Cambodia: Weather Overview
Situated in the tropical zone of Southeast Asia, Cambodia features a tropical monsoon climate.
Similar to the majority of Southeast Asia, Cambodia is temperate to hot all year round and the typical weather is subjected by the yearly monsoon cycle with its sporadic wet and dry seasons.
The north of Cambodia will generally experience colder winters than the south, however, most of the country will naturally benefit from temperatures that remain fairly constant. There is frequently nomadic flooding in Phnom Penh and the remaining of Cambodia in late July and early August, and vacations throughout these times may be disturbed.
As expected most visitors will avoid visiting Southeast Asia during the wet season, assuming that the rains will ruin the vacation. There are understandable inconveniences to visiting during the rainy season, but with much potential, it can also be the most magical time to Cambodia. Throughout the rainy season, the temples of Angkor are at their most striking and most picturesque. On a photographic note, the rain-washed air of the wet season is particularly clear as compared to the hazy, smoky skies of the dry season, making those long shots of the temples and rice paddies that much clearer.
The annual monsoon series is stimulated by recurring air pressure alterations over central Asia. As the pressure falls from June through until October for the duration of the summer months, damp air is drawn inland from the ocean bringing the southwest monsoon rains to Cambodia and much of Southeast Asia. As the winter months arrive, from November until May the air pressure above central Asia rises, moving the cool dry air back across Southeast Asia and bringing on a mostly rainless dry season to Cambodia. The average daily temperature also increases and descends with the winter and summer months, but not precisely in time with the wet and dry season, efficiently producing four annual seasons throughout the entire country.
Winter - November to February (Cool and Dry Season)
During this time of the year, the average midday temperatures will generally linger in the mid 20âs and on occasions will drop below 20ºC at night. The monsoon rainfalls trail throughout October and November, and will commonly stop entirely by mid-November. The months of the cool, dry season are usually measured to be the most ideal period of time to vacation to Cambodia, as the months of December and January experience the countryâs finest climates. January gives out contentedly warm days with clear skies and February will typically see no rain, very light breezes, cool evenings and idyllic beach weather in Sihanoukville. This is also a very pleasant time of year to visit the temples close to Siem Reap. Temperatures will start to sneak up moderately throughout February and there are usually occasional, short but sharp showers in the early evenings.
Spring - March to May (Hot and Dry Season)
Throughout the months of March until May the distinct dry season prolongs, with the only rainfall consisting of brief showers in the early evenings that gradually amplify in regularity and force throughout the course of these months. During these months; March, in particular, river and lake levels are extremely low, commonly making boat and ferry travel much more complicated, less dependable and can significantly increase travels times considerably. Alternatively, road travel; is much more reliable throughout this season with thanks to the shortage of rainfall which consequently results in common flooding. As the temperature gradually rises throughout February and March, the climates will peak in April and May just in time for the monsoons to begin. The months of and between February and March are still relaxing but by the time April arrives midday temperatures can drift up into the mid to upper 30s, particularly in inland areas like Siem Reap.
Summer - June to August (Hot and Wet Season)
As the hot season maintains, the dry season comes to an end and is quickly restrained as the monsoon rains commence throughout May and June, cooling, the hot, humid air. Across the majority of the country, the monsoon rains are comparatively predictable, generally taking place in the afternoon or after nightfall. And the afternoon rains usually last no further than a couple of hours making them quite easy to plan around, especially if you are visiting the temples or touring. In reality, the Angkor temples are at their artistic best throughout the wet season. Boat and Ferry journeys become more frequent and more reliable as the season grows and the river and lake levels rise, but some roads, however, will occasionally depreciate or become momentarily flooded.
Autumn - September to Early November (Cool and Wet Season)
Being a part of the cool season the air actually wonât start to cool a great deal until October or November, it is, however, cooler than the hottest months. In September the temperatures stay close to the mid 30âs and gradually drop through the following months. By the time October arrives, the midday forecasts can be expected around 30ºC. In September the wet season is just passing its peak and the rains are still very customary and forceful in September, but by October the occurrence has usually dropped off significantly.