Cambodia is blessed with one of Asia’s simpler weather systems and despite having two distinct weather seasons you can travel in Cambodia all-year-round. In general, the entire country is subject to the same weather patterns, mainly due to the relatively uniform altitude and latitude throughout Cambodia.
There are two distinct seasons – dry (October to late April) and wet (May to late September). Within each season there are variations in temperature, with the final few dry months leading up to the wet season (March and April) and the early months of the wet season (May and June) usually being the hottest of the year with temperatures in excess of 35°C at times.
Humidity is at its height during March and April whilst the coolest months of the year tend to between October and December, however this is cool for Cambodia but far from chilly (avg temperatures 24°C – 26°C).
The Dry Season: October – April/Early May
Cambodia’s dry season lasts from October to April, when the dry north-east monsoon arrives, characterised by hot wind blowing across the entire country. Whilst November to January are quite cool (high 20°C’s) by April the weather is scorching making early morning and late afternoon Angkor Temple tours, with a few hours by the hotel pool at lunchtime, the preference for many.
Thanks to the hot weather this is unsurprisingly the season when Cambodia’s tourist numbers peak.In more remote parts, the roads are at their best and journey times are shorter because of this. Kep and Sihanoukville on the south coast are popular during this season as they bask in the brilliant sunshine and sea conditions are very favorable.
The Wet Season: Early/Mid May – October
Cambodia’s wet season comes courtesy of the southwest monsoon and lasts from May to October, bringing with it almost 75% of Cambodia’s annual rainfall. Across Cambodia, throughout much of the rainy season, daytime temperatures average between 25°C and 27°C.
The early months of the wet season (May – July) remain very hot with infrequent rainfall usually in the form of short downpours. In the latter months (late July – September) the rains tend becomes more constant and is heavy at times, especially in coastal and rural regions.
Travel in the more remote corners of the country is almost impossible due to the state of the roads and journeys into the northeast are inadvisable during the peak wet season because of this. There is also very limited access to Bamboo Island (near Kep) due to high seas.
On the upside, traveling in monsoonal Cambodia does have its advantages. The dust is gone and the lush greenery of the countryside returns. Angkor Wat, in particular, is stunning in the wet season, with boats brimming with water and a severe drop in visitor numbers.
Best time to visit Cambodia
The peak season for visitors tends to be during the dry season months and when visiting during these times, you will be sure to run into many huge crowds and temples filled with tourists. The roads are also better during this dry season so people can be found heading down south to the coast to bask in the sunshine and lay on the beaches.
Although the wet season has its challenges when it comes to traveling, it also has a few positive perks; the lush greenery is in full bloom and you are much less likely to see such huge crowds.
When you should not come to Cambodia
Visiting Cambodia during the rainy season (roughly June–Oct) can present certain practical challenges, but it is also a fascinating time to see the country as it transforms into a waterlogged expanse of tropical green under the daily monsoon deluges (Fortunately, the rains falls mainly in the afternoon; mornings are generally dry).
Getting around (particularly in September and October) isn’t always easy: dirt roads turn to mud and flooding is commonplace. Not surprisingly it’s also the quietest time for tourism (even Angkor is relatively quiet) and the countryside is at its lushest.
The weather is very difficult to forsee. In the periods of tough time, there are usually sale or discount programmes. However, there are lots of times that nice weather might change. Therefore, we hope that the information we introduce you would be useful for you in making plans to Cambodia somehow.
Other Southeast Asian Countries’ weather may be seen in these posts: