Rainy Season in Cambodia
The rainy season in Cambodia or any travel destination, is always something you want to avoid and this is the greatest truism of travel. But is it always good advice? We urge you take the more counter-intuitive approach by visiting these regions during the rainy, crowd-free periods. This is a time when most visitors stay away and when Cambodia comes to life. So don’t let the monsoon in Cambodia, also called the green season, put you off. Lasting from May to October, this is the ideal time to witness the lush greenery and take in the intoxicating petrichor.
In the months of May to August, you can expect sporadic rain showers and the climate becomes quite humid. And during the peak of the rainy season (September and October) it rains almost everyday. But the upside is that they are generally short, predictable and end fast. So gather your umbrellas and let us tell you why we love the wet season, armed with things to do besides admiring the sheer beauty and the lush green countryside.
The wet season is also called green season in Cambodia as the entire landscape comes alive in many shades of green.
Visit the floating village
Living on a boat without tap water, natural gas connection, internet or anything you expect in a place called home: That’s what floating villages in Cambodia are like. They might not be delightful attractions in the conventional sense but definitely a must-see if you want to understand the country and its people.
It is an atmospheric journey through the wetlands of Tonle Sap Lake where you can visit the flooded mangrove forest. These mangroves are home to a variety of wildlife species. And since this lake dries up in the dry season, the rainy season in Cambodia is the best time to visit these floating villages. But don’t visit these villages before the end of August, as the the lake would by then have enough water for the ‘houses’ to float.
The floating villages on the Tonle Sap lake in Cambodia can only be visited from late July to February.
Appreciate the gorgeous landscapes and diverse culture
During the rainy season in Cambodia, the countryside is clad in lush rice paddies. The forests and tropical jungles are flourishing with plant and bird life and the country has never looked greener. The iridescent emerald rice fields that are every photographer’s dream, is something you will see only during these months. Another upside to visit this place during the wet season is to learn about rural life and farming.
Just like in Vietnam, the green-golden rice fields are a sight to behold. The ploughing starts in June and the rice fields turn from green to golden from July to September. Finally, the month of October is harvest time. There is also a Royal Ploughing Ceremony (May 14) which is celebrated to give blessings to the framers and to pray for a bountiful harvest season. So, if you want an insight into the local culture, this is definitely the best time to visit Cambodia.
At the Cambodian countryside, you’d often find outdoor restaurants on lotus ponds. These can be enjoyed even more in the wet season.
Attend the Water Festival in Cambodia
Bon Om Touk, or the Water Festival, is one of the most authentic festivals in Cambodia. It marks the unique natural phenomenon of the reversing flow between the Tonle Sap Lake and the Mekong River. Three days of magnificent festivities in Phnom Penh attracts several million people each year. During this time, you can get a glimpse of Cambodian culture. People from the rural areas come to the capital to watch boat races and party non-stop.
For three days, workers from different provinces join the city’s residents to commemorate the end of the rainy season in Cambodia. It is also a celebration to mark the change in the flow of the Tonle Sap river.
With local food, make-shift food stalls, concerts and brilliant fireworks, you ought to experience this festival. Thus far, the festival is scheduled from October 30th to November 1st for 2020. So mark your calendars to experience their festive season.
Boat races are a tradition during Bon Om Touk, the Cambodian water festival at the end of October or beginning of November.
Flights to Cambodia are cheaper because it’s the low season and fewer people travel at this time. So apart from the short immigration queues at the airport, the hotel prices are ridiculously cheaper during these months. That means you can bask in luxury at some of the finest hotels at mid-range prices.
Most businesses do their best to get every customer they can during the rainy season in Cambodia. Since business sees a drop during this period, you can take full advantage of the reduced prices and better deals. Transportation is cheaper, it is easier to bargain in markets and the hotel rates are at their lowest.
Like most of Asia, the rains last for short durations and occur either early morning or late evening. So despite it being the “wet season”, the rains won’t entirely hamper your itinerary. An absolute win-win situation for travellers looking to relax, enjoy the pleasant weather conditions and make the most of this off-season period.
Luxury resorts offer lower rates in the off-season as less travellers are visiting.
Another advantage of traveling to Cambodia in the off-peak period is you get the opportunity to own your holiday experience. Angkor Wat alone receives more than 1 million tourists each year. Imagine yourself in a sea of tourism crowds, struggling to capture people-free photographs. Or realizing that the restaurant you wanted to dine at, is fully booked. Traveling during the wet season simply means you can avoid the massive crowds and fully imbibe the destination.
Experiencing the magical Ta Prohm Temple without other tourists pushing you around – only possible in wet season!
Take shelter from the monsoon in Cambodia, and get your culture fix. During the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, the majority of Cambodia’s artists were targeted and murdered. In the 1980’s, the few artists that survived were encouraged to return to the capital to pass on artistic traditions. So in many parts of Cambodia, there is an increasing number of independent galleries and studios opening their doors to showcase the rising tide of contemporary artists across the country.
Do set aside some time to explore the fascinating history and traditions that would have otherwise been lost and forgotten.
Lastly, an insider tip! For photography lovers, it is simply the best time to visit this southeast Asian destination. Not only for some stunning landscape pictures, but also for interesting portraits. Cambodians are known for their smiles, but during the rainy season it is wider. This is because water is very important for the Cambodians. It is the time for harvest and rains are the harbinger of hope. Which is why locals are in a better mood. Having experienced years of tortuous war, poverty and horror, they remain courteous, friendly and welcoming. And during this low season they will surely share a few stories about the culture and history of Cambodia.
During the off-season there is more time and peace for an undisturbed interaction with locals.
So what are you waiting for? Book your tickets to get ‘drenched’ in the beauty of the rainy season in Cambodia. Let us help you plan the ideal trip to Cambodia that accounts for the weather while keeping in mind your interests and budget. We’ll help you travel your way, with a variety of locations that suit your travel needs and style and make sure that the weather is just perfect to cater to all your travel needs and requirements.
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