crusher which allows us to recycle 100% of our glass.
How it all started
It all started in 1993, when Danish travel firm Topas Travel began arranging tours to the area in cooperation with a local Vietnamese family. Through this partnership, the idea for Topas Ecolodge was born in 1999. After investigating the area and applying for permits the building project was launched in June 2003.
The main idea when we first started to consider building the lodge was to create a comfortable base near the minority villages, giving guests the option of a comfortable stay in a remote area, close to local community life. A fully serviced, luxury five star hotel did not seem appropriate. So we built a simple lodge that would have minimal a negative impact on the natural surroundings. Topas Ecolodge opened in April 2005, with no electricity, no mobile reception and no internet. Much has changed since.
Topas Ecolodge consists of 33 stylish chalet-style stone bungalows in local white granite from the Hoang Lien mountains, each has its own spacious balcony overlooking an expansive vista of towering mountain peaks and stunning, rice terraced valleys.
A rustic - and wifi free - experience
Due to our guest's desire for privacy and quiet, we do not have entrance for day visitors.
Topas Ecolodge is not to everyone’s taste and it is important to us that guests understand the ways in which we differ from standard hotels before making a booking.
We are situated 18 km outside Sapa town and the bus journey takes approximately 45 minutes. We call it an “adventurous bus ride” mainly because the road condition is fairly poor in places, you’ll be passing through ethnic minority communities in the area and you’ll probably encounter a few buffalos, cows, goats or horses along the way.
We call ourselves a ‘lodge’ because we lack some of the basic features and services of a standard hotel. Our bungalows have no TV and no internet connection, enabling guests to completely escape from everyday life and immerse themselves with nature. For tranquil relaxation, we offer an infinity pool complete with breathtaking views of the mountains and valleys and a spa specializing in traditional Red Dao herbal baths.
Since we are committed to community development, our employees are friendly young people from the local minority tribes with varying degrees of English proficiency. We ask guests to be patient and be assured that there is always someone on site able to help with any language barriers.
Due to our mountain location, sometimes the weather is clear and sometimes it is cloudy, and after a heavy rainfall it can be very muddy. At times we experience power cuts and during the rice planting season we have some struggles with our water supply.
However, we have a very unusual location with a spectacular view and lots of unique trekking and mountain biking trails in our backyard. We invite people with an open mind and adventurous spirit to experience Vietnam in a different way and to escape the busy city life for a peaceful and authentic mountain getaway.
Our restaurant and lounge is located in two old traditional Tay stilt houses carefully moved piece by piece from its original site and reassembled at the lodge.
Relax & unwind
Topas Ecolodge is designed as a simple retreat set within pristine natural surroundings and therefore facilities have been kept to a minimum; however we now offer a premium spa which specializes in well-being that is brought through the combination of both ancient and modern techniques, the usage of local mountain herbs which the ethnic minorities in the region have used over the ages, and of course, the bountiful organic produce Sapa is well known for.
In 2017 we also added a heated infinity pool which has rapidly become one of the highlights of the lodge.
Our General Manager
As an adventurous person and avid traveler, my personal and professional experiences have taken me halfway across the world where I have been able to pursue my primary interests of immersion with local cultures – from lifestyle and food to traditions and customs; while connecting with nature through scuba diving, skiing, rock climbing and cannoning, amongst other activities I greatly enjoy.
The Topas Ecolodge team and I are privileged to host travelers and adventure seekers from around the world, sharing the unique natural charm of this mountainous region, its people and rich ethnic minority cultures; whilst offering a relaxing, memorable experience and a world class service we are truly proud of.
I hope to welcome you to Topas Ecolodge in the future and wish you happy, adventure-filled travels. Warm regards,
Topas Ecolodge lies within the boundaries of Hoang Lien National Park. The park is located in Lao Cai province and stretches South from just outside Sapa town.
At present, we are working with three different farmers – all within a radius of 15 km and a rice husker.
Over time, we plan to expand the project and negotiate ongoing collaborations and contracts with more local farmers.
At Topas Ecolodge we believe that both the environment and local community should benefit from our business.
Rather than making a token donation here, or planting a couple of trees there, we are committed to producing real sustainable benefits for the long term.