Phnom Penh, just like other parts of Cambodia, has warm and humid weather with two seasons, rainy and dry. So it is one of the best cities to visit if you would like to experience steamy hot weather. The best part about Cambodia’s climate when it comes to traveling is that you never need to worry about any disastrous natural phenomena, like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or any other deadly disasters. In regards to this, this small nation occasionally gets affected by tropical storms. However, in most cases, because of geography, the winds can only indirectly affect the country.
Most importantly, what makes the weather in Cambodia unique is that tourists can visit this beautiful nation at any time throughout the year. As for a small modern city like Phnom Penh, you will always be safe from any climate hazards. It is essential to do thorough research on any city you are planning to visit. Thus, we have come up with a brief summary of what the weather in Phnom Penh is like as well as some important tips you need to know to get ready before coming to this small beautiful city, with enriched tradition and culture.
You might want to check out: How to Spend a Day in Phnom Penh!!!
Phnom Penh Weather and climate Situation
There is no winter here in Phnom Penh, and you will never need to turn a heater on at all. There are two seasons here, the rainy season and the dry season. These two seasons are equally divided throughout the year for six months each. In regards to wind flow, August is the month that Phnom Penh receives the most wind, while May is when this capital receives the least wind. Also, the wind speed here in the city varies from 2 to 3 meters per second. 27.7 °C is the average temperature of Phnom Penh as well as Cambodia. However, during the hottest month, which is April, the average temperature can rise to 31°C. For the coldest months like December and January, the coolest it can get is down to about 16 °C.
Here is some general information about the temperature in Phnom Penh
- Cool: November-March (22°C – 28°C)
- Hot: March-May (28°C – 38°C)
Phnom Penh is a small capital, located in the Southern part of Cambodia. It is where the three most important rivers in Cambodia meet, including Tonle Bassac, Tonle Sap, and the Mekong. These rivers meet together in the form of “X,” providing freshwater and other resources vital for the country’s agriculture.
The monsoon climate and rainfall allow this tropical country to cultivate a wide range of crops. This factor also contributes to the growth of the economy as well as the development of tourism. If compared with the weather in the northern hemisphere, there is much more rain in Phnom Penh in summer than in winter. So if you want to experience the tropical rain, come and visit Phnom Penh during your summer break. Or come and enjoy the sunlight, steamy hot weather, and great outdoor activities during your winter break here. Phnom Penh receives approximately 1371 millimeters of precipitation falls every year.
After this hot and sweaty weather, there comes the rain during the rainy season or Southeast Moonson. Although it is the rainy season is coming, the first two months, May and June still maintain the same temperature. It is still hot, but you can notice the wind flow from the Southwest part of Cambodia and it can get a little sticky because the wind brings along humidity from the Gulf of Thailand as well as the Indian ocean. Notably, September and November are the main two months that rain the most in Phnom Penh and the whole of Cambodia.
Interestingly, between July and September, it is likely to rain daily, but not all day long. Instead, it tends to heavy rain for a few hours, less or more, every day. This is so far the best feature about the rainy season in Cambodia as well. This short downpour often occurs overnight or in the afternoon. However, do also expect an all-day pouring of rain because it can happen occasionally as well during the rainy season. From September to October, you should be ready to experience the most widespread rain in Phnom Penh as well as throughout Cambodia. You will experience rain downpour more frequently up to 5 days a week.
Pros and Cons
One obvious problem with this season is that you can quickly get drenched if you don’t watch out for the sudden rain. Aside from this, the rain can also affect road conditions. It sometimes floods the road because of the slow flow of the sewage system and the lack of drainage in Phnom Penh. It can also create potholes, worsen road conditions. These all will lead to other problems like a domino effect, including slowing down the traveling time and the whole economics as infrastructure is the backbone of a country’s economy.
However, on a positive note, this is the same rain that makes the city a beautiful place. No more dusty road and you will enjoy the fresh smell of rain and crystal clear sky after the rain. Most tourists prefer not to visit Phnom Penh during this season because of the rain. But this is why it is actually the perfect time to visit for those who enjoy a more peaceful traveling and have a lower budget.
