The Angkor Wat is an impressive and famous monument of ancient history, and there’s no better time to see it than at sunrise.
It’s one of the most popular and beautiful sunrise spots in the world. You’ll have to fight your way through crowds of tourists to get a front seat, but this is something you don’t want to miss!
Is It Worth It?
Short answer — YES!
The sunrise is a completely iconic view of the Angkor Wat, and you’ve already come this far.
The only downside is that you have to get up very early — 4:30 AM.
How Can I See It?
First, get in touch with a Siem Reap driver/guide and tell them you want to schedule the sunrise tour. Lots of people do the sunrise tour, so any driver will know what you’re talking about and where to take you.
The driver will pick you up from your hotel at 4:30 AM and first take you to the Angkor Wat ticket office, where you’ll buy your entry ticket.
Technically you can buy this ticket the day before the sunrise if you want to, but it really doesn’t take much time either way. Cash or credit card is accepted for payment.
Getting To The Temples
After you get your ticket, the driver will bring you to the main Angkor Wat temple, which is a short distance from Siem Reap.
When you arrive at the Angkor Wat parking area, it’ll still be very dark, you’ll be half awake, and you won’t have your bearings. This is the confusing part.
Cross the bridge and head east until you reach the ponds. You can use the Google map below to guide you.
If you get lost, you can also follow the crowds of sunrise hungry tourists. Everyone will be moving in the same general direction waving their selfie sticks and tripods.
What Are The Best Photo Spots?
There are two reflective ponds in front of the Angkor Wat temples that serve as the main photo spots for the sunrise. You can see them in the Google map above.
There are some slight differences in the view you get at each pond, but these are pretty subtle. I like the south pond better, because a palm tree hides the fact that there’s renovation work being done on one of the towers. However, many people also seem to prefer the north pond.
Which pond you use, though, will ultimately depend on the season and how much rain there’s been. The last time I went to Angkor Wat was in May, and it was very much the dry season, so the north pond had no water in it and that means no reflection for photos.
The good news is that the ponds are only 50 yards apart. The south pond had plenty of water even in the dry season, so naturally that’s where I did my photos.
Here are a few of the pictures I took from the south pond:
Best Angkor Wat Sunrise Tour
If you’re looking for a good Siem Reap driver/guide to show you around, Klook has a private Angkor Wat sunrise tour by tuk-tuk for $19 USD or a shared tour for $12 USD.
Both of these tours have good reviews, and the prices are competitive.
My Angkor Wat Travel Guide
Looking for more information on the ancient temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia?
Check out my full Angkor Wat Travel Guide with tips, maps, photos, and more.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at the 4-star La Residence Blanc D'Angkor in Siem Reap. It was $18 USD per night for a clean double room with cold A/C, work desk, refrigerator, wardrobe, and more. There's also an on-site restaurant and pool.
The staff there is amazingly friendly, and I love the epic wall art showing scenes from the Angkor Wat. It sets the mood for exploring some Cambodian temple ruins.
Prices may fluctuate from time to time, so just keep an eye out for a good deal.