Angkor Wat Sunrise – Top 6 Best Spots for seeing

By Mabel Collins

Catching the Angkor Wat sunrise is one of the quintessential experiences of a trip to Cambodia, which is one of the things travelers must try in Cambodia.

Here is the guide to getting the best spot for sunrise at Angkor Wat for amazing viewing, the right place, and getting awesome photos.

1. Angkor Wat sunrise time information

What time is the sunrise?

As a rough guide, Angkor Wat sunrise time is changed around:

  • 6.30 am Jan – Apr

  • 5.30 am between May-July

  • 6.00 am Aug-Dec.  

To be more precise, travelers can check  “Siem Reap sunrise time” via Google.

Do I need a ticket?

Yes. You will need a ticket to enter the area. The ticket is best purchased in advance so in the morning you can head straight to the temple site to secure the best position in time to catch the rising sun.

Tips for you: After 4.30 pm every day, tickets can be purchased to use for the next day. Let's buy tickets before the day to go around to choose the place to view the next morning.

How long does it take to get to the sunrise spot at Angkor Wat?

Leaving from the city center of Siem Reap, it’s around a 20 min ride in a tuk-tuk which can drop you near the western entry and bridge. From there, it’s a five-minute walk to the first sunrise spot at the outer gopura and ten minutes to the north or south pond.

Angkor Wat is a common destination in Cambodia

Angkor Wat is a common destination in Cambodia 

2. Top 6 best spots for sunrise Angkor Wat 

Here are the best sunrise spots Angkor Wat has to offer:

The Reflecting Ponds

The reflecting ponds in front of the main temple is the ultimate sunrise spots with an untarnished reflection and symmetrical view of Angkor Wat and its towers surrounded by tall palm trees making the perfect frame for you.

The temple faces west and so the sun rises gloriously from behind the magnificent spires whose silhouettes are beautifully mirrored in the still waters.

Tips: The gates to the temple open at 5:00 AM, so make sure to reach there on time and occupy a spot to capture the iconic sunrise.

You can see the reflection of Angkor Wat on the surface of the water

You can see the reflection of Angkor Wat on the surface of the water

Pre Rup

Also known as the Pyramid Temple, Pre Rup is a three-tier structure with five lotus towers on the uppermost tier. This 1200-year-old temple is made up of laterites and sandstones which radiate orange and red hues at sunrise. 


The golden hour at 5:30 AM provides a soft and warm light turning the place into a stunning panoramic view.

Pre Rup is situated further away from the town near Phnom Bakheng and is 14 km from Siem Reap.

Phnom Bakheng 

Situated at a high of 70 meters, the temple is a prominent spot for sunrise amongst sunrise chasers. The sun beautifully rises from between the gigantic trees offering a bright and glaring start to the day. 


The temple allows only 300 visitors inside at a time. So make sure you get in line immediately as you arrive.

To get to Phnom Bakheng, if you are coming from Siem Reap, enter from the left side of the road just before Angkor Wat and before you get to Angkor Thom.

Phnom Bakheng in Angkor Wat

Phnom Bakheng in Angkor Wat

East Mebon 

East Mebon is a manmade island at the center of Baray Reservoir, is a cultivated land with rice paddies and villages below which make for a spectacular view from the top of the temple. The entrance of the temple is adorned with beautiful carvings and gigantic stone elephants.

East Mebon is a lesser-known site amongst tourists and is located a little further from the other sites, however, the sunrise here is beautiful.

Srah Srang

The Srah Srang reservoir is located right across from Banteay Kdei temple. This 900-year-old lake was earlier used as a bathing pool for the royals that is still filled with water today. 

Srah Srang offers the most exquisite sunrise views with the reflection of the tranquil trees falling over the waters along with the orangish pink hues of the sunrise.

Bayon Temple

Standing squarely at the center of Angkor Thom. The temple faces the east and makes for a stunning sunrise view with the golden light delicately falling over the smiling faces. The outer walls of the temple are carved with intricate patterns along with bas-reliefs depicting major historical events.

Unique faces carving of Bayon Temple

Unique faces carving of Bayon Temple

3. Angkor Wat sunrise tips and advice

How to get the best Angkor Wat sunrise photo?

- If you really really want to have that perfect picture, plan more than one sunrise hunt.

- Get your entry ticket the day before and go for a walk around Angkor Wat to get to know the area. You can find out your best spots.

- Make Sure you’re at the correct pond, which is the small reflection pond inside the temple grounds!

- Go early to make sure you’re one of the first people who enter the Angkor Wat area (opens at 5:00 AM).

- Wait until the sun comes out:  Beautiful photo opp that may result in a better picture than the colorful-sky one you took earlier.

  • At 5:30 AM: the light is soft and warm. 

  • At 6:00 – 6:15 AM: the sky becomes full-time lovely pink/ purple/ orange color

  • At 6:30 – 6:45: the sun will slowly peek behind the temple!

- Make sure to double-check the sunrise time in Siem Reap for the timeframe of your visit.

- Get yourself Lightroom or other post-processing software and get out all the colors your camera captured. Don’t worry, post-processing your photo is not cheating, and it doesn’t mean your photo is fake.

What to bring for Angkor Wat sunrise photos?

- Travelers need clothes that cover your shoulders and knees (especially if you’re a woman).

- A tripod (a small gorilla tripod will do, but you need to make sure you get a prime spot).

- ND filter (to make the long exposure longer).

- If you plan to use a phone – a selfie stick to lift your phone above the crowd when taking your Angkor Wat sunrise images.

Prepare well before coming to Angkor Wat Cambodia

Prepare well before coming to Angkor Wat Cambodia

Where is the best place to catch the sunrise over Angkor Wat?

The most favored spot for the classic photo is in front of the north pond. 

Although, there are many options including the adjacent south pond, from the steps of the library, from inside the library (using the window as a frame), etc.

Is Angkor Wat better at sunrise or sunset?

Always choose the Sunrise moment. The sunset in Siem Riep is beautiful but Angkor temple itself closes at 5.30 pm. 

At that time, it was not possible to get sunset photos from the inside. But travelers can freely take photos from the edge of the outer moat on the eastern side which can be nice. 

What is the best season to see Angkor Wat sunrise?

In late March and late September, the sun rises directly over the temple.

It will be lush and green during the rainy season, which is usually September to October, and the ponds will be full, allowing for a nice reflection. If there are any lotus flowers, they will bloom at this time as well.

The lush greenery usually lasts until the hot weather arrives in January, after which things begin to dry out. However, they have recently added irrigation sprinklers and pumps to the ponds, so we may see good conditions all year.

Angkor Wat sunrise has become one of the most popular travel experiences in the world. If you plan to visit this country, this is a must-do for your itinerary.

Don't forget to contact us to immediately apply for a Cambodia tourist visa! The opportunity to come to Cambodia is easier with Cambodia Immigration Services, stay up to 90 days and enter multiple times. Contact Cambodia Immigration Services now!

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