Cambodia, Travel

What to do when it rains in Siem Reap

Cambodia has two seasons; wet season and dry season. The dry season is relatively (emphasis on the relatively) cooler, whereas the wet season is humid with lots of rain and flooding. This shouldn’t deter you from visiting Cambodia during the wet season, however. The local economy thrives on tourism, and many hotel staff have reduced hours or are laid off during wet season due to the lower number of tourists visiting the country. You can help the local economy and have access to reduced hotel rates by visiting in the wet season.

During the wet season, it doesn’t actually rain all the time. You could visit Cambodia in June and not see one drop of rain. Or, it could rain for several days straight. It may even rain on and off for a few days, giving you time to visit Angkor Wat and other outdoor attractions. If you want to avoid the rain, or only be outside for a short amount of time, here are some things you can do when it rains in Siem Reap.

Be a circus performer

If you are travelling in a group, or have made some awesome friends at a hostel, you can book a workshop for eight or more people at Phare, the Cambodian Circus. You will spend quality time learning from Phare’s talented circus artists who have overcome poverty and disadvantage to become international circus performers. You will have a warm-up (of course), then work with the circus artists on tumbling exercises, juggling and balance-building activities. This is a great way to engage with local Cambodians, learn something new and keep out of the rain!

Learn about the history of Cambodia

Angkor National Museum won’t just keep you out of the rain; it is also air-conditioned so you can keep cool, too! Use an audio tour to immerse yourself in the history of Cambodia and gain a deeper understanding of the customs, traditions and beliefs of the ancient Khmer empire. You will gain access to artefacts that have been collected over the years from various temples, so if for some reason you are unable to visit Angkor Wat, you can still get your dose of temples.

Cook (and eat) delicious Khmer food

Beyond Unique Escapes offers a few choices of Cambodian cooking classes, depending on your budget. You can choose to take a short cooking class, or a full-day class that sees you whip up Mango Salad, Amok, Sticky Rice Balls, Prohet Chien, Cambodian Curry & Nom Tong Noun. You will be in a food coma by the end of it, so best not to make plans afterwards!

Practice ancestral handicrafts with Cambodian masters

Artisans Angkor is a social business that strives to preserve and promote Cambodian craftsmanship while alleviating poverty. Be helped by a local craftsman and choose to learn wood carving, sandstone carving, soapstone carving, silk painting or jewellery making. Not only will you get to take your own creation back home, but you will also have a VIP tour of Artisans Angkor’s main craft workshops and a USD$10 voucher to spend in one of their boutiques afterwards (trust me, you need this).

Chill out at a socially responsible cafe

Grab your laptop or a book and spend the day at one of the numerous social enterprises around Siem Reap, such as Peace Cafe, Footprint Cafe, Sala Bai or Spoons. Or, even better, head to a different one for breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner! This is the perfect way to stay dry, experience the different culinary delights on offer and support social enterprises that are doing what they can to upskill the local community.

And of course, there is nothing wrong with spending the day in your hotel room, mindlessly watching the television or checking out what Cambodian Netflix has to offer! One thing is certain though; there isn’t a shortage of things to do when it rains in Siem Reap!