When is the best time to visit Cambodia?
The best time to visit Cambodia is between November and May when the country experiences low rainfall and still enjoys warm temperatures. However, the climate in Cambodia is generally hot and humid all throughout the year.
Generally, any time of the year is a good time to travel in Cambodia, with each season having its advantages. The climate in Cambodia is generally hot and humid all throughout the year. Temperatures stay in the low- to mid-30s (Celsius) most of the year, dropping slightly at night. There are officially two seasons in Cambodia – wet and dry. In November–May you can expect dry conditions, while June–October will have the wettest conditions. What's more, there's benefits to travelling in both seasons, depending on what you're looking to get out of Cambodia.
When to visit to miss (most) of the rain
The wet season in Cambodia usually runs from June through to October each year. That doesn't mean you'll avoid all rain if you travel outside of these months, but you'll definitely miss most of it. As in many South East Asian countries, an afternoon storm provides a welcome relief from the humid mornings, so trying to dodge any and all rain will mean you miss out on what's part of daily life in Cambodia. Just before the wet season, in April and May, Cambodia can often be incredibly warm and humid, so taking all of this into account, November–March is the best season to stay comfortable and dry.
When to visit to get those epic Angkor shots
The Angkor complex, just out of Siem Reap, is a bucket-list item on everyone's Cambodian travel must-sees. There's no one perfect time to appreciate these wonders of the ancient Khmer empire, but we want to let you in on a little secret. While many tourists decide that December to March is the best time to visit the temples because it's dry, slightly cooler and less humid than usual, the air is often quite hazy and the complex super busy during this time.
There is a reason that this is a busy time – almost guaranteed good weather – but if you're looking for crowd-free temple shots, it's probably not for you. Why not consider going at the start or end of the wet season (May–June and October–November)? While you might find yourself dodging muddy puddles and getting stuck in a mighty rain shower once in a while, there's way less crowds, and there's often sun all morning and bursts of light throughout the day that peek through the monsoon clouds. Picture this: Angkor Wat drenched in an afternoon storm, then the skies calm to reveal glistening temples in the early evening sunlight, without a person in sight. Now that's a pretty epic shot and with a bit of luck, you might get to capture it.
When to visit to beat the crowds
Cambodia's a very popular tourist destination – and we get it. It's beautiful, has a storied history and offers swathes of culture to get stuck into. All of this makes it tricky to find a time when it's crowd-free, but visiting outside of the November–March peak season is your best option. If that's just not achievable and your only opportunity to visit is in the busy period, it's best to steer clear of the Lunar New Year festival (encompassing Chinese New Year and Tet in neighbouring Vietnam), which usually occurs in late January or early February. If you can work around this, you'll still be able to check out the best this country offers without too many crowds.
Best for: water sports, scuba diving and hiking
The cool (ish), dry weather of January makes it one of the best times to visit Cambodia. With temperatures ranging between 20C-30C, outdoor activities are super popular – think scuba diving and snorkelling in Sihanoukville and hiking in the country’s mountains regions.
While the month’s nice weather means every popular city will be packed with other travellers, Cambodia’s breathtaking landscapes will soon have you forgetting the crowds.
Best for: beach time, island hopping and Angkor Wat exploring
Similar to January, February is smack bang in the middle of the peak season so expect to share the iconic sights and city streets with other travellers. Because temperatures are at a manageable 23C-32C, it’s the perfect month to get out and explore. Whether you fancy laying on a beach along the Cambodian coast with a cocktail in one hand and a good read in the other or explore the ancient grounds of Angkor Wat, you’ll never run out of things to do and sights to see.
Best for: wandering around temples, floating village visits and cycling through the countryside
Since the dry season runs until April, March is still a pleasant time (albeit a little stickier) to explore Cambodia’s diverse landscapes from the chaotic streets of Phnom Penh to the luscious countryside of Battambang. Popular activities to enjoy during the month include cycling, wandering around religious temples and visiting Tonle Sap Lake’s floating villages to make the most of the peak season’s rainless weather.
Best for: boat tours, street food eating and pottery village visits
Say goodbye to the arid heat and hello to the stickiness that signals the end of the dry season in Cambodia. While you should prepare for the humidity (around 75%), potential rainfall and high temperatures of April, the monsoonal season isn’t here yet so it’s still a relatively nice month to experience the best of Cambodia.
Why not tickle your tastebuds on a street food tour in Siem Reap? Or embark on a cruise to take you from Siem Reap to Battambang? Cambodia is your oyster.
