Phnom Penh (ភ្នំពេញ): the name can’t help but conjure up an image of the exotic. The glimmering spires of the Royal Palace, the fluttering saffron of the monks’ robes and the luscious location on the banks of the mighty Mekong – this is the Asia many daydream about from afar. Read the Phnom Penh Weather guide to find out what is the best time to visit Phnom Penh Cambodia.
Phnom Penh Weather Overview
Situated at the confluence of three rivers, the mighty Mekong, the Bassac and the great Tonle Sap, what was once considered the ‘Gem’ of Indochina.Like the rest of Cambodia, Phnom Penh weather is hot and muggy all year round, and its two seasons are differentiated primarily by the amount of rainfall each experiences.
- Dry cool season: From November to January with hardly rain and more comfortable temperatures (22-28c)
- Dry season: From Febuary to May with less rain and hotter temperatures (28c -38c)
- Rainy season: From May To October with moonson climate which is featured by afternoon showers, temperature from 24-32c, with humidity up to 90%.
What is is the best time to visit Phnom Penh?
The best time to visit Phnom Penh is from December to January when the Phnom Penh weather is at its most pleasant and rainfall is at its lowest. However, like other regions in the country, you can visit Phnom Penh all year round because of the following reasons, keep reading.
- The dry season is when Phnom Penh weather experiences the least rainfall, and can be split into two sections – the cool season, which runs from November to January, and the hot season, which runs from February to May. Temperatures in the cool season range from around 21 to 32°C (70 to 90°F), while the hot season sees temperatures soaring to 40°C (104°F). Even Phnom Penh experiences the hot weather up to 40°C, but it is not scorching.
- The rainy season brings short, sharp afternoon showers to Phnom Penh, which often result in flash floods, and the wind is stronger. Days of unending rain aren’t unknown, particularly in May and September, but showers are more likely. Like the dry season, the rainy season sees two distinct temperature periods, with hot temperatures up to September and cooler weather ranging from 23°C (73°F) to 30°C (86°F) leading into the dry season.If you’re keen to avoid the crowds, the rainy season is a good time to visit Phnom Penh because there will be far fewer tourists around and the rain showers are mostly confined to the afternoons, so you can plan around them. It’s worth noting that October sees the pagodas busier than usual due to the Pchum Ben festival, the second most important event of the year after New Year, which is when local families gather together to head to pagodas to dedicate offerings to their ancestors.
If you want to enjoy the wild, ancient and mysterious scenery Phnom Penh, you should come in the rainy season. If you want to admire the ancient architecture in the sun and watch the magic sunset in the ancient temples, you should be go to Phnom Penh from November to March. With each season, you will feel Phnom Penh with different senses and admire the different beauty. Then relax and get pack to Phnom Penh soon.
Tips to visit Phnom Penh in the rainy season
What to wear
Don’t brother bringing an umbrella — when it rains in Phnom Penh it’s almost always a windy rain that will turn your umbrella inside out. Even fancy raincoats are less useful than than the bright plastic ponchos sold on all of the street corners for 2,000 riel, or $0.50. They are compact enough to keep in a purse or backpack and provide pretty good protection from the downpours. Wear flip flops. Phnom Penh has a tendency to flood when it rains and if you are wearing real shoes you will inevitably wander into a puddle up to your ankles. When it rains I often wear flip flops for the journey and change into shoes once I arrive.
Most visitors get around town by tuk tuk or moto. Motos are not advisable in the rain because, well, you’ll get wet. Most tuk tuks have ingenious rain-covers that they bring out for the inclement weather, but they do tend to charge slightly more when it’s raining. Remember that some roads, particularly those leading out of town, are often unpaved or sort-of paved, and may have puddles for a full day after a big rain. This is another reason to not ride a moto (to add to my long list). Taxis are often the same price or only slightly higher than tuk tuks, so when it rains, consider calling one.