7 reasons to visit Cambodia during the green season

Interest in Cambodia is on the increase and if you go in high season, you will certainly have lots of company, especially at the iconic Angkor Wat. But venture during the country’s low season (April – October) and you’ll enjoy a different perspective. The months of June-October fall during Cambodia’s ‘green’ season; a time when the water levels are high, there are no crowds and the countryside is lush and green. April and May is the hottest time of the year and is very dry, but it is a wonderful time to enjoy some serious R&R on the coast at the lesser visited and wonderfully atmospheric seaside town of Kep. Whilst you can definitely expect rain from June to October (especially September) and the temperature will be up in the mid-30s, here are some of the reasons why this is a great time to explore this part of the world:

A temple to yourselves

Angkor is considerably quieter in the green season.  Most of the big tour groups have vanished, the temples are often deserted, especially early in the morning and even Bayon and Angkor Wat are quiet.  If you head out to Koh Ker and Beng Mealea you will not see many other visitors at all and our guides can take you to some lesser known temples such as the isolated Ta Nei where you may be lucky enough to see some recently released gibbons in the vicinity of the temple.

Beng Mealea

The scenery

Cambodia is at its most beautiful in the green season.  The rice paddies are gorgeously green and verdant, the moats and Barays near the temples are full and when conditions are just right, you can expect spectacular sunsets.

From July to October it’s cooler

The rains break up the heat, it’s easier to explore and spend longer at each site and for much of the time it is still cloudless and sunny in the mornings. April and May are the hottest months in Cambodia but are wonderful for sunrises, sunsets and relaxing by the pool in the heat of the day. Explore early in the mornings and late in the afternoons at this time.

Value for money

Cambodia is pretty unbeatable value for money compared to most other destinations, but in the green season there are seriously competitive rates and special offers.

The Tonle Sap Lake

The green season is the best time to visit the floating villages of Kompong Pluk and Kompong Khleang.  Water levels are getting higher, making it much easier to navigate through the villages by boat.  Travel in June and July and see the water levels rising, but still appreciate the height of the bamboo skyscraper houses on stilts.  Visit in August and September and the water levels completely flood the mangroves, which is a beautiful sight and it laps at the front steps of the stilted houses.

Floating villages

Pick of the very best guides

Our tour guides are not as rushed off their feet as they are in the high season, so we will be able allocate one of the best guides to you.

A second visit? 

Many first time visitors travel to Cambodia in the high season.  The country takes on a different look and feel in the green season.  The landscape changes, the Mekong River reverses its flow into the Tonle Sap Lake which expands and there are fewer tourists.  It’s a perfect time to return and you might like to explore new areas such as Battambang, Kampot and Kep.

Melissa Matthews is Director of Operations at Red Savannah.

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Comments (4)

  1. I lived in Siem Reap for nine months and loved it. The “green season” as you call it is by far the best. The temples are all dressed in lush mosses and most of the crowds are gone. The Tonle Sap was always a favorite place to spend the day.

  2. Melissa Matthews says:

    Thank you for your response Jonathan and you are absolutely right that it is the best time to go. Not only is the cost of travel at this time of year cheaper, but the country is so much more lush and beautiful. You were lucky to spend 9 months there as it is one of the most amazing places on earth in our opinion.

  3. Diane Thomas says:

    While I agree that the green season is quieter and pretty, disagree with recommending to visit then. The heat, potential floods, higher risk of dengue with more mosquitoes, and also riskier for food freshness in higher temperatures, make is less desirable. The temples require more than a little energy to walk around, water levels can make road travel treacherous, Tonle Sap lake tours are around people’s homes, more confronting for locals and tourists alike if monsoonal rains are causing difficulties. Cambodia is a stunning destination but there is a darker side, poverty and discomfort with the history. The people are beautiful, gentle and friendly, and it is a wonderful destination. Personally I would recommend shoulder season for a more comfortable balance between crowds, cost and comfort.

  4. Fred says:

    October this year has been an awesome time to visit Siem Reap for all the reasons you cite in this short article. And we have seen no rain so far – in the few days here starting Oct 13th. And if Oct holds fewer tourist buses – would hate to visit during the peak season.

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