Photo: Classic scenery surrounds Vang Vieng.

Laos forum

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

Posted by shrub on 6/1/2009 at 10:46

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 shrub has been a member since 6/1/2009. Posts: 1

Posted by idreamofdurian on 6/1/2009 at 17:25 TF writer

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 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
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Posted by shinynewcoin on 7/1/2009 at 10:50

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 shinynewcoin has been a member since 11/7/2007. Posts: 5

Posted by Rufus on 8/1/2009 at 13:30

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

#4 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 978
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Posted by basejump on 12/1/2009 at 17:51

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 basejump has been a member since 14/11/2008. Posts: 30

Posted by brucemoon on 18/1/2009 at 14:58


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 brucemoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by somsai on 20/1/2009 at 19:07

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 somsai has been a member since 1/3/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 566
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Posted by MADMAC on 10/6/2009 at 01:36

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 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
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