When to go to Cambodia? Everything you need to know about Cambodia's weather and climate
Cambodia is a very beautiful alternative destination in Southeast Asia. There you can discover a history rich in wonders but also priceless heritage marked with the seal of UNESCO such as the Temples of Angkor. But to benefit from the best conditions, you need to know when to go to Cambodia. Below is some weather information to help travelers get an idea of the weather during their chosen dates.
Cambodia climate and best time to travel to Cambodia
Cambodia has a tropical climate which is characterized by a warm temperature all year round with a variation in average temperatures oscillating between 30 and 35 degrees. The central part is warmer than the heights, wooded, and the south by the sea. There are two distinct seasons: dry from November to April and rainy from May to October.
The monsoon season is characterized by high humidity, heavy but brief showers appearing mainly at the end of the day. The rest of the day is sunny. Located at a low altitude, the water level of Tonlé Sap Lake and the river increases considerably during this period, making it ideal for a river trip. The cruise from Battambang to Siem Reap is only possible during this period due to the sufficient water level.
During the dry season, it is cool and pleasant, the temperature oscillates between 25 and 30°C. In the mountains to the east, and west it could be cooler after dark. From March onwards, temperatures begin to increase, reaching the peak of heat in April and May with an average temperature between 30 & 38°C. Note that despite the dry season, there is a risk of flooding from mid-October to early November due to flash floods.
In short, the dry season from November to March is preferred for outings in Cambodia due to its mild air, its clear blue sky, and the little rain. However, you should expect to face a horde of tourists, especially at must-see sites like Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, and Sihanouk City or during the end-of-year holidays.
As for the rainy season, the absence of visitors allows you to enjoy the sites in complete tranquility. The landscapes have become more sumptuous and green. This is therefore the best time for sailing on the waterways and admiring the impressive waterfalls.
When to go to Cambodia by region?
Siem Reap: the best time to visit this famous archaeological site is from December to February. There is cool temperature, rare rain and low humidity. However, tourists are enormously present during these months. The least visited period, and therefore the calmest, is from April to June, but the heat is sometimes unbearable.
Tonlé Sap Lake: this lake region can be visited all year round. The dry season from November to March is the most suitable for walking on Tonle Sap but the water level will be quite low. From the end of February to June, the water level is not sufficient to ensure the transfer by boat from Battambang to Siem Reap. During the rainy season, the water level covers columns on which local houses are built. The visit is entirely by boat.
Northeast region: This is a remote region, little affected by mass tourism. Access is difficult, if not impossible, during the months of June to mid-October when rainfall is heavy, and where intense rains are often accompanied by violent winds.
It is therefore advisable to explore this mountainous region in the dry season from November to March, especially in November - transition from the rainy season to the dry season. The rain is coming to an end and nature is therefore particularly generous and green. Don't forget to bring a sweater for cool evenings of around 15°C.
In April and May, the strong heat dominates the vast Kratié region in Phnom Penh. It is recommended to visit Ratanakiri or Mondulkiri at a slightly higher altitude.
Western coastline: bordered by the Gulf of Thailand, this region extending from Kep to Koh Rong via Sihanoukville has a milder climate. The temperatures measured on average are around 28°C. January and February are the two best months to enjoy the beaches of this part of the country: the temperature is pleasant, the sun is omnipresent and the heat is rarely stifling. Ideal for relaxing.
In April - May, hot temperatures reach their peak in Cambodia. The heat is stifling there. Therefore, it is better to favor high mountains such as Koh Kong, and Kampot.
From July to September, there is a lot of precipitation but it generally does not rain all day. We benefit from a very attractive travel rate.
Traveling during the holidays in Cambodia
Cambodians enjoy 28 public holidays each year, an impressive number in the world. During these days, many festivals are organized according to the Buddhist calendar, widely used in this country of the Khmers. Dates change every year. Below are some awesome parties:
Chaul Chnam Thmey - Khmer New Year: this festival is the most important festival in Cambodia, and takes place at the end of the dry season, for 3 days according to the Gregorian calendar, around mid-April according to the solar calendar. On this occasion, Cambodians go to the pagoda and sprinkle themselves with water to pray for a while.
Visak Bochea - Buddha festival: This is the most important Buddhist festival which is held on the 8th day of the 4th month according to the lunar calendar. It celebrates three stages of Buddha's existence: birth, enlightenment, and death. This day is also recognized by the UN under the name “Vesak Day”. The celebration is organized throughout the territory but mainly takes place in Phnom Preah Reajatrop - Phnom Uddong where a relic of Buddha is kept and venerated. At the royal palace, the silver pagoda in Phnom Penh, and at the temples of Angkor Wat, the atmosphere is impressive with the torchlight processions of the monks.
Pchum Ben - Day of the Dead: after Chaul Chnam Thmey, it is the second most important festival in Cambodia, organized for a fortnight, in September or October. People return to the homeland and bring offerings to monks from 7 different pagodas to improve their karma and pray in memory of their ancestors.
Bon Om Tuk - Water Festival: This festival celebrates the moment when Tonle Sap Lake reverses its course and flows into the Mekong River - a unique phenomenon in the world. It lasts 3 days towards the end of October - the beginning of November each year. During this time, many activities are organized there: canoe races, dances, and fireworks.
Finally, each season offers different landscapes. The rainy season brings a beautiful green paradise while during the dry season, clear blue skies are a precious gift. We hope this article helps you know when to go to Cambodia.