Mention “Cambodia” and most people imagine ancient temples like Angkor Wat bathed in sunshine. This Southeast Asian country does indeed enjoy a tropical climate, with warm temperatures year-round. For tourists, Cambodia offers idyllic beach weather in the winter months and emptier attractions during the green, lush rainy season.
Central Location Makes for Consistent Warmth
Cambodia’s central location just above the equator means it sees consistent warm temperatures throughout the year. The country essentially has two seasons: dry and rainy. Within those seasons, temperatures fluctuate between “cool” and “hot” periods.
During the cool winter months of December, January, and February, average highs reach 86°F (30°C). Even when temperatures drop to the low 70s F (21°C), Cambodians bundle up in parkas – a sight that amuses visitors escaping frigid winters back home. For most travelers, Cambodia’s “cool” season provides ideal weather for sightseeing, hiking, and relaxing on the beach. The sunny blue skies make for excellent temple photography as well.
Beach Towns Offer Perfect Vacation Weather
The beach town of Sihanoukville on the southern coast sees ideal weather for sunbathing and water sports during these cooler months. The nearby islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem also have excellent beach conditions. With sunny skies and temperatures in the 80s F, Cambodia’s coast offers a tropical vacation wonderland when much of the world is still shoveling snow. Those looking for a warm winter getaway would do well to consider Cambodia.
Hot Season Brings Oppressive Heat
From March to May, Cambodia enters its hot, dry season. Temperatures rise to upwards of 104°F (40°C), with intense sun and humidity. April is usually the hottest month. Locals and expats alike escape to pools and air-conditioned cafes during the hottest part of the day. Slash-and-burn farming can create hazy skies in rural areas. Brief, powerful rain showers occasionally provide relief from the heat. Those sensitive to extreme heat and crowds may prefer visiting Cambodia during other times of year.
Rainy Season Rewards with Green Scenery
The rainy season lasts from June through November. While it may deter some tourists, this period brings benefits as well. Daily afternoon rains give respite from the heat and leave behind lush green landscapes. Rice paddies become vibrant emerald carpets. Rivers and waterfalls gush with new rainfall. The jungle takes on added vibrancy.
Since rains are generally brief, travelers can continue sightseeing by wearing flip-flops and plastic ponchos. With fewer visitors, popular destinations are less crowded and hotels offer lower rates. Photographers appreciate the clear skies and vibrant colors during this season.
Overall, Cambodia offers pleasant weather for tourism year-round – with excellent beach weather in the winter months and lush green scenery during the rainy season. Just be prepared with the right attitude – and footwear!