Cambodia’s Weather

Last Updated on 16 May, 2024 by admin

Cambodia’s tropical climate, marked by dramatic seasonal changes, profoundly influences the rhythms of rural and urban life. The annual ebb and flow of rain and sunshine dictate agricultural cycles, shape economic activities, and influence the tourist seasons. As such, a deep understanding of these weather patterns is not just beneficial but essential for planning and managing resources effectively. This comprehensive guide explores the nuances of Cambodia’s weather, from the monsoon rains that rejuvenate the landscape to the drier months that draw visitors to its famed temples and bustling markets.

Seasonal Variations

The Cambodian climate is dominated by two distinct seasons: the wet and the dry. The south-west monsoon, from May to November, brings a significant amount of Cambodia’s annual rainfall, peaking in the months of September and October. During this time, rural areas become lush and rivers swell, which, while scenic, can pose challenges for infrastructure such as road travel and rural connectivity. Conversely, the dry season spans from December to April, characterized by lower rainfall and cooler temperatures, especially in the early months, making it the optimal time for tourism and outdoor activities. The transition between these seasons is gradual, with residual rains often lingering into the early dry season.

Temperature and Humidity

Cambodia experiences relatively stable temperatures year-round, with only a slight variation of around 6°C between the coolest and hottest times of the year. The average temperature typically ranges from a comfortable 24°C to a peak of around 30°C. However, the humidity levels can vary more significantly, generally hovering between 70% and 80%. In areas around the Ton Le Sap basin, humidity can dip lower, affecting local microclimates and agricultural practices, such as rice cultivation, which rely on specific humidity conditions to thrive.

Rainfall Patterns

Cambodia’s rainfall distribution is heavily influenced by its topography. The mountainous regions, particularly the southeast mountains and the Annamite range, receive the highest amounts of rainfall, which can exceed 5,000 cm annually. This contrast sharply with the more moderate rainfall in the lowland areas, including the major agricultural zones, where annual averages are closer to 1,500 cm. Such disparities are crucial for water resource management, influencing everything from irrigation practices to hydroelectric power generation.

Extreme Weather Conditions

Although Cambodia is largely shielded from the direct path of most tropical cyclones, its proximity to the South China Sea means that typhoons can occasionally influence the country’s weather patterns. These rare events are typically less severe by the time they reach Cambodia but can still cause localized heavy rainfall and flooding, particularly in coastal and low-lying areas. The country’s disaster response strategies and infrastructure improvements in recent years have been aimed at mitigating the impacts of such extreme weather events, enhancing community resilience and safety.

Regional Weather Profiles

Phnom Penh

In Phnom Penh, the weather plays a significant role in daily life and urban planning. The city sees a wide range of temperatures from January through December, with little cooling effect even in the “cooler” months. Rainfall peaks dramatically in September and October, challenging the city’s drainage systems but also replenishing its water supply crucial for both consumption and sanitation. Urban heat island effects, where the city experiences higher temperatures than surrounding rural areas, are a focus of current environmental planning efforts.

Phnom Penh’s weatherJanFebMarAprMayJuneJulyAugSeptOctNovDec
Mean high temperature (˚C)313233343332323131303029
Mean high temperature (˚F)889093939290898988868685
Mean low temperature (˚C)889093939290898988868685
Mean low temperature (˚F)737477798078787877777673
Rainfall in millimetres112382384647684117373584368224
Rainfall in inches4.
Average number of rainy days0.

Siem Reap

Siem Reap’s appeal as a tourist destination is closely tied to its climatic conditions. The high season for tourism coincides with the dry months, offering clear skies and more manageable humidity levels, ideal for exploring Angkor Wat and other outdoor attractions. The planning of cultural festivals and major tourism-driven events typically avoids the wet season, although the lush greenery following the rains can also offer a picturesque backdrop for visitors seeking a different experience of the region.

Siem Reap’s weatherJanFebMarAprMayJuneJulyAugSeptOctNovDec
Mean high temperature (˚C)313233343332313130303030
Mean high temperature (˚F)889093949391898987878786
Mean low temperature (˚C)192123242424232323222119
Mean low temperature (˚F)677074767676757575737167
Rainfall in millimetresn/a1020601401702002002602308010
Rainfall in inches0.10.512.55.977.97.910.
Average number of rainy days0.


Cambodia’s weather is as complex as it is fascinating, with a wide range of implications for its people and visitors. Understanding these patterns is key to navigating the country effectively, whether for agricultural, economic, or tourism purposes. With appropriate planning and adaptation strategies, both residents and tourists can maximize their experiences in Cambodia, enjoying its many facets safely and comfortably.

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