Cambodia: weather & when to go
When is the best time to visit Cambodia?
The dry season in Cambodia runs from October to April, and the wet season from May until September, with the heaviest rainfall generally in August & September. Average temperatures range from 24°C in the cooler months of October, November & December to 35°C at the hottest time of the year from March until June.
Cambodia is blessed with one of Asia's simpler weather systems. The country has two distinct weather seasons, but 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 highest during March and April whilst the coolest months of the year tend to be between October and December, however this is cool for Cambodia but far from chilly with average temperatures hovering around 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, such as the north east regions of Mondulkiri & Ratanakiri, 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 favourable.
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 rain tends to becomes more constant and is heavy at times, especially in coastal and rural regions.
Travel in the more remote corners of the country, such as Mondulkiri & Ratanakiri, is almost impossible due to the state of the roads and journeys into the north east 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, travelling 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 moats brimming with water and a severe drop in visitor numbers. High rainfall make it the perfect time of year to visit the flooded forests and floating villages of Tonle Sap Lake by boat, as it swells to more than 5 times its size during wet season.
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Key Festivals & Religious Ceremonies
Chaul Chnam (Cambodian New Year)
5 day holiday, falling between 14th - 17th April 2018
Date of birth, enlightenment & death of Buddha, 29th April.
Royal Ploughing Day
Celebrated in either Phnom Penh or Siem Reap, 3rd May.
21st - 23rd November
There are numerous additional festivals throughout the year, many of the festival dates change annually often calculated according to the Buddhist lunar calendar. The days of the full moon (day one) and the new moon (day fourteen or fifteen) are particularly auspicious.
Our recommended journeys
Put your finger on the pulse and enjoy special experiences that your fellow travellers haven’t even heard of yet on our Cambodia In Style holiday. From a gourmet breakfast at the fabled Angkor temples to fine dining restaurant hopping in Siem Reap and sundowners on the unblemished sands of Koh Rong, your journey will be lavishly sprinkled with treats from start to finish...
Discover your Cambodia
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