The dry season in Laos typically operates from November to April, and the wet season from May until October, with the heaviest rainfall generally in August & September, especially in the south. November to January is considered the best time to visit lowland Laos, when daytime temperatures are agreeably warm, evenings are slightly chilly and the countryside is green and lush after the rains. However, at higher elevations temperatures are significantly cooler, sometimes dropping to freezing point. In February, temperatures begin to climb, reaching a peak in April, when the lowlands are baking hot and humid. The hottest time of the year in Laos is typically between the months of March and June, when temperatures can climb to 35°C and above. During this time, the highlands are, for the most part, equally hot if a bit less muggy than the lowlands, though there are places, such as Paksong on the Bolaven Plateau, that have a temperate climate year-round.
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The blissful conditions of the dry season continue in January. Average temperatures during January are a comfortable 24°C in Vientiane and Luang Prabang, whilst in Pakse and the southern regions it’s slightly warmer and highs of 30°C are not uncommon at this time. There is little chance of rain and much of the country reaps the post-green season benefits. If you plan to reach the higher altitude regions in the north and east of the country, or are embarking on a Mekong River cruise via Pakbeng, cooler temperatures (average temp 15°C) should be expected, especially at night when temperatures drop to single digits in northern Laos, so wrap up warm. In Phongsali, for example, temperatures can dip to as low as 5°C.
Visit Laos in February
As in January, February has lovely conditions with no rainfall and blue skies overhead. It's an excellent time of year if you plan on trekking in Luang Namtha, Muang La and Phongsali, although temperatures can drop at night and suitable warm clothing is recommended. Towards the end of the month, temperatures begin to rise - Champasak, Pakse and the 4,000 Islands reach the 30°Cs, but it remains chilly at night. Whilst in Vientiane and Luang Prabang is slightly pleasant, and moderate temperatures of 24°C are common during February.
Visit Laos in March
As the last leg of the dry season, the heat ramps up in March, especially towards the end of the month. Average temperatures of 29°C in Vientiane and Luang Prabang are to be expected. Traveling to the central and southern regions can bring a little uncomfortable experience, and a top tip would be to combine southern Laos with the Bolaven Plateau, where the higher altitude gives a chance to escape the heat. The northern regions of Luang Namtha, Muang Sing and Phongsali are still enjoying cooler temperatures and favourable trekking conditions.
Visit Laos in April
Being the last month of the dry season in Laos, April is hot, with days typically sunny and rain free, although there is a slim chance of rain towards the end of the month. Towards the end of the month showers become more likely as the wet season approaches, especially in the northern regions around Luang Namtha and Phongsali, they are normally short-lived and can be a welcome respite from the heat. Temperatures will be at their highest throughout the country, reaching 36°C in the south, whilst temperatures hover around a rather warm 30°C in Vientiane and Luang Prabang. River levels will be at an annual low, meaning river travel may be difficult in some parts of the country.
Visit Laos in May
Green season starts in May but the beginning of the month tends to be of dry weather with fleeting showers that make way for blue skies. However, rain will almost certainly arrive by the latter stages of the month, especially in the northern provinces around Phongsali. Temperatures remain high, with Plain of Jars, Luang Prabang and Vientiane experiencing average temperatures of 28°C, whilst highs reaching mid-30°Cs in the southern regions are the norm. Avoid the short, heavy showers and you will find that May is still a great month of the year to visit Laos as plenty of sunshine can still be expected and fewer crowds in popular sightseeing spots.
Visit Laos in June
Rain will start to fall throughout most of the country; with the north seeing the least although showers tend to be short-lived and intense, lasting for a few hours rather than all-day downpours. The return of the rains means the countryside blooms with shades of green that blanket the landscape, especially around Vang Vieng, and the impressive waterfalls in the 4000 Islands come to life again. Temperatures hover around the low 30°Cs with Pakse and the southern regions experiencing warmer temperatures than Luang Prabang and Vientiane, and slightly cooler conditions in Phongsali in the north.
Visit Laos in July
The wet season is now in full swing in Laos, especially in Pakse and the southern regions where rainfall can be heavier and last longer than the north of the country. However, it often arrives in the afternoon and overnight, with the rest of the days remaining sunny and dry. Those who plan any caving and rock-climbing activities around Vang Vieng during this month may face difficulties; and travel to the more remote regions, such as Phongsali and Muang Sing is more problematic, as tracks may become unpassable. On the upside, these short, sharp bursts of heavy rain are particularly kind to the countryside, leaving lush greenery behind, and the cascading waterfalls in the 4000 Islands and the Bolaven Plateau are at their best during July.
