The best time to visit Cambodia is between October and April, when there is very little rain and the weather is not too hot. From May to September the humidity increases and the rain come, it is the farming time for Cambodian farmers. However, the country is lush and green, the rivers are full and flowing, the temples are not too crowded during that time of the year. Especially, the Tonle Sapa Lake-Cambodia’s true wonder come to life, the lake is also home to the country’s floating villages.

Guide to Traveling in Cambodia

As with the rest of Indochina, Cambodia's weather is influenced by the Asian monsoon and is warm almost year-round. But most travelers visit Cambodia from November to March.

January through February is the driest time of year in Cambodia, you can expect good weather conditions across the country - with blue skies, little or no rain and pleasant temperatures at the average of 26°C (79°F). Therefore, these are amongst the most popular months to travel Cambodia.

The temperate temple makes Angkor temples exploring far more manageable, although lunch time shade is still most welcome. With high water levels, this is the best time to visit Tonle Sap Lake and the Mekong River.

Along the entire selection of south coast, including Sihanoukville and Kep, you can expect dry and warm weather with good visibility, especially around the tropical islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem.

From the end of February, you can the temperatures to gradually rise, as the hottest months of the year are just around the corner.

Average temperatures in cities:

Siem Reap Phnom Penh Coast of Cambodia
26°C/ 79°F 27°C/ 81°F 26°C/ 79°F

 

HOLIDAYS & EVENTS

  • January 7: Victory over Genocide Day - The day commemorates the end of Pol Pot’s terrible regime in 1979. It is also an occasion for locals to pay respect to the deceased.
  • February 5: Vietnamese and Chinese New Year

 

MUST SEE

  • February 5, 2019 (Pig): Vietnamese and Chinese inhabitants of Cambodia celebrate their New Year – for the Vietnamese, this is Tet. As many of Phnom Penh’s businesses are run by Chinese-Khmers, commerce grinds to a halt around this time and there are dragon dances all over town.

Temperatures in March are quickly on the rise, days are dry and sunny with little or no rainfall, and temperatures average around 30°C (86°F) across the country. Tourism season starts to wane, so exploring Angkor temples and Phnom Penh will be a more authentic and less expensive experience.

Despite rising temperatures March is amongst the best months to travel to any corner of the country. Navigating the city's frenetic streets in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, you’ll see more traditional food, less souvenir stands, and less crowding. Take advantage of the value of your tourism dollars and delve into a city which at this time becomes quintessentially Cambodian. The south coast beaches of Koh Kong, Sihanoukville and Kep continue to bask in sunshine with the chance of rain extremely unlikely, making March a good month for diving.

From April, average temperatures in Siem Reap hit average highs of 35°C (95°F) – the hottest month of the year in Cambodia, so long days exploring the Angkor Temples can be hard and therefore early starts, and a break back at your hotel in the middle of the day are recommended. For Khmer people, April is the most important month in the calendar, as the New Year comes in the middle of the month.

For the more committed sun worshippers, this is the ideal time of year to factor on the south coast beaches of Sihanoukville, Kep or the smaller islands of Koh Rong and Kong Rong Samloem. The chances of rain are still low, although the odd shower close to the end of the month is to be expected. The rains generally start from early May, however at this time of year these will be short lived.

Average temperatures in cities:

Siem Reap Phnom Penh Coast of Cambodia
35°C/ 95°F 33°C/ 91°F 31°C/ 88°F

 

HOLIDAYS & EVENTS

  • April 14: Khmer New Year 

 

MUST SEE

  • Khmer New Year – during this three-day celebration, Cambodians make offerings at wats (Buddhist temples), clean out their homes and exchange gifts. It is a lively time to visit the country as the Khmers go wild with water in the countryside. With ornate traditional costumes, games, and even street parties and gatherings, this is one of the most exciting times for the Khmer culture. 

May is the beginning of the low tourism season as the monsoon arrives in Cambodia, which lasts till October. But early May remain relatively dry, the rains are likely to begin across Cambodia from the second half of the month.  

Average temperatures in May are at 30°C (86°F), however the rains help break the humidity making the travel a little more comfortable. Avoid the short, heavy showers and you will find that this is a very pleasant month to be in Cambodia with one great benefit being the thinner crowds at the Angkor Temples. The beaches on the south coast are still very much in consideration thanks to the short, infrequent showers and warm temperatures.

From June, rain can be expected throughout Cambodia. Temperatures remain the average of 30°C (86°F), and humidity can reach 70% during the day. Cambodia’s south coast beaches, such as Kep and Sihanoukville, and the Cardamom Mountains experience the heaviest downpours. Despite the wet weather, June is a pleasant month to visit Cambodia as plenty of sunshine is still expected between the showers.

Overall, May are June are still good months for traveling Cambodia, especially for those wanting to avoid peak season crowds.

Average temperatures in cities:

Siem Reap Phnom Penh Coast of Cambodia
30°C/ 86°F 30°C/ 86°F 28°C/ 82°F

 

HOLIDAYS & EVENTS

  • May 22: The Royal Ploughing Ceremony 

 

MUST SEE

  • The Royal Ploughing Ceremony is celebrated all over Southeast Asia, marking the beginning of the rice-growing season. Traditionally, the country's monarch will drive a plow in ceremonial land, followed by priests planting seeds to ensure a bountiful harvest.

