Find out the reason why sunrise at Angkor Wat is on so many people’s bucket lists, and why it needs to be on yours too.
Welcome To Cambodia
Welcome to the enchanting land of Cambodia, where ancient history meets modern vibrancy. In this travel blog, we’re about to embark on a journey to the heart of Southeast Asia. More specifically to the captivating town of Siem Reap. Here, the timeless allure of the Angkor Wat temple complex awaits, promising an unforgettable sunrise that will etch its beauty into your memory forever. Join me as we explore the fascinating culture, rich history, and breathtaking experience of watching the sunrise over Angkor Wat.
The Countdown to Sunrise: Angkor Wat Adventure
As the stars fade into the pre-dawn sky, it’s time to embark on an early morning adventure that you’ll cherish forever – witnessing the sunrise over the iconic Angkor Wat.
As the sky transitions from inky darkness to shades of pale blue, a sense of anticipation fills the air. All around you, fellow travellers gather in hushed excitement, their eyes fixed on the majestic silhouette of Angkor Wat against the slowly brightening horizon. Here’s how to maximise this awe-inspiring experience:
There are many ways to see the area of Angkor Wat, whether it’s self-drive, tour guide or tuk-tuk. I personally arranged for pickup with a local tuk-tuk driver who was fantastic. A minibus tour will cost around $ 25 USD each, or a local tuk-tuk was $10 USD each, not including entrance tickets. I wanted to help and support locals in Siem Reap which is why I arranged this with a tuk-tuk driver. He was incredibly friendly as well as taking me to multiple sites around the Angkor Wat area, including Angkor Thom, Ta Keo, and Ta Prohm areas to name just a few
*NOTE- we actually chose to pay him more than this as we really thought 7-8 hours of taking us around the UNESCO heritage site was worth more than what he wanted to charge.
To secure the perfect vantage point for the sunrise, it’s advisable to arrive at Angkor Wat well before dawn. The ticket counter opens at 04:30 AM, allowing you to purchase your entrance pass ahead of time. I actually arrived around 04.45 AM as we were advised most tours arrive at around 05:00 AM. This gave me a valuable head start.
Prepare, Pack, and Dress with Respect
Equipping yourself with a flashlight is a great idea to help you on your way to the actual temple. The walk from the drop-off point is around 10-15 minutes. There are no streetlights in this pedestrian-only area. Also, bear this in mind when arriving to see the sunrise.
Many people hung around for a long time and actually didn’t preplan the walk to the temple and arrived after the sun had risen. Give yourself plenty of time. Dressing respectfully is equally important. Remember to cover your knees and shoulders as a sign of cultural respect when exploring Angkor Wat. Opt for comfortable clothing and sturdy shoes for a hassle-free experience.
Angkor Wat Ticket Information
Entrance tickets can be paid in cash (US Dollars, Cambodian Riel, Thai Bath, Euro) or by credit card (Discover, Visa, Mastercard, Union Pay, JCB, Diners Club). An on-site ATM is available to withdraw cash. Ticket prices are as follows:
1 Day Pass: $37 USD
3 Day Pass: $62 USD
7 Day Pass: $72 USD
The 3-day pass is valid for 10 days from the issue date, the 7-day pass is valid for 1 month from the issue date. So with both of these passes it’s not necessary to plan your visits on consecutive days.
By clicking submit, you are willing to share your email address with the Travel With Cooky team and keep up to date with all updates, articles, and top travel tips. Use the unsubscribe link in those e-mails to opt-out at any time.
Capturing the Unforgettable Moment
As the first rays of sunlight paint the sky with hues of pink and gold, prepare your camera to capture the ethereal beauty of Angkor Wat as it’s illuminated by the soft morning light. Arriving early will get you the best spot, especially if you have tripods or equipment you wish to set up.
As the sun’s golden fingers stretch over the temple’s ornate spires, a collective gasp escapes the crowd. The stone carvings, once concealed by shadows, come to life in intricate detail. The reflection of the temple in the tranquil moat adds a surreal touch to the scene, making the moment feel like something out of a dream.
