Going to Cambodia for the first time and wondering what to wear in Cambodia? When it comes to what to pack for Cambodia for any season, its best to pack lightweight clothing and natural fabrics. The dress code in Cambodia is fairly relaxed but remember that many of the temples are still frequented by Buddhas so best to be respectable and wear suitable clothing. Also, be sure to read my post on things to know before visiting Cambodia for other things to be aware of in planning a trip to Cambodia.
As for what to wear in Cambodia when not temple running you can wear pretty much whatever you want, within reason. However, it is advisable to cover arms and legs in the evenings because of biting insects. Also if you are visiting temples, particularly Angkor Wat, because of the moat, there is a high risk of mosquitoes. I had quite a few bits on my legs so make sure you are covered and bring repellent. More on this and other things to pack for your trip to Cambodia continue reading. Below is a packing list for Cambodia in addition to some essential items to pack whether visiting Cambodia in December, January or even July.
What To Pack For Cambodia / What To Wear In Cambodia
Whether an itinerary trip for 7 days in Cambodia or longer, Cambodia is a tropical place and as a result, it is always sunny all year round, hence, your packing list for travel to Cambodia should consist of light clothes. Pack t-shirts, tank tops, shorts(not for temples), free trousers, beach shirts, maxi dresses, etc.
It is important to note that Cambodia is a mostly Buddhist country with conservative people who believe in modest dressing.
Most Cambodians don’t wear anything that will expose their shoulders and knees. Bear in mind that while it’s not common, you may not be allowed to enter the temples if your shoulders and knees are not covered. Whether you are putting together the perfect Cambodia backpacking packing list, its best to include some short and long-sleeved items.
Weather In Cambodia
Cambodia has two distinctive seasons; the rainy season from June to October and the dry season from November to May. Travelling during the rainy season has its benefits as the temple moats in Siem Reap are full, making for great photos but during the dry season, they artificially fill them which can be a bit of a disappointment as I learned. Visiting Cambodia in the dry season, in my opinion, is a lot easier, especially when it comes to exploring the temples which have a somewhat jungle terrain that you don’t want to do in wet seasons. The temperatures for the most part in all seasons of Cambodia remain around 30-35°C during the day time.
The northeast monsoon season: This lasts from December to April, and the weather is dry and sunny. Be sure to bring your sunglasses and a portable fan although you can buy the latter cheaply at the markets while shopping for souvenirs in Cambodia. Bring some lip balm too because of the dryness. When it comes to what to wear in Cambodia in April and during this season remember, the weather gets very hot, so pack light and airy items that aren’t too revealing.
The southwest monsoon season: From May to November, the rains start. September and October are especially rainy, so bring waterproof items and an umbrella. That weather is also more humid in this period. You will get some dry spells so just bear in mind when thinking of what to pack for Cambodia in February, March or May.
Cambodia Packing List
- Dresses – Maxi dresses and midis.
- Sarong – this is a traditional Cambodian wrapper that can serve as a curtain, a blanket, etc. You can also tie it around your waist to cover up to your knee when you want to visit any temple in the country.
- Scarf or light wrap – you can use this for covering your shoulders when visiting temples of in the evenings when the temperature drops.
- Sun Hat – great for protection against the sun. You can take more than one to match with your dressing.
- Sunglasses – an essential item you need to have with you when you are in the tropics.
- Swimwear – there are many beautiful beaches in the country, going to Cambodia and not experiencing its beaches is like cutting off half of the fun. Pack your swimwear with you and have as much fun as you can.
- Flip flops and comfortable walking sandals – beaches are sandy, hence no other footwear but flip flops can make you comfortable.
- Comfortable walking shoes – these will make comfortable walking around the temples, pack one or two, depending on how long you intend to stay in Cambodia.
- Waterproof Jacket– while it may be sunny every day in Cambodia, you may get rain, especially if you go there during the rainy season. Better prepared than sorry, right?
- Cardigan – the weather will often get cold at night, especially during the rainy season and because you will be surrounded by trees. Take a sweatshirt or hoodie, anything that can prevent you from getting cold.
Other Essentials To Pack For Cambodia
- Duffel bag or backpack – Osprey backpacks are quite popular for trips because of the convenience they provide. Get one main backpack that is big enough for all your load, and a smaller one that you can carry around when you’re in Cambodia.
- Unblocked phone – Buy or bring an unlocked phone that can work with a Cambodian sim card.
- Universal charger – Well, you don’t want to get to Cambodia and start looking for where you can buy one. So, pack a universal charger with you.
- Universal adapter – You also need this to make it easier for you to plug in your devices to sockets and extensions.
- Power bank – You may be out hiking and need to recharge your phone or may be in a location where there’s no electricity.
- Travel Torch – This will be a backup for your mobile phone torch. Essential if you want to head to Angkor Wat for sunrise. People get there when its still very dark. Pro-Tip. Scope out a good spot the day before if possible.
Stay Healthy – Essentials To Pack For Cambodia
- Mosquito repellent – Cambodia is a tropical country and that means that there are always mosquitoes in both daytime and nighttime. To avoid mosquito bite and itchiness from their bites, take a mosquito repellent with you. Make sure you have enough to last you all your time in the country. Also, consider wearing mosquito repellent wristbands.
- Sunscreen – there are two weather seasons in Cambodia, rainy season which starts from May to September, and dry season which starts from November to March. However, the weather season doesn’t matter so much because the sun in Cambodia is always brutally scorching all year long. So, take your favourite sunscreen with you.
- Medication – taking with you essential drugs when travelling is a life hack, it helps to manage well during health emergencies. For example, Cambodia meals may be tasty, but your body may react poorly to them. To be on the safe side, you can pack drugs for indigestion such as Gaviscon, and Imodium for diarrhea.
- Hand sanitizer – you won’t always have clean water and soap with you when you are enjoying the beautiful sceneries of Cambodia. Hand sanitizer will come handy when you need to rid your hands off germs.
- Travel first aid kit – get this at a pharmacy in your country before you board the plane. You will need it when you get small cuts and bruises. Items in it, such as spirit for cleaning bruises and band-aids, can protect against infections.
- Toiletries – shampoo, conditioner, razors, shaving powder, deodorant, tampons, sanitary pads, etc. Take as much as you need for all your time in the country so you don’t run out of toiletries.
- LifeStraw – this is for filtering water before you drink.
Note: It’s not advisable to drink tap water but bottled mineral water in safe and available pretty much everywhere. Also, keep in mind when buying drinks in cafes or restaurants they some may serve it with ice cubes. Ask if they use tap water otherwise avoid them altogether.
- Foldable Reusable Water Bottle – stay hydrated!(Easy to pack too)
- Get Travel insurance – while Cambodia has become one of the most loved tourist destinations in the world, it is still far behind on social amenities such as health. To be on the safe side, sign up for a travel health insurance that covers Cambodia before you board the plane. Should you need healthcare, your insurance will cover you – giving that the nearest standard healthcare you will get is in Bangkok, Thailand.
- Where To Stay In Siem Reap
- Best Place To Watch Cambodia’s Khmer Dance
- The Best Temples In Siem Reap
- Things To Do In Siem Reap Beyond The Temples
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