Sunset over Phnom Bakheng Temple in Siem Reap

Spectacular Angkor Sunset as seen setting over Phnom Bakheng Temple in Cambodia. Photo taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark II & Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS lens. (ISO 100, 1/15 Sec, f/14 at 200mm)

Your trip to Ancient Angkor would not be complete without a visit to the Bakheng temple for a view of the beautiful sunset over the Phnom Bakheng Temple. For photographers, you need to be there before 5pm if you would like to secure a front row seat for an unobtrusive view of the spectacular sunset over the temple. I suppose you could take decent sunset photograph with a point and shoot compact camera but for spectacular result, you really need to use a DSLR camera with multiple ND graduated filters. As I arrived late (after 5pm) for the short climb up the temple, I really did not get an optimum spot to photograph this spectacular event. However I managed to overcome some of the unfavorable obstructions and human heads with the use of my Canon EF 70-200mm lens at 200mm. The 200mm reach allowed me to shoot between heads and zoom in directly to the setting sun. It would have been better if I have a longer reach with a 300mm or 400mm lens. But heck, the best lens is what you have with you at the point of time.

If I were to go there again, I would make sure I arrive there early to scout for the best possible spot and I would definitely bring a longer lens or at least a cropped DSLR body like the Canon 1D Mark IV or a Canon 7D. I love this place and I would definitely make a trip there again in the near future. Also I would remember to bring a torch light with me the next time. I nearly got stranded at the temple as the daylight really disappears so fast that I couldn’t see my footsteps while getting down the stone steps of the temple. If not with the help of 3 beautiful ladies from China, I would have to spend the night there. Phew….. what a day! But it’s all worth it and I would gladly do it again even if it meant spending a night with the beautiful stone lions.

A commercial plane could be seen flying over the setting sun from the nearby Siem Reap International Airport.

The fading light intensity and the different angle of light reflected over the atmosphere of Earth provides the spectators with a multitude of spectacular sunset colors that are unique from one day to another.

The stone lion standing tall while watching over the temple during sunset.


  1. eddiechan says:

    yup…the best lens is what u hv wt u…the question is how many can u carry on the trip…hahahaha

    • Eddie,
      Thanks for dropping by. Yes….carry too few…. and you lived to regret for life… and carry too many…. and you lived to nurse your back injury for life. I guess it’s a matter of personal preference and the type of photography you are after.

      But for this trip I brought along my Nikon D700 + 14-24mm lens plus Canon 5D MkII + 24-105mm + 70-200mm lenses. It’s heavy but it’s well worth the effort.

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