The best time to visit Laos

Thanks to its altitude, latitude and the influence of the monsoon, Laos has a temperature from tropical to subtropical with 2 distinct seasons: the wet and the dry. The wet season lasts from May to October with temperatures around from 30°C. The cool dry season runs from November to February when temperatures can drop to over 10°C in Vientiane and even to freezing in mountainous regions (down to 5°C in January in Xieng Khuang or Phongsaly). Hot dry season is from March to May when the Mekong River riverside in Low Laos may reach 40°C.

Wet season (May - October)

Under the affection of monsoon from May to October, Laos receives a few hours of showers each day rather than all-day torrential downpours. You can expect high humidity and amazing structure of clouds as well as lush and green nature. It tends to be hotter ranging from 23-35°C with short rain showers occurring in the afternoon during the early part of wet season whilst the later part tends to receive more frequent and longer showers with lower temperatures ranging from 23-33°C. August receives the most rainfall.

Whilst Laos is generally affected by the wet season, there’s slight difference among regions. Phongsali in the North, Hua Phan and Xieng Khuang in the Central may receive early rainfall from Vietnam and China during April and May. The higher location, the more rain it gets, and Mekong River areas south of Vientiane get the least rain.

The wet season brings both advantages and disadvantages to travellers. Rainfall undoubtedly damages Laos’s infrastructure and travelling during this period can be incredibly challenging. One should be prepared to encounter landslides and muddy roads. Land transport takes much longer than expected. Also, rivers can get beastly and bridges are commonly down. Good sandals or hiking boots are highly recommended.

Fortunately, you will have opportunity to observe stunning mountainous scenery, and rice paddies bursting with lush green. You can expect lower temperatures, clean air and smaller crowds. Waterfalls are full and rapids along Mekong River are submerged enabling slow boats to take deeper drafts. Speedboat is not recommended due to refusal carried by heavy rainfall.

Dry season (November - April)

After the monsoon period, Laos welcome dry season that can be further sub-divided into 2 sections: Cool dry and hot dry. The cool dry season runs from November to February and the dry hot season follows until approaching monsoon.

The former section is an excellent time to visit Laos, especially in November and December with moderate temperatures ranging from 24-27°C. The rains have gone leaving green and lush rural areas as well as full flow waterways promising ideal boat rides. You can expect minimal rain and plenty of sunshine. The next two months remain a very pleasant time with dry conditions all over the country. It can get quite chilly in Northern highlands in December, January and February, especially at night. Please make sure to bring warm clothing.

The latter section starts to heat up Laos and you can expect hot and dry conditions throughout the country. March and April are also considered the hottest months of the country with average temperatures ranging from 29-33°C. Apart from increasing heat, the smoke caused by an agricultural practice of burning the remaining leaves and unused plant from the harvest may make you feel uncomfortable.







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