Best Time to travel to Cambodia – Cambodia Weather

The weather in Cambodia is quite easy to understand and explain. The shape, relatively level altitude and uniform latitude means that the whole area of the country experiences similar weather patterns. Cambodia is one of the most amazing countries in the world. It is blessed by its incredibly kind, generous and open people, its wonderful cultural history and terrific scenery. Nobody can visit the magnificent temples of Angkor and come away unmoved. These are some of the most important cultural and religious sites on earth.

The capital city, Phnom Penh is one of the truly memorable Asian capital cities. Lying at the confluence of three great rivers, The Mekong, The Bassac and the Tonle Sap it is a wonderful mix of ancient Asia and colonial French architecture. The countries turbulent history has left its people battered, at times bewildered, but miraculously unbroken.

The weather in Cambodia consists of two distinct seasons. The Dry Season runs from October to April and the wet, from May to September. Prior to the start of the wet season in May and June, April’s temperatures are at their hottest, frequently breaching 35ºC. When Cambodia is hot it really is very hot indeed. Visiting the Angkor temples in these months, can be quite an ordeal at times. Even in the so cold cool season, temperatures remain high at around 25ºC.

Month January February March April May June July August September October November December
Tourist Numbers 460,577 430,207 417,052 361,139 314,748 318,267 364,325 366,096 314,459 408,922 444,640 574,799
Angkor Wat

Northern Cambodia

The north of this wonderful country contains the delightfully sleepy town of Siem Reap, base from which to discover the amazing temples of Angkor, including of course, the world’s largest religious site, Angkor Wat. Please check out our complete guide to the Angkor temples, here. The most famous temples after Angkor Wat are probably the Bayon, located inside the ancient city of Angkor Thom and Ta Phrom with its mystical trees growing through the stonework at every turn. Just outside the city, is the northern end of one of the most incredible bodies of water in the world. The Tonle Sap lake and river system changes beyond belief between the dry and wet seasons. In the dry season the lake has a maximum depth of one metre and covers an area of 2,500 square km (965 square miles). When the rains come it swell to an incredible 16,000 square km (6,178 square miles) and is 9 metres deep in places. At the change of seasons, the directional flow of the river reverses, due to the huge water mass within the lake. The weather in Cambodia certainly brings some surprises.

sihanoukville

Southern Cambodia

The French conical capital city of Phnom Penh dominates all in the south of the country. Its a faded shadow of its former self and in many ways is all the better for it. The riverfront boulevard of Sisowath Quay is a delightful place in which to while away the hours. The facades of the buildings are faded and in many cases in need of some love and attention, but it is steeped in history and a fascinating cultural destination. There are many fine restaurants, good bars, girlie bars and logo bars, in what is a very lively night life scene. Further south the seaside town of Sihanoukville is the former retreat of the rich French, and their ones glorious villas, now lie abandoned and derelict. Kampot and Kep sit side by side and provide a wonderful venue for a restful few days. The nearby Bokor National Park is absolutely wonderful. The flora and fauna here are astonishing. Journey times between the capital and this region are longer than one would expect due to the relatively poor condition of the roads. The weather in Cambodia during the wet season can bring chaos at times.

January is a very good time to be in Cambodia. Average temperatures remain at 26ºC which is quite cool and pleasant. It is normally blue skies and sunshine all the way at this time of the year. This is a great time to spend by the seaside here with virtually no chance of rain and pleasant sea conditions.

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Holidays & Festivals in January

International New Year’s Day – 01 January

As with everywhere else this is a holiday that is celebrated throughout the country

Victory Over Genocide Day – 07 January

This is a solemn affair as people commemorate the end of the war and the defat of the Khmer Rouge. It is a national holiday, though some people do feel unease as the liberation was dependent upon Vietnam.

Month January February March April May June July August September October November December
Tourist Numbers 460,577 430,207 417,052 361,139 314,748 318,267 364,325 366,096 314,459 408,922 444,640 574,799

Like January this is one of the really great months in which to visit. The weather in Cambodia at this time is very pleasant. The real hot weather is not yet upon us with average temperatures being just 27ºC. The temples of Angkor are great in February also as later in the year the heat can be fierce.

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Holidays & Festivals in February

Meak Bochea Day

This is observed on the full moon of the third lunar month and generally lands it in late February or early March. Meak Bochea Day commemorates the last sermon given by the Buddha, in which he summarised the “heart of Buddhism”. Buddhism has three principles: ceasing from all evil, doing only good, and maintaining a cleansed mind. Oudong Mountain, is the site where hundreds of monks and government officials gather to perform their rituals on Meak Bochea Day. Candles, incense sticks, and lotus flowers are carried around the site three times. The mountain can be found about 28 miles north of Phnom Penh.

