What is the best time to visit Cambodia? To answer this question, you have to evaluate four parameters: the climate, accommodation, flight, and objective of your trip. Based on these parameters, it is possible to understand when it is a convenient time to visit Cambodia according to your needs.
I was in this country in 2019, and I was very fascinated by it. Compared to neighboring Thailand and Vietnam, time seems to have stopped in this country. My objective for this trip was to visit the temples of Angkor. I was so keen on Angkor that I spent five days visiting its temples. But I spent 30 days in total in the country, also reaching some much less touristy areas.
So, if you want to visit this magical country but don’t know when to go, I think I can give you a little information to decide when the best time to visit Cambodia is. Read on!
The best time to visit Cambodia in terms of weather is from December to February: the dry season. The maximum temperatures usually drop below 30 degrees, and there is less humidity. What happens is that it is also the high season, when there are more people, and the prices are higher.
In October and November, between the dry and the wet, the rice fields are still green, and the temperatures are still not very high. I was from November to December. At first, the heat left me almost knocked out from the first hour in the temples of Angkor. But when I returned in December, the temperature was much more pleasant.
The Climate In Cambodia In General
The climate of Cambodia includes two seasons, thanks to its particular latitude and its fairly uniform altitude. The two distinct seasons in Cambodia are The dry season, from October to the end of April, and the rainy season, from May to the end of September.
The hottest months of the year are May and June, and temperatures can reach as high as 35 degrees. The humidity is quite high but reaches its maximum between March and April.
The coldest months are generally October, November, and December, but it is certainly a different cold from the European one, where average temperatures are around 26 degrees.
Even if the climate and temperatures are almost always mild, tourism in Cambodia is always active. However, I recommend that you pay attention to the arrival of the monsoons.
The dry season: October - April / early May
- The dry season in Cambodia begins in October and ends in April when the monsoon arrives from the northeast.
- Temperatures from November to January are quite cool, around 20 degrees, while in April, it is warmer.
- The mild climate of this period obviously favors tourism.
The rainy season: from May to October
The rainy season in Cambodia runs from May to October, but obviously with ups and downs. In the period, the temperatures are around 26 degrees, but as already reported, between May and July, temperatures can even exceed 35 degrees. Important to know for travelers, the first months of the rainy season, rainfall is frequent but short. And it is between July and September that they intensify and can become annoying.
Another important note for travelers, Angkor Wat, is wonderful in the rainy season, both thanks to the suggestive view of the moats full of water and to the presence of fewer tourists. Also, during this season, the climatic situation allows you to admire the flooded forests and floating villages of the Tonle Sap lake, which in this period increases its range by five times.
Best time to visit Cambodia: Month by Month
I personally cannot specify the best time to visit Cambodia. Because with times, this Southeast Asian country shows the variety of its own landscape, culture, and people. Therefore, I can only recommend a few notes.
As I said earlier, the most pleasant weather in Cambodia is from November to March, with less rainfall. However, from February to April, the air is dusty. Cambodia’s peak tourism season coincides with the dry season, especially between November and March. But there is also a small peak season from the end of July to the beginning of September. In these times, prices are higher, and you cannot look for cheap flights or hotels.
As the dry season begins, so does the peak season for Cambodian tourism begin. Temperatures begin to drop, humidity levels are low, rains decrease, and tourists decide to visit Cambodia. This is a good time to visit the coasts and islands, with the sun shining almost all day.
In terms of temperature, December is undoubtedly the best time to visit Cambodia. Rains are very rare, humidity is almost zero, and many Cambodians wear their winter coats and jackets while complaining about the cold. On the downside, December is a peak month, so you will find many tourists traveling to Cambodia, and prices are at their highest.
The fact that November to April is classified as Cambodia’s peak season suggests that January is traditionally the best time to visit Cambodia. Temperatures are cool, and the dry season is in full swing, which means Cambodia’s weather is at its peak. However, this comes with crowds, as January is one of the busiest months. Accommodation prices are also at an all-time high.
Regarding the weather in Cambodia, February is still a good month to travel to Cambodia. Temperatures remain relatively cool in Cambodian terms. Rains can appear at the end of the month, and usually a surprise appearance during the night. As the large tourist crowds begin to diminish, Cambodia’s tourist spots can still remain crowded.
March is when things really start to heat up in preparation for the April humidity. The crowds of tourists begin to diminish noticeably. This is a good time to go deep into the jungle, with Cambodia dry weather or very little rain. This makes trekking trails more accessible and bloodthirsty mosquitoes less aggressive. While the rains are still a couple of months away, March marks the end of the dry season.
