Adapting to the climate in Cambodia

Hello everyone,

Adjusting to new climatic conditions is key in any expatriation process. Moving to Cambodia is no exception.

What are the climate characteristics of Cambodia?

How does the local weather impact your daily life, mood or health?

What are the pros and cons of the climate in Cambodia?

Share you advice and help people adapt quickly to their new weather environment.

Thanks in advance,


There is not one answer. There are totally different climate conditions in Cambodia. I have experienced the very humid (95%) climate in the rainforest of the Cardamom Mountains (West Cambodia). It made me suffer from muscle and joint pain, only to be solved by moving to less humid conditions in (in my case) Sihanoukville. Being a sea resort the climate is very nice, 23-27C in the cold season, 30-40C in the hot season. There is always wind, which makes any temperature acceptable and comfortable.

My first year in SE Asia (I spent 8 years in NE Thailand before coming to Cambodia) I had headaches when exposed to the sun at 41C, the years after that my body adapted to it and no more problems.

I would advise new expats to stay out of the sun in the hot season for the first year, after that it should be ok.

Realistically you can't walk during the hottest times of the day.  Early in the morning and evening is fine, but the sun is good for your mood!


If you cut your self as i did quit badly and it takes months to heal and i mean months

Personally, I never use air conditioning because I can never adjust to a hot climate if I do.  My technique for staying happy and comfortable in a hot climate is simply to slow down.

We have two seasons: the rainy season and the dry season. The rainy season is my favorite season, but it wasn't always. I like it because when the rain stops, the weather is beautiful and the skies are clear. It gets kind of dusty during the dry season. The downside to the rainy season are the sometimes long spells of rain. They pass, though, and you can usually find a time between rains to get out. I finally learned to remember to pack my rain parka in my motorbike whenever I go out in the rainy season. You never know when a rain might come. I also don't take the good weather for granted. When it's sunny, I get outdoors.

Wear light clothing and drink lots of water in the hot season.  A K-way is handy when driving motorbike or for unexpected showers.

Avoid wearing flip flops.  Uneven pavement in  most areas will cause toes to hit on concrete, bricks etc.

Spot on.

No problem in Phnom Penh. Yes, it gets pretty intense sometimes now because of the big difference with climate changes (relatives experienced hail stones for the first time in the Takeo province and freaked out!)

Take it with a pinch of salt. Much rather be here than anywhere else.

ALWAYS ALWAYS drink lots of water - no less then 2.5 litres per day. Us expats tend to perspire and you must replace the fluids. I walk a lot whether very hot or not and one does acclimatise over time - but it does take time. The heat can be overwhelming initially so definitely do as suggested earlier - slow down. Walk slower - make sure you avoid that midday to 3:00 pm slot when the heat can be overpowering. I agree with the previous comments about air-conditioning - especially the prevalent wall mounted units. Horrible but normally at some point a necessity and the outcome often being dry eyes, chest infections, stuffy nose - so get some hydrating eye drops and some sinus nose drops. The rainy season is certainly much nicer and I love it when it rains - this is not the drizzle of the UK but short burst of full on downpour and it keeps the environment and atmosphere so much fresher. Cambodia is not getting cooler it is getting hotter every year. For example last year I recorded 50c at the airport! Every time I go back to the UK I bring back tubes of Germolene which the locals just love as they just like us can take for ever to heal - a cut on the foot or anywhere will take longer to get better and germolene at least keeps most things from becoming infected. Use a plaster if you can. I have not seen it for sale here anywhere. Flip flops are fine for tuk-tuking, or ambling in the markets (but keep your eyes peeled for obstacles) but if you are going to do some serious walking wear shoes, always use some type of sun protection, and keep the old bonce covered.  I am very lucky being darker in complexion and able to absorb the sun rays without burning - in fact I find the UK summer sun (is there ever any?) fiercer on my skin then here. Go figure! Sensible precautions are a good idea to make a habit and will keep you from anything bad occurring.

Hi. I retired in Siem Reap a year ago, beginning in April 2015. My father was Swedish, so I'm SOL in the tropical sun.

Some tips if you have a Northern European skin type like me:

Stay indoors between 10am and 4pm; wear two shirts when you are in the sun; take lots of showers; use alcohol on the red spots that will appear when your sweat glands get blocked to kill the bacteria; use baby powder under your arms and in your crotch area; always wear a big floppy hat and sunglasses even if you think it makes you look like a stupid tourist; keep your sense of humor.

Use a good natural mosquito repellent with lemon grass (Asian market has it for cheap); use soap to get rid of ants not poisons; if there are small lizards in your room they are helping you out.

Never go in rivers or lakes even if you see young Aussies doing it; you are not resistant to the local bacteria like locals are.

The street carts in Pub Street use bottled water and ice cubes: don't be afraid to check this out first. Ask them not to put cane sugar in your fruit shake (spoils the taste). Food carts are generally clean and use fresh produce and meat (make sure it's really really cooked thoroughly). Learn to love spicy food: hot pepper kills nasty bacteria. If you get constipated eat bananas: don't carry around a load of digested food, especially meat in a tropical climate.

Drink at least one coconut each day during the hot season.

Hope that helps you enjoy your new life in Cambodia.

Will Norell

I got a bunch of stitches in my foot while in thailand,  healed as normal,   like 5 days, 
are you getting adequate vitamin C,  eating enuf protein?    chicken and pork skin is very high in glycine which promotes healing.

Well, first off I'm from California, Northern California to be exact and I live right on the water so we average about 20-21 Celsius. I've traveled a lot in my life, in fact I was married in Rio de Janeiro Brasil so I have spent a lot of time in tropical climates. That being said, I still have not gotten to a point where I can be outside in Phnom Penh very long without perspiring profusely. I run my aircon ( 3 units in my apartment) everyday and prefer to frequent restaurants and other business establishments with aircon.

I would recommend a couple things if you're not coming  from a tropical climate. Double or triple your normal water intake because it's easy to become dehydrated here due to the high rate of humidity. Get at least one aircon unit in your residence because there are times when the temperature will stay around 38-40 for weeks at a time. Put a fan in every room. Find aircon establishments that you like to frequent because You will experience situations when you're out and about away from home and you really feel worn out due to the heat so you need places you can go to cool down and refresh yourself. If possible stay somewhere with a pool. Lastly, if you can afford a car. Even though a moto will always get you from point A to point B faster, a car is much more comfortable. I have two motos and really can't justify buying a car here when I have 3 in the states ,I'd be lying if I did not admit there are times when  I wish I had one and sometimes I call a taxi so I can get to my destination fresh and not worn out dripping sweat.

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