Every year the Angkor Temples Complex, in Cambodia, welcomes more than one million tourists coming to discover one of the world’s largest religious sites, a place that is increasingly coveted. If you are looking to come to Cambodia, and Siem Reap for some rest and reflection this country offers hundreds of temples besides, the mystery and magic of Angkor Wat temple. When visiting Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, no trip is completed without a beautiful sunrise or sunset experience among the temples. As we know it can get difficult to know where to go for the best sunset in Angkor Wat or the highest viewpoint for the sunrise in Angkor complex, so we have gathered some useful information about Angkor Wat with tips for seeing the sunrise and the sunset and get that one incredible photo for your collection, or likes.
1. Best Places To See The Sunset In Angkor Wat
Sunset and sunrise watching is always a fun thing to do, especially when traveling. But at Angkor Wat, watching the sun going down is more than that. People prepare their tripods and come hours before to get the best spot for the most epic photo. You’ll have to be patient and expect company.
Sunset At The Phnom Bakheng Temples
Phnom Bakheng Temple this place has been famous for a while now as the spot for sunset watching. You will get to see the Angkor Wat complex from a distance, and at high elevation. You will have to climb the stairs until you reach it but once at the top of the Phnom Bakheng temple, you will enjoy the enviable position of being able to see an all 360 degrees view of the landscape.
But be aware that due to massive travelers invading the space, a limit number of 300 tourists has been allowed at the top of Phnom Bakheng each one time.
There is another option for you to see the sunset, closer to the Angkor Wat temples complex.
Sunset At Reflection Ponds Of Angkor Wat
There is another point where you can catch the beautiful pinkish reflections on Angkor War called the Reflecting Pond. This is the most famous spot where photos are taken at sunrise and sunset and it is situated on the left of the Angkor Wat temples. Being a little less crowded and most pleasant place to sit down to watch the views, you can even bring your picnic and set up a romantic afternoon. You will be able to take a nice picture with the temple reflection on the pond in front of the temple.
Sunset at Phnom Krom Hill
Phnom Krom is a hill located 12 km southwest of Siem Reap and is home to a spectacular Angkorian temple built in the 9th century. Phnom Krom can be a really nice spot to go watch the sunset as well. There you are almost sure that you will be the only people there. And you will have a great view at the top of Phnom Krom overlooking the Tonle Sap.
Last GREAT tip to find the best place to watch the sunset in Angkor Wat is to look for yourself the best spot. Check The Angkor Sunset Finder, a new website that offers 34 places where visitors can see the sunset at the Angkor Archaeological Park. It is an initiative by APSARA National Authority to enhance the visitor experience and appreciation of Angkor while ensuring its conservation for future generations. It helps spread the visitors across the park benefiting the local communities and listing some off the beaten track places to see the sunset in Angkor Wat.
2. Best Places To See The Sunrise In Angkor Wat
Sunrise At The Reflexion Ponds Of Angkor Wat
If you decided to wake up early to watch the sunrise in Angkor Wat, or around the area, you will be amazed at how many people can stand just in front of the Angkor Wat Reflecting Pond at one time and just wait patiently for the sun to go out. And once it starts, you too will hear the aw coming from the crowd.
If you are heading to the Reflexion Ponds one more to watch the Angkor Wat sunrise this time, be mindful of a few things first. Make sure to stand absolutely close to the waters edge so no one can take a spot in front of you. For that, yes, you will need to arrive quite early. The gates to the temple open at 5 am, and you need to be there as they let the first people in. Ans little insiders advice, find a spot that where there aren’t too many lily pads, as this can prevent you from seeing the reflexion in the water.
Sunrise in Srah Srang
Known as the Royal Bathing Pool, it’s a large pond and also a popular Angkor destination for sunrises. Srah Srang is located across the road from the east entrance of Banteay Kdei and is a reservoir just opposite to the Banteay Kdei temple. It is said to be one of the most beautiful sunsets in the region with the reflexion on the water and the peaceful environment.
3. Things to do after watching the sunrise at Angkor Wat Temple
Discovering the beauty of Angkor Wat from Air balloon
Being the world’s largest religious monument, Angkor Complex boasts a lot of wonderful sites to visit and fascinating things to do. The beauty of Angkor Wat not only comes from the ancient temple, ruins and historical sites but also from the majestic mountains, green forest, and the peaceful ponds. One of the most fascinating way to discover the charm of Angkor Wat is riding the hot air balloon.
Admiring the breathtaking landscape in a luxury way with the helicopter
Angkor Wat tour is the primary attraction of Cambodia tour but we go much beyond Angkor Wat to explore the behind the scene destinations. Take a short trip to Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm which are filled with history, marvelous architecture and awash in natural beauty. Then, visit temples and floating villages of Tonle Sap Lake to discover more about the culture and lifestyle of local people. What’s next, your trip will be enhanced by a scenic view of Angkor from a helicopter.
4. Best Time to Watch Sunrise & Sunset at Angkor Wat
Watching sunrise & sunset in the dry season (October, November to April)
The weather in Angkor Wat has the typical characteristics of Cambodia’s climate. The dry season starts in October and ends in April. During these months, the temperature is often above 30. It even can excess 35 in March and April. The weather in November, December, January is cooler and more pleasant. The humidity in the dry season is also high, especially in March and April.
Angkor Wat faces the West, so at the time of sunset, the temperature outside is still so high, which is uncomfortable and may make you feel tired. However, over the course of the dry season, the sky is clear, which offers you a spectacular view and experience of watching the sky’s ever-changing red, yellow and orange hues.
