The Best Time to Visit Laos: Seasons, Festivals, Tips

The Best Time to Visit Laos: Seasons, Festivals, Tips

By Wendy Updated May. 14, 2021

Laos is a destination in Southeast Asia that culture aficionados, backpackers, and trekkers love. It has a tropical monsoon climate with two distinct seasons: The dry season from November to April and the wet season from May to October.

Local tradition holds that there are three seasons, with the hot season from March to April separating the dry and wet seasons.

Kuang Si cascade waterfallKuang Si cascade waterfall

The dry season, from November to February, is the best time to visit. During this time, you will experience pleasant temperatures and little rainfall. This is also the golden period for outdoor activities.

Now, read on to get more helpful information about the best time to travel Laos, as well as useful tips for peak and off seasons.

The Best Time to Visit Luang Prabang

November to February is the best time to visit Luang Prabang. You can enjoy pleasant weather while visiting colorful temples, walking around the Old Town, or cycling through the countryside.

March to May are the hottest months. The slash-and-burn practice also takes place in some remote villages during these months. This mode of agriculture creates extensive air pollution. While the weather is still suitable for travel, you should take precautions against sunburn, heatstroke, and respiratory troubles.

Wat Xieng ThongWat Xieng Thong

For more information on Luang Prabang see: Top 9 Things to Do in Luang Prabang.

The Best Time to Visit Vientiane

November to March is the best time to visit Vientiane. You can travel around the city and experience clear days and comfortable temperatures.

Dry Season - November to February

The dry season is also the cool season, with lows around 15℃(59℉) and highs up to 30℃(86℉). During the dry season there is almost no rain. River cruising conditions are ideal at this season, so it is a good time to explore the waterways in the Mekong region.

November to February is the Peak Season

The best season always coincides with the peak tourist season, and this is no less true in Laos. In order to get around during the high season, you need to book accommodation in advance, especially during the Christmas and New Year period.

Events & Festivals

Boun That Luang: This is the most important Buddhist festival celebrated at Vientiane at Pha That Luang, the national symbol and religious monument. Monks and pilgrims gather there during the full moon of the twelfth lunar month, for a three-day religious ceremony, followed by a week of festivals.

Hot Season - March to April

Temperatures rise to over 30℃ (86℉), the highest levels of the year, with average rainfall still generally less than 100mm per month. River levels are at an annual low, meaning that most rivers are hard to navigate.

Travel during this season can be rather uncomfortable, especially in the central and southern regions, as temperatures often rise to 38℃ (100℉).

If you visit around mid-April, you're likely to experience the Lao New Year; be prepared to get wet, with water pouring all over the streets.

Events & Festivals

Laos New Year: This is the most widely celebrated festival in Laos; it lasts three days, from April 14 to 16. The celebration includes religious ceremonies, pageants, traditional music, dance shows and water-pouring. It is fun to join in the water fights, and what's more, pouring water over someone signifies washing away all their bad luck.

Wet Season - May to October

Also known as the rainy season, as rain falls throughout the country and reaches its peak in August and September with rainfall reaching 250mm to 300mm per month. Temperatures are between 20℃ (68℉) and 30℃ (86℉). It is hot and humid, with downpours mostly in the afternoons, showers and blue skies the rest of the time.

May to October is the Off-Peak Season

Fresher air, fewer tourists, cheaper accommodation and easier access to restaurants make it a good time to visit.

As it becomes wetter, the emerald-green landscapes are dotted with lush vegetation, blooming flowers and bright streams. It's a must-do to go deep into the forest and see the dramatically cascading waterfalls and seek the stunning natural scenery.

Events & Festivals

Boun Ok Watsa: This is the last day of the Buddhist lent to pay respects to the Buddha and express gratitude to the river spirits. Offerings are made at temples in the morning and colorful floats decorated with flowers and candles are set adrift down the rivers.

Boat Racing Festival: Celebrated at the end of the rainy season to honor the Naga King. Elaborate carved boats occupied by rowers start to compete from upstream along the Mekong River. This combination of entertainment and commemoration has become a tradition over many years.

Travel Tips for the Wet Season

As infrastructure in Laos is still being developed, landslides can cause rutted roads, especially in remote areas. As such, your journey may be interrupted by bad roads. To avoid being caught in roadblocks, try to stay in larger cities.

Extra caution must be taken if you go to Vang Vieng for beautiful limestone karst scenery and adventure activities, as the pathways can be slippery and there is a possibility of flooding.

Continue to read Laos monthly weather.

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