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Laos in April: new year worth the smoke and heat?

  • shrub

    Joined Travelfish
    6th January, 2009
    Posts: 1

    Hey, great site going here. Fascinating, informative and well laid out.

    I'm disembarking on a two-month trip trough Thailand and Laos with my girlfriend starting in March and ending with April. Basically, each country gets roughly a month: Thailand in March and Laos in April. This site describes March to May in Laos as "unbearable" and "yuck!" due to the rice stubble burning and intense heat. However, the much recommended Lao New Year takes place sometime mid-April.

    So my questions are: does anyone with personal experience braving April in Laos have any comments to make? Just how bad is the smoke? Will it really be that much hotter than Thailand (BKK to Chiang Mai) in March? Is the Laos new year really that kickass? Would shifting the time frame of our trip affect all this hullabaloo? I’m open to any comments and suggestions. Thanks for your time.


    #1 Posted: 6/1/2009 - 10:46

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  • idreamofdur-

    TF writer
    Click here to learn more about idreamofdurian
    Joined Travelfish
    5th September, 2008
    Location Singapore
    Posts: 576
    Total reviews: 4

    Laos New Year is phenomenal! DO IT!!

    I'm tempted to fly out to Vientiane for just a weekend for the party :)

    Sa bai dee pii mai!

    #2 Posted: 6/1/2009 - 17:25

  • shinynewcoin

    Joined Travelfish
    11th July, 2007
    Posts: 5
    Total reviews: 4

    An addition to this question, I have a week leave in April and including the ANZAC day public holiday it works out to be 9 days. Is there any point even attempting Laos in that short amount of time, at that time of the year?

    #3 Posted: 7/1/2009 - 10:50

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 973

    In nine days you could do Vientiane and Laung Prabang. Yep, I think its worth it.

    #4 Posted: 8/1/2009 - 13:30

  • basejump

    Joined Travelfish
    14th November, 2008
    Posts: 30

    assuming u are in australia, check out airasia via KL into vietanne; time differnece is minimal and you should be able to get an overnight flight back to uastralia which will buy you some time

    #5 Posted: 12/1/2009 - 17:51

  • brucemoon

    Click here to learn more about brucemoon
    Joined Travelfish
    27th December, 2008
    Location Australia
    Posts: 1941
    Total reviews: 6


    I'm also planning to be in nthn Laos in April, so am interested in your words: and any answers.

    I've been in Thailand (in the rural areas) for the 'burning' season and it can get annoying at times. I suppose each season has its goods n bads.

    May I ask where you are picking up the ideas about 'burnt' offerings in Laos?


    #6 Posted: 18/1/2009 - 14:58

  • somsai

    Joined Travelfish
    1st March, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 567

    There are some places that are much better in the hot season, like Phongsali, and especially Sam Nua in Huaphan province. Sam Nua was like living in a refrigerator in January. Phongsaliy doesn't have airconditioning because it doesn't get hot enough. I left Sam Nua before giving it a proper look over because it was only comfortable mid day promising myself to come back in the hot season.

    Of course if you really wanted to suffer you could go stay in Pakse or even better Salavan but why bother.

    Smokiness is less of an troublesome to me then many other things. Like rubber plantations.

    #7 Posted: 20/1/2009 - 19:07


    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6953
    Total reviews: 10

    I live on the Mekong, close (very close) to the Laos panhandle. It never gets really hot here and the burn season isn't noticeable either. Can't speak for the entire country, or even the entire panhandle, but from my point of view it isn't that hot. Tops out around 40 centigrade, and that's not all that often.

    #8 Posted: 10/6/2009 - 01:36

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