Month January February March April May June July August September October November December
Tourist Numbers 460,577 430,207 417,052 361,139 314,748 318,267 364,325 366,096 314,459 408,922 444,640 574,799

March sees the start of the hot weather arriving. Average temperatures reach 30ºC at this time of year but the seaside resort of Sihanoukville is very popular now. There is excellent diving to be had around the Islands of the Southern coast.

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Holidays & Festivals in March

Meak Bochea Day

This is observed on the full moon of the third lunar month and generally lands it in late February or early March. Meak Bochea Day commemorates the last sermon given by the Buddha, in which he summarised the “heart of Buddhism”. Buddhism has three principles: ceasing from all evil, doing only good, and maintaining a cleansed mind. Oudong Mountain, is the site where hundreds of monks and government officials gather to perform their rituals on Meak Bochea Day. Candles, incense sticks, and lotus flowers are carried around the site three times. The mountain can be found about 28 miles north of Phnom Penh.

International Women’s Day

Celebrated yearly on the same day, International Women’s Day is recognised globally. It marks the challenges, solicits change, and celebrates women’s empowerment and achievements. It is of great imp[ortnace to the Cambodian people who recognise the great part played by women in the country’s history. A national holiday it is celebrated with many different events not only in the capital but around the country.

Month January February March April May June July August September October November December
Tourist Numbers 460,577 430,207 417,052 361,139 314,748 318,267 364,325 366,096 314,459 408,922 444,640 574,799

The hot season is well and truly here with average temperatures reaching 35ºC and days of 40ºC not uncommon. The temples are hard work in April and the noonday sun, is really too much to handle for most people.

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Holidays & Festivals in April

Choul Chhnam Khmer (Khmer New Year’s Day) – 13 to 16 April

This three to four day every begins on New Year’s Day, which usually falls on the 13th or 14th April. This marks the end of the harvesting season and is when the farmers can enjoy the fruits of their labour before the monsoon season begins. Locally called Maha Songkran, the first day of the new year celebration is when eople dress up, light candles and burn incense sticks at temples and shrines throughout the land. Family members pay homage to ancestors and offer thanks for the teachings of the Buddha by bowing, kneeling and prostrating themselves three times before his image. They wash their face with holy water in the morning, their chests at noon, and their feet in the evening before they go to bed, to bring good fortune.

Visaka Bochea

This Buddhist observance commemorating the birth, enlightenment and passing of the the Buddha was established as a national holiday and is commemorated every year.

Month January February March April May June July August September October November December
Tourist Numbers 460,577 430,207 417,052 361,139 314,748 318,267 364,325 366,096 314,459 408,922 444,640 574,799

The wet season normally makes its appearance towards the latter half of May. Temperatures remain high with averages of 29ºC. It is still a good time to visit as the showers are normal short downpours. Tourist Numbers are down a bit in this month as well.

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Holidays & Festivals in May

International Labor Day – 1 May

Established to celebrate the economic and social achievements of the country’s workers, this national holiday is popular throughout the region.

King Sihamoni’s Birthday – 13 to 15 May

His Majesty King Sihamoni was born on the 14th May 1953, there is a three day holiday every year to celebrate.

The Royal Ploughing Day – 24 May

Huge in Phnom Penh, the Royal Ploughing Day is an ancient royal ceremony held to mark the traditional start of the rice growing season. This symbolic procession represents an old tradition when the King’s royal oxen were relieved of their harnesses and led to seven golden trays. These contained rice, corn, sesame seeds, beans, grass, water and wine. The number of and whichever trays the animals fed from determines the success of the next harvest. If the oxen merely sniffed at the tray containing water and turn away from the wine, it is believed that farmers will not suffer serious floods.

Month January February March April May June July August September October November December
Tourist Numbers 460,577 430,207 417,052 361,139 314,748 318,267 364,325 366,096 314,459 408,922 444,640 574,799

With average temperatures remaining at 28ºC the wet season is well underway now. Humidity is very high and the showers help ease the sifting atmosphere. The southern region gets the heaviest rain. It is still however a good time to visit as the weather in Cambodia still provides times of sunshine

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Holidays & Festivals in June

International Children Day – 1 June

The children of Cambodia have a life much harder than most. This national holiday was established to celebrate the children of the country and pledge to keep them safe

Queen Mother’s Birthday – 18 June

This is to celebrate the birthday of the King’s Mother Monineath Sihanouk. born on the 18th June 1936 she was queen consort of Cambodia between 1952 and 1955 and again between 1993 and 2004, as the wife of King Norodom Sihanouk.

Month January February March April May June July August September October November December
Tourist Numbers 460,577 430,207 417,052 361,139 314,748 318,267 364,325 366,096 314,459 408,922 444,640 574,799

The temperatures contain to gently fall back with averages for July being 27ºC. This is definitely not a month for beach lovers as the rain showers on the coast last much longer. Humidity is starting to lessen now making the days a bit more comfortable.