Clothing: Since the weather is hot, you can almost wear anything comfortable for you. In general, thin-layered clothes would be great for visitors. However, if you are going to any sacred or religious places, it is better to dress appropriately, nothing too revealing. Something not see-through, less colorful, cover your shoulders and knees would be perfect.
Activities: Phnom Penh has a lot to offer when it comes to both indoor and outdoor activities. During this season, when it rains a lot, you can mainly stay indoors and explore a few fascinating cultural sites like the National Museum, the S1 Prison, or go shopping at the malls.
What do you need to prepare?
- Do not forget to bring your raincoat or umbrella during your visit here.
- Bring Flip-flops with you to replace your sneakers when it rains so that the water will not ruin your shoes.
- Again, Cambodia is a hot country, and although it rains a lot during the rainy season, you better bring your hat and sunscreen with you when you go out under the sun.
- Most importantly, bring your mosquito repellent, especially if you have small children. *There are more mosquitos in this season so better watch out for Dengue or Malaria.*
- Although tourists can visit Phnom Penh at any time, it is better to avoid spending time here during September and October if your main plan is to do outdoor activities because these two months receives a lot of rainfall that might interrupt your plan. But again, just an umbrella or raincoat would help a lot.
You might want to check out 12 Hours in Phnom Penh !!!
The dry season starts from November until April, while the rainy season is between May and October. The dry season, also known as the northeast monsoon season is when you can get the dry and sunny climate. In between this period, it can get scorching up to 40c, which is likely to be in April. However, because of the change in climate, this temperature can rise even higher than that.
Meanwhile, the driest months would be January and February, when it is very unlikely to experience any precipitation. The temperature in this season will slowly rise from November onward, but it gets colder during the beginning of the season. However, after February, you will start to notice how hot and dry it can get. April is the hottest month, and it is common to reach about 40°C at noon. What makes this month boiling is because it is the end of the dry monsoon season and when it wind started to shift its direction, both humidity and temperature will as well increase, showing that the wet season is coming.
Pros and Cons
The dry season is the best-suited weather for visitors to go for activities like biking and exploring the Phnom city. December, January, and February are the high season when Cambodia attracts a lot of tourists inflow each and every year. However, because it is a high season, traveling can be very pricey so if you are ok with the rain and want to save money, then the dry season might not be for you.
Also, another problem people face during the dry season is the dusty air caused by having little rain, high temperature, and slash and burn agriculture. The beauty of the city gets down as well with this hot and dry Weather in Phnom Penh. Rivers and lakes in the city and other parts of Cambodia might not be in their best sight during this dry period, not to mention if you are planning to travel by ship or other waterways.
Clothing: It is not any different from the clothes in the rainy season since it is still hot and dry. You can wear your summer clothes here, but make sure that it is nothing too revealing. Phnom Penh, or Cambodia to be exact, still has a very traditional and conservative culture. Also, do bring your hat or a thin scarf because it can get quite dusty and hot.
Activities: Since the rain rarely gets in your way during this period, you can pretty much do everything from indoors to outdoors. A few important sites to recommend would be the Royal Palace, Wat Phnom, the Cherng Ek Genocide Museum, which are mainly outdoors.
You might want to check out 12 Hours in Phnom Penh
What do you need to prepare?
- Bring your hat and sunscreen, moisturizer, and masks to cover your nose, as it can be very hot, dry, and dusty
- Also, keep close eyes on mosquitos as well. There are a lot of mosquitos and insects here in Cambodia.
Phnom Penh is a tiny city, so the weather is pretty much stable throughout the city. This capital offers a wide variety of both inside and outside activities so you never have to worry if it gets too hot or too rainy for you. Whichever season you decide to drop by Phnom Penh, we believe that as long as you know what to expect and how to be ready for it, your trip will always be perfect and memorable.
So we genuinely hope that the information and tips here help you gain more understanding of this beautiful small city. The last reminder would be WATCH OUT for sunburn in the dry season, heavy rain and mosquitos for the rainy season. So DO NOT forget to bring along your hat and sun cream, and raincoat/umbrella and mosquitos/insect repellent.