Catch the sunrise in one of the smaller temples

One of the most memorable places I’ve ever visited is Angkor Wat at Siem Reap, Cambodia. On our first morning there, after a night of instigating a tuk-tuk turf war (I’ll save that for a future post), we got up at 4am to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat.

Three tips for watching the perfect sunrise at Angkor Wat:

1. Arrive early: You don’t want to miss the sunrise by oversleeping! We hired a taxi driver for our group of 5. A tuk- tuk driver will also suffice, however, since we were a bigger group, we didn’t want to worry about looking for a driver and haggling at 4 am. Check your alarms and be sure not to arrive TOO early, which is what we did. FYI, the park doesn’t open til 5am.

2. Location, location, location: Hundreds of tourists stake out one of the best sunrise-viewing spots right behind the gates of Angkor Wat. But don’t let their annoying chatter at a god-forsaken hour annoy you. Move up closer to the smaller buildings to the left or even catch a spot on the grassy mounds on the right. Hint, if a local comes up to offer you a seat next to the pond, don’t be a fool and take him up on it. He wants a fee! Be a jerk and sit directly next to that plastic patio chair… for free. Kidding.

3. Morning Glow: The lighting is perfect for taking pictures in the early morning. Not only that, the temperature is cooler and less humid. Immediately after the sunrise, you can start exploring the glorious architecture in a relatively empty surrounding. Don’t hit the temples in the middle of the day in high humidity in June. There’s nothing sexier than pictures of you sweating like a big, pink, puffy idiot in front of the most beautiful buildings in the world… unless you’re taking a picture of you sweating like a big, pink, puffy idiot surrounded by LOTS of big, pink, puffy idiots in the background. Skip that sexiness and explore in the mornings for a fresher refreshed engergy.

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