Tucked in neatly between Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, the tiny land-locked nation of Laos benefits from a tropical climate with two prominent seasons: hot and wet (June-November) and warm and dry (December-May). This means that travellers often choose to visit during the spring and winter months to dodge the monsoon season, although this can result in missing out on some wonderful festivals and activities that take place during the summer and autumn months. Read on to discover why any and every season can be the best time to visit Laos.

Winter (December-February)

The winter season is arguably one of the best times to visit Laos. The weather is dry and pleasant throughout the country, with daytime temperatures averaging 28°C. This is the ideal time to take a boat cruise down the Mekong River, as the rain has stopped, the days are warm and the nights are cool. The winter months also coincide with a range of festivities, such as Vientiane’s Luang Festival, a three-day Buddhist celebration during November’s full moon, with music, fireworks and fairs, and the Magha Puja, a large festival during February’s full moon, which sees large processions of people carrying candles and reciting prayers and religious songs.

Spring (March-May)

The spring is generally the low season in Laos, owing to the high temperatures and humidity. Temperatures can soar to a roasting 38°C in both the lowlands and the highlands, which can make hiking fairly unpleasant, as paths become very slippery and so walking for long periods can be challenging. That said, travellers willing to brave the heat can enjoy sightseeing without the usual crowds. You can also join the festival of Boun Pi Mai throughout April, which celebrates Lao New Year with processions, dancing and singing. There is also the Boun Bang Fai (or Rocket Festival) in May, an ancient period of rain celebrations where people launch homemade bamboo rockets into the sky with the hope of attracting the rain.

Summer (June-August)

The Boun Bang Fai usually ushers in a period of rainy weather, with much of the country seeing regular rainfall alongside hot and humid temperatures. The rain can cause several road systems to become unusable and can also hinder plans for outdoor activities. On the bright side, the lush emerald landscapes and abundant rivers and waterfalls during the summer months are a sight to behold. This is a great time to visit the Bolaven Plateau and the 4,000 Islands riverine archipelago in southern Laos, as well as the limestone mountains and caves in Vang Vieng. In terms of festivities, the ancient rain ceremonies of the Boun Bang Fai continue in many villages throughout the country.

Autumn (September-November)

The monsoon season continues throughout most of September, making it difficult to access remote areas; however, some parts of the country are at their most beautiful in the rain, such as Vang Vieng and Muang La. In early October, bright, sunny days replace biblical downpours, and temperatures hover around a pleasant (but often humid) 30°C. Tourism gradually ramps up as the winter months near, making it a great time to enjoy outdoor activities, temple-hopping and sightseeing without the crowds to come. The river networks are the stars of the show, with annual boat races taking place in Vientiane, on the Mekong River, as well as in many other river towns throughout the country.

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