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Laos

January Overview

Warm, sunny days and low rainfall make January an excellent time of year to visit Laos. Average temperatures are a comfortable 24°C in Vientiane and Luang Prabang, whilst in Pakse and the southern regions it’s slightly warmer with highs of 30°C.

If you plan to travel to the higher altitude regions in the north and east of the country, or are stopping in Pakbeng on a cruise along the Mekong River, you should expect cooler temperatures (15°C), especially at night. In Phongsali temperatures can fall as low as 5°C so you’ll need to pack suitable warm clothing.

February Overview

February’s weather conditions are similar to January as the dry season continues and you can expect warm sunny days and low rainfall.

Vientiane and Luang Prabang experience moderate temperatures of around 24°C in February,  whilst in Pakse and the 4000 islands in southern Laos, it is slightly warmer with highs of 30°C.

February is an ideal month for trekking in the higher altitude regions in the north and east of the country, with cool temperatures in the day, however they can drop at night and suitable warm clothing is recommended.

March Overview

The dry season continues, with temperatures rising throughout the country to over 30°C in Vientiane and Luang Prabang, and 32°C further to the south in Pakse and the 4000 Islands region. The northern regions of Luang Namtha and Phongsali are still enjoying cooler temperatures so this is a good time for trekking.

River levels become low at this time of year, making river travel in the north difficult and somewhat unpleasant due to the haze created by the ‘slash and burn’ season.

If you visit Laos between March-May you may experience the effects of 'slash and burn' farming, which is practiced throughout much of Asia. New ground is cleared in February and, once dry, any wood and bush not required is burnt. Fires are lit across the country and this can create a hazy effect at times, particularly in rural regions.

April Overview

April is one of the hottest months of the year in Laos and temperatures can reach 40°C, especially in Pakse and the 4000 islands region in the south of the country, whilst temperatures average around 30°C in Vientiane and Luang Prabang.

Towards the end of the month showers become more likely as the wet season approaches, especially in the northern regions around Phongsali, however the heavy downpours tend to be short lived and shouldn’t affect your trip.

Bun Pi Mai (Laos New Year) usually falls around mid April and the celebrations last for several days. This is a really fun time to be in Laos as people take to the streets to celebrate, but you should expect to get wet when you’re out and about as everyone has a water gun or bucket of water and no-one can escape getting soaked. Please bear in mind that many markets and some tourist sites will be closed for the holiday.

May Overview

The first half of May is usually relatively dry, however the wet season starts later in the month. The short, heavy showers shouldn’t affect your trip too much and the intense downpours are quickly replaced by blue skies and sunshine - although in the south longer downpours can be expected.

Temperatures remain high, with Luang Prabang and Vientiane experiencing average temperatures of 28°C, whilst further south in Pakse and the 4000 Islands highs of 35°C can be expected. 

If you can avoid the rain as best as possible May can be a great month to visit Laos, and there’s the added bonus that visitor numbers are much lower than previous months. 

Boun Bang Fai - the rocket festival – takes place across Laos in either May or June. During this festival rockets are fired into the air to encourage the rains. The exact date varies from one village to the next.

June Overview

June is the start of the wet season in Laos, however it is still considered a good month to visit and you can expect plenty of blue skies and sunshine between the heavy showers which tend to last for just a few hours rather than all day.

The rain is usually heavier the higher you are with the riverside towns south of Vientiane experiencing the least rain. The rain means that the countryside becomes lush and green, especially around Vang Vieng, and the waterfalls in the 4000 Islands are spectacular at this time of year.  

You should expect average temperatures around 25-27°C, with Pakse experiencing warmer temperatures than Luang Prabang and Vientiane, and slightly cooler conditions in Phongsali in the north.

Boun Bang Fai - the rocket festival – takes place across Laos in either May or June. During this festival rockets are fired into the air to encourage the rains. The exact date varies from one village to the next.

July Overview

If you travel to Laos in July you should expect heavy rain, although the downpours tend last for a few hours rather than all day, and there can still be plenty of dry days.  In Pakse and the south, rainfall can be heavier and last longer, which means the waterfalls in the 4000 Islands are at their best. The countryside around Vang Vieng is also lush and green at this time. In the more remote regions, such as Phongsali and Muang Sing the heavy rain makes road travel difficult, in many cases impossible.

Despite overcast skies, average temperatures in Luang Prabang and Vientiane hover around 25-27°C.

Boun Khao Phansa – Buddhist Lent - starts on the full-moon in July and lasts until October. Early in the morning of the first day of Boun Khao Phansa local people gather food - rice, bananas and necessities such as soap and toothpaste, and then they take the donations to the temples where they listen to Buddhist teachings and receive blessings. In the evening monks and their novices carry flowers and candles around the central temple three times. It can be a very calming and peaceful experience to join the Lao people in temples on the first day of Boun Khao Phansa.

August Overview

August is not the best time to travel to Laos and if you do choose to visit during this month you should expect intense downpours almost every day.

In the more remote regions, such as Phongsali and Muang Sing the heavy rain makes road travel difficult, in many cases impossible and there’s a risk of landslides in some areas. Southern highlights such as the 4000 Islands remain accessible by boat, with the regions waterfalls at their best.

Despite overcast skies, average temperatures in Luang Prabang and Vientiane range from 25-30°C. 

September Overview

September’s weather is much the same as August. Heavy downpours are highly likely, although the rain will start to subside later in the month as the dry season approaches and sunshine replaces the grey overcast skies.

Temperatures begin to drop with averages of 26°C in Luang Prabang and Vientiane, and 27°C in Pakse and the southern provinces.

Laos is at its most picturesque in September as the countryside is lush and green following months of rain, and the waterfalls are at their most impressive.

Bouk Ok Phansa falls in either September or October. This marks the end of the Buddhist Lent and lots of interesting celebrations and activities take place around the country.

October Overview

October is a good time to visit Laos as the weather is mostly dry and sunny, and the temperatures are comfortable. You should expect temperatures of 25°C in Luang Prabang and Vientiane, and 26°C in Pakse and the southern provinces. In Phongsali and the mountainous regions cooler weather should be expected, especially at night, and you should pack suitable warm clothing.    

Tourist numbers remain low during the first half of October so it’s a great time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds.

Bouk Ok Phansa falls in either September or October. This marks the end of the Buddhist Lent and lots of interesting celebrations and activities take place around the country.

That Luang Festival takes place during the full moon in October or November (depending on the Lunar Calendar) and it is one of the most significant festivals of the year in Laos. It is held at the religious monument of Pha That Luang or the Golden Stupa in Vientiane and lasts from three to seven days with various processions, celebrations and firework displays.

November Overview

Moderate temperatures (average 23 °C Vientiane and Luang Prabang, and 26°C in Pakse and the 4000 Islands), very little rainfall and plenty of sunshine make this a popular month to visit Laos.

Comfortable temperatures (average 17°C) in the north of the country make November an ideal month for trekking in Luang Namtha, Muang La and Phongsali. 

That Luang Festival takes place during the full moon in October or November (depending on the Lunar Calendar) and it is one of the most significant festivals of the year in Laos. It is held at the religious monument of Pha That Luang or the Golden Stupa in Vientiane and lasts from three to seven days with various processions, celebrations and firework displays.

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