Sa Pa is a frontier township and capital of Sa Pa District in Lào Cai Province in north-west Vietnam. It is the famous place for birding in North Vietnam which many birding sites as Ham Rong Orchid Garden, Fansipan Mountain, Love waterfall (Hoang Lien Son nature reserve).
Hoang Lien Son-Van Ban proposed nature reserve is situated in the Hoang Lien mountains, 40 km south-east of Mount Fansipan, the highest mountain in Vietnam. The proposed nature reserve is mountainous, with many peaks over 2,000 m.
Between 2000 and 2002, a series of field surveys were conducted by the Fauna & Flora International (FFI) Vietnam Program, BirdLife International and other Organizations, during which a number of globally threatened mammal species were recorded in and around the proposed nature reserve, most notably Black-cheeked Crested Gibbon Hylobates concolor and Owston's Civet Chrotogale owstoni. The site was also found to be important for bird conservation, as it supports a number of species of conservation concern, including the globally vulnerable Beautiful Nuthatch Sitta formosa. Consequently, the site qualifies as an Important Bird Area. Furthermore, the site supports Vietnamese Salamander Paramesotriton deloustali, a globally vulnerable amphibian species, currently known only from northern Vietnam. Finally, a number of globally threatened plant species have been recorded at the site, including the globally vulnerable conifer Taiwania cryptomerioides, which is known from no other site in Vietnam.
About 350 species of bird have been recorded in this area. The avifauna of the area has strong Himalayan affinities and includes many species that are known from few or no other sites in Vietnam, such as Gould's Shortwing, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, Crested Finchbill and White-collared Yuhina. Although bird richness is high, abundance, particularly of medium-sized birds, is low, relative to certain other forest areas in Vietnam, and a considerable amount of effort is needed to see a high proportion of the area's specialties.
Beautiful Nuthatch, Red-tailed, White-browed and Black-faced Laughingthrushes, Streaked and Spectacled Barwings, Blue-winged, Chestnut-tailed, and Red-tailed Minlas, Black-headed Sibia, Vinous-throated, Ashy-throated, and Golden Parrotbills, Mrs. Gould's Sunbird and Black-headed Greenfinch.
The good time for birding and bird photography is from March to Jun and October to December.