Catching the Sunrise at Angkor Wat

Since this is my first post of 2018, it seems fitting to write about a beautiful and hopeful sight - seeing the sunrise at Angkor Wat!


While visiting Cambodia, many people make the effort to drag themselves out of bed before the crack of dawn to witness a sunrise at Angkor Wat. But is it truly worth it? If you ask me, it really is! Especially as someone who has always wanted to capture this moment on camera. The breathtaking sight was definitely a highlight of my trip to Cambodia. Here are some tips to make your sunrise experience at Angkor Wat go a little smoother!

Before You Go

  • Make sure that you get your Angkor pass before the day you are looking to see the sunrise. The ticket office opens at 5:00 a.m., so it would too much of a rush to pick it up the morning of. You'll need to have your ticket with you to enter the Angkor Wat complex.
  • Make arrangements for transportation beforehand. Your hotel can likely do this for you so that you aren't scrambling to find transportation early in the morning. They'll also be able to recommend the best time for you to leave from the hotel.
  • I think it's best to pay a visit to Angkor Wat before the day you go to see the sunrise to get a lay of the land. This way you can figure out how to enter the complex and get to the reflection pool while it's light out.
  • Pack a flashlight, or have your phone with you with the flashlight app downloaded and ready!

The Morning Of

I mentioned that catching the sunrise involves waking up early. It's recommended that you get to Angkor Wat by 5:00 a.m. to get a good spot. We got there at around 5:15 a.m. and snagged one of the few spots remaining by the reflection pool. For us, this meant hopping on a tuk-tuk from our hotel in Siem Reap at 4:45 a.m. 


After you get dropped off at the entrance of Angkor Wat, there is a bit of a walk in complete darkness to get to the reflection pool. This is where that flashlight that you packed will really come in handy! The reflection pool seems to be the spot of choice to see the sunrise, since you'll be able to see both the silhouette of Angkor Wat and its reflection on the water with the sun rising behind it. There are two reflection pools when you enter through the Angkor Wat Gateway, facing Angkor Wat - one on the left hand side and one on the right. The one on the left hand side is the one where most of the iconic photos of Angkor Wat sunrises are taken.


Enjoy the view!

Hopefully, you'll have arrived early enough to get a spot right by the water's edge so that you can witness the sunrise without having to look over the heads of everyone else who is there. As serene as these photos may make it look, due to the popularity of this experience, you will likely come across people pushing trying to get a better spot, or if you're small like me, some big camera lenses looming right over your head. But try not to let that get to you and ruin your experience. Appreciate the beauty before you as the colours in the sky change minute by minute, and enjoy the moment!


Keep Exploring: Cambodia | AsiaTravel

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This post is linked up on Our World Tuesday, and...