Cambodia: Weather & when to go
As far as weather goes, it doesn’t get any simpler than what Cambodia offers. With only two distinct seasons, you know what to expect, depending on the time of year. From October to late April the weather is dry, while May to late September represents the wet, rainy season. During each of these seasons however, temperatures vary. The last couple of months in the dry season (March and April) and the first two months of the wet season (May and June) are typically the hottest in the year. Temperatures are often in excess of 35°C with humidity to match. Come October, and temperatures drop. Not the bone-chilling cold you find in the Northern hemisphere, of course; it’s a much milder and more comfortable 24°C-26°C. All this adds up to one important fact: you can enjoy the beauty of Cambodia all year round!
The Dry Season
The months of October to May signal tourist season as droves of holiday makers head to Cambodian shores. Nobody likes to holiday when it’s raining and how many people carry an umbrella with them when they head for their vacation?
This time of the year is extremely popular with tourists because this is the ‘Dry Season’. The months of November to January are rather cool, with temperatures ranging on average around 21oC. This may seem perfect, but those who really like to get their tan on can holiday in the month of April where temperatures can be rather scorching.
Due to the higher temperatures, many tourists prefer to lounge by the poolside in the day, and head out for tours to the famous Angkor Vat Temple in the hours of the early morning or even late afternoon when the sun has dimmed its ferocity. This sounds idyllic, and the weather takes a turn for the wet when the dry north-east monsoon rains arrive after the month of April. You’ll know you’re in for showers when you feel the hot wind whipping around you, signalling that the rains are not far.
Remote areas such as the north east regions of Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri enjoy good weather and the roads are in a good state to travel in as well during this time. Many people take advantage of the passable roads and short journey times to make their way there. Even Kep and Sihanoukville located in the south coast, are favorites amongst the tourist population who relax to enjoy the warm sunshine and favorable sea conditions.
The Wet Season
Cambodia’s wet season runs from May through to the month of October, thanks to the southwest monsoons that bring a lot of moisture which accounts for nearly 3/4th of Cambodia’s annual precipitation. The daily temperatures during the monsoon season average between the mid and high 20so. The early monsoon months of May to July enjoy short and infrequent downpours amidst warmer temperatures. As the months progress towards September, the monsoon rains become heavier and constant and this is clearly evident in the rural and coastal areas. Even though remote areas like Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri are gorgeous in the dry season,the monsoon rains makes access to these places practically impossible as the roads become quite treacherous. Even access to Bamboo Island located near Kep becomes inaccessible due to the raging waters of the sea.
However there are advantages to traveling in monsoons. The world is bathed in lush greenery and all the dust is washed away, like a clean new slate. A huge plus point for those who wish to avoid the tourist masses will love to travel to Angkor Vat at this time of year,whenthe moats are flushwith water and there is noticeable drop in visitors.
The high precipitation level causes the villages by Tonle Sap Lake to be accessible by boat as the lake swells to five times its normal size. Even the flooded forests are a joy to behold amidst the wet but picturesque greenery. Additional Festivals
Cambodia celebrates many festivals and the dates often change to coincide with the dates as per the Buddhist lunar calendar. Full moon days and new moon days are considered to be auspicious.
When is the best time to visit Cambodia?
Each month is part of its own special season and each season could appeal to various adventurous travelers. The dry season runs from October to April and this is the most popular time when visitors throng the beautiful locales of Cambodia. Monsoons hit the country from May through to September, with the months of August and September seeing the heaviest rainfall. Temperatures range in the 20’s during the cooler months to the mid 30’s in the hotter summer months of March through to June.