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Month January February March April May June July August September October November December
Tourist Numbers 460,577 430,207 417,052 361,139 314,748 318,267 364,325 366,096 314,459 408,922 444,640 574,799

The rain showers are much heavier now the average temperatures are around 26ºC. August is a good month to take a trip on the Tonle Sap lake as water levels are at their highest. Again this is a month to stay away from the beaches and in the north eastern regions travel becomes difficult as roads and tracks become difficult to navigate.

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Month January February March April May June July August September October November December
Tourist Numbers 460,577 430,207 417,052 361,139 314,748 318,267 364,325 366,096 314,459 408,922 444,640 574,799

Short sharp downpours are more common now and the temperature averages remain at 26ºC. If you can avoid the rains the Temples of Angkor are really good in September as Tourist Numbers have fallen off significantly. This is another good month for visiting the Tonle Sap.

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Holidays & Festivals in September

Constitutional Day – 24 Sep

This national holiday was established in comme the signing of the Cambodian constitution and the Coronation by King Sihanouk.

Pchum Ben Day

A national holiday that was established in order for buddhist to pay their respects to deceased relatives. Family members cook meals for monks and make offerings to the “ghosts” of their ancestors. Also known as “Ancestor’s Day” this is a very important festival for Cambodian people.

Month January February March April May June July August September October November December
Tourist Numbers 460,577 430,207 417,052 361,139 314,748 318,267 364,325 366,096 314,459 408,922 444,640 574,799

This month is slightly warmer than the previous with average temperatures hitting 27ºC. As the month progresses the rainfall starts to decrease in severity. Towards the end of the month it is possible to find some dry sand and sunshine at Sihanoukville.

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Holidays & Festivals in October

Pchum Ben Day

A national holiday that was established in order for buddhist to pay their respects to deceased relatives. Family members cook meals for monks and make offerings to the “ghosts” of their ancestors. Also known as “Ancestor’s Day” this is a very important festival for Cambodian people.

Commemoration Day of King Norodom Sihanouk – 15 October

This national holiday Commemorates the Royal Soul of His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, Preahmahaviraksat, King-Father of the Cambodian National Independence, Territorial Integrity and Unity on October 15, 2012. King Sihanouk took to the throne in 1941. At the end of the Second World War, he campaigned tirelessly for Cambodia’s independence from French rule, which finally became a reality in 1953.

Paris Peace Agreement Day – 23 October

This national holiday was dropped in 2004 and reinstated in 2013. “The government put aside October 23, which commemorates the day of the Paris Peace Agreement in 1991, as a holiday for civil servants, employers and workers nationwide November 09

Royal Coronation of the King – 29 October

People in Cambodia celebrate a public holiday to commemorate the coronation of HM King Norodom Sihamoni as he ascended the throne. This celebration is always combined with Former King’s Birthday on October 31. Since both are public holidays, people usually get to enjoy a three-day celebration between 29th and 31st October.

Month January February March April May June July August September October November December
Tourist Numbers 460,577 430,207 417,052 361,139 314,748 318,267 364,325 366,096 314,459 408,922 444,640 574,799

This is the start of the dry season and rain showers will dry up completely as you move through November. Temperatures stay comfortable with averages of 25ºC. The south coast starts to get busier as people get away for a few days spent on the beach. This is a good time to visit.

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Holidays & Festivals in November

Independence Day – 9 November

This annual national holiday is celebrated on 9 November. If the 9th falls on a weekday, then the following working day is taken. It was established to celebrate the anniversary of the country’s independence from France, which was on the 9th November 1953.

Water Festival and Moon Festival and Boat Racing – 13 to 15 November

The Water Festival and Bon Om Touk (The Pirogue Racing Festival) in Phnom Penh is the most significant traditional festival for the people of Cambodia. Pirogues are long narrow canoes made from a single tree trunk. Held over three days, it draws Penh residents, foreign tourists and people from all over the country to the capital to celebrate.

Month January February March April May June July August September October November December
Tourist Numbers 460,577 430,207 417,052 361,139 314,748 318,267 364,325 366,096 314,459 408,922 444,640 574,799

December is a great time to be in Cambodia. The average temperatures remain at 26ºC, humidity is low and it is dry. Travelling round the country gets much easier, the beaches are good and the water level in the Tonle Sap is still high.

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Holidays & Festivals in December

International Human Rights Day – 10 December

Cambodia joins the rest of the world in celebrating The United Nations’ Human Rights Day. The date marks the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. If ever a country understands the significance of this, it is Cambodia.

Month January February March April May June July August September October November December
Tourist Numbers 460,577 430,207 417,052 361,139 314,748 318,267 364,325 366,096 314,459 408,922 444,640 574,799
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