Best time to visit Laos

temperature & rainfall

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.

When to visit Laos & when not to

a month by month guide

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.

What happens when in Laos

Our recommendations

Sarah Allard from our supplier, Lost Earth Adventures shares her opinion on the best time to visit Laos:

The rainy season in Laos happens between May and the end of October; you can travel during that time, but the roads will be a lot more hectic and most of them aren’t paved, so a two hour journey becomes a six hour journey; it’s not a time I’d recommend visiting Laos. The dry season lasts from March until May and it’s really hot with temperatures hitting 40 degrees and very dry too. The optimal time to experience Laos is definitely during the high season, which is from November until February when the temperatures are hot, high 20s, but much more comfortable and the surroundings are really lush. The greenest time of year is definitely November when the country is really verdant and colourful; everything is in bloom and the rice paddies are growing, which is stunning. They start harvesting the rice in December, which is really wonderful to watch: you’ll see lots of men working the land wearing conical hats.”

Festivals & events in Laos

Our cultural pick from the Laos calendar

Did you know...?

A real benefit to visiting Laos in the dry season is Songkran, 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.
Photo credits: [Sunset: Madeleine Deaton] [Sarah Allard : Rob Young] [Songkran: Wyndham Hollis]
Written by Polly Humphris
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