Phnom Penh is the largest city of Cambodia and a popular holiday destination for travelers to Southeast Asia. Situated only around 10 degrees from the equator, the weather here is basically warm all year round. Travelers can be concerned about the fact that the Cambodian climate is affected by the monsoon cycle. This annual cycle has alternating seasons of very wet and dry weather. The air pressure drops from June through to October causing moist air to travel over the land from the ocean. This brings the monsoon rains to a large part of Southeast Asia.
Most visitors try to avoid Phnom Penh during the rainy season, but there are plus sides to traveling in this season. It's a great time to take photographs of the temples, there is no dusty haze like in the dry season. The vegetation looks green and lush and boat travel is easy on the rivers and lakes.
In the winter months (from November through to May) the air pressure rises again bringing back cooler and dry air and a dry season. There are four main weather seasons in Cambodia. These are important to take into account when traveling to Phnom Penh:
November, December, January and February
The day temperature lies around the 20s and below the20s at night. The monsoon rains tend to stop around the middle of November. December and January are considered to be great months for a visit with warm days and a light breeze. This is ideal weather for a beach trip and in February the temperatures start to rise again. There may be very short and sudden showers in February, mainly in the afternoons.
March, April, May
This is mainly the dry season with very occasional short showers in the afternoons. These showers increase throughout these months. Travel may be affected during these months due to the fact that the rivers and lakes are very low. The temperature rises from February through to March and is at its warmest in April and May. In April and May the day temperature are around the mid 30s inland. The high humidity and hot sun can feel quite intense.
June, July and August
The warm weather continues and is cooled only slightly by the humid warm air and monsoon rain in June. The rains are usually predicted and occur mostly in the afternoon or evening. The rains last for a couple of hours in general. These months are very hot and wet.
September, October, November
The air is cooler than in the hotter months and in September the usual temperature lies around the 30s. In the months to follow the temperatures slowly drop. In October the temperature lies in the 30s and in September the rain season is passing its peak. In October the frequency of the rains is dropping and by the end of October the rains should have stopped. After October the best time to visit Phnom Penh begins.
Depending on your personal preference temperature-wise it is good to take the weather into account. As said before, don't let the rain stop you from visiting. The rain tends to bring out a beautiful side of Cambodia.