Cambodia is a tropical country and the weather generally warm the whole year-round. Still, the Siem Reap weather could be divided into 3 seasons with the typical phenomenon: hot season, rainy season and cool season.
Hot season in Siem Reap
April to June is considered as summer in Cambodia and the weather is really hot and humid. The average temperature can reach 40 degrees celsius, plus the high humidity will make you feel like a real sauna when doing the trip. One of the first note is that you should confine all the Siem Reap tours in either early morning or late afternoon.
Recommended activities in the summer
Visit Tonle Sap Lake
Tonle Sap Lake is the biggest freshwater lake in Cambodia and there are many communities live on the area. A visit to floating villages such as Chong Khneas or Kompong Khleang is suggested for interacting and understanding the lives of people living on the water.
It is about 50km from Siem Reap and you can reach there by private vehicle in 2 hours. The main attraction is the waterfalls at the top of Kulen Mountain and it’s also a great picnic spot. Even though the waterfall is not at its strongest, hearing the sound is so fun. Especially, going for a quick swim is so refreshing in these hot days.
A trip to Kulen Mountain could be combined with a visit either to Banteay Srei (Women Citadel) or Beng Mealea – a beautiful untouched temple covered by jungle. The ticket for Kulen Mountain can be bought at the ticket booths at the entrance of the park; but if you are going to a combined trip with one of two other temples, please remember to bring Angkor tickets with you.
- Do not arrange many activities especially not many Angkor temples in your to-do list on a day trip. The heat and humid will make you feel exhausted. Arrange a private car with good air conditioner to take you around. Even though it is interesting and fun with bike or tuk-tuk, it is not the best time in summer to experience this local transportation. You should only try tuk-tuk in the early morning or late afternoon.
- Wear long pants and long-sleeves when doing tours outside. You may see this is weird but this is a great way to avoid the direct heat from the sun.
- As always, put sunscreen and wear hats.
- Drink enough water, also Coconut water is a good way to stay hydrated.
- Most of the hotels in Siem Reap will have a swimming pool so it is great to spend your free time at the hotel refreshing.
Rainy season in Siem Reap
The rain actually will start from April but then become more frequent in June and last until November. The temperature from June observe a drop, however, it is still hot and humid so you will feel very sticky. Even though it rains heavily, most of the time it just lasts for about one to two hours and the sun will come out quickly after that. Due to the rain, this time of the year is considered a low season to visit Siem Reap and Cambodia. With the rain, Siem Reap unpaved and dirt road turn into muddy and there is a high possibility for flood in both cities and countryside.
However, for those who travel in a tight budget, it should be a good time to come as a lot of hotels give a promotion rate. Therefore, you can get the best deal for a nice accommodation.
The rainy season is also the best time for those who love nature landscape as everything will look so green due to the rain. You will see green rice paddies, blossoming followers and overgrown jungles. You also could get the best shot of a temple that covers by jungle as it is really got brighten up after the rain.
Travel by boat/cruise is also highly recommended as the lakes and river level can swell up twice their size.
Recommended activities to do
Go taking great pictures, especially at the temple covered by the jungle such as Ta Prohm temple, Beng Mealea or Rolous Group as the light is great after the sun.
Taking tour/driving to the countryside such as Tonle Sap, Kulen Mountain, Peam Ta Our Village for seeing the countryside is highly recommended. If you travel from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, you could take a private car and stop at Battambang for one night to experience the local bamboo train there. Otherwise, if your time is limited, the drive straight from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh would take about 5 -6 hours; and it is worth seeing the countryside. If your budget allows, Mekong river luxury cruises from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh or vice versa is highly recommended.
- Be well prepared for rain and always bring a raincoat with you during going outside.
- Wear good sandals instead of shoes
- Be careful walking on the road as it got flooded or becoming very slippery after the rain.
Dry and cool season in Siem Reap
The driest time in Siem Reap is from November to early March with hardly no rain in December and January, making it the most perfect time to travel to the country; thus November marks the beginning of the high season in Cambodia. In January, you even can find the weather drop to 21 degrees celsius; which is the most ideals time to visit temples in Cambodia. As a result of comfortable weather, many hotels and restaurants are already fully booked and the attractions are crowded with tourists. Planning your trip with booking hotels and activities in advance as soon as you can is highly recommended.
Some notes when you travel in high season
- Expect for crowds at popular attractions such as Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom.
- Book in advance tours, hotels, and activities
- Expect to pay higher rates for hotels and activities
Suggested Cambodia holiday packages
Traveling to Cambodia is really an interesting trip and a desire to most of the travelers around the world. Getting to Siem Reap, you will have a good chance to admire the most wonderful ancient temples of the world and the pristine beauty of the nature in Cambodia. Therefore, some information about Siem Reap weather above will be useful for those who are planning Cambodia tours.
Van Do – Travel Specialist