Rain season and floods in Cambodia: Is it safe to travel now?

Date : Aug - 14 - 2019

Media, government agencies and tourists are reporting heavy rain and floods in Cambodia. August is always a month with heavy storms since it is rain season in Cambodia, but this year the amount of rain is more concerning. While the north of Cambodia desperately waits for some rain, the south is drowning. We know that travelers are concerned for their safety and want to give an overview about flooding in Cambodia and what you need to know. You still can do a round trip in Cambodia, with many local experiences, and only minor disruptions, if any. How das this effect traveling?

Most important cities

  1. Flood in Battambang Credit: Cambodia English News

    Flood in Battambang 10/2018 Credit: Cambodia English News

    Sihanoukville
    Heavy rainfalls causing streets flooded for hours, and garbage is floating around. Streets in and around town are partly gone from flash floods. Luckily, the number of casualities is very low. But expect delays when you travel to or from Sihanoukville by car.
  2. Koh Rong, Koh Rong Sanloem
    Many ferries stopped there service partially due to high waves. Expect delays or cancellations in the ferry services. The islands are pretty safe, you may get wet a bit (but that’s why you are in an island anyway, right?). There could be a strong wind, and it is strongly advised not to go swimming in the rough sea. Every year tourists drown here, because they did not follow safety instructions.
  3. Kampot and Kep
    Both cities hat huge rainfalls and in particular Kampot and it’s surroundings are flooded. Expect some damaged roads when travel around. The situation in Kep is better and the main road to Phnom Penh is accessible and mostly untouched from the rain (most damage ist done by trucks in the city and village areas). Also, a damn broke in Kampot, but was repaired over night. 
  4. Phnom Penh
    The capital sees always some flooding when it’s raining, due to intense construction and lack of space where the water can flow. Usually those floods last not more than an hour, the the water will quickly recede. If you want to escape flooded streets, visit our host Vannak, he lives safely in the third floor. 
  5. Siem Reap
    In August the Templetown only saw few rain days, and therefore flooding is not issue at all. The lack of rain effects the floating villages and the tonle sap lake, water levels are very low. All temples can be visited as usual, and activities like cook and eat with locals are possible and advised. 
  6. Battambang
    The second largest city in Cambodia was expected to get some flooding from nearby overflowing dams and the Sanker river has a pretty high water level. Still, mot of the town is safe and there is no imminent danger for travelers. 

Some facts and advice for the rain season in Cambodia:

Street flooding in cities usually recedes after an hour. If a street is flooded be careful with walking. The threat is not so mich the dirt und garbage (Thats just disgusting), but from sewer covers opening up and not visible.

If you in a forest or at the countryside near a river, even a small one, watch the color. When it turns brown, immediately seek higher ground.

Most people who die during floods drown in the countryside, where swimming skills are not often seen. However, a significant number of tourists drown in the sea during rough weather. If there is a storm, stay at the beach.

Falling trees and branches can be a risk in Angkor Wat during heavy storms. Although trees are cut regularly, the Apsara authority cannot be everywhere. You are safe when walking around the temples 

The rain season lasts from July to October, but it doesn’t rain all day. The south is most effected by tropicals storms from Vietnam. In the north, it rains just once or twice a day. But expect some cloudy days in the rain season.