When is the best time to visit Cambodia?
In general, Cambodia stays warm throughout the year, and the months can be divided into a wet season (May to November) and a dry season (November to May). Both seasons have their benefits, so deciding when to go to Cambodia depends on the kinds of activities you plan to do during your trip:
Cambodia's Wet Season
Cambodia's rainy season starts in mid-May and ends in early November. During this period, you can typically expect short bursts of very heavy rain in the afternoon or longer downpours overnight, so don't worry - you won't experience endless rain every day.
The rain offers a welcome relief from the humidity and high temperatures at this time of year, plus during the day, there’s usually plenty of sunshine in between the showers. The wet season is the best time to visit Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, as water levels rise and the Tonle Sap River is forced to reverse its flow.
Despite what you may think, the rainy season can actually be one of the best times to visit Cambodia, as it also has the bonus of fewer tourists.
Cambodia's Dry Season
Cambodia’s dry season starts in mid-November and ends in early May. During these months, you can expect cloudless skies, very little rain, pleasant temperatures and lower humidity.
The dry season is the best time to visit Cambodia if you plan to explore Angkor or relax on the south coast’s beaches and islands. It's also the most popular time to visit Cambodia, so be aware that there may be more crowds at the popular sightseeing spots.
Depending on what you want to do during your time in Cambodia, tourist numbers may be a more important consideration than the weather.
Festivals & Holidays in Cambodia
Cambodia is the country with the most public holidays in the world, totaling 28 days a year. Therefore, there is most likely to be a celebration or two during your trip to look out for. Here are just a few of the most significant festivals and holidays:
Chaul Chnam (Khmer New Year) celebrates the end of the dry season and the start of the rain. It takes place from the 14th to the 16th of April, and like many places in Southeast Asia, this is a really fun time to visit because locals take to the streets for a giant water fight! Warning: you will not be able to escape getting soaked.
Pchum Ben (Ancestor Celebration) is a two-week event that takes place from the end of September through into October. You may see Cambodians dressing in white and offering food to monks at local pagodas, which are intended to be passed to their ancestors.
Bon Om Touk (Water Festival) marks the changing of the currents of the Tonle Sap River in November. Colorful boat races take place all over the country, and some of the best can be seen in the capital of Phnom Penh.