• When to travel to Cambodia?
  • When to travel to Cambodia?

  • on Jan 29, 2024       By: BN
  • Choose the best season to travel to Cambodia! Cambodia's climate is tropical with warm temperatures almost all year round and two distinct seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. Advantages, and disadvantages, we tell you everything about the seasons that happen in Cambodia to make your stay in the Khmer kingdom successful.

    The dry season in Cambodia

    The dry season in Cambodia is so called because precipitation is the lowest of the year during this period. The dry season extends from November to May. This is the most favourable season to travel to Cambodia. During this season, there are two very distinct periods:

    From December to the end of January

    This is the most pleasant time to travel to Cambodia. During these two months of the year, rains are rare, even very rare. This is also the time of year when temperatures are the “coolest” with maximums of 30°. In the Mondolkiri mountains, it can be cool at this time and it is therefore advisable to bring some warm clothes for the evening. In December, you can witness the rice harvest across the country. It is also during the dry season that you can observe Cambodian farmers harvesting salt in the salt marshes located in the regions of Kep and Kampot.

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    The most pleasant time of the year to travel to Cambodia is also the high tourist season. There are large crowds in the country's major tourist destinations such as Phnom Penh, the temples of Angkor or the seaside resorts of Kep, and especially Sihanoukville. The Christmas and New Year periods see a significant peak in attendance. During this period, it is advisable to book your trip and all related services in advance.

    From February to the end of April

    Temperatures increase during this period to reach maximum averages around 35° in April. Moreover, it is in April that we celebrate the Khmer New Year (Chaul Chnam Thmey), the most important festival in Cambodia. The Khmer New Year marks the end of the dry season and announces the start of the rainy season and the start of work to prepare the rice fields. On this occasion, Cambodians have the habit of sprinkling themselves with water to symbolize purification. Large and joyful water fights take place all over the country, ideal for cooling off at this hot time of year.

    Rainy season in Cambodia

    During the rainy season from May to the end of October, also called the "summer monsoon", it rains a lot, sometimes causing significant flooding across the country. It is also the hottest time of the year with average temperatures around 35° which can even rise to 40°C in May/June. The rains are quite heavy but short-lived, often concentrated in the afternoon. Unpaved secondary roads may then become impassable. High temperatures combined with heavy precipitation can be difficult to bear for travellers who are not used to this type of climate.

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    During this period, it is the low tourist season. The country's main tourist sites are much less crowded and you can get significant discounts at some hotels. Be careful, on the Cambodian coast, particularly in the seaside resorts of Kep and Sihanoukville, many hotels close their doors at the height of the rainy season, between July and October. Maritime connections between the coast and the islands are often suspended due to unfavourable weather conditions.

    However, the rainy season can be a good time to travel to Cambodia. You will be able to enjoy the tourist sites in complete peace and quiet but also appreciate all the kindness of the Cambodians who are more available at this quieter time of year.

    In addition, the large quantities of water that fall water nature then reveal all its colours. The rainy season is the period when nature regenerates. This is the season when Cambodian farmers transplant rice, a season when the rice fields turn bright green. The fields and rice paddies are bustling with activity. Rivers and streams full of water are more beautiful to see during this period. It is also during this period that it is more interesting to discover the floating villages because some are no longer floating during the dry season. And then seeing the rainfall here is a real spectacle!

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    Every year in Cambodia, between October and November according to the lunar calendar, we celebrate the “water festival” called Bon Om Touk in the Khmer language. This great popular festival takes place during the full moon to celebrate the end of the rainy season and the fertility of the waters of the Tonlé Sap River and the Mekong River. On this occasion, canoe races are organized across the country but it is in Phnom Penh that they are the most important. This is the period during which the fishing season is inaugurated since during the monsoon fish reproduce in abundance. Finally, it is the opportunity to observe a unique phenomenon during your stay in Cambodia: the reversal of the direction of the Tonlé Sap River. During the rainy season, Tonlé Sap Lake reaches up to four times its original surface due to excess water from the Mekong.

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