When is the best time to visit Laos?
When is the best time to visit Laos?


When is the best time to visit Laos?



A question we hear all the time is ‘when is the best time to visit Laos?’ and the simple answer is; NOW. No matter when you are reading this, it’s a great time to visit Laos. Different times of year have different qualities, but in our opinion there is no best time to visit, because no matter what time of year you choose, it will always be great!

Of course there are some differences, the most obvious ones are between dry season and green (wet season). 

Dry season is the most popular time to come and visit Laos and it definitely has some advantages. This normally runs from October to May and is called the dry season because it is the driest part of the year. The amount of rainfall is significantly less, but there is always a chance of a quick downpour. It is also the busiest time of year, which has its own advantages and disadvantages. 

Accommodation becomes more expensive and more crowded during this busy period, so you will need to plan a bit more and book ahead. Check out our listings of hotels to book directly with the hotel through our online portal and get the best deals. During some festivals and celebrations hotels can be fully booked, so if you’re planning to attend one of the major festivals be sure to book ahead.

This also means that tour companies are also busier during the dry season. This means you are more likely to be able to join a tour at a lower price, but it also means you are going to be sharing that experience with other travellers. Of course you can still book a private tour if you are interested, but it will be a higher price. If you’re hoping to do some kayaking or tubing during your time then you can expect rivers to be lower and slower. Less water in the rivers also means that waterfalls are less spectacular and some will dry up completely.

The upside to the lack of rain is that travelling around Laos is much easier. There are fewer landslides, dirt roads dry out and become passable, there are less accidents on the highways. What would be a 6 hour trip in the rain becomes a 4 hour trip. This also makes the prospect of hiring a motorcycle much more tempting. Riding a bike through the mountains and karsts of Laos is one of the incredible experiences you can have, and nothing can ruin that experience quite like riding through the rain for hours on end. So if you’re planning to explore Laos by motorbike then dry season is a good time to do it.

Green Season, sometimes called Wet Season, has its own unique charm. Green Season generally lasts from May to September, when storms cross over Vietnam from the South China Sea. These annual rains are vital to the Lao people as they use this time to plant rice, the staple food of Lao. 

It’s a lot less popular at this time so there are fewer tourists. The advantage of this is that you can find cheaper accommodation and tours, but if you are looking to party then you might struggle to find a crowd. Of course you will always be able to find a party in Vang Vieng’s famous night spots but it will be somewhat subdued compared to the heaving crowds you might find in dry season.

Rivers will be higher and waterfalls will be so much more impressive. Boat trips are easier to organise, especially along the Nam Ou. Kayaking is more exciting, with faster flowing rivers and more rapids to explore. Tubing in Vang Vieng is also much more enjoyable during the Green Season as you’re much less likely to hit your behind on a barely submerged rock. 

But the biggest advantage of Green Season is in the name! Because of the increase in rainfall this is the time of year when locals are planting rice and other crops. It is when the jungle springs into life, when orchids bloom, and rivers are full. Laos transforms itself into a bright green oasis, showing the best of itself. For a budding photographer or influencer, Green Season is when Laos becomes its most photogenic and surreal. Vibrant rice paddies ringed by limestone karsts, bursting with fresh growth, make incredible backdrops for all styles of photography. 

Of course everything has a downside, and the downside for Green Season is the rain. While it is essential for the farmers it can be frustrating for those looking to explore off the beaten path. Dirt roads get covered in slick mud, landslides can block roads for hours or even days, and crossing a small stream becomes a perilous adventure. If you are planning on riding a motorbike in Laos then be prepared for some wet days. July and August are the wettest months but in May, June, September and even October you can still get caught out with a brief but heavy downpour. 

Whenever you choose to come to Laos you will find something incredible. If you’re looking for scenic vistas on winding mountain roads as you explore the country by bike, then you might want to consider November or December. If you want to challenge yourself with epic kayak adventures then you might want to wait until there has been some more rain and come in August or September. But if you want to go tubing all day and party all night in Vang Vieng, then any time from October to to May would be great. If you want to photograph farmers planting rice in the golden light of sunset then June and July are the best times. 

But no matter when you come there will always be something to catch your eye, and something to take your breath away. So what are you waiting for? Laos is a land of mystery and adventure, waiting to be discovered. Whatever time of year you choose, we know that you will have an incredible time!


David Ormsby

David is a writer, explorer, adventurer, outdoor educator, and guide. He was worked across the Asia Pacific in a number of different roles within the eco-tourism and outdoor industry. Since 2016 David has lived and worked in Laos, and brings a depth of experience to his writing in Laos.