Best Things to Do Cambodia: Waking Up at the Crack of Dawn to Witness Sunrise at Angkor Wat


I never thought that I would voluntarily wake up at 4am on my honeymoon, but I did (And this wasn’t even the only day I did so). It was totally worth it. The second country on my honeymoon was Cambodia. Everyone who has been who I spoke with vowed it was at the top of their list ,so I was really excited to go.

We awoke in the wee hours of the morning and grabbed all of our belongings with heavy eyes and a slowed pace. Our guide was waiting for us downstairs, probably wishing that we hadn’t opted for the “Sunrise” package. Despite this, he seemed in good spirits and the entire drive to Angkor Wat spouted off useful information that my jet-lagged brain desperately tried to process.

Angkor Wat is the largest Hindu temple not only in Cambodia but in the world. It is located in Northern Cambodia, in the province of Siem Reap. It was built in the early 12th century by King Suryavaram II. The temple is an impressive example of Khmer architecture, covered in ornate and intricate carvings that demonstrate a high level of skill. The temple now serves as a symbol of Cambodia and is the main tourist attraction for visitors. Its name, literally means “City of Temples.”

When we arrived I was shocked. I had imagined that Angkor Wat at 5am would be far less crowded than it had been the day before. I was wrong. People with flashlights hiked over from the parking lot all touting professional cameras. I mean everyone. There were literally probably thousands of people crowded around the famous reflecting pool clicking non-stop away. Flashing up a storm despite the fact that they didn’t work since the buildings was probably 150 meters away.  The paparazzi had arrived. A very untalented paparazzi. People snapped away as the sun rose in the sky. Did I make it seem like I wasn’t part of that lame crew? Because I was. I so was. I desperately tried to shoot an award-winning photo. There was actually a photography class taking place in front of me. I thought, awesome, I’ll eavesdrop on the tips and master my photos. Much to my dismay, if you really want to get a great shot. You need a tripod. So if that’s your goal. It’ll be worth lugging it around. I did not have one so I did my best with my unsteady arms.

Once I felt like I had gathered enough mediocre pictures to satisfy my urge, I put my camera down and looked at the splendor of the sunrise over this incredible structure and just stood arm in arm with my husband. I took in the moment and tried to enjoy it. I had to fight off the nagging urge to snap just one more photo, the one that might top all the rest. As I daydreamed about my improving photography skills, we were approached by two children. At first, they seemed sweet and harmless, I desperately tried to forget all the warnings about the scam-artist children in Cambodia.

“Buy some coffee”

“No thank you”

We gave them about a few dollars just to make them go away. Big mistake. Eventually our guide had to step in like a parent and hustle the kids away because they just wouldn’t stop bugging us or the people around us. Everyone was shooting us dirty looks for instigating them. I don’t care though, I still was happy to give them a little money.

Once the sun had rose, we strolled through the ornately carved hallways and witnessed literally hundreds of fine carvings and small shrines that are still used today by the local people.

If you have time, Angor Thom is also incredible. The stone carvings there are awe-inspiring.

Check out some of our other pictures from Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom.

If you’re in Southeast Asia, visiting Siem Reap, Cambodia is a must in my opinion and witnessing sunrise over Angkor Wat is also something I recommend. You will never forget it.

Have you been to Siem Reap? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

  1. RobRob
    • Katie
  2. The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen)
    • Katie
  3. Nick
    • Katie
  4. Socket4代理

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *