South East Asia’s weather patterns are dominated by the Southwest and Northwest monsoons that generate the Dry and Rainy Seasons.
The Dry generally runs in our winter and the Rainy in our summer, with some exceptions such as Vietnam's central coast (Hue & Hoi An) which enjoys its dry season during our Spring & Summer.
Some important considerations...
As you can imagine most holidaymakers want to travel during the Dry, but travelling on the Rainy fringe, especially towards its end, does offer distinct advantages.
The countryside is lush and green, the rivers are in dramatic full flow and temperatures are relatively comfortable.
Avoid the crowds...
Crowd avoidance is also a major consideration, the temples look fresh and clean and the light is at its best to capture them in all their glory. You will get afternoon rain, but perhaps it’s worth it?
Cambodia has a tropical climate with two distinct seasons, the Wet and Dry, and throughout most of the country temperatures remain fairly constant. The average year-round temperature is around 27˚C (highest average 35˚C and lowest average 21˚C).
Dry season - November to April
On the back of the northeast monsoon the Dry runs from November to April. You will experience some rain in November / December, but generally in short sharp afternoon showers that keep the temperatures down.
January / February is the driest time and the heat starts to build up markedly through March and April until the rains finally break.
Touring in April can be uncomfortable because of the heat, especially in the centre around Angkor. If you’re a beach bum, the Dry’s for you, as Kep and Sihanoukville will be basking in brilliant sunshine with clear calm waters and hopefully a cooling breeze.
Wet season - May to October
The southwest monsoon ushers in the Wet. Rainy days tend to have a few hours of heavy rain rather than being all-day downpours, though the latter does occur.
July through September are the wettest months and whilst travelling around the main sights during these 3 months is still generally OK, holidaying in the more remote areas will require flexibility, patience and tolerance to mud.
The coast is also generally best avoided from June to September as it bears the brunt of the monsoon rains with heavy afternoon thunderstorms. However as with most tropical coasts the days start with blue skies and the cloud bubbling up through the afternoon.