Topas Ecolodge is located 45 minutes drive away from Sapa. It is run by a Danish company and thus environmental care plays a huge part in the management of the hotel. Topas Ecolodge houses bungalows with balconies facing rice terraces…that is, if the sky is clear and the weather not misty, which is rare. The manager assures me that the sky is usually clear at the end of September and being the harvesting season, we should come back then.
While we were there, the resident-manager went back to Denmark for maternity leave and we were served by Ulrich, a tour guide specializing in extreme tours in Iceland.
He was a very hospital man and made our stay very welcome. I was amused to be greeted with a bow every time he saw me and every time we part.
Registration is at a little hut in front, and helpful porters carried our luggage to our chalet seven minutes walk away. I fell in love with my hut at first sight. It was simple yet comfortable.
Ulrich told us he gave us a room with the best view. Yeah right! I bet he tells every guest that. Unfortunately, we strained our eyes daily to see the view in vain.Staying here at Topas instead of in Sapa town does have some inconvenience in terms of food. While breakfast is included, we have to pay for the set dinner at the lodge nightly. Luckily, the price per person isn’t too expensive (about US$20 for a five course Vietnamese rice meal if I remember correctly). But this is compensated by the peace and tranquil surrounding of the mountains.
Each room has coffee/tea making facilities, a heater and dehumidifier (every thing feels damp in the mist). When we were there in November, temperature at night was about 15 deg C. (It even snowed in January!) True to its name, the lodge uses mainly natural materials in its furnishing.
In the evenings, guests gather at the living room in the dining lodge for drinks. Some like to lounge around the fireplace, while I prefer sit at the sofa leaning against the cool stone wall. Complimentary nuts are provided even if you don’t order any drinks. This is the only area with WiFi, so its no wonder its the most popular place.
A Singaporean family loves Topas Ecolodge so much that they escape the tropical heat every December to chill out here. So what do you do? I asked them, expecting them to have a schedule like ours, with hikes planned every day. Nothing. Just enjoy the quiet and fresh mountain air. After all, it’s not that far of from Singapore, and not very expensive for a short getaway, they replied.
What a great idea! Topas Ecoladge adds another reason why I love Vietnam!