Sunset at Bakheng Hill, Angkor Wat
The Hill of Phnom Bakheng is the crowd magnet for the end of the day. After a tiring day of dodging the sun in leafy surrounding amongst crumbling temples now is the time go up a mile in order to face it. For some reason sunsets and sunrises have become the things to do in all sorts of locations around the Earth from Machu Picchu to Borobudur. As if one cannot appreciate the glory, past and present of the place but has to have the sun improve on it somehow. So Angkor is not an exception. Instead of concentrating on the different view of Angkor Wat immersed in the greenery of the jungle the crowd prefers to pile up on the other side in hope to see the sun which most likely is going to be covered by clouds or “mist” most days anyway. Most astonishingly, the hill is a home of yet another temple, in rapid reconstruction but it has no impact on the visitors, they have been templed out – they are there to see the sun because they have not seen it somewhere else (as exotically specific as Stonehenge, Giza or Teotihuacan) yet!?
To catch a spectacular sunset, climb the steps leading up to Bakheng hill. The colours are very rich and deep. It feels like a big social event as there will be plenty of other tourists waiting for the magic hour. Just watch your step as you are coming down in the fading light.
I was a little mislead and disappointed with the "Sunset on the Hill". What I was hoping for was to be on the hill and watching the sunset over the Angkor Wat temples, adding that golden glow to the silhouette. Unfortunately, you will be on the top of the hill, with the temples to your back watching the sun set over the flat expanse of the treeline.
Well I got this tip from the same forum prior to my visit and it's really works!! 1st thing to do. Get yourself a remork (Tuk-tuk -US$5) to visit as many temples as possible using the next day pass in late Evening.
We reached the ticketing booth at 4:30pm & waited till 4:45pm before they opened the counter. Purchased the US$20/pax pass & straight away goto the nearest check-point & there we go using the 1 day pass on the free day towads Angkor Wat complex.
We passed by Angkor Wat, stop to snapped few pictures at the entrance & rushed like others to Phnom Bakheang Pyramid Hill temple to get the sunset shot as per my cover page
Directions: About 1km North of Angkor Wat. You need to walk circling the hill as the ancient stairways are collapsing beyong repair?..The hike up (Very easy & not so steep) will be about 10-15min just nice to be there wth hundreds others tourist around the world..
I debated for a while whether to put this here, or under "Traps". It's here because, after all, nobody coerced us. Phnom Bakeng has a reputation as "the" place for watching the sunset. I am sure there are many other places, but people still come here in throngs. It is a pretty much run down structure, without any special features. The climb to the temple is reasonably difficult, but not impossible. There is also the elephant alternative ($20, in a country where the average monthly income is $30!). The steps to the top of the temple, however, are a real challenge. Once you get to the top, you face a new challenge: getting a place to sit and wait for the fabled sunset! You, and half the tourist population in Cambodia. If you're lucky enough to find a breach in the solid wall of fellow photographers, and get your sunset shot, you'd better pack up quickly and hurry downhill, to 1) not get trampled by the crowd, and 2) still have some daylight left, so you can see where you set foot. All in all, not our fondest memory from Angkor...
Phnom Bakheng is often described as the best spot to experience a true Angkor sunset. Apparently, every person in the world knows about that, because it's full of people from 4 to 7pm. Be there early, and you might get a place where you can actually see the sun setting over Tonle Sap lake. Be there late, and you'll only see the backs of thousands of people. Sunset on Phnom Bakheng is not really recommendable if you're looking for a romantic thing to do with your girlfriend, but if you want to take some interesting photos, this is the place to be. First, you can watch and document people's strange attempts to climb up the steep stairs of the temple. Second, you can watch the crowd go crazy when the sun approaches the surface of Tonle Sap lake, illuminating it magically with its intensive orange light. They will even start applauding! Third, and this is the no-nonsense thing about sunset on Phnom Bakheng, you can take photos in the best light conditions when everybody else is hectically descending down the hill and the temple empties in some minutes. At 6pm, there are 1000 people, at 6.05pm, there are 500 people and at 6.15pm it's just you and some others.
For security reasons, the authorities have closed the very steep and rocky direct way to Phnom Bakheng. Some years ago, it was terrible to climb down a landslide-like hill in complete darkness. Nowadays, a winding path leads along the hill. It is not lit either, but at least there are no rocks on the way. Alternatively, you can ride up the hill on the back of an elephant. For either method, plan at least 20 minutes up the hill.
Phnom Bakheng closes at 6.30pm.
Directions: halfway between Angkor Wat and the Bayon
Phnom Bakheng is probably the only temple built on top of a hill which can be accessed by either 1 of the 2 ways. 1 is by foot and another is by paying to take an elephant ride up the slopes. Constructed at the end of the 9th century it is dedicated to god Shiva.
This place is famous for sunset as every day as hundreds of tourist flock here to enjoy the sunset. From here, you can spot Angkor Wat from afar and also the famous hot air balloon ride as well. A good way to end my journey of the Angkor as well...
This temple is located on a hill and trekking there takes about half an hour. As an option, you can also take an elephant ride to the temple. It is very popular around tourists for watching the sunset. From the distance, you can spot Angkor Wat and fields. It is very crowded and noisy due to tourist flocks, but the view is very impressive.
one of the many highlights of the angkor experience is watching the sunset from phnom bakheng, a temple situated on a mount that overlooks all of angkor. the views are spectacular and getting there need not be difficult, it's a very tiring climb for those not in shape.
for about $10, you can ride an elephant up the trail to the temple. the route is peaceful, it's just you, the elephant (and his/her driver), and the forest. the 15-20 minute ride is just like it would have been a thousand years ago because there's nothing along the way to remind you of the present century.
worth it! especially as opposed to riding the elephant along the streets of angkor amidst all the traffic.