Best for: Royal ploughing ceremony watching, wildlife spotting and soaking up local culture
Stifling is one way to describe the weather in Cambodia in May but don’t let that deter you from exploring this magnificent country during shoulder season (in between peak and low seasons). While the humidity’s rising and rainfall is becoming more frequent, there’s still heaps to see and do, including witnessing the annual Royal ploughing ceremony that takes place every May.
Heralding the start of rice growing season, the King of Cambodia leads rituals steeped in centuries of Khmer tradition, even tilling a plot of land in the heaps of a successful and abundant season ahead. It doesn’t get more cultural than that.
Best for: museum visits, rice paddy day trips and Buddha’s birthday celebrations
One of the positives about visiting Cambodia in June is that the iconic sights and streets of the must-visit cities (we’re looking at you Siem Reap and Phnom Penh) will be relatively free of other travellers. However, one of the negatives of visiting during monsoon season is that you will get drenched at some point – that’s just a fact. Pack your thongs if you don’t want to get your shoes ruined.
But while it’ll definitely rain during your stay, the downpours only last for a short period, leaving you plenty of daytime left to explore everything Cambodia has to offer whether you’re dying to visit the luscious rice paddies or can’t wait to can’t wait to check out a museum or two.
Best for: bar hopping, Phare Cambodian Circus watching and Khmer culture
Although July is fully entrenched within Cambodia’s rainy season, the daily downpours usually occur over a short period at nighttime meaning you should be asleep for the bulk of them (unless you’re hitting up bars along Street 104 in Phnom Penh). But, while you might be able to avoid the worst of the rain, you won’t be able to escape the humidity with levels at an eye-watering 75%. So, you should definitely keep this in mind if you’re planning any long-distance hikes in the Cardamon Mountains or strenuous bikes rides.
Best for: Kampot day trips, elephant sanctuary visits and exploring the countryside
While the country may be at its rainiest, it’s also at its prettiest during August with the daily downpours ensuring Cambodia’s landscapes come to life. From the moss covering ancient temples in Siem Reap to rice paddies bursting with a colour so green you won’t want to take your eyes off them, rainy season sure makes this country look good. Like, really good.
If you can get past the rain, you’ll have the most iconic sites largely to yourself and this also means activity prices are lower and accommodation availability is high.
Best for: Ancestors Day festivities, farm tours and dinners at Srah Srong Lake
September is one of the wettest months in Cambodia so if you’re travelling during this month, remember to pack your gumboots and waterproof jackets. While the rain will try its best to dampen your travel-loving spirits, there’s still plenty to see and do (if you don’t mind getting a little wet).
It might seem like we’re harping on and on about the rain thing but, on average, it pours 2 out of 3 days. That doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun experiencing Ancestors Day (a festival that celebrates dead ancestors) and exploring local farms on guided tours though.
Best for: food tasting at Central Market, various visitor centres and art gallery strolls
October brings the highest humidity of the year (around 84%) so while the temperatures might not be that high (27C on average), it’s sure going to feel like they’re about 5C higher. It can still be a great time to explore Cambodia though, as long as you’re properly prepared.
Avoid spending long periods of time outside and instead opt for activities such as strolling through art galleries and tasting every traditional dish you can see at the Central Market in Phnom Penh. That way, you’ll be out of the heat and humidity while still enjoying the very best of Cambodia.
Best for: island life, water festival watching and market stops
You can expect the wet days to roll into November but there’s a light at the end of the monsoonal tunnel; the weather should start to turn nicer and drier as the month goes on. But crowd levels will start to increase with the peak season fast approaching. This means that iconic sights, such as Angkor Wat, will start to get busier and busier. If you want to avoid the worst of it, try visiting in the early morning or late afternoon – chances are there’ll still be plenty of people around but hey, at least you gave it your best shot.
Best for: marvelling at the Royal Palace, snorkelling and new years festivities
Yes, the arid and relatively cool weather of the dry season is back, but so is the dust. Because it rarely rains during this period, expect a nice haze across the spectacular landscapes. If that doesn’t bother you, December is an excellent time to visit and even coincides with the Aussie school holiday schedule – did someone say Christmas in Cambodia?
Definitely make the most of the incredible weather and spend as much time as you can outdoors whether that’s wandering through the Royal Palace on a guided tour in Phnom Penh or discovering Cambodia’s underwater world.
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