So the rainy season has been a bit late this year, but last Friday Phnom Penh experienced several hours of heavy rain which caused many parts of the city to be flooded. In some spots, the depth of the water on the roads was between 30cm and 60cm.
The rainy season in Cambodia is generally from May to October and they remainder of the year is the dry season. Generally the rain hits between 2pm and 3pm and lasts for an hour or so but it can rain for up to a week at a time.
The rains flood the streets of Phnom Penh mainly due to the drainage system in Phnom Penh not being able to cope with such large amounts of water. Although in recent years, there has been much speculation that the filling in of Beoung Kak Lake with sand to make way for new developments, has added to the cause of flooding as the water has no where to drain. (see article in Phnom Penh Post)
Travelling out in the provinces can be a bit of a struggle during the rainy season as dirt roads are often flooded and inaccessible but the main highways should not be a problem. It can be a great time to see Cambodia is it is the low season for tourists and the rains create a lush, green and beautiful countryside.
Some tips for when it’s raining and the streets flood.
- Wear sandals – generally its too hot to wear closed shoes so you would be wearing sandals / flip flops anyway, but it if you’re going to be walking in the water, they will dry out quickly.
- 50 cent ponchos – these bright coloured plastic ponchos are a cheap and relatively effective way to stay dry. They can be found at street stalls and markets.
- If you’re living in Phnom Penh for a medium to long term, find out if your street floods and if the water recedes quickly. If you are in an area prone to flooding, it would be best if you live on the first floor or higher rather than the ground floor.
- Be patience and wait indoors. Often there is a bit of warning before it rains, so if you are going out, plan to bring an umbrella, poncho for traveling and when it does rain, enjoy the many restaurants and cafes Phnom Penh has to offer.
Here are a couple of photo’s from the other day near the Royal Palace and Street 178.