Dry season, which lasts from October to April, is the best time to visit Cambodia since it is not affected by heavy rainfall.

Dry season in Cambodia is considered the high tourist season and travelers will be reward with clear blue sky and quiet beaches during this period. This article will give you some recommendations about beautiful destinations and interesting events you can enjoy on your tour to Cambodia this season.

Dry Season in Cambodia

Tonle Sap - Cambodia Travel Guide
Tonle Sap

Cambodia has a tropical climate with two distinct seasons: dry season (October – April) and rainy season (May – the beginning of October). The weather is dry and warm from October to February with the average temperature of 25-26 degrees Celsius. In contrast, the end of dry season and the beginning of rainy season from March to May are the hottest months in this country while it bears the heat at 35 to 40 degrees Celsius.

It is recommended that you bring light clothing made from cotton or linen when traveling to Cambodia during dry season. It may be cooler in Northern provinces such as Siem Reap and Mondulkiri in the evening, so make sure you have a light coat. Trekking gears and shoes are required if you take an adventurous tour to this country.

Events and Festivals during Dry Season in Cambodia

1. Khmer New Year (13th – 16th April)

Khmer New Year
Khmer New Year

Khmer New Year or Cambodian New Year is the biggest holiday in the country. It lasts for three days from the beginning of New Year in Khmer calendar, which usually falls on April 13 or 14. This is the time when the harvesting season ends and peasants enjoy the success of their crops before rainy season comes. On this occasion, Khmer people set up an altar, visit temples, and participate in traditional games.

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Different activities will take place on three days of Khmer New Year. The first day, Maha Sangkran, is the time to clean houses and burn incense at temples. Day Two, Vanabot, is dedicated to the elderly, both living and passed away. The third day, Thgnai Loeung Sak, is officially the first day of the year when Buddha statues are washed for good luck and prosperity.

2. Commemoration Day of King Norodom Sihanouk (October)

On October 15 every year, the Cambodians organize a commemoration day to show respect to the King-Father of the Cambodian National Independence, Norodom Sihanouk. Born on October 31, 1922, the King reigned the country from 1941 to 1955 and again from 1993 until 2004 when his son took his place. He passed away on October 15, 2012 at the age of 90. Traveling to Cambodia on this occasion, travelers can understand a part of turbulent history that Cambodia has been through.

3. Pchum Ben (October)

Pchum Ben is an important Buddhist festival which lasts 15 days. This festival is an opportunity for local people to show their respects to deceased relatives of up to 7 generations. The first 14 days of Pchum Ben are called Dak Ben. During these days, the Cambodians cook food to the monk while the main ceremony takes place on the last day when people come back to their hometown and gather with their families.

4. Bon Om Touk/Cambodian Water Festival (November)

Bon Om Touk
Bon Om Touk

Bon Om Touk is an annual Cambodian festival which takes place mainly in the capital city, Phnom Penh and the city of Angkor. This celebration marks the end of rainy season as well as commemorates a change in the flow of Tonle Sap River. Coming to Cambodia during Bon Om Touk, tourists can have a chance to participate in exciting boat races and street parades.

1. Phnom Penh

The Royal Palace - Cambodia Travel Guide
The Royal Palace

Located at the confluence of Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers, Phnom Penh is a glorious capital city of Cambodia. This city, along with Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, are three best tourist destinations that cannot be omitted on a tour to Cambodia. Tourists can have a chance to see historical architecture and French-colonial buildings in this ‘Pearl of Asia’. The dazzling Royal Palace is absolutely worth visiting. The King of Cambodia still lives there, but much of the place is open to the public. You are expected to dress formally when coming to the palace. For history lovers who are interested in the genocide and war crime, The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21 Prison) will provide you with useful information about Khmer Rouge terror.