Visit Laos in August
Rainfall reaches its peak in August, and heavy rain teamed with high humidity comes as standard in August, making it fairly difficult to get around in rural areas such as Phongsali and Muang Sing, which border Kengtung of Myanmar and Xishuangbanna of China. Tracks may become unpassable, with risk of landslides in some areas. If it’s ‘off the trail’ it’s best avoided in August. Despite the heavy rain, southern highlights such as the Pakse, Champasak and the 4000 Islands remain accessible by boat, with the regions’ waterfalls (unsurprisingly) at their best, although those looking for R&R in the sun should consider the beaches of central Vietnam.
Visit Laos in September
Whilst rainfall can still be expected throughout Laos during September, it begins to ease off, with heavy downpours increasingly infrequent and less severe towards the end of the month. Following months of rain, the sun will start to make an appearance, and the lush green countryside around Vang Vieng and Muang La is particularly attractive at this time of year. Temperatures also begin to drop slightly in September, with averages of 26°C experienced in Luang Prabang and Vientiane, and 27°C in Pakse and the southern provinces.
Visit Laos in October
Good weather finally returns to Laos in October but some rain may still make an appearance. Temperatures are cooler at this time of year, with averages of 26°C in Luang Prabang and Vientiane, and 27°C in Pakse and the southern provinces, making touring and sightseeing a much more comfortable and less sweaty experience! In Phongsali and the mountainous northern regions, cooler weather should be expected, especially at night, and suitable warm clothing is essential. All-in-all, October has nearly peak conditions, with a low-season number of tourists and this is an excellent time to visit as you will beat the crowds who flock back from November yet still enjoy fair weather and the fresh green landscapes created by the wet season.
Visit Laos in November
Welcome back to peak season! November sees the start of dry season throughout Laos, the rain has cleared, the sun is shining and days are breezy and fine. Following several months of rain, the countryside is lush and green, with river levels at their healthiest; it’s definitely the great month to book a cruise on the Mekong River. Temperatures will be pleasant at around 23°C in Vientiane and Luang Prabang, and 26°C in Pakse and the 4000 Islands, with peak temperatures not expected until March, and flora and fauna are in abundance.
Visit Laos in December
December is characterized by dry, sunny weather, blue skies, ideal river cruising conditions and little chance of rain and average temperatures in the early 20°Cs throughout the country. Therefore, it's no surprise that December is amongst the most popular times to travel to Laos. Favourable weather conditions makes it enjoyable experience venturing to the northern area of Muang La and Phongsali to trek through rolling hills whilst caving and rock-climbing activities in Vang Vieng are safe. With minimal chance of rainfall and plenty of sunshine, the 4000 Islands are the place to head for R&R, although if it’s a beach you’re seeking for then you may wish to consider Phu Quoc island in southern Vietnam or Hua Hin in Thailand, both of which are easily reached from Laos.
Events & Festivals
Wat Phou Festival - Champasak (February): Buddhists attend this three-day festival from across the region, taking part in processions, recitals, boat races and dances.
Boun Ma Kha Bu Saar/Full Moon Festival (March): This festival celebrates a speech given by Buddha. You can observe chanting and parades of worshippers bearing candles at local temples.
Boun Koun Khao (March): An agricultural festival celebrated in rural villages and local temples at harvest time - a great opportunity to observe rural customs and traditions.
Boun Pha Vet (late March): Held over three days and three nights, this is a religious festival celebrating the penultimate incarnation of Buddha, with the story recited in temples across the country.
Boun Pi Mai/Lao New Year (April): A great time to visit as celebrations are held country-wide for several days. Be prepared to get wet as people are doused with scented water in the street as a cleansing ritual!
Boun Visakhaboucha (May/the sixth full moon of the lunar calendar): Candlelight processions can be observed at temples as the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha is commemorated.
Boun Khao Padabdin/Rice and Boat Racing Festival (September): To commemorate the dead, locals make food offerings to monks and deceased relatives. Hand-made boats are then raced on the Mekong River in homage to water divinities and the Nagas.
Boun Ok Phansa/Boat Racing Festival (ten days leading up to October's full moon): Celebrated at the end of the rainy season, elaborate boats are raced along the Mekong River and various festivities take place on the riverbank in honour of the Naga king.
That Luang Festival and Trade Fair in Vientiane (November): A three-day religious festival where tens of thousands of monks and pilgrims gather at the That Luang or Grand Stupa, which is an important symbol of Laos, bearing wax candles.
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At Asia Senses Travel we’re adventurers at heart. Our journeys are all about discovering new places and cultures while creating unforgettable memories through physical activity and breathtaking scenery.