Before you go to Cambodia, have you prepared you trip? Here are some information to help you organize your trip in serenity.
Climate in Cambodia is tropical, which means it is warm all year around. It is composed of two seasons. There is a rainy season from May to October, and a dry one from November to April.
Travelers have a hard time dealing with the rainy season. Temperatures rise high and pouring rains are no joke. Therefore, we advise you to travel to Cambodia during dry season. At this period, temperatures vary around 22 to 25°C. January and February offer the optimal climatic conditions to enjoy your trip.
If you plan to visit Sihanoukville beaches, the water temperature remain between 28 and 30°C all year around.
Places to visit
While in Europe all roads lead to Rome, then in Cambodia they’ll lead you to Phnom Penh. Indeed, roads are all start from the Capital city, therefore you can’t miss it.
Besides being the economic heart of the country, and its most modern city, it is also rich in history. You will find there the Royal Palace, a complex of traditional buildings where the Cambodian King lives in. The Silver Pagoda is a royal temple inside the Palace. It contains numerous national treasures such as a Buddha statue in gold and gems.
If you are strong-minded and wants to know more about the recent history of Cambodia, visit these two places:
- First is the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21). This former school have been used as a jail during the Kmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979. It is a place of memory which presents pictures and paintings on this important period of Cambodian history.
- The visit continues with the Choeung Ek memorial (Killing Fields)
Siem Reap area
Siem Reap area is famous for the archeological site of Angkor. It is the former capital city of Khmer Empire, with some of the most beautiful temples of Asia. Besides, this place is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
In this area, you’ll also find the floating villages and on stilts houses of Tonle Sap. During dry season, you can observe on stilts houses built up to 6 meters above the ground. Despite this interesting fact, it is usually recommended to visit these villages during the rainy season.
Angkor silk farm is also a place regularly recommended by travelers. Visit it to discover local know-how, from farming to weaving and natural dyeing of silk.
If you prefer to stay in the city, do not hesitate to walk in the famous Pub Street to meet locals. Night markets are also a must-see place and presents a great experience of life in Cambodia.
Wherever you go in Cambodia, please check the apsara dance program. Watching these traditional dances is a must to fully enjoy your cultural trip.
Traditions and events
Chinese New Year (end of January)
Just as many other Asian countries, Chinese new year or lunar new year is celebrated in Cambodia. China and Vietnam, that also celebrate this event named Têt, are the countries of origin of the majority of tourists in Cambodia.
Khmer New Year (beginning of April)
With almost 97% of its people being bouddhists, Khmer New Year is the most important event of the year in Cambodia. While it was originally based on the lunar calendar, it has been postponed to celebrate the end of dry season. This way, farmers can enjoy the end of the harvests (which last from November to March).
This event extend over 3 days: Moha Sangkran, Voreak Wanabat, and Thngai Laeung Saka.
During that time, Cambodians decorate their houses, make offerings to Pagodas, and play traditional games. It’s a time of gathering and celebration.
Water festival (end of October, beginning of November)
This festival marks a reversal on the flow of the Tonle Sap River
During rainy season, the flooded Mekong River discharge into the Tonle Sap Lake, fertilizing the ground and bringing plenty of fishes. At the end of dry season, in the beginning of November, the River flow returns to its normal state. Water quickly runs out and lets behind a large number of fishes to feed inhabitants.
It’s a really important traditional event in Cambodia. During 3 days, visitors can observe boat races and traditional dances. The third day ends the festival through a boat parade and fireworks.
Angkor Vat half-marathon (beginning of December)
This marathon is a well-known event for expatriates and travelers. It allows fundraising for mines’ victims and to make prevention against diseases. Other humanitarian actions are also promoted during this event.
If you like sports and want to meet people from all around the world in front of Angkor landscapes, this event is for you.
If you plan to enjoy Cambodian traditional food, here is a little list of recommendations:
- khao phoun, rice noodles in coconut sauce
- samla chapek, a pork soup
- trey chean, fried fish
- amok, fish cooked in coconut milk with spices, prepared in a banana leaf.
Our ultimate advice: Don't forget to take a travel insurance cambodia
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