The weather in Laos is dominated by two distinct seasons – the wet season and the dry season.
The wet season in Laos starts around May and finishes around October. As is typical in most South East Asian countries, the wet season in Laos typically means heavy downpours for a few hours each day rather than continual rain.
Travel usually becomes slower and more difficult in the wet season with landslides, and deteriorated road conditions from potholes and ruts. So plan on your trip taking longer than expected in the wet season. The upside of the wet season is that river transport improves, with the higher water levels making boat travel a lot easier. However the wet season also brings increased amount of refuse in the rivers such as logs and braches which can make speed boat travel more dangerous.
Other advantages of travelling to Laos in the wet season include: cooler temperatures, less crowds and cleaner air.
The dry season in Laos starts around October / November and runs through to April / May. The Lao dry season can also be divided into two subsections – the cool dry period and the hot dry period. The cool dry season run from November through to February and the hot dry season from March to April.
March, April and into May is the hottest period in Laos which can be rather uncomfortable, and air pollution at its worst as rice farmers burn the hill sides to clear the land for the new rice crop. The most pleasant time to visit Laos is during the cool dry season as temperatures are relatively low, the air cleaner and the rivers still have plenty of water making river travel easy. The downside is that its peak season and more crowded. It is also important to note that in the north and mountainous areas during December and January it can get very cold with temperatures getting down the low teens or even single digits (in centigrade – not Fahrenheit!). So it’s important to be prepared for cold weather when travelling to Laos in the cool dry season.