Laos is a beautiful and diverse country located in Southeast Asia. The rich culture, stunning scenery, and welcoming locals make Laos an incredibly attractive destination for travelers.
Whether you’re looking for a cultural journey or want to relax among some of the world’s most pristine natures, there is something for everyone in this nation. But when should you go? Here’s our take.
Why You Should Visit Laos in 2023
Laos is an ancient and remarkable destination, with stunning landscapes and culture. It’s a quiet place, far removed from the hustle and bustle of touristic hotspots, making it a uniquely peaceful experience.
A visit to Laos can immerse you in its unique history – stop by UNESCO World Heritage sites like Vat Phou and Vat Phou Champasak.
Here you can see ancient architecture and monuments that have remained perfectly intact over dozens of centuries, even as the world has changed around them. You can witness ancient traditions if you come across Lao festivals, like Vientiane’s That Luang festival.
Traditions offer glimpses into another culture and way of life that has remained pretty much unchanged over centuries. Laos also boasts vibrant local markets, culinary delights, and stunning natural beauty.
Even trek through lush bamboo forests, swim in azure lagoons, or spend a serene day bird-watching. Visiting Laos is guaranteed to provide an unforgettable adventure full of unique experiences!
The Best Time to Visit Laos
The best time to visit Laos is from November to early April. During this time, you’ll experience beautiful natural landscapes, wonderful culture, and delicious food without dealing with crowds.
November is also the most optimal time to travel through the water, as the Mekong River levels are at its peak.
With temperatures ranging from comfortable lows in the 60s Fahrenheit (20s Celsius) during the cooler months to warm highs in the 80s range (30s Celsius) during April, it’s a great time for anyone looking for a balance between gorgeous weather and some adventurous activities.
Some of the most popular activities during this time include kayaking, hiking, and biking. Plus, November through April gives plenty of opportunities for exploring top sights like Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang as well as indulging in delicious Lao-style cuisine.
Cheapest Time to Visit Laos
The cheapest time to visit Laos is from March to May during the off-season. Visiting Laos during this time can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
With fewer crowds, these months are perfect for sightseeing and exploring some of the country’s most breathtaking destinations.
Accommodation options, hotels, flights, etc. become more affordable during this time, so visitors can take full advantage of discounted rates while still enjoying high-quality services.
Although this may be the off-season to visit, there are plenty of activities and events during this time:
- March: A religious 3 day event named Boun Pha Vet celebrating the “incarnation of Buddha”.
- April: A festival lasting several days named the Boun Pi Mai New year, which holds cleansing rituals for the new year with scented water, etc.
- May: A candlelight tradition named Boun Visakhaboucha to honor the life of Buddha and celebrated at various temples.
Least Busy Time to Visit Laos
The least busy time to visit Laos is in December. Even though this is monsoon season in some parts of the country, central parts remain relatively dry and offer comfortable weather for travel.
Prices generally go down due to low demand, so it is often possible to have an amazing journey without breaking your budget.
Worst Time to Visit Laos
The worst time to visit Laos is during its wet season, which occurs between late April and October.
The April-to-October months are Laos’ hot season, when you can expect daily highs of nearly 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) and incredibly high humidity.
It can get so hot in April that locating a place with air conditioning becomes a priority for many visitors. Those inclined to venture out despite the weather will have the added hassle of managing rains which occur without warning during this part of the year.
This means that there are many times when your plans to explore some of the natural wonders and sites may have to be put on hold until the conditions improve.
On top of it all, monsoon season (May – October) brings frequent disruption to road transport services, adding further complications to Lao expeditions. For these reasons, it’s best to explore this beautiful nation between November to March instead.
However, for those looking for a unique experience, these months offer a glimpse into how Laos remains so vibrant despite the rainy weather. From boat tours through rivers with water buffalo to fishing stilted villages, travelers will find something new to see.
Must-Visit Places in Laos
Here are some of the most popular places to visit in Laos:
- Vientiane: Vientiane, the capital of Laos, is an idyllic oasis along the Mekong River. Offering a mix of classic Lao architecture and contemporary culture, this city captivates visitors with its peaceful atmosphere, unique Lao cuisine, and diverse sightseeing and leisure activities. Visitors should make sure to sample the famous local laab kai (a northern specialty), and barbeque river fish, or take a stroll with friends around one of the many nearby parks and monuments. It’s also a great place to pick up souvenirs—from handmade jewelry to traditional silk handicrafts.
