Cambodia is extremely hot all the time. Make sure you pack light clothing and lots of sunscreen. The wet season occurs from May to October, when monsoonal moisture brings rain almost every day. The dry season lasts from October to April and can be the best time to visit, especially in December and January. When April approaches, the temperatures start to rise to a scorching heat.
When to fly to Cambodia
Since scorching temperatures are the norm here year round your best bet for booking flights to Cambodia is during the winter months of December to April, when temperatures cool down a bit, and the heat is easier to deal with.
Most travelers aim to book Cambodia flights around the winter months of December and April, when the high temperatures rest easy, and precipitation takes a break. Sun is still an issue year round though, so be sure to pack sunglasses, a hat, and plenty of sun screen.
Unless you’re a fan of intense heat followed by intense rainfall, booking flights to Cambodia in the summer is not a very good idea. If you are, however, intrigued by its extreme patterns, and are ready to brave the climatic conditions, then it might be easy to find deals on accommodations and cheap flights to Cambodia during its moody off-season.
Getting around Cambodia
Just because you see the locals hitching rides here and there, doesn’t mean you should. An under currant of hitchhiking is a popular means of Cambodia travel among its residents, but for visitors, it could mean an unsafe ride, and miscommunication.
Instead, opt for the local buses. These are rough rides too, but you’ll get to your destination on a somewhat regularly scheduled time table, and will also be able to rub elbows with the locals to get an idea of everyday life here.
Tour buses are great Cambodia travel options for vacationers who don’t see the fun in planning. Budget tour companies like the Mekong Express and Capitol Tour run routes to and from Phnom Penh and Siem Reap for affordable prices, and take initiative so you don’t have to worry about any of the planning.
Renting a car is another way to see the rural countryside when you book flights to Cambodia. If you’re not very confident mastering the winding dirt roads though, you can always hire a driver who knows the area well enough to navigate. Make sure that the car you choose is durable and equipped to handle the narrow pathways that the countryside presents.
The following chart gives approximate journey times from Phnom Penh (in hours and minutes) to other major cities and towns in Cambodia.
Cambodia insider information
- Angkor: One of the most famous places that people booking flights to Cambodia see first is the Angkor region. Submerged in history and national pride, the area held the seat of the Khmer Empire from the 9th to 15th century. One time long ago, it was the world’s largest pre-industrial city, but now, if you explore the space, you’ll find only hidden treasures of ruins within the forests and on the edges of beautiful lakes. For some, the draw is Angkor Wat, a beautiful temple ornate with Buddhist Hindu influences. Whether this is your pilgrimage or simply a memorable stop on your journey, be sure to visit Angkor for a truly authentic Cambodian travel experience.
- Rural Cambodia: Although it may not seem like an alluring attraction, quite a few people who book flights to Cambodia make sure to experience the rural countryside in order to really get a feel for the country as a whole. Hire a driver or rent a car, and head out among the narrow, winding roads that lead you into the hidden passageways and uninhabited lands that makes this area so beautiful. The safety and ease of the roads are not always manageable, so make sure that if you rent a vehicle, it’s a durable one equipped for dealing with the unpredictable landscape. On your journey, don’t miss the beautiful Tonle Sap (Great Lake), which is Southeast Asia’s largest lake and biggest span of fertile wetlands.
- Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs): Ever since Angelina Jolie adopted her first child, Maddox, from Cambodia years ago, more attention has been paid to the needs of the broken, needy parts of this beautiful country. Before then, few people outside of the Asian sphere knew of the depths of Cambodia’s political and economic suffering and instability. Now, with help from Non Governmental Organizations from all over the world, more people are helping to relieve some of the stress that has been put on the infrastructure and people. If you’re interested in voluntourism, then it's easy to help out. Many groups are promoted online, and your support is valued wherever and however you plan to contribute. Book a flight to Cambodia today to be part of the immense impact that foreign aid work has had on this beautiful, delicate place.
- Water Festival on the Banks of the Mekong: If you’re booking a Cambodia flight in November, try to make your trip land on the full moon. Although that may seem like a spontaneous way to make travel plans, it’s well worth it. Every year in November, the moon is full for three days, and one of the most extravagant festivals in the country takes place. A million people from all over the country gather at the banks of the Mekong River and the Tonle Sap to watch brightly coloured boats enter competitive races. Twenty-one boats, representing the country’s 21 provinces drive as fast as possible, in spirit of Cambodia’s strength as a whole. Fireworks, traditional food, dance, music, crafts, games, and other activities mark the start of the fishing season, the reversal of the current, and the national pride that has been so fiercely challenged in recent years.