Although many people will tell you not to visit Phnom Penh during the rainy season, it’s actually not as bad you might think. Here’s some tips for travelling Phnom Penh in wet season.
Cambodia has a south-western monsoon which causes heavy rains almost daily from the end of May to October. The thing to remember is that in wet season, although it may rain often, it doesn’t rain for long. Most showers last around 30 minutes, and are easy to wait out.
Although the wet season is low season for tourism throughout most of the region, visiting at that time does have its advantages. If you are moving onward to destinations like Sihanoukville and Siem Reap you’ll be happy to miss the crowds that show up for the cool, dry season.
Tips for travelling Phnom Penh
What to wear
Don’t bring an umbrella: when it rains in Phnom Penh it’s almost always a windy rain that will turn your umbrella inside out. Even fancy rain coats are less useful than than the bright plastic ponchos sold on all of the street corners. They are compact enough to keep in a purse or backpack and provide pretty good protection from the downpours.
Wear flip flops: Phnom Penh has a tendency to flood when it rains and if you are wearing real shoes you will inevitably wander into a puddle up to your ankles.
Most visitors get around town by tuk tuk or moto. Motos are not advisable in the rain because, well, you’ll get wet. Most tuk tuks have ingenious rain-covers that they bring out for the inclement weather, but they do tend to charge slightly more when it’s raining. Remember that some roads, particularly those leading out of town, are often unpaved or sort-of paved, and may have puddles for a full day after a big rain. This is another reason to not ride a moto. Taxis are often the same price or only slightly higher than tuk tuk, so when it rains, consider calling one.
If you’re using a backpack, get a rain cover for it and keep it on when you are travelling. Use plastic bags to keep your passport, wallet, electronics, whatever/everything dry — things have the tendency to get damp here at this time of year.