From conception, the goal of the Topas Ecolodge in Vietnam has been to encapsulate sustainable practices at every turn. They also carry a heavy burden of social responsibility by focusing on providing local jobs and sourcing materials from the surrounding areas whenever possible. Nestled into a mountainous region in North Vietnam, they aim to assist the five local hill-tribes that remain largely untouched by the modern world.
The vast majority of the 100 employees live in surrounding villages or are housed on campus with the supplies to grow and cook their own food. Investing in their employees, Topas offers educational and occupational training, opportunities for advancement and full medical benefits.
As stewards of the land, Topas Ecolodge also incorporates practices that help the local community as well as the environment. For example, food scraps are sent to local farms for pig feed and aluminum cans are reused by women in a local village.
Thinking locally, the food served at Topas is sourced from local farmers, alongside property-raised chickens and a vegetable and herb garden behind the restaurant.
Providing adequate energy in a sustainable way has been a challenge for the remote resort. Originally attempting solar energy, they found that inconsistent supply was not accommodating their needs so they switched to hydroelectricity and request that guests conserve wherever possible.
Overcoming the struggles of sustainability in a remote mountain resort, Topas has implemented some innovative processes. As a solution for glass recycling, they invested in a glass-crushing machine that breaks it into sand that they then recycle into concrete for construction and maintenance.
With no reliable recycling options and an understanding of the problems associated with single use plastic, they have a near zero single-use plastic policy and work to educate staff and guests about the reasons behind it. Inasmuch, they’ve become a member of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World and help promote their “Planet or Plastic?” campaign.
For water filtration, the property has a man-made wetland that treats wastewater from kitchen and bath facilities before releasing it into the rice fields.
The Topas Ecolodge first opened in 2005 and offers 33 chalet-style stone bungalows built using local white granite from the Hoang Lien Mountains. They’ve since opened a second, more rustic accommodation named Topas Riverside Lodge, a short distance away.
Images via Topas Ecolodge