Our Ed recently went on her honeymoon to Sapa and spent a few nights at the beautiful Topas Ecolodge.
A few months ago before the wedding, my husband and I were chatting about taking a week off after the matrimony and celebrations to wind down. But me, being the always-up-to-something kind of girl, decided that we shouldn’t let our week go to waste and go for a short trip instead. I’ve always wanted to visit a spot like Topas Ecolodge in Sapa, so what better time than now right? Two plane tickets, one night in Hanoi, a five-hour bus ride and 45-minute bumpy shuttle service later, we arrived at the stunning Topas Ecolodge.
Topas Ecolodge is a quaint hideaway in the mountains and is a result of the long term partnership between the Vietnamese and a Danish travel company. The lodge was built to offer a comfortable stay for guests in a remote area, and for them to enjoy and bask in the local life. Built on the values of sustainability and responsibility, Topas Ecolodge works together with the minorities in the Sapa area to create a mutually rewarding relationship where the education of local children are supported.
As soon as we arrived at the lodge (which was a 10 minute walk from the main reception area), we were asked to wait as our luggages were whisked away to our rooms on a motorised cart. We were then given the keys to our bungalow and proceeded to our room which was about 50 metres away from the lobby. The walk was quite a tiring one, for me especially since I’m seriously unfit but the scenery, crisp air and cool weather made the walk up to our bungalow much easier!
The Executive Bungalow
We were given the Executive Bungalow (USD165 per night) to spend two nights in and our private balcony overlooked the Thanh Kim village to the north with stunning mountain ranges as a backdrop. As soon as we arrived, we literally spent 10 minutes with our jaws open at the beautiful view. Simply put, we were in awe and overwhelmed by the beauty and simplicity of Sapa. We both felt a sudden surge of gratitude for the wonder and beauty that God has bestowed upon us and that feeling was just unparalleled.
The bungalows are all the same size and built as a rustic chalet-style made from local white granite. The cottage may look simple but it’s truly elegant and luxurious. There’s no television or WiFi access in the cottages so all that’s left to do is to soak in the environment and be one with nature! To be honest, I freaked out a little when I found out that there’s literally no form of entertainment in the rooms but I found myself surprisingly comfortable and happy being detached from the rest of the world. And seriously, when you have a view like this to wake up to every morning, who needs the TV or Wifi (okay, maybe just to upload the view on Instagram, but we can save that when we get connection in the lobby)?
In our room, there was a cozy bed with a heat warmer and mosquito net hanging from the ceiling. Thankfully, no bugs or mosquitoes paid us any visits! The bathroom is really spacious and you can tell that the focus on sustainability and recycling is a running theme that’s taken very seriously.
There are a total of 25 bungalows at Topas Ecolodge, and the other type of bungalow is the Deluxe (USD145 per night) and it overlooks the Ban Ho village to the south with the Hoang Lien mountain range as the background. If you ask me, the panoramic views from both the Executive and Deluxe views are equally amazing, so pick one that you think suits your budget!
Restaurant and Lounge
Although you’re tucked away from the town, Topas Ecolodge has everything you need for a good two-day stay. There’s a restaurant that’s located on the main building where you check-in, on Level 2 and this was where we had all our meals (well, not including that one lunch where we stuffed our faces with cup noodles that we brought home). The lodge lounge is also a spot where we hung out for at least half an hour every night because this was the only place that had Wifi access.
Things to do around Topas Ecolodge:
- Explore the grounds and go on the Buffalo Trail hike (try to loan some gum boots because it can get really muddy!)
- Purchase a hiking day tour and explore the mountainous and rice-terrace fields of the most remote area of Sapa and meet with the minorities of Red Dao and Blue H’mong
- Purchase a biking package and explore the villages of Sapa on two wheels
- Read a book or play a board game at the lodge lounge
- Enjoy the spa (with glass windows) that’s on top of the hill that faces the towering mountains
- Go for an open air shower or hop in their open air hot tub
- Sit on the private hilltop and enjoy the amazing scenery
- Hire a mountain bike and ride around the villages
- Organise a private hilltop BBQ
- Hit the local markets
How to book:
Visit Topas Ecolodge’s website here.
How to get to Topas Ecolodge:
- From Singapore (or wherever else in the world you are), take a flight to Hanoi
- From Hanoi, you can choose to hop on a bus or train to Sapa Town. The bus journey takes about five to six hours and you can choose to either take the morning or night bus. As for the train, the travel time takes about eight hours and visitors usually prefer to take the sleeper trains at night.
- From Sapa Town, simply walk to the Topas Ecolodge office and take the free shuttle bus which will take you directly to the lodge. *Do check the timings of the shuttle bus because there’s only a few timings per day and if you miss them, you’ll have to pay a fee to arrange for pickup.
- Buy cup noodles and snacks from Sapa town so you won’t have to travel 45 minutes on a bumpy road just in case you get hungry in the middle of the night
- Bring a pair of hiking boots so your shoes won’t get muddy
- Bring along a good book – you’ll need it when the weather is not looking too good and you’re just stuck indoors
So girls, are you convinced with the beauty of Topas Ecolodge now? For more information, visit www.topasecolodge.com. Whether you’re planning an girls’ trip or a romantic getaway with your partner, this spot is one that’ll win your heart over at first sight.
*Special thanks to the awesome people at Topas Ecolodge for hosting us!