Angkor Wat at sunrise is a spectacular sight. The view of Cambodia’s most famous temple complex backlit by the rising sun is definitely worth getting up early for! Discover the tips and tricks for taking the best photos of Angkor Wat sunrise without too much effort!
Getting a great photo of Angkor Wat at sunrise is not difficult or complicated. You don’t need to haul a tripod with you to take a photo of a temple backlit with the colorful sunrise colors.
What’s great about taking photos of Angkor Wat at sunrise is that you don’t need to capture the details of this ancient structure – just the dark outline of the temple with the rising sun behind it. With proper planning, it should be an easy enough task.
In fact, all the photos you see in this post were quickly snapped without me putting too much effort into it. The key is to get up early enough to make it to the temple complex at 5:00 am when it opens.
Yes, there will be a lot of people but it shouldn’t be too difficult to take a good picture or two. The most important thing is to actually enjoy the sunrise!
Opening Hours at Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat opens the gate at 5:00 am.
When to buy tickets
Buy the tickets the day before in order to avoid lines early in the morning and to make it to the temple early enough to watch the sunrise. You should be at the temple gates with the ticket in your hand at 5:00 am, when the gates open.
Be respectful and wear appropriate clothing. It is prohibited to wear revealing clothing that exposes knees and shoulders. You must cover your shoulders and knees at all times. Please dress appropriately.
Prepare for Angkor Wat Sunrise the day before – Tips and Tricks
Below are some tips to help you enjoy the sunrise at Angkor Wat in a relaxed fashion:
- Because you will have to get up early the next day to watch the sunrise, make sure to have early dinner and prepare everything you need the day before.
- Charge your camera.
- Make sure you have enough space on a memory card.
- Bring warmer clothing as it is likely to be more chilly early in the morning.
- Bring mosquito spray.
- The Angkor Wat opens at 5:00 am. It is a good idea to plan accordingly the day before so that you arrive at the temple complex at least 10 minutes before 5:00 am. This will allow you time to walk around and find the best spot from which you will watch the sunrise.
Be ready for the crowds
Sunrise at Angkor Wat is a popular event with tourists, so be prepared to see lots and lots of people.
The best photo spot for Angkor Wat sunrise
The best photo of Angkor Wat sunrise involves the reflection of the Angkor Wat in the water pond in front of the main temple.
If you arrive early enough and get one of the front spots by the pond, you will be able to take a photo of Angkor Wat at sunrise reflecting in the pond without people blocking your view.
Tips for taking the best photos of Angkor Wat sunrise
- Make sure you can see the reflection of Angkor Wat in the pond. Sometimes the reflection can be blocked by the pods of lilies, in which case you should find another spot where the reflection is more clear.
- Take several photos to make sure you have more than one photo to choose from.
- After you have taken several photos at one spot, move around and take photos from other spots to get a different perspective.
Here is the photo I took with the Angkor Wat reflecting in the pond at sunrise:
This photo of Angkor Wat was also taken at sunrise but it was taken further away from the pond, with people in front of me.
This photo of Angkor Wat was taken at sunrise to the left of the pond. Even though there were people in front of me, the photo is still pretty good. I like the silhouette of the tree, and the presence of people actually gives more dynamics to the photo.
And, remember, you arrived early in the morning at Angkor Wat to enjoy the majestic view of this ancient temple with the sun rising behind it. The most important thing is to enjoy the experience and not to take lots of photos, so don’t forget about that!