Understanding the Historical Legacy
Angkor Wat isn’t just a beautiful structure; it’s a time capsule that preserves the legacy of the Khmer Empire. Built during the early 12th century by King Suryavarman II, this sprawling complex was originally dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu. It later transformed into a Buddhist sanctuary, reflecting the spiritual evolution of the region.
The Angkor Wat national park area houses multiple temples of arguably equal beauty. These should not be overlooked when visiting Angkor Wat. My favourites were Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm, and the Bayon Temple. You can see why from the stunning images below.
Reflecting on History
While the sunrise is undeniably breathtaking, take a moment to absorb the historical significance of Angkor Wat. Built-in the 12th century as a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu and later transformed into a Buddhist temple, this UNESCO World Heritage Site stands as a testament to Cambodia’s enduring cultural legacy. Angkor Wat was built during the Khmer Empire, a powerful civilization that ruled over much of Southeast Asia from the 9th to the 15th century. It was constructed in the early 12th century, during the reign of King Suryavarman II.
A visit to the Angkor National Museum is a great idea before you visit Angkor Wat. This way you can learn about the history surrounding this ancient wonder before you see it. This eliminates the need to be taken around in a group and the additional tour guide’s expense. This way you can sit and take in the majestical venue completely on your own terms and leisure.
Siem Reap: A Glimpse into Cambodian Culture
Nestled in the northwestern part of Cambodia, Siem Reap is more than just a gateway to the world-renowned Angkor Wat. This charming town boasts a vibrant local culture that warmly welcomes travelers from across the globe. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by friendly faces, bustling markets, and a delightful blend of traditional Cambodian architecture and modern amenities.
Exploring the Old Market
Dive headfirst into the local experience by wandering through the Old Market, also known as Psar Chas. Here, you’ll find an array of stalls offering everything from handcrafted souvenirs to delectable street food. The market’s lively atmosphere is a testament to the warmth and hospitality of the Cambodian people.
Cultural Shows and Apsara Dancing
To immerse yourself in Cambodian art and tradition, don’t miss the chance to attend an Apsara dance performance. This traditional dance, often accompanied by a sumptuous Khmer feast, showcases the grace and elegance of Cambodian culture.
Take A Traditional Khmer Cooking Class
Taking a Khmer cooking class in Cambodia offers an immersive cultural journey. You’ll engage with local traditions, craft dishes using fresh ingredients, and learn age-old techniques in authentic settings. This hands-on experience fosters a deep understanding of Khmer cuisine, its rich flavors, and the significance of each ingredient. From market visits to community interactions, the class promotes sustainable tourism and supports local businesses. By gaining culinary skills, you bring home cherished memories, unique recipes, and a taste of Cambodian culture to share with loved ones—a truly enriching adventure that transcends food and connects you with the heart of Cambodia.
The Magic of Cambodia
A journey to Cambodia’s Siem Reap is more than a mere vacation – it’s a passage through time, culture, and the very essence of human creativity. From the lively streets of Siem Reap to the captivating beauty of Angkor Wat’s sunrise, this adventure offers a glimpse into the heart and soul of a nation that has triumphed over adversity to celebrate its rich heritage. So, pack your bags, set your alarm clock, and get ready to witness a sunrise that will leave you forever enchanted by the mystique of Angkor Wat.
Siem Reap isn’t just a destination; it’s an odyssey through Cambodia’s cultural tapestry and historical legacy. From the lively streets to the ethereal sunrise at Angkor Wat, every step immerses you in the heart of a resilient nation that cherishes its past while embracing its present. So, pack your spirit of adventure, cultural respect, and a thirst for history, in the incredible country of Cambodia.
Having worked, stayed, and played in the Bay Of Islands for nearly 7 months I…
8 months, 2 Cyclones, 1 car accident Unbelievably, it has been over 8months since I…
Have you ever heard the word “workation”?A workation is any period spent working in a…
With the largest city in New Zealand being most people’s port of call, it’s important…
After 2 years of waiting, the adventure finally begins! Followers of the website will be…