Directions: elephant rides can be taken from the base of the phnom bakheng trail.
Phnom Bakheng at Angkor is a Hindu temple in the form of a temple mountain.
Located atop a hill, it is a popular tourist spot for sunset views of the much bigger temple Angkor Wat, which lies amid the jungle about 1.5 km to the southeast.
The large number of visitors makes Phnom Bakheng one of the most threatened monuments of Angkor.
Phnom Bakheng is a symbolic representation of Mount Meru, home of the Hindu gods, a status emphasized by the temple’s location atop a steep hill. The temple faces east, measures 76 meters square at its base and is built in a pyramid form of six tiers. At the top level, five sandstone sanctuaries, in various states of repair.
Visitors have to climb a slightly steep stairs up (15 mins climb) to the base of the temple or take an elephant (us$15/pax) ride up the hill.
Go early to get a good seat & watch the most beautiful sunset!
There were alot of clouds on that day... :(
Both days I was at Angkor Wat, I spent sunset at Phnom Bakheng. This is a huge mountain temple that is the highest point for miles around. The mountain itself is a man-made earthen mound with a very eroded trail -- use caution on your way up and down, especially as it gets dark! The temple on top is fairly unremarkable, but no one goes to the top to see the temple! At the top you have a great view of not just the sunset, but also the main Angkor Wat temple just 1.5 km to the southeast.
From the top of the mountain, you have unobstructed views to Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, and the great reservoirs in the distance. The temple was constructed from 889-910 AD by Jacawarman I, and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.
The sunsets from here are supposed to be the best in Angkor Wat. My first sunset was cloudy, but my second was very beautiful. Even more entertaining than the sunset, however, is the mass of people that flock here to watch the sun. It seems like every tourist in Cambodia has joined you on this hill at this very minute.
Directions: Between Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, to the west of the main road.
Don't bother! It's a bit like the story of the King's new clothes: somebody had to say it. I met plenty of people who told me that they had found better places to watch the sunset or that the sunrise was better than the sunset anyway. I'd believe all of them.
For people arriving in Siem Reap in the afternoon, the climb up Bakheng Hill to see the sunset, which they have read so much about, and which they anticipate will be the highlight of their trip, may be their first experience of Angkor and a disappointing one at that. The first thing they encounter is the mayhem at the bottom of the hill, with hundreds of pedicabs, motorycles, taxis and tour buses lining the roadside. Then there is a troop of elephants waiting to take you up the hill for an exhorbitant fee. Once you are past that, you face the climb up the steps with hundreds of sweating tourists blocking the way.
At the top, you try to find a space in the crowd of other sunset watchers. It is all fairly joyless. Maybe I was just there on a bad day, but my digital camera even has a sunset setting and all I managed to get a picture of, apart from the hordes of tourists, was a white dot on the horizon.
I tried clambering down the other side to see if there was a better view through the trees, but there wasn't. I found the best spectacle was looking back up at the hundreds of tourists sitting on top of the hill. The other good thing from there is that you have the setting sun behind you, so you can at least take a half-decent picture of the ruins.
Directions: Phnom Bakheng
Final leg of Angkor Wat should include Phnom Bakheng - a small hill a couple of kms to the north west of Angkor Watt (and south of Angkor Thom). Usually a great spot for sunsets.
You can walk up (it's pretty steep though), follow the elephant path or 'catch' an elephant.
There's a relief! An 'uncareful' elephant doesn't bear thinking about!
The trek up Bakheng Hill/ Phnom Bakheng is nothing near arduous but you get nothing much of a sunset, rather you get a whole lot of tourists up there. It is best to arrive earlier to get yourself a spot. However where you want to choose your spot is quite a decision. The sunset is nothing like the sun setting against the distant silhouette of Angkor Wat. You either see the sun setting against the flat fields or see the distant view of Angkor Wat behind you. See the photos to get what I mean.
Bakheng Hill suffice as a tick off your list of temples to visit. But if you are looking for a great view of sunset, Angkor Wat is a better choice.
Directions: About 2km northwest of Angkor Wat
I passed by Phnom Bakheng at the 20km mark. Phew....1 more km to go.
Phnom Bakheng was featured in the movie, Lara Crofts - Tomb Raiders. She was dropped by parachute onto this hilltop 10th century Hindu Temple.
I came back to Phnom Bakheng on the next day to view the sunset. I was warned in Lonely Planet of the human traffic at the hilltop but I decided to experience it all. You can go up the hill by foot or by elephant (USD15).
I arrived at 4:45pm Phnom Bakheng. It took me about 10 minutes to reach the hill top, walking up laterite pathway. I managed to secure a reasonable spot facing the sun. Other sunset worshippers began to pour in. It was noisy and crowded.
There I met with my Singaporean fellow runners (DO, Sotong & Brokie). What a coincidence!
From the hilltop, you can actually see Angkor Wat from a distance and spectacular surrounding views.
After the sunset, I have to inch my way down the temple steps. Human traffic jam! Everybody was trying to get down before it got dark.
Overall, it was a good experience. I enjoyed the view along with tonnes of people up there!