Cambodia rewards visitors with its year-round warm weather, which means you can bask in temperatures from 20°C to the low 30s. Seasons are split into the dry, with cooling winds and lower heat, and wet (May to October) with rain and higher temperatures. There’s usually a heavy downpour in the afternoons during the monsoon period which can affect travel and services.
The lakes and rivers fill during this green season and, while touring is possible year-round, water levels can affect what places you can visit. Tonle Sap lake is at its peak during this time, while 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 rain isn't as heavy.
A waterproof coat is a must during the rainy period, but make sure it’s something light and airy, as the heat spikes in the wet season and can catch you out. If you’re travelling during this season, a pair of walking boots designed to 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 official website. They’ll keep you informed of any flooding and heavy downpours that might affect your journey.
April tends to be the hottest month in Cambodia while December is the coolest, but temperatures can still reach 26°C with 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 midday sun. Sites like Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom should be explored in the early morning, when the temperatures are cooler, or the late afternoon when the sun has passed 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 the UK, so make sure you’re ready for comfortable heat, torrential rain and toasty sun, often all in one day!