As with the rest of Southeast Asia, Laos enjoys a tropical climate. The country has a dry season which runs from November to April, and wet season from May to October characterized by periodic monsoons with sunshine in between. The dry season can be split into two distinct periods: November to February which is cool and dry, and March to April, which is hot and dry. The most popular time to visit Laos is between November and February, with Christmas being the favorite amongst European travelers. Temperatures at this time range from 60°F lows to 86°F highs with the warmest generally in April where the thermometer can easily reach above 100°F.

Vientiane, in the plains, tends to be extremely hot during the dry season, especially between March and May. The more northerly Luang Prabang, nestled among mountains, tends to have cooler weather. The rainy season can be a difficult time to be in Laos, especially if you plan to travel anywhere overland. Many rural roads are unpaved and become impassable or dangerous. It is also not unusual to have roads washed out or damaged due to landslides.

Best Time to Visit Laos

Laos really has two peak seasons: summer (July to August) and winter (December to January). Temperature-wise the winter season is better, with cooler nights and very pleasant, warm days, which is when a number of travelers from Thailand and Southeast Asia come. Bookings in advance are a must to guarantee availability, especially in Luang Prabang.

Although July to August can be very hot, it is the peak vacation time for North Americans and Europeans and sees an influx of backpackers. Destinations like Vang Vieng become very crowded at this time.

Hotel prices do not see much fluctuation, but do tend to increase during the Lao New Year and Christmas. Lao New Year, which also coincides with Thai New Year, sees many travelers from Thailand coming to Luang Prabang. Many Vientiane residents head up to Luang Prabang for the event too, making advanced reservations necessary.