Best time to visit Laos

The best time to visit Laos depends on your cardinal point; the temperature differs from north to south and from mountains to riverside life
Laos’s weather system is straightforward when compared to the rest of Asia and has two distinct periods – the dry season (Nov to Apr) and the wet season (May-Oct); March-June are the hottest months of the year. When considering the best time to visit Laos, be aware that the northern, central and eastern regions are at a higher altitude that those in the south where humidity is high and temperatures can be in excess of 35°C in March and April.

Luang Prabang Weather Chart

 
MIN °C
MAX °C
RAIN (mm)
JAN
13
27
16
FEB
14
30
20
MAR
17
32
33
APR
20
33
110
MAY
23
33
161
JUN
23
32
257
JUL
23
31
241
AUG
22
31
299
SEP
22
31
182
OCT
20
30
121
NOV
17
28
40
DEC
13
26
12

Laos, month by month

The rainy season in Laos, which runs from May until late October, makes a real mess of the country’s already difficult dirt roads; although this brings life and lushness to the countryside, you’ll struggle to get around and see it. March, April, May and June are very hot months with temperatures soaring to 35°C and above, so if you do find yourself in Laos at either end of the hot season, head north for slightly cooler climes. January and February are dry months with comfortable, warm temperatures. It can get quite cold in the north of the country though, so it's best to wrap up during early mornings and late evenings, or if you’re traveling on the river. July sees the wet season in full swing and temperatures sitting at around 30°C, except further south in the Bolaven Plateau, where it’s notably cooler. As it becomes wetter, lush green foliage begins to swathe the landscape in central Laos, while in the south, waterfalls begin to cascade dramatically again. August is the peak of the rainy season and a bit of a washout in Laos, plus travel to remote areas can be troublesome, but by September, the sun starts to shine again – this, combined with glistening waterfalls and leafy, green landscapes helps to make September an optimum month for travelers seeking stunning natural scenery. November and December are all about life on the river – river levels are at their highest and conditions are dry and warm throughout the country making it an ideal time to journey along the mighty Mekong, taking in all of the incredible flora and fauna that line its banks.

Our top Laos Vacation

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Responsible Travel recommends

Amy Poulton from our supplier, Wayfairer Travel, shares her opinion on the best time to visit Laos: "Dry season is November to May, then the wet season lasts from May to October. The dry season is the most popular (particularly December to February) and also the most practical time to visit Laos, as the country’s modest dirt roads are much more manageable when dry. However, remember that the rainy season does not mean 24/7 rain – usually there is just one downpour a day (and locals are often able to time it to a tee!), which actually helps to break up the humidity. A great time to visit Laos is when the rainy season has just finished, around October and November, as Laos’ landscapes are green and lush, plus the nation’s famous waterfalls are at their most impressive. If traveling during March and April, which are also the hottest months, keep in mind that this is “burning season” for Lao farmers, who burn their fields to prepare the used ground for the rains. This results in an ugly, smoggy haze throughout the country and may also affect those with respiratory problems."

Festivals & events in Laos

Pi Mai

A real benefit to visiting Laos in the dry season is Pi Mai, the Laos New Year celebrations that happen in April. It’s a huge week long party in the street celebrating the end of the dry season and the start of the rainy season. Everyone has a water gun, so there’s no hiding behind anyone to escape from getting wet; they’ll definitely have a water gun and will soak you through while belly laughing. A 90-year-old grandma in the street – don’t trust her.
Written by Polly Humphris
Photo credits: [Page banner: NICOLA MESSANA PHOTOS] [Intro: Allie_Caulfield] [Sarah Allard quote: Jadegreenc] [Songkran: John Shedrick]
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