The Topas Ecolodges (both mountain-top and riverside) are among the most unique properties in Southeast Asia, and certainly among the most philosophical. Both are partnered with the local Red Dao tribes of northern Vietnam and both are deeply committed to both preserving nature, and helping to support the art, culture and way of life of the neighboring tribes. With their isolation from urban settings, great cycling routes, and numerous opportunities for genuine interaction with a unique culture these two hotels make a perfect addition to any Vietnam itinerary.
The Topas Ecolodge itself is quite famous for its stunning views, infinity pool overlooking the mountains and its gorgeous mountain lodges, but I’m just as fond of the Riverside Lodge, which admittedly is only for the more ‘hardcore’ nature lover. Located deep within Northern Vietnam and only accessible by 4 wheel drive, this property owned outright by the local Red Dao tribe, lets one feel as if they are staying with a tribe. For dinner you can be entertained by their music, in the hot summer you can swim along with villagers, and if you want a souvenir there is no gift shop, you simply head to the local silversmith to get a piece of jewelry made.
(The musicians of the Topas Riverside Lodge posing with the founder and his father after an evening concert). For those looking to honeymoon or needing a bit of a gentle introduction to Red Dao culture and eco-lodge living, we’d recommend the Topas mountainside Ecolodge. For those interested in “roughing it” and getting personal with nature, culture and another perspective, we’d recommend the Topas Riverside Lodge, both are accommodations we’ll be happy to introduce you to on our “Living Cookbook, Vietnam Holiday”.