When to go to Laos?

The best time to visit Laos is during the main part of the dry season, from November to March. During this time of the year the temperature is the most convenient, the humidity low and the nights can be relieving cold. If you want to visit Laos during the hot part of the dry season (March to early May), it is best to head to the higher altitude areas in the center, north and east.

If you are flexible in traveling dates, it can be advisable to avoid the peak of the wet season in Laos, from June to September. During this time of the year, Laos is hot and humid. Note that from March on the temperature starts to rise, the hottest month of the year in Laos is April. The wettest month of the year is August.

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The best time to visit Laos

The best time to visit the pristine country of Laos is during the months of November to March. These are the months when the weather will make your trekking, river rafting and wondrous exploration more fun. In the months of November and December, the day is not too hot and rain does not come until after sundown, just enough to make the night cooler. In the months of January and February until the early weeks of March, chilly weather prevails in the mountainous regions of the country, while the lowlands have generally fair and cool weather throughout the day. It is also the best time to experience the famous river cruise along the Mekong delta, or the breath-taking sunrise on top of historic Annamite Mountain.

Laos is a relatively untouched region and not many have already explored many of its exciting places. If you are a tourist who craves for adventure, you would want a clear, fine weather to allow you to explore and really have a memorable journey. The cool and dry months from November to March will surely give you the weather you want, and more. Holidays and festivals, locally known as ‘Boun’, also happen during these months and you’ll be able to experience the Laotian culture and mingle with its gentle people.

The neutral months to visit Laos

The neutral months to go to Laos are the months of April to May and the month October. While the temperature begins to rise in the summer months of April and May, the weather remains fair enough to allow you to enjoy visiting the many Buddhist temples, monuments and grottoes dotting the country. It’s also a good time to have a walking tour around the graceful capital city of Vientiane and the rustic French-inspired town of Luang Prabang. Short, light drizzles begins in June to usher in the wet season.

October is a neutral month to visit Laos, because at this time of the year the weather can be unpredictable, but still friendly enough for an exciting tour around the country without hassle. As this is not a peak season for tourist arrival, you can take advantage of the cheap, discounted prices in hotels and inns, and even in restaurants.

Better not to go to Laos

It’s not advisable to visit Laos during the wet season, which begins in June and lasts until September. During this time of the year, storms are likely to hit most of the areas in this landlocked country and many places turn into a catch-basin of rain water coming from the highlands of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The weather will be unfavorable if you are planning for some outdoor activities. However, if you have no other option but to take the trip during these months, it will surprise you how staying at a riverside, Renaissance-inspired hotel along the banks of Mekong can be so relaxing and peaceful. The laidback atmosphere in the city of Vientiane will set a good backdrop for some indoor amusement when you can listen to music in one of the clubs and bars while enjoying Laos’ favorite drink, the Beer Lao.

Weather and seasons of laos

Laos has a typical tropical climate influenced by monsoon winds, coming from the Pacific. The typical seasons are characterized by hot and humid weather for eight to ten weeks beginning in late March and peaking in April up to May, followed by wet weather in July up to September and generally dry and cool weather from October to February.

Like its Southeast Asian counterparts, Laos is visited by storms during the rainy season. But, because it is surrounded by mountains, most typhoons that usually lash the rest of the region lose its strength and naturally dissipate on reaching Laos. As such, the entire country is perennially protected from destructive storm surges, tornados and hurricanes. While rains can be heavier and take days to subside, the weather is still friendly and can easily turn hot, humid days to refreshingly cool weather. The intrepid Mekong river becomes quite unruly during these days and many locals would venture to tame it in week-long boat-racing competitions held all over the country. Boating and river tubing are some of the popular outdoor adventure activities in the northern province of Vang Vieng and many visitors swear that the best time to do these is during the rainy season.

The rains usually become light, night-time drizzles in November and December. During these days, the weather is cool and perfect for touring the majestic Buddha temples and shrines in Xheng Khuan or elephant viewing at Sayaboury where one of the largest elephant colonies in the world can be found.

Pleasantly cool climate comes in by January and February and this is the time when outdoor action for adventure seekers can come to full swing. Kayaking, caving and rock climbing at the picturesque Nhong Khiaw promises an adrenalin-filled visit. Top this with a boat trip farther up north to meet indigenous tribes in the remotest villages in Phongsali. The cool, dry weather will make the trip a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the urban jungle.

In the summer months of April, May and June, many places in Laos transform into a garden of rich vegetation and flowers in full bloom. Colors explode in the hilly countryside of Muang Ngoi as different varieties of flowers, fruit trees and shrubs line up the riverbanks and small boats sail lazily on the calm waters of Mekong. As heat and humidity can hit feverish levels in April, retreating to the cool mountains in the provinces of Hua Phan and Xieng Khuang in the northern regions is by far the best option. Sitting on the mountain top near the border of Vietnam are a number of mountain resorts which also offer guided tours to Vieng Xai, a historic tourist spot where the last Lao King died in exile.

The temperature in Laos during the year round ranges between 64°F and 95°F (18°C and 35°C). You can take full advantage of the good, temperate days to visit Laos by referring to the weather overview stated below.

