The best time to visit Laos is between mid October and the end of February when the weather is generally warm and dry, although it can get a little chilly in the mountainous north.
The hot (and very dry/dusty season begins in March when temperatures can reach up to 40c and generally lasts through to May. Increasing humidity and temperatures bring on the wet season which ranges from June to October. During this time the Mekong River rises, and flooding of the surrounding area is not uncommon.
Visitors can enjoy the sights of monks collecting alms early in the morning, charming colonial architecture and ornate temples of distinct Laotian design, as well as spend relaxed afternoons at any one of the cafés that line the Mekong. Handmade crafts dominate the markets here, with embroidered quilts, wall hangings and scarves sold by women dressed in colourful ethnic costume.
In the evening, the otherwise dormant French restaurants spring into action to serve up refined meals of coq au vin (chicken cooked in wine), followed by crème brûlée (custard and caramel dessert) and accompanied by an imported bottle of French wine. Authentic Lao food is also a must-try, with spicy combinations eaten with the ubiquitous ‘sticky rice’ that is grown in this region.