When is the best time to visit Laos?

Laos is a small, landlocked country in SouthEast Asia known for its lush greenery, ancient temples and tranquil way of life. Take a trip to Laos and you will experience an authentic culture as it has been impacted less by the West. It has a rich and diverse cultural heritage that includes traditional music, dance, and handicrafts.

We take a look at the best time to visit Laos and things to do at the different times of year.

Laos monks at a temple

Low season

The low season in Laos falls between May and September, when the country experiences its rainy season. While this may put some travellers off, there are plenty of reasons to visit during this time. For one, the countryside is at its most beautiful, with rice paddies and forests bursting with life. Additionally, prices for accommodation and tours are significantly lower during this time, making it a great option if you have a limited budget.

Best things to do during the low season

During the low season, you can enjoy a range of activities in Laos, including exploring the temples of Luang Prabang, trekking through the lush jungles of the north, and cruising down the Mekong River. You can also take advantage of the cooler temperatures and lower crowds to explore the cities and towns of Laos at a more leisurely pace.

Shoulder season

The shoulder season in Laos is from October to November and from February to April. During these months, the weather is dry and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius. This is a great time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds of the high season while still enjoying good weather.

Best things to do during the shoulder season

During the shoulder season you can take a bike ride through the countryside, visit the Plain of Jars in Xieng Khouang province or go kayaking down the Nam Ou River. You can also enjoy the many festivals and celebrations that take place during this time, such as the Lao New Year in April.

High season

The high season in Laos runs from December to January, when the weather is at its driest and coolest. This is the busiest time of year for tourism in Laos, so expect crowds and higher prices. However, the beautiful weather and festive atmosphere make it a popular time to visit.

Best things to do during the high season

If you're visiting Laos during the high season, there are plenty of things to keep you occupied. Visit the ancient city of Luang Prabang, explore the caves of Vang Vieng or take a boat ride down the Nam Song River. You can also attend one of the many festivals that take place during this time, like the Laos Boat Racing Festival in October.

Rainforest Laos

Best time to go to Laos during the wet season

The wet season in Laos typically runs from May to October, with the heaviest rainfall occurring in July and August. While some travellers may be put off by the thought of travelling during the rainy season, it can actually be a great time to visit Laos. Here are a few reasons why:

The rainy season brings an explosion of greenery to Laos, with lush forests, vibrant rice paddies, and flowing rivers. The countryside is incredibly beautiful during this time, and the scenery provides some great photo opportunities.

Since the wet season is considered the low season for tourism in Laos, there are fewer crowds to contend with. This means you can enjoy popular attractions without having to compete with large crowds of other tourists.

Because it is the low season, many hotels and tour companies offer discounts and lower prices during the rainy season. This can make your trip to Laos more affordable, and allow you to stretch your budget further.

Best time to go to Laos during the dry season

The dry season in Laos runs from November to April and is the most popular time for tourists to visit the country. Here are a few reasons why:

During the dry season, Laos enjoys warm and sunny weather with low humidity. This makes it a great time to explore the outdoors and enjoy activities like hiking, biking, and swimming.

The dry season is also festival season in Laos, with colourful and vibrant celebrations taking place throughout the country. Some of the most popular festivals include the That Luang Festival in Vientiane, the Elephant Festival in Sayaboury, and the Rocket Festival in Xieng Khouang.

Mekong River

Since the dry season is the most popular time to visit Laos, it is also the easiest time to travel. Many tourist facilities, including hotels, restaurants, and tour companies, are open and fully operational during this time, making it easy to plan your trip.

What is the rainy season in Laos?

The monsoon season in Laos generally runs from May to October, with the heaviest rainfall occurring in July and August. During this time, you can expect frequent downpours and occasional flooding, particularly in the low-lying areas of the country. It's worth noting that some roads and transportation options may be affected during the rainy season, so it's important to plan accordingly if you're travelling during this time.

When are the festivals in Laos?

Laos has a rich and colorful calendar of events that take place throughout the year. Some of the most popular festivals include:

  • Boun Bang Fai (Rocket Festival) - usually held in May, this festival involves the launching of homemade rockets into the sky in the hopes of bringing rain for the upcoming rice planting season.
  • Boun Khao Padabdin (Festival of the Dead) - held in August, this festival involves making offerings to the spirits of ancestors and seeking their blessings.
  • Boun Ok Phansa (End of Buddhist Lent) - held in October, this festival marks the end of the Buddhist Lent period and involves boat races, parades, and other cultural activities.
  • That Luang Festival - held in November, this festival is one of the biggest and most important in Laos and celebrates the country's most sacred stupa, That Luang.

Best time to visit rainforests and jungle in Laos

If you want to explore the rainforests and jungles of Laos, the best time to visit is during the dry season from November to February. During this time, the weather is cool and dry, making it easier to trek through the forests and spot wildlife.

Rainforest Laos

Things to do in Laos

There are plenty of things to do in Laos, no matter what time of year you visit. Some of the top activities include exploring the ancient temples of Luang Prabang, trekking through the jungle in the north, and cruising down the Mekong River. You can also take a cooking class, visit a local market, or learn about traditional crafts, such as weaving and pottery. And if you're looking for a bit of adventure, you can go rock climbing, kayaking, or zip-lining through the forests.

How many days do you need in Laos?

The answer to this question really depends on what you want to see and do in Laos. If you're short on time, you can see some of the highlights in just a few days. For example, you could spend a day or two in the capital city of Vientiane, where you can visit the stunning Wat Sisaket temple and the Patuxai monument. From there, you could head north to the charming town of Luang Prabang, which is known for its French colonial architecture, night markets, and waterfalls.

If you have more time then spend at least a week in Laos so you can explore more of the country. You could visit the Plain of Jars, a mysterious archaeological site in central Laos, or go trekking in the mountains near the town of Phongsali. You could also take a slow boat down the Mekong River, which offers stunning views of the countryside and a chance to interact with locals.

Is Laos good for tourists?

Definitely! Laos is a very welcoming country that's set up for tourists. English is widely spoken in tourist areas, and there are plenty of accommodation options to suit all budgets. Laos is also a safe country to visit, with a low crime rate and friendly locals who are happy to help you out if you need it.

One thing to be aware of is that Laos is a developing country, and the infrastructure isn't always up to the standards you might be used to. Roads can be bumpy and transport options can be limited. But if you're willing to embrace a slower pace of life and go with the flow, its the perfect place.

In conclusion, Laos is a beautiful and fascinating country that can be enjoyed year-round. The low season is great for budget-conscious travellers, the shoulder season offers good weather without the crowds, and the high season is perfect for those who want to experience Laos at its most festive. Whatever time of year you visit, you'll find plenty of things to see and do in this enchanting corner of Southeast Asia. So why not start planning your trip to Laos today, you won't regret it!