Phnom Bakheng is one of the temples on top of the four hills in the Angkor area. King Yasovarman I built a temple on top of each hill. Phnom Bakheng means “little hill” and is located in the southwest of Angkor, making it a popular place to see the sunset. From there you have a fantastic view from the surrounding area: The city Siem Reap, Angkor Wat in the jungle, the Tonle Sap sea and the Western Baray.

It takes about 20 minutes to get to the top of the hill. Who doesn’t want to walk can also go by elephant. For 15 US$ they bring you up to the hill, for another 10 US$ they bring you also down again. The tours start before sunset around 04PM. We recommend to go there early enough, only a limited amount of people are allowed to stay on top of Phnom Bakheng at the same time.

Sunrise at Phnom Bakheng

We wanted to check out the temple in a different way and see if it’s also worth it to go there for sunrise. Our Tuk Tuk driver brought us to a dark place very early in the morning, where no other people were at. He stopped suddenly an told us: “This is Phnom Bakheng.”  We could not believe it at that moment… having been here so many times.

In front of the hill we were not really looking hopeful into the dim morning light, but decided to start walking up the hill in the dark courageously. It turned out this was a great new adventure. The path was pretty easy to walk. We were all alone by ourselves, without any sign of civilization and only accompanied by the noises of the jungle. What an amazing feeling!

View from Phnom Bakheng to Siem Reap Phnom Bakheng - the hill in the southwest of Angkor Sunrise at Phnom Bakheng over Phnom Bok Looking to the morning sun View to Angkor Wat from Phnom Bakheng Phnom Bakheng - hill in the southwest of Angkor

We kept on walking, silently listening to the noises of nature, and then finally were rewarded with a breathtaking view of the sunrise over Phnom Bok – the hill in the east of Angkor – at the top of the hill. Turned out we were not completely alone, because we met Mike. But this is another story :-) 

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5 Comments

  1. Hi, I am also intoxicated with Cambodia! But I very curious there are hardly find any Milky Way photo about Angkor, it’s a pity what wasted such fantastic architecture…
    Could you give some advise some place I can stay whole night to take photos of Milky Way?

    1. Hi Rowley,
      yes you are right, I was also wondering. At Angkor Wat you are not able to stay during night. I was at Bayon early in the morning. But we had to walk from South Gate Angkor Thom to that temple because our Minivan was not allowed to drive in at 3:30 am. I published an article, unfortunately not in English language yet. This is why I did not answer, because I wanted to translate for you first. But you can have a look of the results here: https://www.visit-angkor.org/de/2019/04/21/milchstrasse-am-bayon-tempel-fotografieren/

      At Phnom Bakheng this must be fantastic for taking photos of Milky Way as the view is amazing in every direction. But I am not sure about the lights around, maybe too much. I think it is possible to go up at night. A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine was there for sunrise and nobody was there.

      Phnom Krom – maybe a little bit too much trees around on top.

      Srah Srang lake – also a nice place for sunrise and sunset. During dry season you can easily walk through and stay in the middle of the lake fof instance.

      Hope I could help you. I took a look at your photos, they are wonderful! Would love to know about your experiences about Milky Way at Angkor.

      Best :)
      Inga

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