When to Go to Laos
Laos by season
Laos’ year is split into two seasons, wet and dry. The warm, sunny weather of the dry season between October and April is the overall best time to come, but the wet season brings lush, green landscapes and gushing waterfalls, not to mention fewer tourists. When choosing when to visit don’t forget to take Laos’ many festivals into account. Joining in the celebrations is a sure-fire way to gain a more authentic insight into the country’s colourful culture.
May – September
The wet season brings rain to Vietnam, but this is no bad thing. The water is needed for cultivating the land, carpeting the fields and forests with greenery and attracting the local birdlife. The Mekong’s levels rise, filling the waterfalls, and the showers rarely last for more than an hour or two, so shouldn’t impact your travel plans too much. Although Laos is generally a hot country, it’s a little cooler in the wet season than the dry, hovering between 20 and 30°C.
Boun Bang Fai: to celebrate the imminent rains, join in the celebrations at the Rocket Festival, held at the start of the wet season and featuring music, dancing and the launching of home-made rockets.
Boun Visakhaboucha: held during the sixth full moon of the lunar calendar (around May/June), watch the candlelit processions at temples across the country as the Lao people commemorate the life of Buddha.
October – April
The warm sunny days of the dry season are Laos’ peak travel period, with visitors attracted to the easy travel and lack of rain. Temperatures rise from the mid-twenties in October to well over 35°C in April, but you can escape the heat by heading for the highlands and the Bolaven Plateau. Visit in October and November for the lush greenery left over from the wet season, or January and February for easy river travel on the now-full Mekong.
Boun Pi Mai: in April, join the locals and prepare to get very wet as they celebrate the Lao New Year by throwing scented water over each other, cleansing themselves in the process.
Boun Ok Phansa: celebrate the end of the rainy season in October at this quirky festival of boat racing. Decorated boats race on the Mekong, lanterns are lit and plenty of food and dancing is had by all.