Vietnam, bordered by Cambodia, Laos and China, in the form of an S, extends its silhouette along the China Sea. Two thirds of its territory is covered with mountains and high plateaus. The country opens onto fertile plains irrigated by two majestic rivers: the Song Koi to the north and the Mekong to the south. The mountains run from the Chinese border to Annam at varying altitudes of 2,000 to 3,000 meters.
Nestled on the side of Mount Fan Si Pan on a 1,500-meter plateau in the province of Lao Cai, we find Sapa, only 40 kilometers from the Chinese border. Throughout its history, the city has always taken in numerous populations fleeing China after different revolts. More than 17 minorities live in the region today, with hamlets and villages surrounding Sapa that are home to the H’Mong, Dao, Tay, Xa Pho Giay and Muong peoples. Recognizable by their colorful traditional attire, one can run into H’mong and D’zao women in the Sapa market where they come to sell jewelry, clothing and other hand made products. The region also attracts visitors who come for its giant bamboo forests, suspended bridges, sloping valleys and, on the flanks of its misty peaks, brilliant green terraced rice fields.
It’s in the heart of these Vietnamese Alps, in this incredible landscape of rice paddies, that we find the Topas Eco Lodge Sapa. Perched at the top of a hill, 25 white granite bungalows blend in perfectly with this rare setting. The classification of eco lodge is totally deserved.
Built by local craftsmen in granite from a nearby quarry, covered with palm leaves and supplied with electricity thanks to solar panels, the lodge was truly designed according to the precepts of responsible tourism.
The bungalows, organized in a circle on a butte overlooking the cliff, are all identical with an incomparable view of the terraced rice fields. The interior furniture is simple with one double bed and two or three singles, all with mosquito nets, a small desk, a light colored wood closet, and a fairly Spartan bathroom with a shower equipped with a large showerhead.
Below, a stone and wood building serves as a reception area. This old traditional Tay house was carefully transported here stone by stone. Access is via a small stone path. The house also has a restaurant and a salon. Meals are taken in a vast room decorated with black and white photographs and traditional ethnic costumes from the region. Tinted with natural products, they form a superb and colorful ensemble. After hiking to town in order to meet some of the H’mong and Dzao villagers, or for the more athletically minded, trekking in the mountains, there’s nothing better than sinking into a comfortable rattan sofa in front of the fireplace in the salon with a book selected from the library next door. The Topas Eco Lodge has the true atmosphere of a mountain inn. The key words for this retreat from the stress of the city are simplicity and tradition.
This dyed in the wool eco lodge has also installed an ecological purifying station. The products used in the kitchen are all local and the lodge’s employees come from the neighboring village.
Four stars / Nature / Cut off from the world / Fireplace / Cozy / Simplicity / Thai restaurant / Eco-friendly
Open all year
Double occupancy from 100 euros
Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) - Hanoi
TOPAS ECOLODGE SAPA
Thanh Kim Commune
Lao Cai Province
Approximately 11 hours
+ 5 hours in summer/ + 6 hours in winter
Hot, humid climate from the north to the south
Passport valid six months after return date.
Visa required (about 60 or 70 euros) available by correspondence. Allow for a two week delay
The dong (VND)
French and English at tourist sites
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Topas Ecolodge Sapa
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+33 1 75 43 70 26 *Our reservation department is always happy to assist you via phone or via email. We are open Monday to Friday 9am to 18pm (GMT +1).