Don’t Miss Out Seeing Sunrise At Angkor Wat!

Seeing the sunrise over Angkor Wat is supposed to be one of those bucket list not-to--be-missed experiences. If you are a fan of natural scenery, watching the Angkor Wat sunrise is absolutely worth it.

The spectacular moment of sunrise at the temple


 Situated in northwest Cambodia, the temples at Angkor were built during the Golden Age of the mighty Khmer Empire, constructed between the 9th and 13th centuries. Earlier Hindu temples gave way to Buddhism over the years, and some temples are still used by Buddhists today. Angkor Wat, the largest religious complex in the world, is only one temple in the vast 400 square km Angkor Archeological Park which is full of fantastical temples, terraces and moats, monkeys and jungle.


  • Make sure it’s good sunrise weather: The sky is the most important part of sunrise at Angkor Wat. It’s frustrating to drag yourself out of bed to watch dark grey sky turn light grey. Save the effort by updating the weather condition from apps that have hour-by-hour forecasts.
  • To get to Angkor Wat for the sunrise : ​​​​you can get a tuk-tuk or rent a bike or a motorbike. The price for a sunrise tuk-tuk tour should be less than $20 per person. Renting a bike will cost you around $2 a day and scooters can be as cheap as $7 a day.
  • Get to the temples early: This is the most important step, especially during high season. The gates of the temple open at 5 am. An early start ensures you a good spot to watch and take pictures from.
  • Wear clothes that cover your shoulders and knees to respect the culture
  • Buy your tickets in advance: Besides being able to enter the gates right away, you also get admission to the temples for sunset the day before. You can buy an Angkor Pass for 1 day, 3 days or 1 week. Ticket prices cost:

  Angkor Day pass: $37

  Angkor 3-day pass: $62

  Angkor 1 week pass: $72


Pool facing Angkor Wat is the best place to photograph sunrise

Upon arrival, you will walk along the Sandstone Cause Way across the Angkor Wat moat and enter through the gateway. You’ll then continue along the walkway until you pass the North Library and South Library on either side. There will be two reflecting pools, one on each side. The best place to photograph the Angkor Wat sunrise is at the northwest corner of the north reflecting pool facing Angkor Wat. You should find a spot with limited lily pads, so you can barely see the reflection through the weeds in the water. Then, make sure to stand as close to the water edge so nobody moves in front of you.

The second most popular spot inside of the Angkor Wat complex is Angkor Hill. Compare to the reflection ponds, this place is almost empty. On top of the Phnom Bakheng temple, you’ll have a nice view of the main temples of Angkor with the sun coming up behind it. This view point gives you a perspective of Angkor Wat surrounded by trees and the early morning haze.

Be prepared to stand firm to keep your spot. Late-comers may try to push through and stand in front of you. You woke up early for your spot, so don’t let them! Some people pile rocks in the water so they could stand on the pile or wear rubber boots so they could wade into the reflecting pool.


Ready to face the crowds

To view sunrise at Angkor Wat, all you need is a pair of eyes to see and a pair of legs to stand. If you want a few snapshots of the sunrise once the sun has lit the sky, a cell phone or point-and-shoot camera will work. However, if you want really good pictures of sunrise from the beginning to the end, a phone isn’t quite enough.

Bring a tripod for sunrise

Some of the most interesting and colorful shots will not be captured with only using a camera. During the early light, you will need to have your camera set tripod to gain an exposure length that requires.

Set your focus on a high contrast area

When it’s becoming dark out, some cameras have trouble focusing. In case your photos look out of focus, move your focus point to a high contrast area

Use a remote or built-in camera timer

You need to minimize shaking when you are pressing the button to shoot by learning to use your timer function, giving the camera a few seconds to settle after you press the button. Another way is to use a remote shutter, either a plug in or wireless remote.

Bottom line, if you’re thinking of watching or photographing the Angkor Wat sunrise, the early morning wake up, tuk-tuk ride and view of romantic sunrise accompanied by a couple of thousand strangers are well worth it. Hopefully, these Angkor Wat sunrise tips will be helpful for you!

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