Cambodia experiences two main seasons, the wet/hot and the dry/cool. There's some monthly and geographic variation within these two seasons. March is at the end of the cooler dry season, and temperatures and rainfall are both starting to creep up, although they are still relatively low. Cambodia is a tropical country, so even the cool season is generally warm.
Cambodia is not a geographically large country, but there is a slight 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 the capital Phnom Penh. Average March temperatures in Phnom Penh are around 84°F (29°C), slightly warmer than in January and February. Rainfall is also relatively low this month, but there's a greater chance of showers than earlier in the dry season.
It's important to note water levels in the Tonlé Sap—a large inland freshwater lake (and Southeast Asia's largest) that turns into the Tonlé Sap River, running through Phnom Penh to meet the Mekong River—begin to get low by late March. While boat rides, kayaking, and visits to floating villages on the Tonlé Sap are popular at some other times of the year, the waterway is not at its best in March or until after the rains arrive in June.
Crowds & Costs
March is the peak season for travel in Cambodia, with weather conditions ideal for sightseeing and lounging on a beach. The temples of Angkor Wat are always popular but get especially crowded in the cool season. Book accommodation in nearby Siem Reap well in advance for March travel. The same applies in many other parts of the country, including coastal beach resorts around Sihanoukville, the offshore islands Battambang and Kampot, and inland Phnom Penh.
Prices of accommodation and transport will generally be higher in March and throughout the cool season, but Cambodia is still very affordable for most travelers. Many smaller, locally run hotels and guesthouses will remain at a good value even in high season. Just be sure to book your first choice well in advance if you're visiting this month.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Where to Go
As well as Angkor (see more below), another great option for March travel is the town of Kampot, southwest of Phnom Penh. It's famous for its pepper plantations (Kampot pepper is a specific variety of black pepper) and its French colonial-era architecture.
Kampot is also conveniently near some other attractions, so it's a good base in the south of Cambodia. The Preah Monivong Bokor National Park is just to the northwest. The climate is cool, there are beautiful forests and waterfalls, and you may even spot gibbons and big cats. Kampot is also on the coast and only about two hours' drive from Sihanoukville, from where you can reach beautiful beaches such as those on the islands of Koh Rong, Koh Rong Samloem, Koh Ta Kiev, and Koh Russey (Bamboo Island).
What to Do
Many travelers opt to combine sightseeing with exercise by touring the sprawling site of Angkor by bicycle. The terrain is generally flat, and the traffic isn't too bad within the ancient city boundaries. Cycling is also quite comfortable in the cooler month of March. Many hotels in Siem Reap rent out bikes to guests, either for free or for a fee (if they're free, their condition might not be great, so check this before heading out).
If you're a keen cyclist, you can join guided tours (private or in a group) that travel further afield in Cambodia and even over the border to neighboring Vietnam, Laos, or Thailand.
Photography enthusiasts will also love to snap pictures of the temples of Angkor when the weather's clear. As well as the most famous temple, Angkor Wat, the enormous tree roots at many temples (but especially Ta Prohm) and the giant faces at Bayon Temple are especially photogenic.
Traveling to Cambodia in March? Check out these great itineraries
Explore the Temples of Angkor Wat - 6 Days. This 6-day tour takes an in-depth look at the temples of Angkor, including Angkor Wat, the largest religious building in the world. Enjoy sunrise visits and tours of its entire complex, plus visit the other temples in the area, such as Bayon, Ta Phrom, Preah Khan, Banteay Srei, and the ancient city of Angkor Thom and the temples of the Grand Circuit.
Cycle through Cambodia and Vietnam - 12 Days. Get to know this fascinating pocket of Southeast Asia as you cycle through the center of the old Khmer Empire to Hoi An's ancient trading port. Weaving far beyond the beaten track through the Cambodian and Vietnamese countryside, you'll visit Angkor temples and remote areas near the Laotian border.