Located in the North West of Cambodia, Siem Reap is a must-see destination in Cambodia thanks to its location, which is the gateway to the ruins of Angkor and Cambodia suburb. Not only famous for its temples, but this resort town is also renowned for its unique attractions and unbeatable cuisine. In general, you can visit Siem Reap all year round, but if you’re planning a trip, read this Siem Reap weather guide to decide when is likely to be best for you.
Siem Reap Weather Overview
Cambodia is located in the tropical zone, only 10-13° from the equator in the north, thus, Cambodia in general and Siem Reap weather, in particular, is warm to hot and muggy all year round, dominated by monsoon circle with 2 main seasons: dry and wet season – which only differ in the number of rainfalls.
What is the best time to visit Siem Reap?
November to March is considered to be the best time to visit Siem Reap as this period is the driest season of the year with hardly any rain falling in December and January, when day after day of cloudless blue skies is a regular occurrence. very handy for western visitors who need to escape the gloom of winter over that conveniently long Christmas and New Year holiday.
Also, December and January are also the coolest months of the year with night time temperature can down to 20ºC and the mid-day temperatures to only 30 degree, which is bringing much relief to visitors. With this perfect weather, it is best time of year for cycle rides, walking tours and visiting temples too as the heat is bearable for just that bit longer each day.
If you plan on visiting the floating villages or the stilt villages on the Tonle Sap, or the waterfalls at Kbal Spean or Kulen Mountain, this is also a good time of year as the lake and rivers are still relatively full following the rainy season, and generally speaking the countryside is still lush, and the paddy fields a vibrant shade of green.
However, if you plan your trip to Siem Reap this time, you should be aware of the “peak season” in Siem Reap, meaning hotel rates go up, tuk tuk drivers drive a much harder bargain and everywhere can be full of tourists. It can also be difficult to find a decent room and Just make sure you book as much as possible in advance, get off the beaten track and find some of the quieter temples like Beng Mealea and read up on anger management techniques for when things don’t go quite as you would wish.
Siem Reap Weather in April – May
The temperatures in April and May start increasing to 40ºC and often not dropping much below 30ºC at night. Any kind of physical activity – including temple visits — is best confined to early morning and late afternoon. On the positive side, April and May usually herald the start of the rainy season with spectacular and refreshing afternoon and evening storms that cool down the humans, wash away the dust and cause everything to burst into bloom.
Important note: Such is the popularity of Angkor these days, however, that despite the heat there is no longer a notable drop in visitors in April and May, which can put a strain on the electricity grid as thousands of air conditioning units work overtime. If you do visit Siem Reap at this time of year and aren’t a fan of the heat, be sure to book into a hotel not only with air-con but also with a generator so you don’t end up melting in the dark should there be a power cut.
Siem Reap Weather in June – October
From June onwards the temperature starts to drop but the rains become more frequent. There are rare days when it rains for more than an hour or two and is very unusual for the sun not to show its face at all. The impressive torrential downpours tend to come in the afternoons leaving much of the day free for visiting the temples and other outdoor activities. The rain can be very intense — Siem Reap receives on average as much rain in August, September and October — and occasionally flash floods do occur. Usually, they are not too serious, and certainly not serious enough to prevent tuk tuks from plowing on regardless through the town’ soggy streets.
You do need to be careful walking through flood waters, however, as you can’t see what is lurking beneath — as a friend of mine discovered last rainy season when he tripped into a submerged hole on Pub Street and broke his leg.
As with pretty much anywhere, weather patterns in Siem Reap are not as reliable as they used to be. All you can really be sure of is that it will almost definitely be hot when you visit, and if you come between April and October, you stand a good chance of seeing storms so spectactular that you’ll probably be glad you didn’t follow the crowd and wait until December.