Why birding in Sapa & Fansipan Mountain

Sapa is a popular tourist destination located in the far northwest of Vietnam, close to the border of China’s Yunnan province. The town is a hub for adventure travelers and trekkers, and is situated on the slopes of Vietnam’s highest peak, Mount Fansipan (3143 m). You can find many of Sapa’s specialties on the mountain’s slopes.

The original forest has been cleared for cultivation below 1000 m, and lower montane evergreen forest dominates from 1000-1800 m. Above that, upper montane evergreen forest takes over until 2500 m, where sub-alpine forest with dwarf bamboo, rhododendrons, and stunted trees can be found. Sapa’s proximity to China is evident in its avifauna, which includes a significant number of high-elevation species not found elsewhere in Vietnam.

What to see?

Bird fauna Birding in Sapa & Fansipan Mountain

The area around Sapa boasts an impressive 350 recorded bird species. These birds are strongly affiliated with the Himalayas and include many unique species that are seldom found elsewhere in Vietnam, such as the Gould’s Shortwing, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, Crested Finchbill, and White-collared Yuhina. While there is a high number of bird species in the area, the abundance of medium-sized birds is relatively low compared to other forests in Vietnam. To see many of the area’s unique bird species, a significant effort is required.

Recently birds listist of Sapa area

birding tour in Vietnam
Temminck’s Tragopan – Just recently seen by kind photographer on 2022

Most highlights Birding in Sapa & Birding in Fansipan Mountain

Crimson-breasted, Darjeeling and Chinese Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Black-headed Shrike-babbler, Crested and Collared Finchbills, Buff-barred and Broad-billed Warblers, Tonkin and Manipur Fulvettas, Spot-breasted, Golden, Vinous-throated and Ashy-throated Parrobills, White-collared Yuhina, Bar-winged and Pale-throated Wren-babblers, Slender-billed Scimitar-babbler, Scaly, Black-faced, Red-winged and Silver-eared Laughingthrushes, White-tailed and Beautiful Nuthatches, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Gould’s Shortwing, White-browed Bush-robin, Blue-fronted Redstart, Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker and Black-headed Greenfinch.

Birding in Sapa & Birding in Fansipan Mountain
How to Birding in Sapa & Fansipan Mountain [update 2023] 12
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How to Birding in Sapa & Fansipan Mountain [update 2023] 13
Frame post bài 9 WANEE asia
How to Birding in Sapa & Fansipan Mountain [update 2023] 14

When is the best time for birding in Sapa

Before focusing on birding we must know

Sapa Climate

Sapa has a “Humid subtropical, no dry season” climate (Köppen classification: Cfa). The highest temperature is 29.8°C (85.64°F) and the lowest is 9.8°C (49.64°F), with an average yearly temperature of 20.1°C (68.09°F). Annual rainfall averages nearly 1578.4 millimetres (62.14 inches).

Monthly Averages

Historical monthly average weather conditions for Sapa.

MonthsHigh / Low (°C)Rain
January19.9° / 9.8°6.6 days
February23.3° / 10.9°3.2 days
March27.1° / 14.3°6.4 days
April29.2° / 16.7°13.0 days
May29.8° / 18.7°19.3 days
June28.7° / 19.7°25.9 days
July28.0° / 19.1°28.0 days
August28.3° / 18.7°27.2 days
September27.5° / 17.6°22.0 days
October25.3° / 15.0°11.7 days
November23.7° / 13.0°5.3 days
December20.4° / 9.8°3.5 days

“The best time for birding in Sapa is from Nov to Apr when it is not much rain and migratory time”

Note that It will be cool, you should prepare for clothing

Where birding in Sapa & Fansipan Mountain

Birding routes

Ham Rong Orchid Garden: The Ham Rong Orchid Garden is located behind Sa Pa town, with access from the road behind the church. The garden is made up of several ornamental gardens connected by pathways, all of which offer great birdwatching opportunities. Keep an eye out for Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler, White-browed Laughingthrush, and Ashy-throated and Vinous-throated Parrotbills, which can be found year-round. During the winter, the garden is an excellent spot for passerine migrants.

Fansipan Mountain: All three trails to the summit of Fansipan Mountain (from Cat Cat village, Sin Chai village, and Tram Ton pass) offer great opportunities to spot montane bird species, especially at higher elevations. The trails can be difficult in some places and are dangerous during bad weather, so it is not advisable to attempt them without a guide, especially during the rainy season.

The new cable car can take us to the top for mountain birding or hikking down hill

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How to birding in Sapa

Transportation

As a major tourist destination, Sapa has a wide range of accommodations and restaurants and can be easily reached in 5-6 hours from Hanoi via a newly-opened highway

The old tourist option is Overnight trains are the most popular way to reach Sapa via the neighboring province capital, Lao Cai. Upon arrival, transfer vans finish the journey up the mountains.

Accommodations

Numerous hotels and restaurants in town

The best tour cover Birding in Sapa

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