What to wear in Cambodia

Cambodia has two types of weather: hot, and hot and wet. So before we get into what to wear, the first thing to do is figure out which season you’re travelling in – wet or dry?

If you’re travelling between November and May, your main consideration will be staying cool during scorching days and muggy nights. Fabrics like linen or cotton and athletic wear made to repel sweat are appropriate. While you’ll experience some rain during this period, it will likely come in the form of light showers that pass quickly.

If you’re travelling from June through to the beginning of November, you’ll want to pack all of the above plus a raincoat and clothes that won’t go totally see-through if you get wet (which is inevitable).

Learn about the weather in Cambodia

Group crossing bridge on bicycles in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Don't stress too much about covering up. There are some guidelines below about what female travellers should wear, but they're fairly relaxed, and men should dress however they feel comfortable. You’ll frequently see local guys standing shirtless with wet shirts tied around their heads and necks, ‘modesty’ be damned. If you’re visiting temples be sure to cover from shoulder to below the knee – this applies to all genders. A t-shirt and longish pants are fine for visiting most sacred sites.

Carefully consider your footwear before you travel — you'll spend lots of time exploring ancient sites like Angkor Wat on your feet! Pavements (where they exist) are uneven and many sites are unpaved, so bring comfortable walking shoes. Shoes that can get wet are a must if you’re travelling during the rainy season, when the streets flood quickly.

What should female travellers wear in Cambodia?

Woman riding in back of Tuk tuk through the streets of Siem Reap, Cambodia

You’ll see local women rocking everything from colourful two-piece cotton ‘pyjamas’ to head-to-toe Gucci. Expectations on what women ‘should’ wear vary greatly depending on social status and where they live – generally, wealthier women who live in cities are more likely to embrace ‘Western’ clothing and brands.

For foreign women, expectations are fairly relaxed. Cambodians, especially those in big cities, are used to foreigners and it’s highly unlikely you’ll be subject to any harassment (or even negative attention) due to what you’re wearing. Singlets and shorts are totally acceptable attire for women in cities like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Avoid exposing your midriff or wearing micro-minis, but other than that, dress for your comfort level and to stay cool.

If you’re travelling to more rural areas like Battambang or Kampong Cham, you should opt for a t-shirt and shorts that fall just above the kneecap or lower.

Packing list for Cambodia

  • Loose, breathable clothing
  • Swim shorts or bathing suit
  • Sarong
  • Lightweight raincoat
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Flip flops/sandals
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Day bag

See our ultimate packing list for a more comprehensive list of items you should bring on your trip to Cambodia.

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