Cambodia in May: Beach Fun & Weather Tips

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May could be a perfect time to take a trip to Cambodia if you want to avoid large tourist crowds and see some local festivals and culture. It starts raining in Cambodia in May, but not so much as to affect your holiday. From the bustling capital city of Phnom Penh to the ancient Angkor Wat temple complex to the highlands of Cardamom Mountains and the turquoise beaches of Sihanoukville, you could have all the sites and attractions to yourself

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Cambodia Weather in May

Angkor Ta Prohm Temple of Angkor Thom during day.
Stay prepared for changing weather as you explore the north which is usually dry during May.

May marks the beginning of the southwest monsoon in Cambodia. Both rain and humidity levels rise before the wet season peaks in June. The average temperature in Cambodia in May is around 30°C. In the capital city of Phnom Penh, the mercury reaches the highs of 35ºC and the lows of 25ºC. Temperatures are cooler in the highlands of the Cardamom Mountains or the Dangrek Mountains. Expect comparatively dry conditions in the northern regions like Siem Reap, but it could get quite humid. To avoid the heat and humidity, plan your tours and activities for the early morning or evening. For those interested in beach activities, the Gulf of Thailand's waters is ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving around this time.

For a more seasonal overviews, check out our guide on the best time to visit Cambodia.

Weather in Cambodia in May - Rainfall and Temperatures

Apr May Jun
Avg Daily (°C) 35 34 33
Avg Nightly (°C) 26 26 24
Avg Daily (°F) 95 94 92
Avg Nightly (°F) 79 79 76
Avg Rainfall (mm) 10 20 20

Why Visit Cambodia in May

Beautiful tropical beach in SIhanoukville in Cambodia.
Experience the serenity of Cambodia's tropical beach during May.
Cambodia's landmark Angkor Warr with reflection in water during day.
With fewer crowds, discover the wonders of Cambodia in May.

Despite not so ideal weather conditions, May is still one of the best times to visit Cambodia and indulge in the country’s captivating culture, charming destinations, and delightful local festivals. Here are some reasons why traveling to Cambodia in May is an excellent idea:

  • Beach fun: It does not rain as much in Cambodia in May to stop you from enjoying its beautiful beaches. Fun beach activities like snorkeling and diving are still available if you head to the coastal areas like Sihanoukville.
  • Festivals: Cambodia celebrates the annual Royal Plowing Ceremony in May, signaling the start of the country’s planting season. The country also celebrates its king’s birthday, and Visak Bochea Day in May to commemorate the birth, enlightenment, and death of Lord Buddha.
  • Thinner crowds: May is part of the off-peak season in Cambodia. For those who want to escape the crowds, now is an excellent time to visit the country, especially if you plan to see the country's top attractions, such as the Angkor Wat, a Unesco World Heritage Site.
  • Attractive prices: For budget-conscious travelers, May is a great month to visit Cambodia. Since not many tourists visit the country on account of the weather, many hotels and tour operators offer good deals to attract travelers.

Where to Go and What to Do

Pagoda built in Khmer style temple in Angkor Ban village in Cambodia
Visit the temple of Angkor ban located on the banks of the Mekong River in Cambodia.

Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang, and Sihanoukville are some of the best places to visit in Cambodia in May. Kick-start your tour from Phnom Penh and dive into Cambodia’s sobering history with a trip to the Killing Fields or the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. Travel to Siem Reap, to explore its sprawling temple complex of Angkor Wat and be mesmerized by the trees rising up from the jungle-surrounded ruins of Ta Prohm Temple. And of course, a stroll down Pub Street under the night sky is a must.

Next, travel to Battambang and check out its colonial-era French buildings and the Ek Phnom Pagoda dating back to the 11th century. A visit to Battambang’s rural rice-producing villages and a tour around the city on a bamboo train is also highly recommended. Unwind in the coastal city of Sihanoukville, taking advantage of the favorable Cambodia weather in May. Go underwater to explore nudibranchs, starfish, triggerfish, whale sharks, and stingrays. Or else, take a dip in the ocean after dark and capture the breathtaking sight of sparkly bioluminescent marine organisms illuminating the water around you. Wind up your tour in the tropical island paradise of Koh Rong, where you can enjoy its sandy coves and coral reefs.

What to Bring

Young traveler watching at the Baphuon temple in Angkor Watt.
Pack light and breathable summer clothes for your May adventure in Cambodia.

As the weather in Cambodia in May can get fairly hot, it is best to pack summer clothes that are light and breathable. You are also advised to wear comfortable and easy-to-clean footwear. A raincoat or an umbrella will also come in handy on rainy days.

Despite occasional showers, May is a wonderful month to travel in Cambodia, especially if you want to escape the tourist crowds and save up some travel expenses. You can cover all popular destinations and learn about local culture and lifestyle while enjoying the low-season deals on tours and accommodations.

Chat with one of our travel experts in the country who can help you design a customized trip to Cambodia, or have a look at our guide on how many days to spend in Cambodia for more information.

Published by Astha Joshi, updated on February 22, 2023

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