Weather in Cambodia in May

Cambodia's varied temperatures and climates may seem peculiar for a country that is not large. The country’s landscape includes mountains, lowlands, and coastal areas, so temperature variations shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Cardamom and Dangrek Mountains have cooler temperatures than the lower-lying plains, home to most of the country’s towns and cities. For now, we’ll take a deep dive into the weather in Cambodia in May.

What is the weather like in Cambodia in May? 

May is characterised as the transition month between the dry and wet seasons. The weather in Cambodia in May is generally warmer with noticeably high humidity levels, which contributes to the climate's tropical feel.

As the first month of the monsoon in Cambodia's southwest, May is the time when there is an increase in rain with a chance of thunderstorms. The weather tends to be rather unstable, varying between hot and cool, dry and humid and occasional showers. May tends to be slightly cooler and still fairly dry compared to April. 

Overall, May is still a good month to travel if you enjoy the charm of the rain and want to avoid peak-season crowds. This is when Cambodian landscapes become vibrant, offering beautiful sceneries. We advise packing a waterproof jacket and planning indoor activities for the rainy days when you won't be able to enjoy the outdoors.

Rough Guide's Tip: A trip to Cambodia is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so connect with our travel experts for the best trip experience.

Bayon temple in Angkor Thom, Cambodia © Shutterstock

Bayon temple in Angkor Thom, Cambodia © Shutterstock

Temperatures in Cambodia in May 

Temperatures in May differ across the country. They tend to be slightly cooler in the northern part, while the weather is warmer in the southern regions. Popular tourist destinations, like the islands of Koh Rong and Koh Samloem, see temperatures hovering around 28°C to 32°C (82F to 89F). 

In the south, temperatures reach the higher end of the scale, which is ideal for those who enjoy the heat. The coastal areas offer a pleasant climate for enjoying a day at the beach.

While the temperatures in the country are around 32°C (88F), the average precipitation is diverse. Southern Cambodia observes 120 mm (4 inches) of rainfall and around 13 days of rain in May. The average precipitation around Siem Reap and Battambang reaches 150 mm (6 inches) of rainfall and an average of 17 days of rain. Going to the south, rainy days usually exceed 20, with an average rainfall of 210 mm (9 inches).

To better prepare for your trip you can read our travel tips for visiting Cambodia.

Otres Beach near Sihanoukville in southern Cambodia

Otres Beach near Sihanoukville in southern Cambodia © Shutterstock

Is May a good time to visit Cambodia?

Visiting Cambodia in May has its advantages and challenges. The good side is that you can enjoy lush and lively landscapes, offering a unique experience. The low number of tourists allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture without all the hustle that the peak tourist season brings. 

However, you will have to be flexible because intermittent rain can impact outdoor activity plans. Tourists who enjoy a more spontaneous travel experience will find May the ideal time. Temples like the Angkor Wat are magnificent during this period and exuded a mystical charm in the rain.

Read all about the weather in our article about the best time to visit Cambodia.

‘Silver Pagoda’ or Temple of the Emerald Buddha at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh © Shutterstock

‘Silver Pagoda’ or Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Phnom Penh © Shutterstock

What about the crowd & cost?

The weather in Cambodia in May marks the start of the wet season, resulting in fewer tourists compared to the high season that typically runs from November to April. The low number of tourists in May allows for free exploration of attractions and the enjoyment of a quieter ambience. This is also a great time to travel because accommodations and tours will be offered for a fairer price.

For those who are more into a less crowded and more relaxed exploration of Cambodia, then May is an excellent opportunity to do so. On the other hand, if you enjoy the vibrancy of tourist seasons and crowded places, there might be better times for you to plan your trip.

Hostels are the best option for budget travellers, and those on a tight budget can also explore the abundant free accommodation options.

Festivals and events in Cambodia in May

May in Cambodia is not known for any major festivals except for the ancient agricultural ritual known as the royal ploughing ceremony. This is not an event that draws in a major number of tourists, but it offers a glimpse into the country’s cultural heritage. 

The festival happens in late May and marks the start of the rainy season and the time for ploughing. Cows, as sacred animals in the country, plough a symbolic furrow outside the royal palace in the capital. If you are interested in local customs and traditions, you will surely find this ceremony an intriguing addition to the itinerary.

Cambodia is a great destination to visit spectacular temples © Shutterstock

Ready for your dream trip to Cambodia

Depending on the weather in Cambodia in May, make your dream trip a reality by selecting one of our tailor-made trip services. We simplify planning by providing itineraries created by local travel experts. 

  • Classic Vietnam and Cambodia (14 days): Begin your Southeast Asia adventure with a city tour in Hanoi, then travel to Halong Bay for a luxurious cruise. Before flying to Ho Chi Minh City, you will travel through Central Vietnam to Hoi An and Hue. Discover the Mekong Delta and the Cu Chi Tunnels before heading to Cambodia's Angkor Wat.
  • Vietnam and Cambodia by Rail (15 days): On this multi-centre trip, you'll discover both Vietnam and Cambodia. Explore Hanoi's charming quarters on foot, then take to the water and cruise around Halong Bay. Then, take the night train to Hue, continuing your rail journey through Hoi An and Nha Trang before crossing the border into Cambodia.
  • Unseen Cambodia (7 days): Discover Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, with its colonial architecture, museums, and palaces. Visit magnificent Angkor, then venture further afield to explore the country’s lesser-known sites with guided tours off the beaten track.
  • Discover more of our Cambodia itineraries.

Visit Cambodia in other months

Ties Lagraauw

written by
Ties Lagraauw

updated 22.05.2024

Ties is a true world explorer - whether it be for work or leisure! As Content Manager at RoughGuides, and the owner of Dutch travel platform Reis-Expert.nl, Ties is constantly on the move, always looking for new destinations to discover.

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