The rains continue throughout July and August, rainfall typically comes in the form of intense and heavy showers, although dry days are still common. Temperatures are slightly dropping, making the touring days more comfortable. As this is low season, prices for goods and tours are lower.

The thunderstorms are famous at this time of year, making some spectacular views, especially at the Angkor Temples and in rural Cambodia. The rivers are also best at their peak - Tonle Sap Lake begins to fill up again, making for great cruising opportunities.

August’s rainfall is almost at its peak, although rain showers tend to be short and intense, lasting for a few hours rather than all-day downpours. Consequently, the countryside is more lush and green, and water levels on the Tonle Sap Lake are high - making it possible to visit the flooded forests and all floating villages by boat.

Whilst the entire country continues to expect mixed, wet weather, the rainfall is heaviest along the south coast. Those looking to combine Cambodia with some beach, then the beaches of Hoi An and Danang in Vietnam are experiencing sunny, dry days in August and are only a short flight away. 

Average temperatures in cities:

Siem Reap Phnom Penh Coast of Cambodia
29°C/ 84°F 29°C/ 84°F 26°C/ 79°F

 

MUST SEE

Rains have refreshed the waters around Angkor Wat, making the temple's reflection - a site in itself - clear and stunning. 

September tends to be wet and warm with high levels of rainfall, when it rains it is usually for a few hours rather than all-day downpours. So it's still a great month to travel to Cambodia if you're keen to avoid the crowds and are happy to take your chance with rainfall.

From October to the end of the year, Cambodia enters a dry and comfortable season. The rains have subsided, and temperatures stay within a range of 21°C – 30°C (70°F - 86°F). Blue skies dotted with clouds make for incredible views in the countryside.

Across the country the flora and fauna is in bloom, rice paddies are green and lush. The moats and ponds that surround the Angkor temples are full, which makes for some perfect photo opportunities of temple reflections in the water. With water levels at their peak, following months of rain, October is a great time of year to cruise the Tonle Sap (the lake has swollen to more than 5 times its size at this time of year) and Mekong waterways.

In the cities, such as Battambang and Phnom Penh, life is back to normal with drier mornings and cleaner drainage canals. On the south coast, in Sihanoukville and Kep, rain is still a possibility although showers will become less frequent and long periods of sunshine can be expected. Due to the rain of the past few months, some more rural roads could have become difficult to travel however they are few and far between.

One of the benefits of travelling in Cambodia at this time is that crowd numbers at the temple sites are still lower and at some of the outlying temples you may well have the place to yourself. A thunderstorm whilst exploring the Angkor temples can be a memorable experience!

Average temperatures in cities:

Siem Reap Phnom Penh Coast of Cambodia
29°C/ 84°F 29°C/ 84°F 26°C/ 79°F

 

HOLIDAYS & EVENTS

  • Late September - early October: Pchum Ben - a 15-day festival in which families honor deceased relatives, sometimes from up to seven generations past. Food offerings for Buddhist monks and ancestor spirits are made in hopes of generating merit for passed relatives.

 

MUST SEE

  • Rains have refreshed the waters around Angkor Wat, making the temple's reflection - a site in itself - clear and stunning. 

  • Tonle Sap Lake is at its highest level. With the flow reversal of the Tonle Sap River from the lake, the water levels of the Mekong River increase slowly. Fishing in the Tonle Sap is illegal at this time to avoid disruption of the breeding season. This means boating on the lake is a more pleasant and serene experience. 

November, with lower temperatures and humidity, marks the ramping up of the peak tourism in Cambodia. Popular destinations such as Angkor Wat and the capital Phnom Penh will be more crowded with travelers from around the world. 

Average temperatures of 25°C (77°F), low humidity and plenty of sunshine makes November a popular time to travel across Cambodia.

On the waterways, the levels are still very high making it another good month to enjoy a cruise on the Mekong River or Tonle Sap. To the south of the capital Phnom Penh, the return of more constant sunshine ensures that the beaches of Sihanoukville, Kep and the entire south coast spring back into life with warm, sunny days and calmer seas expected. For the more adventurous, there are favorable diving conditions in the waters surrounding Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem.   

December is characterized by dry, sunny weather, low humidity and relatively cool temperatures at average of 26°C (79°F) throughout the country. If you do see rain it would be unusual. It's no surprise that December is amongst the most popular months to travel to Cambodia.

Average temperatures in cities:

Siem Reap Phnom Penh Coast of Cambodia
25°C/ 77°F 27°C/ 81°F 23°C/ 73°F

 

HOLIDAYS & EVENTS

  • Late November: Bon Om Touk, otherwise known as the Water Festival, marks the end of the rainy season. People in Cambodia and diaspora communities across the world celebrate with boat races and water games. Steaming street food, water fights, and joviality fill the streets of cities and towns. The festival marks the reversal of the Tonle Sap River's flow, draining into the Mekong River.

“The best time to travel Cambodia is between November and February, when temperatures are mild enough to explore the temples in comfort but warm enough to sunbathe by the coast. If you prefer to dodge the crowds and go when prices are lower, the best time to visit the country is from May to early October.”

Joe Do, Cambodia Travel Expert