One of the first questions travelers have when exploring their holiday to the impressive Temples of Angkor Wat, is ‘What is the best time to visit Siem Reap, Cambodia”. The final answer very much depends on your personal needs and preferences. Before we check some of those preferences, we’ll first have a look at what the weather in Siem Reap looks like during different periods in the year.
Two, three or more season?
If you ask the locals, they will tell you that Cambodia has two seasons: a dry season and the monsoon season, and they would be right.
However, to answer the above question more accurate, we like to divide the year into three seasons: hot, rainy and cool. And before we dive into some specifics, we can tell you that Siem Reap and the Temples of Angkor Wat can be visited at any given time of year.
Let’s find out why…
1. Hot season – March to June
While the temperatures may be registered and displayed as 40 degrees, humidity makes it feel much more hotter. Streets are dusty and there’s not a breeze of wind. An occasional rainfall will last no longer than an hour and doesn’t really cool things down. April is the hottest month of the year and temperatures start dropping at the beginning of June.
If you want to visit Siem Reap during this period, make sure you book an accommodation with a swimming pool. If that’s not an option, Cambo Beach is a great place to spend the hottest hours of the day and the only beach club in Siem Reap.
Plan your trips to the temples during the earliest hours of the day or late in the afternoon. If you stay for a couple of day’s don’t forget to reserve one day for a visit to Mount Kulen.
2. Rainy Season – June to November
The hot season is followed by the rainy season and it’s a common misconception that visiting Siem Reap during the rainy season is a bad idea. It’s actually a great idea!
Although it does rain a lot (around 20 days a month) the rain showers are very predictable (in the afternoon) and don’t last longer than 1 or 2 hours.
Visiting the Temples of Angkor Wat or partying at Pub Street during the rainy season is actually very pleasant. All restaurants, bars, clubs and shops are open and the only thing that is different than any other time of year, is the number of tourists you have to share your spot with while enjoying the beautiful sunrise at Angkor Wat.
Visitors who frequently visit Siem Reap during different times of year actually enjoy their visit more during the rainy season than during the hot or cool season. That being said, we know many tourists prefer to travel around Cambodia during their holdiay and if that’s your plan, the rain can have a huge impact on your travel plns.
So when it comes to rainfalls and temperatures, the best time of year to visit Angor Wat, Siem Reap or any other part of Cambodia is definitely during the cool season.
3. Cool Season – December to February
There’s no rain, temperatures are between 21 and 32 degrees, humidity is at its lowest point and you can still walk around in T-shirt and shorts at any given time of day. The cool season is however introduced with some very cold nights during the last week of November and the first week of December.
With the exception of the first days of the cool season, January is considered the coolest month of the year. Temperatures remain pleasant until the end of February. It’s also Cambodia’s high season, which means that tourists from all over the world visit Angkor Wat and surrounding tourist attractions.
Your needs and preferences
As mentioned in the introduction the right time of year to visit the Temples of Angkor Wat or Siem Reap, very much depends on your preferences and needs
Let’s have a look at the needs and preferences of most visitors:
- You’re allergic to big crowds: High season is not your best option. Angkor Wat is filled with tourists and the same applies to many other tourist attractions in and around Siem Reap. We recommend you to plan your visit during the rainy or hot season.
- You’re allergic to heat: If the idea of sweat, dust and dry skin gives you nightmares, the cool season is definitely your best option.
- You have serious allergies: Many visitors to Cambodia have the experience that they are less bothered by their allergies than in their home country. The best season would probably be the cool or rainy season, but hey, I’m no doctor, so better ask your local travel clinic for detailed advise.
- You’re travelling low budget: Even though prices go up during the high season, Cambodia is still one of the cheapest countries to visit in South-East Asia. A bed in a dorm will cost you $2 during the hot and rainy season and still an affordably $4 during high season.
- You’re a photographer: Cambodia is a beautiful country all year round, but visitors mostly enjoy the green rice fields and the way the sun shines its light on the Angkor Temples during the rainy season.
- You’re a digital nomad: Any time of year will be perfect for you. Almost all hostels, restaurants and bars have free WIFI and there are a number of nice shared working spaces in Siem Reap. As a digital nomad you probably also have the option to visit Siem Reap during the time WE consider to be the best time of year….
What is REALLY the best time of year to visit Siem Reap?
If the weather is a thing for you, we hope this post gives you an idea about YOUR best time to visit Siem Reap and the Temples of Angkor Wat. However, our answer to the question “What is the best time of year to visit Siem Reap‘ is not related to the weather….
…it’s when the whole country celebrates Khmer New Year!
Khmer New Year!
Although Cambodians never skip a party and thus celebrate Gregorian New Year, they also have their very own new year celebration: Khmer New Year. It’s a three day’s lasting spectacle that starts on April 14 and ends on April 16. These three days are without any doubt the best time of year to be in Siem Reap, regardless of the weather!