To visit Luang Prabang specifically, I'm trying to choose a month between November and February inclusive, thinking about weather and crowded periods and any festivals.
What should I bear in mind in choosing when to visit during this period? How do these 4 months vary in this part of Laos? Any periods to avoid?
#1 EdwardTrunk has been a member since 7/9/2013. Posts: 35
Doesn't really matter, weather should be good all during that time. Cools down a little bit in December(still plenty warm though) and then warms back up. No really rainy periods although Nov could have the odd shower. No festivals of real note during this time(New Years but doesn't have much for celebration).
Dec and Jan are I believe the peak tourist season. I arrived around new years and people were having a hard time finding a room.
I personally would probably shoot for Nov or early Dec.
Same as daawgon, found LP to be very pleasant in November, high 20s and I got no rain. Also not too crowded and had our pick of guesthouses.
It's a great place to relax for at least a week as it is very tranquil - coffee by the Mekong, great sunsets, found the food to be superb as well. Some great out of town trips as well - including elephant riding (pay the extra and go with the ethical company) and a very nice waterfall.
#4 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 738
November would be the quietest of those months, but you may catch the tail end of rainy season. Weather-wise January is usually the sweet spot, but it can be pretty crowded, especially just after new year. February is nice too but you may get the start of hazy season once the farmers get busy burning their fields. I would avoid the Christmas/NY period and go either November or late-January.
Thanks very much everyone. That's been very helpful.
#6 EdwardTrunk has been a member since 7/9/2013. Posts: 35
the 2 big festivals (though not as big as Pi Mai Lao) during that time period are:
1. Hmong New Year
dates vary by the year, but usually in the first half of December. main venue (with the song & dance contests, & the pageant - if they can get enough contestants) rotates between the various Hmong villages of LPB, though there will always be festivities held at Ban Khouatineung (not far out of LPB city centre along HWY 13 in direction of Vientiane).
2. Boun Pha Vet
dates vary by the year, usually late Jan or early Feb depending on the Buddhist/lunar calendar.
I went in late January back in 2008 and it was really pleasent weather, but there were a lot of guesthouses full up (at least the more popular ones). Look out for a few days to either side of January 31st this year, as that is where Chinese New Year falls. More and more families and tour groups living in China are getting adventures and traveling abroad during the holiday and it can really pack out prime spots like Siem Reap. I'm doubting that Luang Prabang has been impacted too much - but you might want to ask around.
How embarrassing having travelled for many days in Laos eating mostly European food. Get giant baguette sandwich, cut in thirds, your food for the day sorted. Then concentrate on riding motorbike all day to next place. Easier than tracking down bbq iguana, palm civets or bee larvae in small villages. As Croc Dundee used to say, "you can live on it, but it tastes like sh^t" ;-)
Surrounded by jungle, with the Mekong River flowing through, Luang Prabang enjoys a tropical monsoon climate. There are two seasons in this weather: one dry and one wet. The dry season comes from November to May while the rainy season lasts from May to October. Overall, the annual average temperature is approximately 77 degrees Fahrenheit and it is very humid most days, with annual precipitation of approximately 1300 mm.
#13 MellisaTurner has been a member since 16/3/2013. Posts: 14
Pizza is world food these days, but that's just about the only non-Asian food that I do eat when in SE Asia. It's actually getting very hard to get a decent pizza these days (what with pre-made shells and all). We now have a Lao food cart here in Portland, Oregon, and the owner's family is from Luang Prabang (called Haan Ghin, and it's located on the campus of Portland State Univ.)