Five Reasons to Become a Morning Person in Angkor Wat

While you will miss that delight of lounging about in robes and slippers and cocooning in the cozy swath of blankets for hours, forcing yourself out of night owl tendencies is sometimes very well worth it, especially in a place like Angkor Wat. Take this from someone whose entire college curriculum was formed on a strategy of waking up after 10am.

Starting early in Siem Reap allows you to:

1. Go outside the main complex. Particularly if you have only a few days, waking up early is your best chance to see more temples before they close.

2. Beat the crowds. Nothing is quite as satisfying as leaving a temple complex just as three busses arrive to unload their tour groups. And while the sunsets are crowded, sunrises in Angkor Wat are equally stunning and less attended.

3. Get the best pictures. There’s a reason that photographers are early risers. The first light of the day is the only time considered slightly better for lighting than the time just before sunset. There’s a reason the hour after dawn is called photography’s golden hour.

4. Beat the heat. Unfortunately, Cambodia temperatures don’t change much throughout the year, so you’re potentially faced with the choice of hot or hotter. But if you start early, you’re catching the best option for lower humidity.

5. Enjoy the poolside siesta. Unless the gods have frowned upon you, your hotel should have a pool, and that pool should be the perfect salve when you return from a morning of exploration. Even if you head out early for a ruin, the day may be sweltering by the time you return to your hotel. Combining your well-deserved afternoon nap with a restorative dip in the pool is the best answer. 


Don George, Editor

Don George is Editor in Chief of Wanderlust: Literary Journeys for the Discerning Traveler. He has been Travel Editor for the San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle and, and Global Travel Editor for Lonely Planet Publications. Don has published eight books, including Travel Writing, A Moveable Feast, The Kindness of Strangers, and Tales from Nowhere. E-mail him at [email protected]


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