Cambodia – Weather
Cambodia rewards visitors with its year-round warm weather, with temperatures ranging from 20°C to the low 30s. Seasons split into the dry season, with cooling winds and lower heat, and a wet season from May to October with rain and higher temperatures. There’s usually a heavy downpour in the afternoons during the monsoon which you’ll find affects travel and services to a degree.
The lakes and rivers fill during this green season and, while touring is possible year-round, water levels can affect which parts of some destinations you may visit. Tonle Sap lake is at its peak during this time, and destinations like the floating villages and riverside temples will be less easy to access. The best time to visit these locations is between November and April when the rains aren’t as heavy.
With the rains, a waterproof coat is a must, but make sure it’s something light and airy, as the heat spikes in the wet season can catch you out. If you’re travelling during this season, a pair of rugged walking boots that will survive a soaking is essential. Shorts and light clothing that dries quickly will be your best defence against the downpours. The weather in Cambodia can take you by surprise.
Beware of flooded roads during monsoon season. On rare occasions, these can cause major traffic congestion around Phnom Penh. This means it can take a long time for airport transfers, so make sure you allow additional travel time. For updates on the weather, keep an eye on the Mekong River Commission’s posts on their official website. They’ll keep you informed of any flooding and heavy rains that might affect your journey.
You’ll find that April tends to be the hottest month in Cambodia while December is the coolest, but still with temperatures of around 26°C and eight hours of sunshine. The wettest month is September.
In the dry season, a refreshing cooling breeze usually keeps temperatures down. But it’s still advisable to seek shade from the mid-day sun. Exploring sites like Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom is best done in the early morning, when the heat is at its most mild, or the late afternoon when the sun has passed from its peak.
The beach areas of Cambodia have more consistent weather and remain unaffected by the rainy season. The same cooling breeze that affects the dry season blesses the coastline all year round, meaning temperatures average around 28°C and the temperature very rarely falls below 20°C.
Wherever you travel to though, you’ll find the Cambodian weather a much more exotic proposition than at home, so make sure you’re ready for comfortable heat, torrential rain and then toasty sun, often all in one day!