- Luang Prabang: Luang Prabang is a city located in northern Laos and presents an exquisite combination of cultural and natural splendor. Luang Prabang offers elegant temple grounds held sacred by many Buddhists and French Colonial architecture for a truly unique experience. For outdoor adventure, there are many nearby natural attractions, such as Kuang Si Waterfall and much more. Moreover, the picturesque downtown area offers numerous options for dining, nightlife, and shopping.
- Tham Kong Lo: Tham Kong Lo, or The Pak Ou Caves, is a limestone cave system located along the banks of the Mekong River in Laos. This iconic landmark has been an important symbol of religious and cultural significance to locals for many centuries. Tham Kong Lo is only accessible by boat. This attraction provides an incomparable exploration opportunity as visitors trek through darkness and grandeur in the form of thousands of Buddha statues carved into sacred alcoves. In these caves, you will see massive stalactite & stalagmite formations. Although mysterious and tranquil, Tham Kong Lo could also propel visitors on a historical adventure as it unveils ancient secrets and stories passed down orally within local mythologies.
- Plain of Jars: The Plain of Jars is a mysterious archaeological site located in the province of Xieng Khouang in Laos. Put simply, it’s an expanse of rolling grassy hills dotted with thousands of large stone jars. Dating back to at least 500 BC, these jars are thought to have been used for funerary practices and burial rituals during the Iron Age. Many theories abound as to why this unique landscape exists, and its mysterious origins add to its allure. What’s particularly interesting about the site is that some of the jars still hold human remains – bolstering its status as one of the most enigmatic ancient sites in Southeast Asia.
- Vang Vieng: Vang Vieng is a riverside city in central Laos, situated along the Nam Song River and wedged between two mountain ranges. It is best known for its outdoor activities such as tubing and trekking but offers much more than just that. The city serves as an escape from the hustle and bustle of modern cities and allows visitors to explore forests teeming with wildlife, ancient caves filled with fascinating geological formations, and stunning temples that are centuries old. Adventurers can even take a hot air balloon ride over Vang Vieng to marvel at its breathtaking beauty.
Frequently Asked Questions
Traveling to a new country can be overwhelming. Here are some of the most asked questions to help you plan an amazing trip to Laos:
How many days are enough to visit Laos?
For an unforgettable experience in the charming land of Laos, a minimum of five days is essential. With enough planning, this gives you time to explore some of the most captivating attractions while also providing great insight into the rich culture and lifestyle.
How much should I budget for a trip to Laos?
Whether you’re looking for a luxurious experience or a backpacking adventure, there are tons of options when it comes to budgeting for your trip to Laos. Depending on the activities you want to do, you can comfortably enjoy your trip with a budget of $30-$60 per day per person.
Can you drink alcohol in Laos?
Due to its culture and laws, it is important to understand the specifics of drinking alcohol in Laos when visiting the country. In short, it is possible to drink alcoholic beverages in Laos when you are 18+ years old.
But there are restrictions on when and where it can be consumed. Generally, drinking alcoholic beverages in public places is prohibited.
What is the most popular food in Laos?
Lao cuisine is known for its aromatic, spicy dishes which are a feast for the senses. One of the most popular Lao dishes is Khao Piak Sen, a noodle soup typically served with pork or chicken and a mix of fresh herbs.
Additionally, Laotian cuisine often features larb, a mouthwatering dish of minced meat mixed with different spices and herbs like mint leaves and kaffir lime, served with sticky rice or over salad.
Is Laos tourist friendly?
While not as heavily visited as some of its neighboring countries, Laos still manages to captivate tourists with its unique mix of cultural diversity and landscapes.
The country boasts a remarkably hospitable culture, and locals are known for their generosity and friendliness when interacting with travelers.
So, When Should You Visit Laos?
Generally, most people prefer to visit Laos from November to early April. And be sure to book enough time; we think five days is necessary to explore all this beautiful country has to offer. So what are you waiting for — book your trip today!