Angkor Wat Sunrise Is So Worth Getting Out Of Bed For

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Angkor Wat Sunrise Is So Worth Getting Out Of Bed For

Angkor Wat sunrise is pretty magical and is so worth it.

Angkor Wat sunrise is pretty magical and is so worth it.

A MAGICAL MOMENT AT SIEM REAP | Sharon Henry

Angkor Wat sunrise! My alarm reminds me at my 4am wake up call. I contemplate ignoring it, but no, get up! This is the Angkor Wat Temple and an opportunity of a lifetime to experience and photograph sunrise over this magnificent UNESCO site. Plus, it’s considered THE thing to do at Siam Reap, Cambodia.

We bought our Angkor Wat ticket the day before and did a little recce, not wanting to be late we’re out the door by 5am.

Nak, our tuk tuk driver is waiting outside and within 30mins drives us to the Angkor Wat entrance.

The Classic Angkor Wat Images

Other excited sunrise watchers are arriving in droves; we can hardly believe how many people are already here. A long line of headlights trails away up the road set against the loud hum of tuk tuks competing with buzzing crickets in the surrounding trees.

We get approval from the line of Angkor Wat ticket inspectors and set off into the grounds to find a spot for ‘the’ shot. You know, the ‘classic pond shot’ showing a reflection of the temple towers and the sunrise.

Angkor Wat Sunrise Best Spot

Unfortunately, it’s the height of summer and the ‘classic pond’ on the left of the complex has virtually dried up. This fact doesn’t seem to deter others, however; the place is crowded. There are scores of tripods and serious looking photographers staking a coveted spot around the rim of what is now a patchy, muddy puddle, elbows out guarding their precious space. I wonder what ungodly hour they showed up.

We decide to leave the Angkor Wat photography buffs and relocate to the other side (right) of the complex where it’s less crowded and we should get a better angle of the pink-tinged sky, but without a reflecting pool. The selfie sticks are also out in full force.

The line of Angkor Wat ticket inspectors with torches in the dark, making sure we all have tickets.

The line of Angkor Wat ticket inspectors with torches in the dark, making sure we all have tickets.

The muddy puddle of a 'reflecting' pool at Angkor Wat with crowds of early birds at the front.

The muddy puddle of a ‘reflecting’ pool at Angkor Wat with crowds of early birds at the front.

Even without a 'poolside' view, many people were happy to stand behind the crowd and wait for the sun to appear over the magnificent UNESCO site.

Even without a ‘poolside’ view, many people were happy to stand behind the crowd and wait for the sun to appear over the magnificent UNESCO site.

We squeezed through the crowd to snap this shot of how depleted the pond was at the Angkor Wat temple.

We squeezed through the crowd to snap this shot of how depleted the pond was at the Angkor Wat temple.

 

Getting Those Angkor Wat Pictures

While Darrin sets up the camera, I can’t help eavesdropping on a conversation with an Angkor Wat tour guide. “There’s a hot air balloon ride near Angkor Wat, you can go up for $1, good price right?” asks the tour guide. “It costs $19 to come down. Deal or no deal?” he chuckles. The tourist is not amused. I have to swallow my chuckle.

We photographed that balloon yesterday under an Angkor Wat sunset. The balloon ascends 200m into the air then floats, anchored in place by a wire at the base station.

The hot air balloon photography at Angkor Wat sunset the previous day.

The hot air balloon photography at Angkor Wat sunset the previous day.

One of the horses which will soon be dressed in ceremonial regalia for tourists photo ops during the day.

One of the horses which will soon be dressed in ceremonial regalia for tourists photo ops during the day.

The Angkor Wat Weather Will Make You Sweat

Access inside the Angkor Wat temple itself is closed at this point, although I can see the orange cloth of a monk in the distance taking his position before the doors open.

Two tethered horses are grazing in a small field in front of us, heads down, oblivious of the spectacle soon to unfold. The sky is cloudless, albeit rather misty but it’s already a sticky 29C and the sun has yet to appear; it’s forecast to reach 38C later.

What It’s Like Watching An Angkor Wat Sunrise

Everyone is now quiet; waiting, watching and hungry. Stomachs are grumbling, including mine. We left the hotel before breakfast was served. There is a girl touting coffee to the crowds, it sounds tempting and we do fancy a caffeine fix but wary of the water origin. Yesterday we watched a woman dipping water from the unhealthy looking lake at the front of the temple – so we give the coffee a miss.

Now I start to hear yawns and a little girl behind us repeatedly asking her mum, “when is Mr Sun coming?”

Then the sun starts peeping through the lotus towers and cameras go wild. It looks like liquid gold spilling over one of the world’s most revered religious sites. A magnificent structure, built eons ago in the 12th century. It’s so overwhelming I feel we should applaud.

Then, just as quickly as ‘Mr Sun’ arrives the crowds disperse. But we hang around to savour the moment. We timed it perfectly, the planets aligned and the weather gods gave us perfect skies.  A truly a magical moment that was so worth getting out of bed for.

Off course there’s more to Cambodia than Angkor Wat, click here for a 2 week backpacking Cambodia itinerary.

Plenty of patience required as we wait for 'Mr Sun.' Watching an Angkor Wat sunrise.

Plenty of patience required as we wait for ‘Mr Sun.’ Watching an Angkor Wat sunrise.

The sky begins to change colour and we know the sun won't be long now waiting for an Angkor Wat sunrise.

The sky begins to change colour and we know the sun won’t be long now waiting for an Angkor Wat sunrise.

The magic moment as the sun peeks through the lotus towers of the Angkor Wat temple.

The magic moment as the sun peeks through the lotus towers of the Angkor Wat temple.

The smiles of having witnessed one of the world's most famous sunrises.

The smiles of having witnessed one of the world’s most famous sunrises.

Right, as good as this has been, it's time for breakfast!

Right, as good as this has been, it’s time for breakfast!

Already over 30C by this point, the day is heating up fast. Watching an Angkor Wat sunrise.

Already over 30C by this point, the day is heating up fast. Watching an Angkor Wat sunrise.

 

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By |2018-11-26T15:59:36+00:00May 27th, 2015|Cambodia, Tourist Attraction|2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Shirley May 27, 2015 at 7:36 am - Reply

    Wonderful pictures and blog yet again you globe trotters . Amazing thank you again Sharon and Darren. Where next ?…

    • Saints May 27, 2015 at 3:53 pm - Reply

      Thanks Shirley it really was worth the early start! Vietnam coming up next… 🙂

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