Many dream of seeing Angkor Wat up close. And when this dream finally comes true, it should be perfect, including a beautiful Angkor Wat sunrise.
As we pondered whether it was worth getting up so early during the rainy season to see the sunrise at Angkor, looking back, we would do it again in a heartbeat. It was simply a magical moment. But to make this moment as perfect as possible, there are several things you should consider beforehand. You’ll find out what these are in this post.
Author’s note: This article focuses exclusively on the sunrise at Angkor Wat. For more information on your visit to the Archaeological Park of Angkor, check out my 3-Day Angkor Wat Itinerary.
What to find out in this post
- 1 In a nutshell: Is the sunrise at Angkor Wat worth it?
- 2 The best time to see a sunrise in Cambodia
- 3 How to get to Angkor Wat’s Sunrise
- 4 Preparing for the sunrise in Angkor
- 5 How to see the perfect Angkor Wat Sunrise
- 6 Alternative sunrise points in Angkor
- 7 Alternative to sunrise: the sunset in Angkor
- 8 Where to stay in Siem Reap
In a nutshell: Is the sunrise at Angkor Wat worth it?
Visiting Angkor Wat at sunrise is especially rewarding outside of the rainy season. This is when the sky illuminates with stunning sunrise hues, casting a magical glow behind Angkor’s towers. However, be prepared for crowds, as this is a popular time for visitors.
In the rainy season, the likelihood of witnessing a clear sunrise diminishes, but you might still be lucky enough to experience a beautiful sunrise on a good weather day.
The best time to see a sunrise in Cambodia
Theoretically, you can enjoy wonderful sunrises and sunsets in Cambodia at any time of year. However, the chances of catching a beautiful sunrise are better outside the monsoon season.
So, between November and April, you are most likely to be able to watch the sunrise in a clear sky.
The rainy season takes place between May and October. Unfortunately, you can never know precisely what the weather will be like during this time of year. (During the dry season, rain and clouds can also occur occasionally).
How to get to Angkor Wat’s Sunrise
To experience this incredible sunrise at Angkor Wat, you have four different options:
Join a Tour
Experience the sunrise with a guided tour. The significant advantage is that you don’t have to worry about anything on a tour. The guide will lead you to the best sunrise spot and help you take the perfect photo. It’s also a great way for solo travelers to connect with other travelers.
You can book such a tour at a local travel agency or online via GetYourGuide.
Go with a driver
Hire a driver to pick you up at your accommodation in the morning and take you to the sunrise spot. This option is great if you travel as a couple or group or if privacy and flexibility are important. The prices and languages spoken by the drivers can vary.
We opted for Mr. Chan. He speaks fluent English and even Spanish. Currently, Mr. Chan prefers to take Spanish-speaking guests to Angkor. You can find his Facebook page here.
Rent a scooter
Another option is to rent a scooter in Siem Reap the day before and drive yourself to Angkor Wat. This option offers even more flexibility and is excellent for experienced moped riders, solo travelers, couples, and two friends traveling together. The scooter’s downside is that you must find your way and parking space. Prices vary, but you can expect to pay around 10-20$ per day.
Extra tip: Take a good look at the scooter before your first ride and take a few photos to make sure you have proof of any scratches and dents.
Rent a bike (not recommended)
Another option is to go by bike. We actually met some visitors on bikes. However, if you don’t cycle regularly, I wouldn’t recommend this option. The routes can be pretty long, and you must get up even earlier than the other options.
Preparing for the sunrise in Angkor
Where should you stay?
As the sunrise takes place very early in the morning, it is a good idea to look for accommodation in and around Siem Reap.
If you also want to get to know life in Cambodia, you should look for accommodation in the center of Siem Reap if possible. If it is more important to you to have accommodation close to the Angkor Archaeological Park, you will also find resorts and hotels just outside the city center.
Later in this article, I will introduce you to a few more suitable accommodation options.
Purchase your ticket in advance
Where to purchase the ticket: Angkor Enterprise: Street 60, Krong Siem Reap, or online here (no affiliate link)
You can buy your ticket to Angkor the day before. The ticket office opens the day before at 4.45 pm. It is advisable to arrive on time, as it gets crowded. The tickets are then released for sale from 5 pm.
Decide in advance how many days you want to spend in Angkor. You can choose between one, three, and seven days. Now, get in the right line (each ticket type is a different line).
How to see the perfect Angkor Wat Sunrise
When should you start?
You should aim to arrive in Angkor Wat at around 5 am at the latest. If you stay in Siem Reap, this means getting out of bed at 4.30 am. This may seem a little difficult, but believe me, this beautiful sunrise over Angkor Wat is worth every missed minute of sleep.
You can find the exact sunrise times for each day on this Website.
Extra tip: Angkor Wat opens its doors to visitors at 5 am. It’s worth getting there early to get a good spot and not arrive just in time for sunrise.
If you are traveling with a tour or a driver, they will know best where to drop you off. However, if you are traveling alone, you should check the route beforehand so you don’t get lost. But don’t worry, Angkor Wat is easy to find.
Where do you have the best view?
Many visitors make the mistake of stopping in front of Angkor’s outer moat. Don’t be distracted by the crowd. Going through the first gate, you will get a much better viewpoint.
So ignore the “Sunrise Place” shown on Google Maps. Instead, continue across the bridge over the moat and go through the first gate of Angkor. Once past this point, you will see two ponds reflecting the impressive towers of Angkor.
From here, you will have a better view of this breathtaking spectacle of nature. Make sure you get a front-row spot so that you don’t have any tourist heads in your pictures later. The pond on the left definitely has the better reflection – however, there are usually fewer visitors on the right.
Extra option: We saw some travelers who played it safe to ensure no one was blocking their view by simply standing in the pond with rubber boots. This is, of course, also an option but not necessarily recommended.
Alternative sunrise points in Angkor
Maybe it’s just too crowded for you in front of the Angkor Wat temple ( understandably), or you have no problem getting up early and want to see more sunrises in Angkor. The following three temples also open at 5 am and can serve as a fantastic alternative viewpoint for sunrises in Angkor:
- Srah Srang,
- Phnom Bakheng,
- Pre Rup
Alternative to sunrise: the sunset in Angkor
As soon as you have your ticket, you can visit Angkor. When you buy your ticket, you have free entry to the Angkor Archaeological Park and can watch the sunset from various temples, such as Phnom Bakheng.
You can find more information about the sunset in Angkor in my detailed guide to Angkor.
Where to stay in Siem Reap
The best Budget accommodation in Siem Reap
Soben Cafe Guesthouse
For us, this was a great place to stay (under a different name at the time). The rooms are cozy, and the café part of the inn is a great place to socialize with other travelers. It’s located in a quieter area but still only a short walk from Pub Street.
The best middle-class accommodation in Siem Reap
Lotus Haven Villa
This accommodation is perfect for relaxing after and before a long day at Angkor Wat. The pool offers a welcome respite and refreshment. The cozy rooms are spotless, and breakfast is waiting for you in the morning, included in the price.
The best accommodation near Angkor Wat
Palm Village Resort & Spa
Would you like to relax in a private bamboo-style bungalow after watching the breathtaking sunrise at Angkor Wat in the morning? At Palm Village Resort & Spa, you’ll stay in luxurious 4-star accommodation close to Angkor.
Where to next?
Have a look at our complete 1-month Cambodia Travel Itinerary.