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Laos Weather

Laos Weather

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Like other countries in Southeast Asia, Laos is under the influence of tropical monsoon (wet-dry) climate, though the mountains provide some variations in temperature. This is vividly reflected through  Laos’ two distinct seasons: wet (rainy) and dry.weather2

During the rainy season (May to October), the winds of the southwest monsoon deposit n average rainfall of 50 to 90 inches (1,300 to 2,300 mm), with totals reaching some 160 inches (4,100 mm) on the Bolovens Plateau. The dry season (November to April) is dominated by the northeast monsoon. Minimum temperatures average between 60 and 70 °F (16 and 21 °C) in the cool months of December through February, increasing to highs of more than 90 °F (32 °C) in March and April, just before the start of the rains. In the wet season the average temperature is 80 °F (27 °C).

The monsoon is often followed by a dry period (November-May), beginning with lower relative temperatures and cool breezes created by Asia’s northeast monsoon (which bypasses most of Laos), lasting until mid-February. Exceptions to this general pattern include Xieng Khuang, Hua Phan and Phongsali Provinces, which may receive rainfall coming from Vietnam and China during the months of April and May. Rainfall varies substantially according to latitude and altitude; the highlands of Vientiane, Bolikhamsai, Khammuan and eastern Champasak Provinces are wettest.

Temperatures also vary according to altitude. In the humid, low-lying Mekong River valley, temperatures range from 15°C (59°F) to 38°C (100.4°F), while in the mountains of Xieng Khuang the temperature can drop to 0°C (32°F) at night. In Vientiane a minimum temperature of 19 degrees Celsius is to be expected during January. In mountainous areas, however, temperature drops to as low as 14-15 degrees Celsius during the winter months, and during cold nights, can easily reach the freezing point. The average precipitation is highest in Southern Laos, where the Annamite Mountains receive over 3,000 mm. annually. In Vientiane rainfall is about 1,500-2,000 mm., and in the Northern provinces only 1,000-1,500 mm.

So, what is the best time to visit this land of a million elephants with Laos Tours and Travel?

Answer is “between November and February”, when it rains least and isn’t too hot. This is also the main season for both national and regional bun (festivals). If you’re heading up into the mountains, May and July can also be pleasant. Roads can be washed out during rainy season (July to October), but there are plenty of river travel opportunities. Peak tourist months are December to February and during August, although there are relatively few visitors at any time.

Average daily maximum temperatures and monthly rainfall

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Vientiane
°C 28 30 33 34 32 32 31 31 31 31 29 28
mm 5 15 38 99 267 302 267 292 302 109 15 3
Luang Prabang
°C 28 32 34 36 35 34 32 32 33 32 29 27
mm 15 18 31 109 163 155 231 300 165 79 31 13

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