Incredible spots to enjoy the sunset in Southeast Asia

25 Nov, 2019 | Travel Blog

"When the sun has set, no candle can replace it." ― George R.R. Martin 

Are you a photographer who would do anything for a slow-shutter shot of the glowing sun going down far far away from the horizon or simply a traveler who goes sunset hunting everywhere you go? Because me too. Let me reveal in the list below some of the most incredible spots to savor the sunset in South East Asia.

1. Bagan (Myanmar)

Bagan is in many ways, one of the most remarkable religious cities in the world. Formerly an ancient city of the Pagan Kingdom from the 9th to the 13th century, there used to be over 10,000 temples, monasteries, and pagodas dotting a plain area just a little bit larger than Manhattan along the Irrawaddy River. After hundreds of years, there are still about 3000 temples remaining today. These religious sites are not only meaningful spiritual places but are also considered as a perfect foreground for one of the most stunning views - Bagan’s sunrise/sunset. 

You can watch the sunset from several pagodas, such as Maha Zedi Pagoda, Pyathadar Pagoda, or the Hi-lo-min-lo Checkpoint

2. Koh Tao (Thailand) 

Marvelous Sunset on Koh Tao (Image by Stephanie Ecate from Unsplash)

Koh Tao - also known as the “Turtle Island" on the western shore of the Gulf of Thailand, is one of the most emerging islands in Southern Thailand. Blessed with lush jungles, palm trees and abundant sea turtles which explains its name, Koh Tao has the vibrant vibes of Koh Samui yet also a laid-back lifestyle of Koh Phangan. The island truly has everything you would wish for from a tropical heaven. 

Apart from swimming, hiking, diving - watching the sunset and chilling during twilight is an activity that is most loved among tourists because of  its incredible atmosphere (with the clear sky, a vista view of the boats along the seashore ). Sairee Beach is the place to be if you want to experience the stunning view along the shoreline. With chilled music, warm lighting and bean bags pretty much scattered along the whole strip, the whole place really sets the scene for an unforgettable sunset. But if you want to have a panoramic view of the island, we would recommend Sunset View Point Koh Tao. Located high in the hills in the northern end of the island, Sunset View Point Koh Tao offers incredible west-facing views overlooking the popular Sairee Beach.

3. Mount Rinjani (Indonesia)

Spectacular Sunset in Mt. Rinjani (Image by Aaron Thomas from Unsplash)

Say “Bon Voyage" to the tranquility of Koh Tao, our list heads down to Indonesia to a 3726m active volcano - Mount Rinjani, where you can have another spectacular sunset experience. An adventurous challenge for those who love to trek, and we promise the reward, in the end, is like the icing on the cake! Hiking Mt. Rinjani is actually a serious task that requires at least one night camping on the mountain. 

Situated in Lombok island, Mount Rinjani is a popular site for tourists to watch sunrise and sunset. The sunset view from Mount Rinjani is often described as “unbelievable" - since, from such height, the clouds form up thickly like hundreds of layers of cotton candies. And after the clouds are cleared, hikers can enjoy the spectacular scope which is the wide view of Gunung Agung - the highest mountain in Bali over the horizon, the popular Gili Islands on one side, and Segara Anak Lake/Mount Baru Jani at the bottom. 

4. Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)

(Image by Hoach Le Dinh from Unsplash)

Recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994, Ha Long Bay - a complex of 3,000 limestone islands, called karsts, emerge mystically from the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. Its majestic landscape was amazingly filmed in some famous movies, such as Indochine (1992), and the box-office blockbuster Kong: Skull Island (2017). Numerous islands topped with rainforests and mysterious wave-eroded grottoes unsurprisingly make Ha Long Bay become the number one tourism hub in Northern Vietnam. The best way to explore this myriad of exotic islets and hidden gems is by going on a cruise.  

Translated literally as the “Bay of the Descending Dragons, Ha Long is the ideal location to watch the beautiful sunset over its wonders of limestone islands and islets. A glass of wine, a comfortable deck chair is all you need to enjoy the perfect cruise down to the horizon. 

5. Angkor (Cambodia) 

Angkor is famous worldwide for its rich history of the Khmer Empire and the religious aspect of ancient temples. Angkor is an ancient city in Cambodia that was the center of the Khmer empire. The city houses the magnificent Angkor Wat, Cambodia's most popular tourist attraction. Renowned as Angkor’s most impressive and best-known temple, Angkor Wat is the best-preserved of all the Angkor monuments. A temple is an object of pride for Cambodia, its depiction appears on the national flag. 

A trip to Angkor wouldn’t be complete without watching the sun winding itself down from the skyline and seeing the magical color of sunset making a perfect background behind those magnificent ancient temples. You are ensured to have mesmerizing photos to share with your friends and family back home. Make sure to have your camera ready to capture this remarkable scenery. Our recommended spots for the best sunset view in Angkor are the two temples of Phnom Bakheng, Pre Rup, and the Angkor Wat Moat.

6. Phang Nga Bay (Thailand) 

Phang Nga Bay itself, lying to the east of Phuket, is one of Thailand's most spectacular sights, where rocky limestone islets and karsts jut out of the sea in a myriad of shapes and sizes. Once here, visitors have the chance to spend the whole day on the amazing water of the beautiful bay, to enjoy the enchanting atmosphere, discover the two famous islands named Koh Panyee and James Bond island - with the name inspired its role in the 007 movies 'The Man with the Golden Gun’. 
The best way to finish off the perfect cruise is to savor the afterglow whilst enjoying the fresh seafood caught directly from the bay. Another way to view this incredible gloaming over huge, almost vertical, limestone cliffs is to observe it at the Samet Nangsae Viewpoint. Located on a hilltop just a 30-minute drive from Phuket, it offers stunning views over the limestone islets of Phang Nga Bay. The view is a breathtakingly 180-degree panorama facing due east, making it particularly striking at sunset. 

7. Cameron Highlands (Malaysia)

(Image by moritzklassen from Pixabay)

Located at almost 2,000 meters above sea level at its highest point, Cameron Highlands offers visitors a moderate climate with daytime temperatures averaging around 25°C and 18°C at night. During the colonial era, the British grew tea on the rich fertile mountain slopes, a practice continued till today by the locals. 
Surrounded by mysterious tropical rainforest loaded with diversified floras and faunas, Cameron Highlands is definitely a good place for a little cool-down retreat.

The twilight in this area differs from other spots on the list since it can get misty and foggy during this time. However, this gives the Cameron Highland its own uniqueness and mysterious feeling- with a fanciful transition from day till night. Watching the sun gloam down beneath a vast area of tea plantation - what else can beat that?

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