If you think that Cambodia’s heat stops rising in March, you’re terribly wrong. Wait for April, and you’ll say that hell itself has arrived. April is the month when the northeast monsoon starts blowing in Cambodia. Nevertheless, it’s doesn’t leave without making everyone wish for the rainy season to come.
In April, Cambodia’s heat can reach up to a sweltering 45 degrees. If you’re from somewhere very cold, don’t head out of your hotel without bringing a drink with you. If you’re with the elderly, consider going out with them during the afternoon since such extreme heat can cause heatstroke, fainting, and dizziness.
Stay away from Cambodian cities during April. The dust and heat will likely ruin your stay. To enjoy yourself, go somewhere far from civilization.
7. May - July
The warm days hand over Cambodia to the rainy days in May until July. Raining at least happens twice per week. Even so, it doesn’t keep pouring down for the whole day. You can still experience periodic sunshine, which keeps the environment warm.
Automatically remove beaches on your travel plans if you decide to visit Cambodia between these months. Focus your trip on seeing the important landmarks of Cambodia, such as the temples, museums, and parks.
8. August - September
The month of August and September are red flags for a vacation in Cambodia. During these months, rain keeps pouring every day, only stopping for a few hours. Beaches are empty, the temples look very lonely, and other attractions look very deserted. If you’re scheduling your visit in either August or September, it’s best to reschedule your trip for later months.
October signals tourists that Cambodia’s warmth is about to return. Though everything is still wet due to the rains of August and September, having a vacation isn’t so bad because temperatures are around 25 – 27 degrees on average.
You can go to Sihanoukville or Koh Rong. However, don’t expect to have much enjoyment. The beaches during this time aren’t that good due to the poor amount of sunshine caused by the periodic formation of rain clouds on the horizon.
Best Time To Visit Cambodia According To Festivals
Cambodia is not only famous for its temples but also for its festivals. Many festivals in Cambodia are very fun and interesting for tourists. So, which and what days do you want to celebrate festivals in Cambodia?
Chaul Chnam Thmey Festival
The first festival I recommend you participate in is the Chaul Chnam Thmey festival (New Year’s festival) in Cambodia. It is the most important festival in Cambodia, celebrated on April 13-15. These days, they clean the houses, and they go to clean the statues of Buddha with pure water and help the people.
Bom Chaul Chnam Festival (Splash of Water Festival)
It is celebrated on the final day of the Chaul Chnam Thmey festival. Also known as the exotic rice harvest festival. This is the biggest holiday of the year for Cambodians. On this occasion, people come together to express hope for a bountiful harvest next year for all farmers. I assure you that it will be a lot of fun.
Meak Bochea Festival and Siddhartha Day Festival
These are the two most important Buddhism festivals in Cambodia. Since Cambodia is a country of Buddhism, then you can already imagine the importance of these festivals to their culture. The festivals are celebrated on March 15 and April 15, respectively.
The Bonn Prathen Feast
It is always celebrated in October, for 29 days and nights. Bonn Prather is the biggest Buddhist festival of the year. With great faith in religion, Cambodians believe that the more they come to the temples, the more fortunate they are. Therefore, this is an opportunity for people from all over the country to organize large processions together to the temple.
The Traditional Festival Meak Bochea
Meak Bochea is one of the most important festivals in Cambodia. It is organized to honor the Buddha and his teachings. Usually taking place on the full moon day of the third lunar month of each year. Buddhists celebrate by participating in a candlelight procession at a nearby temple.
Best Time To Visit Cambodia According To Price
Price is an important factor in travel, and now money is always a necessity. So when is the best time to visit Cambodia and enjoy cheaper rates?
Since November to March is the high season in Cambodia, it is when international tourists travel to this country. Therefore, the price of flights, hotels and other services are more expensive. From July to October, it is the season for national and Asian tourism.
From April to June is the cheapest time to travel to Cambodia. It is the low season of tourism in Cambodia. In these months, there are many offers and discounts from hotels. And you better make the reservation of the flights in advance, and with that, you will save a lot of money.
Best Time To Visit Cambodia According To The Influx Of Travelers
Cambodians travel mainly on two occasions, the summer holidays and the Chaul Chnam Thmey festival. Summer is the peak travel season for Cambodians when tourists have a vacation of approximately two months. Most choose the beaches as their main vacation destinations. Meanwhile, in the new year, they go home.
While the peak season for international tourists in Cambodia is from November to March, tourist sites are full of people. Sometimes you can’t find a space to take photos. So, the best time to visit Cambodia, according to the influx of travelers, is in May or June. This is when there are fewer tourists in Cambodia.
I can say that Cambodia is an all-around destination. But without a doubt, after analyzing all the data, the best months and those that guarantee you a trip without climatic mishaps are from December to March. Being able to extend it from November to April will depend on which areas you want to visit.