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Waterfalls near Luang Prabang

When is the best time to visit Laos?

Waterfalls near Luang Prabang

The small, landlocked country of Laos is best visited between October and April, when the weather’s warm and dry throughout.

River travel is best between November and January, when high water levels make passage easy along Laos' main waterway, the Mekong River. Visiting the Bolaven Plateau is also pleasant at this time of year.

Laos’ geography plays a major part in shaping its climate, and cool temperatures can still be found in the highlands, which lie mainly in northern, eastern and central regions. The 'green season’ falls between late May and October, when the rains return to the country. However, showers are usually short and sharp, having little impact on your exploration. At this time of year the country comes to life, with waterfalls beginning to flow once more and the lush scenery attracting a variety of wildlife.

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Laos Climate Guide

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Champasak 88°F 0" 93°F 0" 93°F 1" 95°F 3" 91°F 9" 88°F 9" 86°F 21" 86°F 18" 86°F 15" 88°F 4" 88°F 1" 86°F 0"
Luang Prabang 81°F 1" 88°F 1" 91°F 1" 93°F 4" 93°F 6" 91°F 7" 88°F 10" 88°F 12" 90°F 7" 88°F 3" 84°F 1" 81°F 1"
Nong Khiaw 77°F 0" 82°F 1" 86°F 1" 90°F 4" 90°F 7" 88°F 9" 86°F 14" 86°F 14" 86°F 6" 84°F 2" 81°F 1" 77°F 1"
Vang Vieng 82°F 0" 86°F 1" 90°F 2" 93°F 7" 91°F 14" 90°F 17" 88°F 32" 88°F 26" 88°F 19" 88°F 5" 84°F 2" 81°F 1"
Vientiane 82°F 0" 86°F 1" 91°F 1" 93°F 3" 90°F 9" 88°F 10" 88°F 10" 86°F 13" 86°F 12" 86°F 3" 86°F 0" 82°F 0"

Month-by-month guide to traveling in Laos

Mekong scene

Visiting Laos in January

It's dry throughout the country in January, with comfortably warm temperatures, although it can get quite cold in the north of the country. It's therefore best to wrap up during river travel, early mornings and late evenings. River levels should be high, making this a good time to explore the country's waterways.

Bridge Crossing, Vang Vieng

Visiting Laos in February

It remains dry throughout the country, with temperatures only rising a little and the north still getting quite cold during the early part of the month. River levels should still be good; however, damming by the Chinese has impacted water levels in recent years.

Events & Festivals

  • Boun Ma Kha Bu Saar/Full Moon Festival (March): This festival celebrates a speech given by Buddha. You can observe chanting and parades of worshipers bearing candles at local temples.
  • Wat Phou Festival - Champasak (February): Buddhists attend this three-day festival from across the region, taking part in processions, recitals, boat races and dances. Read more
Phasouame Waterfalls, Bolavens Plateau

Visiting Laos in March

The dry season continues, with temperatures rising throughout the country to over 86°F in places; although cooler conditions can still be found in the highlands. Travel in the central and southern regions can be a little uncomfortable, and a top tip would be to combine southern Laos with the Bolaven Plateau, where the higher altitude gives respite from the hot climate. River levels will be getting 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, which is in full swing.

Events & Festivals

  • 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.
Wat Phou, Champasak, Laos

Visiting Laos in April

This is the last month of the dry season, although there is a slim chance of rain towards the end of the month. River levels will be at an annual low, meaning river travel may be difficult in some parts of the country. Temperatures will be at their highest throughout the country, reaching 97°F in the south, so travel may be uncomfortable. Slash and burn will also continue to impact the surroundings and smoke and haze will normally be seen in the major towns and countryside.

Events & Festivals

  • 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!
Tad Fan, a stunning two tiered waterfall. is worth a visit in Southern Laos

Visiting Laos in May

There is a chance of dry weather during the first half of the month; however, rain is expected and will almost certainly arrive by the latter stages. River levels will again remain low and the recent damming has made this worse. Slash and burn may continue in some parts of the country until the rains arrive. Hot and humid throughout.

Events & Festivals

  • Boun Bang Fai/Rocket Festival (May or June): A festival to mark the sixth month of the lunar calendar, used as a call for rain and a celebration of fertility. Home-made fireworks are launched by locals and entered into competitions.
  • 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.
Nong Khiaw, Laos

Visiting Laos in June

Rain will start to fall throughout most of the country; with the north seeing the least. The rain tends to be short-lived and plenty of sunshine can still be expected away from the south of the country. Temperatures hover around the high 80°Fs.

Events & Festivals

  • Boun Bang Fai/Rocket Festival (May or June): A festival to mark the sixth month of the lunar calendar, used as a call for rain and a celebration of fertility. Home-made fireworks are launched by locals and entered into competitions.
Kuang Si Waterfall, Luang Prabang

Visiting Laos in July

The wet season is now in full swing and temperatures continue to average around 86°F. It is not uncommon for temperatures to drop a little; with cooler temperatures found in the south (specifically the Bolaven Plateau). As it becomes wetter, lush green foliage begins to swathe the landscape in central Laos, while in the south, cascading waterfalls can be admired once more.

Private boat cruising on the Mekong River

Visiting Laos in August

Rainfall reaches its peak in August as showers become longer and more intense, and little of the country will remain dry. River levels begin to fill up in time for the dry season approaching, and Laos' beautiful landscapes return. During this time, travel to remote areas can be somewhat difficult. Temperatures drop to the 70°Fs throughout the country.

Food Vendors; Ferry to Wat Phou, Laos

Visiting Laos in September

Rainfall continues to peak all over the country, and travel to remote areas can still be troublesome. However, towards the end of the month the sun will start to make an appearance, and combined with the waterfalls and leafy landscape helps to make this one of the most attractive times to visit for those seeking stunning natural scenery.

Events & Festivals

  • 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. Read more
Vang Vieng, Laos

Visiting Laos in October

The drier weather returns, but some rain may still make an appearance. On the whole, temperatures are cooler at this time of year but not uncomfortable, hovering around the high 70°Fs to low 80°Fs . This is an excellent time to visit as you will beat the crowds yet still enjoy fair weather and the fresh green landscapes created by the wet season.

Events & Festivals

  • 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 honor of the Naga king. Read more
  • Naga Rocket Festival - Bolikhamxay Province (October): Held on the last night of the Lao Buddhist Lent, small multi-colored fireballs can be seen on the water where the Nam Ngum and Mekong River meet in Bolikhamxay.
Four Thousand Islands, near Champasak, Southern Laos

Visiting Laos in November

Dry conditions are seen throughout the country, and this is the peak season for river travel, with river levels at their highest. Temperatures will be comfortable at around the high 70°Fs to low 80°Fs, and flora and fauna are in abundance.

Events & Festivals

  • 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.
View of the Mekong near Pakbeng, Laos

Visiting Laos in December

December offers a similar outlook to November, with dry, warm weather and ideal river cruising conditions. Towards the end of the month temperatures can drop in the northern parts of the country.

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Travel advice

Practical tips for traveling to Laos, from social protocols to guidance on money matters, with a link to the latest government travel advice.

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