Cambodia, also known as “the pearl of Southeast Asia” is a pocket-sized country that has a little bit of everything and a lot to offer.
So, when is the best time to visit if you want to avoid the rains? When is the best time to visit the famous temple of Angkor Wat? and when is the best time to avoid crowds? When?… That is the question.
In general, Cambodia’s weather is pleasant all year round. Temperatures stay in the low- to mid- 80s for most of the year and there are two principal seasons – the rainy season and the dry season.
There are advantages and disadvantages to traveling during both seasons, it just depends on what you’re hoping to get out of your trip to Cambodia
The Dry Season
If you prefer to avoid the rain, then plan your trip between November and May. During the dry season, there is little to no rain.
Also, If you plan on visiting the more remote parts of Cambodia like Mondulkiri & Ratanakiri, you will have to go during the dry season as they are more accessible.
The Dry & Cool Season
Within the dry season, is the cool season and high season. If you prefer cooler temperatures, you should travel from November to February. During the winter months the temperature drops a little – keyword being “little”. It still averages between 70-86℉ (21-30℃).
More specifically, in December and January, the weather is pretty much perfect! This is by far the best time to visit Cambodia weather-wise but just be aware that the idyllic weather brings gaggles of tourists along with it.
Cambodia’s High Season
December and January are considered Cambodia’s high season mostly because they align with many other countries’ winter breaks. High seasons equals massive crowds at the major tourist spots.
While the droves of tourists can get overwhelming, the weather is pleasant and enjoyable as it’s smack dab in the middle of dry season (December and January) .
The Rainy Season
The rainy and wet months from May to October account for 75% of Cambodia’s yearly rainfall. The best time to go to Cambodia during the rainy season is between June and early September as the rains are not quite as heavy.
While rain can really put a damper on holidays in other parts of the world, in Cambodia it’s just part of life. The locals don’t let it ruin their day, and neither should you!
On rainy days you can still enjoy markets, galleries, museums, and more in Cambodia’s major cities. While the countryside is a beautiful vibrant green.
Remember that you will be traveling in South East Asia so try to embrace it and dance in the rain(forest)! Pack a rain poncho and some rain boots and you will be fine!
Cambodia’s Low Season
The low season coincides with rainy months from June to September. The worst part is the intense rains and the best part about it is the cheaper prices.
You will find more affordable flights and hotels during Cambodia’s low season. You can book luxury hotels at mid-range prices and take advantage of discounts and deals at Restaurants and shops.
The Monsoon Season
Monsoons are seasonal changes in the direction of the wind that roll in around late May and early June and go well into October. Cambodia’s coastal regions take the brunt of the monsoons, but they cause rains that can only be described as torrential downpours in many regions.
If there is a monsoon during your trip it’s best to seek shelter in a cafe or restaurant and wait out the storm. You will get soaked and I’m afraid a poncho just won’t cut it in monsoon rains.
Rainy Season At Angkor Wat
Traveling to Angkor Wat is an incredible experience no matter what, but if you visit during the rainy season you are guaranteed the best views! Angkor Wat’s greyish brown tones contrasting with the bright green make for poscard-worthy photos like the one below.
While you might find yourself playing hopscotch to avoid muddy puddles, I can assure you it’s well worth it. What’s more, when it rains, the moats surrounding the temple fill up with water!
Cambodia has lots of fun festivals throughout the year. Two of the best ones are Bon Om Touk and the Water Festival.
Bon Om Touk is a traditional festival that is usually held towards the end of October and the start of November each year. It represents the launch of Cambodia’s peak fishing season.
It takes place in Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh, and all along the Mekong River. The city comes alive and its landmarks are decorated with lights. Cambodians from all over the country come to compete in a race of dragon boats down the river. If possible, I highly recommend going to see the spectacle.
In April it’s time for The Water Festival. It lasts for about three days, and the locals get together for celebrations on the river banks and thank the God of Water for the rains.
Considering Cambodians rely heavily on agriculture for their economy, the farmers are especially thankful for the natural fertilizer and water. It’s a really unique experience.
To Sum Up
- Dry season: November to May
- Cool season: November to February
- Hot season: March to June
- Rainy monsoon season: May to October.
Cambodia is a unique country with beaches, rivers, rainforests, and mountains. The best time to visit Cambodia depends on what kind of weather you prefer, but it genuinely makes for a great holiday at any time of the year.