From November to February, the sun rises up later in Angkor Wat. The sunrise time ranges from 06:05 to 06: 30. So you don’t need to be an early bird but still can admire the beauty of the sunrise.
Watching sunrise & sunset in the rainy season
The rainy season lasts from May to September. In May, June, and July, the weather in Angkor Wat remains very hot with infrequent rainfall usually in the form of short downpours. In the rest of the rainy season (August, September) rain tends to become more constant, which may ruin your plan. In addition, there are a lot of cloudy days during these months which are not an interesting thing for both watching or taking the pictures of sunrise and sunset. The sun is up earlier in the rainy season, about at 05:38 and down later at around 18:22.
In conclusion, the best months to admire sunrise and sunset at Angkor Wat are November, December, and January.
5. Angkor Wat Pass & Tickets for Watching Sunset & Sunrise
To visit the temple and sites as well as watch the sunset or sunrise in the Angkor Archaeological Park, you have to possess an Angkor Wat pass which is also known as the “admission pass”.
The validity of the Angkor Pass?
There are three types of the ticket including one-day, 3-day, and 7- day ticket.
|1-day pass||Valid within one day, on the date of purchase|
|3-day pass||Valid for 10 days from issue date. The visiting days are not required to be consecutive|
|7-day pass||Valid for one calendar month from the date of your purchase. It means that you have a whole month in which you can choose which seven days you want to visit Angkor Wat. Of course, the viewing days don’t have to follow on each other.|
How much does an Angkor Wat Pass cost?
|1-day pass||37 US$|
|3-day pass||62 US$|
|7-day pass||72 US$|
The ticket price includes 2 dollars for contribution to the Katha Bopha Children’s Hospital Fund.
Where to buy the Angkor Wat Pass?
Passes are sold at the main entrance on the road to Angkor Wat.
- The one-day ticket counters are located on the right-hand side of the Angkor Ticket Center. This counter often receives the biggest number of buyers all day long.
- The counters for the 3-day tickets are in the middle.
- The 7-day pass counters are on the left.
Method of payment for Angkor Wat Tickets
The ticket counters now accept not just cash but also payment with Visa, Mastercard, UnionPay, JCB, Discover and Diners Club.
Opening Hours for the Angkor Park and Angkor Ticket Office
|Ticket Office||Opening Hours|
|Angkor Ticket Center (Angkor Enterprise)||Daily from 05:00 – 17:30|
|Angkor Wat and Srah Srang||Daily from 05:00 – 17:30|
|Phnom Bakheng and Pre Rup||Daily from 05:00 – 19:00|
|All other Temples||Daily from 07:30 – 17:30|
Note that Except for Phnom Kulen and Beng Mealea. you will need to buy an extra ticket to visit these.)
When to buy the Angkor Wat Pass.
The ticket counter opens from 05:00 to 17:30 every day. The one-day ticket will be valid until 17:00 of the date of your purchase. Any ticket issued after 17:30 will be valid for the next day.
If you want a one-day ticket, you should come to the ticket counter at around 16:45 to stay away from the crowded. But don’t come too late, or else they will close the counter before your turn.
Some entrance tickets regulations you must know
- Your photo is required when purchasing all types of Angkor Wat Pass
- The passes are not transferable to the third parties and cannot be reimbursed. In case you lose your ticket, you must purchase the new one.
- Keep the pass carefully and remember to bring it along until you complete the visit. The passes will be checked very often, maybe upon each park entry and at major temples. Without a pass inside the park, you are subject to a significant fine as follows:
- US$ 100 for the value of one-day ticket
- US$ 200 for the value of three-day ticket
- US$ 300 for the value of seven-day ticket
- Photo taken on the spot with free of charge is required at time of purchase.
- The note about dress code is not an official regulation, but you still need to remember. Make sure that your shoulders and knees are covered when purchasing the ticket. Otherwise, you may not get one.
6. Must-know Tips for Watching Sunrise & Sunset in the Angkor Wat Complex
1. Setting camera for the sunrise
To capture some colorful shots or a stunning time-lapse of the sunrise, don’t forget to bring a tripod so that you can have your camera set an exposure length. You’d better choose the small tripod or the foldable one.
2. Set up the long exposure techniques
hen you photograph a sunrise, your camera will think the scene needs to be brighter and will crank up the exposure. The sun may be bright, but you also get dark areas in your scene. Set the Aperture to a medium aperture like 7.1 or 8, or a wider setting like F3.5 or lower in the very early morning. To keep one step ahead of your camera, review your photos as your photo shoot progresses. If the image on your LCD monitor looks brighter than the scene before you, use exposure compensation to decrease the exposure.
3. Choose the focal length
Choose a wide-angle focal length between 24mm and 35mm. The sun will be relatively small in the image, but you’ll capture the beauty of the temples and any clouds that are in the scene.
Now you have everything prepared to enjoy your Cambodia planning with us. Let us know what you would like to see in Cambodia, whether it is temples and beaches, historical places or just focus on the Angkor Wat Archaeological Park. You name it, and we make it happen, here.
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Esther is a passionate traveler and a multilingual content specialist that has lived in 3 continents, 5 countries and 6 cities so far.
She was immediately conquered by Vietnam with its contrasting and magnificent landscapes, its culture, its traditions, its people… and found there the ideal place to settle down for a while.
She firmly believes that it’s the encounters that make the best trips and loves to share her insider tips and advice about Vietnam, Southeast Asia, and new travel trends.