Sunrise at Angkor Wat has become one of the most popular and exotic travel photographs in the world. As a result, you shouldn’t be shocked if you share the view with many others on the day you want to visit the Cambodian temple complex. This can make the atmosphere stressful at times, particularly when dust, humidity, and rivalry for the best picture spots are factored in.
However, there are quite a few ways to see the Angkor Wat Sunrise without having to share them with any crowds. Here are a few tips and tricks for beating the crowds and skipping the queues.
Buy your tickets the day before
If you arrive in Siem Reap late in the afternoon, purchase tickets for the next day. Make sure you know where the office is located; it was relocated in 2016 and is now very far from the Angkor Complex. The Angkor Ticket Booth is open from 5 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., but queues start forming as early as 4:30 a.m. in the morning as last-minute visitors rush to see the sunrise. Tickets are available for one, three, and seven days, so make sure you prepare ahead for your sunrise and sunset tours.
Related post: Watch the Sunset at Phnom Bakheng Temple
Don’t see too many temples in one day
You may be excited to see the temple as many as possible on the first day, but sightseeing exhaustion sets in after a few hours, and you know you don’t want to see another temple for the rest of the day. This is a typical blunder made by many travelers. Get a three-day or seven-day pass and visit the Angkor Archaeological Park in small chunks to stop it. As a result, if you had intended to visit Angkor Thom today but discovered that it was overcrowded, you can postpone your visit until tomorrow and go on to your next destination. It’s a smart thing to keep track of the temples you’ve already visited (on your map or in your app) so it’s difficult to keep track at any point.
Related post: A Guide to Visit Angkor Grand Circuit Temples
Get Up Early To Enjoy It!
Set the alarm clock to arrive at Angkor Wat’s main temple at 5:00 a.m. or shortly afterward to see one of the world’s most beautiful sunrises. And if the sun doesn’t rise until 5:30 or 6:00 a.m., being there early would ensure you find the right location for the best photo of the day.
Bring a little flashlight with you, or use the one on your phone to ensure you don’t trip in the dark when you walk up to Angkor Wat. It’s impossible to walk without additional light because the terrain is rough.
If you’re traveling with a guide, they’ll show you where the best spots are. If not, drive to the lake’s left side and find a decent location. You will not be lonely, except at the hour of the morning.
Don’t be tempted to leave as soon as the sky becomes clear. Wait before the sun has completely risen from behind the temple; the view is almost as breathtaking as the sunrise.
You can stay longer around Angkor Wat because you will see how people begin to move and walk away after around 7:00 a.m., so it was the ideal moment to get a shot without someone in the background and to experiment with various angles.
“Keep in mind that you are visiting a sacred site, and being mindful of this is crucial. Wear appropriate clothing that covers your knees and shoulders, and behave appropriately when you’re there, as this isn’t just a pretty tourist picture spot.”
Enter from the East Gate instead of the main West Gate
If you’ve already seen the sunrise at Angkor Wat, enter from the tiny East Gate rather than the big West Gate for the rest of your days. This will allow you to enjoy the temples on this side of the archaeological park without having to deal with crowds of tourists. There will be no selfie sticks, elbow-pushing, or vendors.
Getting Around Angkor Archaeology Park
Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom (featuring the massive Bayon Temple), and Ta Prohm are the three major attractions at Angkor park. This is where most people congregate. If you just have one day in Siem Reap, you can go to these three places. By behaving counter-intuitively and beginning at the bottom of the list, you will outsmart the masses and escape large groups. In the early morning, Ta Keo, which is located between Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm, is a ghost shrine.
Related post: Must-visit Temples in Angkor Archaeology Park