If and when you visit Cambodia, a visit to Angkor Wat at sunrise is an absolute must. Wild, mysterious and beautiful all at the same time. I have been wanting to visit Cambodia for such a long time. Last December my boyfriend and I decided to embark on a month-long trip traveling around this part of Asia. Our first stop was to be Cambodia. On my list were the many temples of Angkor and at the top of that list was a sunrise over Angkor Wat.
I will try not to refer them all as Angkor Wat Temples as is the case with most blogs. Angkor Wat simply means City Temple ( Angkor means city and Wat means temple, or city of Temples in Khmer), which is the one shown in the pictures below. All the other temples although siting within the Angkor Archaeological Park are not called Angkor Wat like commonly referenced on blogs. Each has its own name. I will be sharing more pictures of the other temple with tips on these in the coming days.
- Where To Stay In Siem Reap
- Things To Do In Siem Reap Besides Temples
- Exploring Bayon Temple In Siem Reap
- Five Of The Best Temples To Visit In Siem Reap
- 1 Angkor Wat At Sunrise
- 2 Visiting At Angkor Wat In Siem Reap
- 3 Angkor Wat Sunrise The Best Spots
- 4 Choosing Between Angkor Wat Sunrise Or Sunset
- 5 Is Sunrise Angkor Wat Worth It?
- 6 When to Visit Angkor Wat Best Times to Visit
- 7 Angkor Wat Entrance Fees
- 8 Angkor Wat Tours
- 9 How To Get To Angkor Wat
- 10 What To Pack For Angkor Wat
- 11 Where to Stay In Siem Reap
Angkor Wat At Sunrise
Out of all the temples in Siem Reap, an Angkor Wat sunrise is top of many bucketlis for those coming to Siem Reap. Angkor Park is a world heritage site and compasses 400 square kilometers and more than 1000 temples. Some are just piles of rubble as a reminder of what was. Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world. Originally constructed as a Hindu Temple for the Khmer Empire but was later transformed into a Buddist Temple. Having explored the temples and ruins of temples, it is by far one of the best preserved among them and a prime attraction for visitors heading to visit Angkorian temples.
In order to get the best spot when visiting Angkor Wat for sunrise, many set off from hotels at 3am or even 4am especially when sunrise is around 5.30am. Everyone wants to get the best photos of the temple at sunrise and sunset.
Visiting At Angkor Wat In Siem Reap
The temple grounds are huge. A lot bigger than I imagined they would be. You will be up and down steep stairs and dark and mysterious(read scary) that you will need to take your time here and explore at a leisurely pace. The walls are covered in so much detail telling stories of empires and life as it once was. It’s always beautiful to see the level of detail scribed into the walls showcasing the level of skill it took to not only build and carve out statues, considering the technology they had then and what we have now.
All around the temple you will see Apsara carvings(I have a picture below). An Apsara is a female spirit of the clouds and waters in Hindu and Buddhist mythology. In Indian religions, Apsaras are beautiful, supernatural female beings. They are youthful and elegant with an art for dancing, perhaps for nudity as well as some if not all carvings are half naked with their ample bosoms out on show. They are said to be wives of Gandharvas, court musicians of Indra can usually be found dancing in palaces of the Gods, entertain and sometimes seduce gods and men(explains why their tits are out on display).
Unless you have a tour guide, learning and knowing a little bit about the site, Hinduism and Buddhism will make your visit to Angkor Wat a little more enjoyable in my opinion as you will have an inkling of understanding what you see. Similar to how, say, as a Christian visiting a cathedral I would have an inkling of what stained windows tales stories of miracles or tales from the bible. It adds a little more depth to your visit than just a picture-taking exercise. I would also recommend checking out the Angkor National Museum which will help you understand a bit more about the beliefs and architecture of the temples in Siem Reap and Cambodia in generally and how this is tied to Indian religions.
Angkor Wat Sunrise The Best Spots
In order to get the best pictures of a sunrise over Angkor Wat people to arrive super early or scope out Angkor Wat best spots to take pictures of a sunrise the day before. Visiting during the day to see where the moat and try to figure out where the morning sun rises from at Angkor Wat. Also taking note of Angkor Wat sunrise time so you know when to head out to the temple. You can also opt to take an Angkor Wat sunrise tour where a lot of things is arranged for you.
Choosing Between Angkor Wat Sunrise Or Sunset
If you have plenty of time then you can avoid choosing between an Angkor Wat sunrise or sunset. There are a lot of keen photographers who come here and do both Angkor Wat sunrise and sunset and repeat a few times a week to get the best image of sunrise over Angkor Wat. I preferred morning sun rises at Angkor Wat but you can certainly do both if you are in Siem Reap over a couple of days. If you are not a morning person then pictures of Angkor Wat at sunset might be a better option for you. You can also opt to do Sunrise and sunset combined tours.
Is Sunrise Angkor Wat Worth It?
I had heard so much about pictures of sunrise at Angkor Wat that I wanted to see this myself. While I am certainly glad I did, I was rather disappointed. You can find out more about that in my post on what they don’t tell you about Angkor Wat sunrise. So it sunrise at Angkor Wat worth it, I suppose its worth it if you are really into photography otherwise its just meh. If you are going to go my Angkor Wat sunrise tips are to prepare the night before on how to get there. Seek help from your hotel to arrange a tuk-tuk driver to take you early in the morning. Angkor Wat temple can be super crowded as people assemble. So, check just what time does sun rise in Siem Reap so that you can get there early. For hardcore photographers they will get there super early so that they have the best spot to get pictures of Angkor Wat at Sunrise.
When to Visit Angkor Wat Best Times to Visit
Angkor Wat is well known for its sunrise and sunset photographers so prepare fro crowds! If this is not really something you are into then I would highly recommend visit between 8am and 12pm and again before the sunset crowds return before 5pm, depending on the season you visit. You can also come for the sunrise then head back to sleep and return later in the day.
Angkor Wat Entrance Fees
Tickets are sold in one-day($20), three-day($40) and seven-day($60) and are not necessarily consecutive. The tickets will have a picture of you so you will need to bring ID, preferably your passport. They will take a picture of you, so the tickets cannot be transferred to someone else.
Angkor Wat Tours
How To Get To Angkor Wat
As I said above, make sure you secure a tuk-tuk driver so that you don’t have to figure out how to get to Ankgkor Wat that early in the morning for a sunrise shoot. Bear in mind that it will be as dark as night when everyone is descending on Ankgkor Wat temple.
What To Pack For Angkor Wat
Bug spray. There are plenty of mosquitoes around so repellent and a scarf or cardigan to cover up. If coming for sunrise/sunset shoots then bring a torch. Also, bring drinking water and comfortable shoes.
Where to Stay In Siem Reap
We stayed at a beautiful little boutique hotel and not to far from the famous Pub Street where you will spend the majority of your time when not temple running. I will share pictures and tips on where to stay and where in Siem Reap. We booked it via Booking.com. You can check out my tips on how I save money when I book hotels and apartments here.
- Tips For Visiting Bangkok’s Grand Palace
- Top Experiences Not To Miss In Phuket
- Why Dubai Is The Perfect Winter Destination
- Where To Stay In Dubai
Pin For Later