2. Siem Reap

Angkor Wat - Cambodia Travel Guide
Angkor Wat

Whenever you think about Siem Reap, Angkor Wat will be the first thing that comes up on your mind. Angkor Wat is the highlight of every visit to Cambodia with classic Khmer architecture using sandstone. Built on a site of 1.6 million meters, Angkor Wat was originally a Hindu center of worship in the 12th century and then transformed into a Buddhist site. With its five lotus-like towers rising 65 meters into the sky, it is truly a monumental and awe-inspiring sight. You can discover more ruins of this site in Angkor Archaeological Park. A short cruise to Mekong River and Tonle Sap Lake from Siem Reap is also an exotic thing to do in town. This freshwater lake features floating markets with stilted houses and a diverse biosphere system with many kinds of fauna and flora species.

3. Mondulkiri Province

Bou Sra Waterfall - Mondulkiri
Bou Sra Waterfall – Mondulkiri

Located in the east of Cambodia, Mondulkiri is the upland area is famous for its elephant sanctuary, grassy hills, and awe-inspiring waterfalls. Bou Sra Waterfall, which is situated in Pich Chinda District, 43 kilometers of Mondulkiri provincial town, is the most beautiful waterfall in the province. You can admire its spectacular double drops as well as enjoy bathing and trekking there. As a pristine and unspoiled region of Cambodia, many kinds of wild animals can be found in Mondulkiri: elephants, bears, birds, and monkeys. For those who are eager to explore traditional culture, Phnong, Banong, and other minority tribes will not disappoint you.

4. Ratanakiri Province

Yeak Laom Lake - Ratanakiri
Yeak Laom Lake – Ratanakiri

This is an off-the-beaten-track destination where you can escape from the crowd in Angkor and see a true Khmer culture. Like other northeastern provinces in Cambodia, you can discover mysterious forests, steep hills, green mountains, and charming lakes and waterfalls such as Yeak Laom Lake, Ou’Sinlair waterfall (7 Steps Waterfall), and Katieng Waterfall. This province is also the home to many ethnic minorities: Jarai, Tompuon, Brau, Kreung and Lao. One of the most unique things to do in this province is spending time at Kachon villages to see funeral statuary in the forests whilst enjoying the peaceful view of Se San River.

5. Sihanoukville

Sihanoukville - Cambodia Travel Guide

Located in the south-west of Cambodia at the Gulf of Thailand, Sihanoukville is an exciting coastal town of the country. This town is praised for its palm-shaped white sand and clean beaches which are suitable for fishing, sunbathing, scuba diving, and snorkeling. With a laid-back atmosphere, Sihanoukville is rapidly a popular destination for those who want to get away from cities and spend some days for relaxation. Famous beaches here include Victory Beach, Serendipity Beach (has many hotels and resorts), Ream Beach (suitable for trekking), Ochheuteal Beach and Independence Beach. If you are looking for a more luxurious option, Koh Rong and Samloem, which are just off Sihanouk coast, will not disappoint you with tranquil ambiance and lavish hotels.

6. Kep

Koh Tonsay - Cambodia Travel Guide
Koh Tonsay

Despite being one of the newest provinces in Cambodia, Kep is a busy seaside destination with many luxurious hotels, resorts along with exciting nightlife. Located in Kep District, Kep Beach is crowded in the weekends with travelers seeking for entertainment and fresh seafood. Moreover, Kep Archipelago contains 13 small islets (Koh) among which the most famous one is Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island). Tourists are drawn to swimming and coral diving on this island. For ecotourism, do not forget to visit other off-the-beaten-path islets as well as Kep National Park.

7. Kampot

Bokor National Park - Kampot
Bokor National Park – Kampot

Kampot is a place for those who seek for a chilled out atmosphere where you can visit local markets, fishing villages and unique pepper farms. Kampot Province is well-known for Bokor National Park which takes one or two hours’ driving. Used to be an abandoned French hill station, Bokor National Park is now suitable for trekking trips to mighty mountains and waterfalls and seeing the ruins of many palaces which were once used by French officers to get away from the sultry weather of Cambodia.

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