Posted By : Threeland Travel / Laos Travel Guide
Travel enthusiasts may already reckon Laos as a gem for adventures, though, what is the best time to visit Laos is also frequently asked question for your trip to Laos. If you don’t know when is ideal time and weather in Laos, you might not be able to enjoy everything that the country has to offer! Together with our available Laos tour packages, we share with you the best travel tips and guides, and today guide covers the ideal time to visit Laos.
Located in Southeast Asia, Laos is a landlocked country with a straightforward tropical climate. Instead of having four distinct seasons, there are two main weather seasons in Laos: dry season and rainy/wet season. Hot and wet season starts from May to October and dry, cooler season is from November to April.
Broadly speaking, the best time to visit Laos for enjoying dry, warm weather and for getting the best out of the activities and sceneries offered, is between October and February. During this time, overall weather is favorable: warm and dry throughout, average temperatures range from 14-26°C/57-78°F with little to no rain. Mild weather makes this an ideal time for all types of activities, from sightseeing to adventurous treks, bike tours and boat rides. Thus, if you are an adventurer or want to experience boat trip and rural life in Laos, it is strongly recommended to visit the country during dry season.
The rainy season accompanying the wet monsoon falls between May and October. Throughout Southeast Asia, the monsoon season generally refers to the "southwest monsoon", the time of the year when the prevailing winds blow up from the warm, wet equatorial seas, bringing in rains and storms. At this time, Laos experiences moderate rainfall with short, sharp bursts of showers and high temperatures. Whilst the rain does not last for long, the wet weather can make travel difficult, particularly in rural areas. During the monsoon, the weather is marked by high humidity with temperatures ranging from 20–25°C/68-77°F. Furthermore, March – June are the hottest months of the year, when temperatures in the South can be in excess of 35°C/95°F in March and April.
Laos’ geography plays a major part in shaping its climate, and temperatures throughout the country are also greatly affected by altitude. Hence, you should check for weather of a particular region or destination you are planning to visit in your Laos tour itinerary. Below is a handy summary of weather differences in regions of Laos.
Cool temperatures can be found in the highlands, which lie mainly in northern, eastern and central regions. These regions are at a higher altitude than those in the south, where at its lowest, in the Mekong River valley, humidity and temperatures are both higher. In the higher up, including Luang Namtha and Phongsali, temperatures can get as low as 5°C/41°F in the evenings. So carry extra warm clothes if you decide to go for a Northern Laos itinerary. During wet season, rains are more constant and heavier in the south, while further north and in Luang Prabang, rainfall tends to be lighter. Across Laos, throughout much of the rainy season, daytime temperatures average around 29°C/84°F in the lowlands and 23°C/73°F in the mountain valleys.
In general, you should avoid travelling in hot months in Laos, however, Northern Laos and Luang Prabang are good to visit year-round except for maybe August and September when rainfalls are prolonged and heaviest. River travel is best between November and January, when high water levels from the previous months’ rainfall make passage easy along Laos' main waterway, the Mekong River. You can also go swimming and tubing in waterfalls and rivers, as well as explore mystical Buddhist shrines and mysterious caves; visiting the Bolaven Plateau is also pleasant at this time of year. For trekking, hiking and cycling, the cooler months of December and January are better, thanks to the dry road conditions and perfect outdoor weather.
The “green season” falls between late May and October, at this time of year the country comes to life, with waterfalls beginning to flow once more and the lush scenery attracting a variety of wildlife. Be aware that rains can make a real mess of the country’s difficult dirt roads and you will struggle to get around and see the countryside. Whilst the Four Thousand Islands come fully alive during the rainy season; certain attractions look less charming in the rains such as Kuang Si Waterfalls near Luang Prabang – it turns into a muddy mess during the rainy season. Remote areas and caves can be off limits and tubing in Vang Vieng becomes dangerous as well.
Festivals & Events
Who wouldn’t want to visit a country at time of festivals? Luckily, Laos is full of exciting events going on at any time of year. If you happen to book a Laos tour package at the same time of a festival, be prepared to enjoy the festivities celebrated from small villages to large cities, some of which are even week-long! Here is a list of the biggest festivals and events in Laos so don’t miss it in your upcoming trip to Laos:
Boun Ma Kha Bu Saar (Full Moon Festival) – February
This festival celebrates a speech given by Buddha under a full moon in February. You can observe chanting and parades of worshippers bearing candles at local temples.
Bun Pi Mai (Laos New Year) – April
Bun Pi Mai, the splashy Laos New Year is celebrated all over Laos in mid-April. It is a huge week long party in the street celebrating the end of the dry season and the start of the rainy season. People are doused with scented water in the street as a cleansing ritual, that means everyone has a water gun and they will soak you wet! A great time to visit the country, but expect the heat, crowds and peak price during water festival.
Bun Bang Fai (Rocket Festival) – May
Bun Bang Fai, also known as the rocket festival, marks the sixth month of the lunar calendar and is used as a call for rain and a celebration of fertility. Home-made fireworks are launched by locals and entered into competitions. It is hoped the thunderous noise will encourage the spirits to make it rain after months of dry weather.
Lai Heau Fai (Festival of Light Boats) – October
Lai Heau Fai, on the full moon in October, is a festival of lights; the celebrations are especially lively in Luang Prabang. In the days leading up to the festival residents build large floats and festoon them with lights.
That Luang Festival – November
A religious festival where tens of thousands of monks and pilgrims gather at the great That Luang stupa in Vientiane or Grand Stupa, which is an important symbol of Laos, bearing wax candles. The week-long That Luang Festival then kicks off with a mass alms-giving.
Bun Pha Wet Festival – December–January
Bun Pha Wet, which commemorates the Jataka tale of the Buddha’s second-to-last incarnation as Pha Wet, or Prince Vessantara, takes place at local monasteries on various dates throughout December or January. In larger towns, expect live bands and dancing.
There are numerous additional festivals throughout the year, many of the festival dates change annually because they are often calculated according to the Buddhist lunar calendar. It is easy to check for the dates of festivals in advance on the Internet nowadays, so if you are interested in participating in any festival, this is not really a problem.
To sum up, winter months between November and February are the best time to travel to Laos. These are the month for doing a bit of everything, from sightseeing, to river travel, to exploring the countryside. October is a great time as well, as the dry season is back and you can take advantage of shoulder season deals. Festivals are year-round and good opportunities to explore the colorful culture of Laos, so go ahead and book a Laos tour package with us to be mesmerized by this beautiful land. Visit Threeland Travel or send us your inquiry directly through email firstname.lastname@example.org for tailor-made Laos tour!