Climate type and temperature range of different periods in Laos:

  • November to February: cool and dry, 64°F to 86°F (18°C to 30°C)
  • March: hot and dry, 75°F to 95°F (24°C to 35°C)
  • April to June: hot and humid, 75°F to 100°F (24°C to 38°C)
  • July to September: cool and wet, 71°F to 86°F (22°C to 30°C)
  • October: cool and dry, 71°F to 86°F (22°C to 30°C)

The weather overview pictures below (both °F and °C) perfectly show that

Temperature and precipitation overview (°F) Temperature and precipitation overview (°C)
Weather of Laos (°F) Weather of Laos (°C)

Map and current weather of Laos

Drag the yellow iconStreetview iconto a location on the map for the "Google streetview" mode.
Click on the weather icon to see the forecast for the next days.

Best time to visit specific highlights of Laos

Below you find a description and the best time to visit of different highlights of Laos:

  • Boun Khao Salak Ancestor Festival Day: this festival is held just as the rainy season comes to an end in the last week of September. During this traditional Buddhist celebration, people offer prayers for the souls of the dead ancestors and ask for rewards. Locals hold long-boat racing competitions as they renew their vows to protect the River as did their ancestors.
  • Buddha Park (Xieng Khuan): located in Vientiane. It is a park with over 200 statues, with one Buddha statue, that is as high as 40 meters. Best time to visit it from November to April.
  • Lao National Day: to commemorate the liberation of Laos from the tyranny of monarchy, the people gathers every 2nd of December to witness traditional amusement, parades and speeches. This is a national holiday when local tourism considerably rises, thus making it difficult to book hotels, so it is best to make early reservations if you’re visiting at this time of the year.
  • Luang Prabang: the famous UNESCO heritage, located in the northern part of Laos, is a famous tourist attraction. Best months to visit it are March and April, during the hot dry season.
  • Pi Mai Lao (Lao New Year): held every 14 to 16th of April, Pi Mai Lao is the most festive time in Laos, when people go out and celebrate the coming of the new year. Food, music, dancing and drinking of the famous Beer Lao cap the 3-day festivities. The most exciting place to be during the Lao New Year is at Luang Prabang where it is celebrated in the traditional way. Ancient practices of washing Buddha images and pouring of water among the locals are still being done in this heritage city, thus attracting many tourists during this time of the year.
  • Plain of Jars: is located in the province of Xieng Khuan, and has stone jars, that nobody knows what they are for or why they are there. Best time to visit: November to February.
  • Tad Fane Waterfall: is located in the south of Laos. It is a high waterfall offering amazing views. The best time to visit this waterfall is from June to August.
  • That Luang Festival: this is a month-long religious celebration held in the capital city Vientiane. The festival begins in the last week of October when tens of thousands of Buddhist pilgrims would gather to pray and hear sermons by revered monks. A trade fair that showcases the products of Laos is held in the Vientiane city center where tourists and locals alike would flock to find great buys at bargain prices. By November 25th, the festival officially closes with a spectacular fireworks display.
  • Vang Vieng: is often called “a piece of heaven”. It also attracts millions of tourists every year, especially backpackers. With the mountains, rivers and rice fields, the best months to visit it are February, March and April.
  • Wat Phu (Vat Phou): located at the base of mount Phu Kao, which is in the Champasak province. It is a ruined Khmer temple complex, with a very rich history. Sure, it is smaller then other temples, but sometimes the best things come in small packages. The best time to visit it is during the dry season, from November to March.

Below you find 2 recommended travel adventures in and through Laos, organized by G Adventures.

Classic Burma Adventure Burma Family Adventure
Classic Burma Adventure Burma Family Adventure

People who want to leave shortly, can find good last minute deals here: save up to 25% on Last Minute Adventure Travel Packages

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Pay special attention to

While planning any visit to Laos, there are a few things that you should keep in mind:

  • Lao infrastructure: Laos has a lot of wonderful places to see and explore. It was only 1998 when the country opened itself to tourism, but it has already achieved great progress in terms of developing its tourist attractions and providing better tourism service. Understandably, most of the rural areas remain under-developed and there are bad roads and insufficient road signs that might make travel cumbersome, especially during the stormy months of August and September. The summer months is also a time for land preparation for farmers, who still use the traditional slash and burn practice. Hence, expect thick smoke coming from farm areas which will not be very welcoming, especially for visitors with sensitive allergies and asthma.
  • Spicy food: Make sure that when you are ordering the famous Lao ‘laap’ (ground meat with vegetables), to order it “Bok mak pet!”. Loosely translated as “hold the chillies”. Saying this will save you from burning your tongue as Lao food is always laden with lots of spices.
  • Visiting temples: when visiting Buddhist temples, pay closer attention to being respectful of the monks who live there. While it is allowed to take pictures of them, it would be disrespectful if you come very near to them to take the shot. Find a good angle where you stand a few meters away from them to make sure you are not offending or getting in the way of their daily duties.

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Do you have a question about visiting Laos? Or do you want to share your knowledge of Laos with other travelers? Please, visit our Laos forum.

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