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Best time to visit Laos

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Laos, officially known as Laos People Democratic Republic, is one of the most beautiful country in South East Asia. A mountainous country borders with Vietnam to the East, Cambodia to the South, Thailand to the West, China and Myanmar to the North. 

You can go to Laos for a vacation all year-round. But there is something you should consider in order to have the best experience for you and you beloved family.

Weather

Like almost every other South East Asia countries, Laoshas a tropical climate with two distinct seasons: the dry season and the wet season. The country is warm year-round but it can get down to freezing temperature in some mountainous area in the winter.

  • Wet season:

The wet season in Laos runs from May to October. The higher you are the more rain fall you will get. Towns along Mekong river and Vientiane get the least rain. As with Cambodia, the most obvious effect of the wet season is infrastructure damage. The roads will become slippery and muddy. With rainfall, rivers can be dangerous sometimes and can destroy bridge, roads, etc. So do not be surprised if you trip take longer than expected.

Laos in wet season

Travelling in wet season can be a little tricky

But on the other hand, during the wet season, boat transfer become available and easier to access. Rivers are so high that slow boats can move with ease. Along the Mekong river, there are many speedboats. But there is something you should consider taking a speedboat trip. During the wet season, rivers can be very messy with objects which were brought to the river by the water stream of heavy rainfall. Hitting an object at 35mph can be very ugly. However, the temperature is lower, air is cleaner and less crowds during wet season. Travelling this time can still be interesting.

  • Dry season

Lao’s dry seasons is divided into 2 sub-sections: cool dry season and hot dry season. The cool dry season runs from November to February, which is match the winter. Northern Laos still have winter for those who is wondering. The hot dry season runs from March to April. This season is hot. Really hot.

During March to May, Laos farmer set the rice fields and forest on fire to improve soil quality and prepare for the new rice crop. The result is most of Laos is covered by smoke. The temperature is very high which can rise above 40oC, the whole country is covered by smoke and dust. This is not the best time to go.

Laos in dry season

Cool dry season is an excellent opportunity to travel in Laos

The cool dry season is completely opposite to the hot dry. This is a great chance to visit Laos without worrying about the weather. Temperatures are relatively low, the air is fresher. Especially in November and December, the water levels in rivers is high enough to take a boat trip. But this is the peak tourist season in Laos.

National holidays and festivals

Besides the weather, festivals are also a big deal to consider when visiting a country or territory. With festivals and public holidays, you will have the great opportunity to learn about the people’s culture.

  • PiMai

Pi Mai is Laos New Yeas. This is the biggest national holiday of Laos which takes place annually every mid-April. The celebrations last for 3 days but it often last for about a week. Like Songkran of Thailand, during Pi Mai, there will be many parades, dancing, singing, etc. People pouring water and flowers onto Buddha temple, as well as friend and relatives to wish them good luck in the new year. Pi Mai takes place during the driest and hottest month of the year, you can see the exciting water fights everywhere. So unless you want to get wet, avoid walking on the streets these day.

Boun Pi Mai Festival

Laos people celebrating their New year

  • Rocket festival

Rocket festival take place in different weekends in different villages, but usually in late May. This is dry season in Laos, people use the Rocket festival as a “rain caller”. They go to the suburb areas to launch their homemade rockets. There are also many contests for the rockets. Get yourself a motor bike, go to the countryside and enjoy the festival. But remember to prepare for the lack of concern for health and safety. Drunk driving is a serious problem here, so watch out.

  • Loy Khatoung

This is the national boat racing festival in Laos. The festival take place from November 15th in Lunar calendar. The race is held on November 16th starting in the early morning. Over 20 teams with dragon boats line up for the race on the Mekong river. People comes from all around Laos to take part in this significant festival. There are three categories: Sport for men, Traditional for men and Traditional for women. The race and prizes are live broadcasted on national TV of Laos. Street these days are shut down for vendors and booths, so be prepared for the sea of people.

  • Xayaboury

Xayaboury is the Elephant festival. Located in the west of Laos, Xayabury is the home of hill tribes, wild animals and of course, elephants. This festival take place every year in February or March and usually last for two or three days. It draws people from all over the world to celebrate and observe over 100 elephants with their trainers demonstrating working techniques and many interesting things. The celebration is filled with elephant-related activities. Tourists are welcomed to film documentaries.

Elephant Festival

Hundreds of elephants will take part in the festival

With all the information given about the weather, festivals and public holidays of Laos, maybe you already have an idea for yourself. Laos is a beautiful country with many unexplored things. So do not hesitate to book a tour and pay a visit to this magnificent land of South East Asia.

Hoang Nguyen

Pictures: Internet

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