Tropical Cambodia experiences two main seasons: the wet and the dry. However, each of these seasons is divided into hotter and cooler periods. April is the start of the hot period of the dry season. Average temperatures are slightly higher than earlier in the year (Phnom Penh's April average is 88°F/31°C), and although the rainfall is still relatively low, the humidity begins to increase.
Though Cambodia is a small country, there is some variation between the temperatures and climate in the mountains, the lowlands, and the coast. Temperatures in the highlands of the Cardamom Mountains or the Dangrek Mountains are cooler than on the lower-lying plains, where most of Cambodia's towns and cities are, including Phnom Penh, the capital. To escape April's heat, head for the higher elevations of the mountains or cool off at a beach. Alternatively, time sightseeing activities for the early morning or evening and avoid being out around midday.
Crowds & Costs
The increasing heat means fewer travelers visit Cambodia in April: it's the shoulder season. This is excellent news if you want to see the country's highlights without sharing them with too many other travelers.
Khmer New Year occurs in mid-April and lasts about three to four days. Many Cambodians return to their hometowns at this time, so make long-distance travel plans in advance if you need to get around at this time. The towns and cities may also seem quiet as locals disperse. In Phnom Penh, most major attractions, museums, and restaurants will be closed over Khmer New Year. Book accommodation ahead of your departure wherever you plan to be during this festival.
Where to Go
If you're comfortable sightseeing in hot weather, consider heading to the ancient city of Angkor in April. There will be fewer visitors than during the cooler months of the dry season, so you probably won't need to jostle for space. You might want to avoid getting around by bicycle, however, as the temperatures can make it a bit uncomfortable. Choose a comfortable ramork (tuk tuk) tour instead.
Head to higher elevations in the Cardamom Mountains in western Cambodia to take a break from the heat. The mountains are covered in dense rainforests and contain some wildlife sanctuaries, including the Phnum Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to monkeys, pangolins, and water birds, as well as tribal people. Visitors to the mountains can also enjoy boat rides on the Tatai River and hiking and stay in safari-type accommodation.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
As well as outdoor activities in the mountains and sightseeing around Angkor, April is a good time to head to Cambodia's beaches. There's a chance of some rain, but conditions will generally be fair. The coast around the southwestern city of Sihanoukville is sprouting unsightly concrete development, but you don't need to travel very far to find beaches that rival any in neighboring Thailand. The islands of Koh Rong, Koh Rong Samloem, Koh Ta Kiev, and Koh Russey (Bamboo Island) have white-sand beaches, warm waters, and good accommodation to suit various budgets.
Events in April
Khmer New Year, nationwide. Over four days in mid-April, Khmer New Year is Cambodia's biggest celebration. Expect quiet cities, festivities in smaller towns, business closures, and busy transport networks.
Traveling to Cambodia in April? Check out these great itineraries
Culture & Nature of Cambodia: Siem Reap, Battambang, Phnom Penh, Cardamom Mountains & More - 15 Days. Explore remote temples hidden in the jungle, ride bicycles through rice paddies and past traditional stilted houses, and go on boat trips to waterfalls and remote fishing villages on this 15-day culture and nature tour through Cambodia.
Best of Cambodia: Temples, Beaches, & Nature - 13 Days. Taking you from temples to tropical beaches, a lush national park, and the bustling capital city, you'll cover the nature, history, and the fascinating culture of Cambodia.