When Does Pre Rup Temple Open? Your Guide to Visiting This Angkor Gem
You’re planning your trip to Angkor Wat and can’t wait to see the famous sunrise at Pre Rup temple. But what time does Pre Rup open for visitors eager to capture that perfect Instagram shot? This is one of the top questions on every Angkor adventurer’s mind. You will find all you need to know about Pre Rup Temple opening time!
The Complete Guide to Pre Rup’s Opening Time, Tours, Tips & Hidden Gems for Sunrise Visitors
As experienced Angkor Wat tour guides, we get this query all the time at MySiemReapTours.com. So let’s dive into everything you need to know about Pre Rup temple opening hours, how to get there for sunrise, when it closes, and insider tips for making the most of your visit. Read on to become a Pre Rup pro!
An Overview of Mesmerizing Pre Rup
Before we get into Pre Rup opening times, let’s set the scene with what makes this temple so special. Rising majestically from the jungle canopy 15km east of Angkor Wat, Pre Rup is a Hindu temple built under King Rajendravarman II in the 10th century.
Constructed primarily as a crematorium, this brick pyramid temple gets its name from the traditional cremation practice of ‘pre rup,’ meaning ‘turning the body’ in Khmer.
With its soaring stepped terraces and stately brick towers, Pre Rup makes an unforgettable silhouette against the rising sun. Its mountain-like shape and hilltop location also provided a cool respite for Angkorian kings and their entourages when traveling the empire.
Beyond its use as an imperial rest stop and cremation site, Pre Rup has further archaeological significance. As one of the last major temples commissioned before the capital shifted south to Koh Ker, Pre Rup represents an important transitional phase in Angkorian architectural styles.
Arriving Before Sunrise to Catch Pre Rup at its Best
Now that you know a bit about Pre Rup’s history, let’s get into the key question: what time does Pre Rup open for sunrise visitors?
The doors officially open at 5:00 am. However, you’ll want to arrive no later than 5:30 am to secure a good vantage spot for seeing the sun peek over the horizon. By 5:45 am, prime real estate along the east-facing steps will already be claimed.
Keep in mind it takes about 30-40 minutes to drive to Pre Rup from Siem Reap, so prep for an early wake-up call! We recommend booking a private Angkor Wat sunrise tour to handle the logistics. An experienced guide will pick you up from your hotel around 4:30 am and whisk you directly to the temple to wait for dawn’s first light.
They’ll also help you navigate the crowds, snap photos, and share insider info about Pre Rup’s history to make your sunrise experience stress-free and unforgettable. Having a knowledgeable local guide really enhances visits to Angkor’s busiest sunrises spots like Pre Rup.
Scoring the Perfect Sunrise Photo Ops
Once you’ve arrived before dawn and secured your viewing spot, where are the best places to stand for iconic photos?
The east-facing side of the central tower aligned with the sunrise is the money shot. But arrive early to claim a front-row spot on the easternmost stairs.
Other good vantage points are the southeast corner (near the modern Buddhist shrine), and the northern library towers. Your guide can show you the optimal photo positions marked on their map.
Top pro photography tips:
- Use a tripod or brace your camera against something sturdy to keep your shot steady and prevent blurring.
- Set up well before the sun first peeks out so you’re ready to snap the perfect moment.
- Shoot in manual mode and bracket your exposures to ensure you capture details in the changing light.
- Turn off your flash – the natural light is what you want to highlight at sunrise and sunset.
- Frame both the temple and the horizon to get the full scope of the scene. Zoom in for detailed shots too.
- Capture the sky changing colors from dark blue to pink, orange and yellow. This is when the “magic hour” shots happen!
Making the Most of Your Visit After Sunrise
Many visitors leave after sunrise. But we highly recommend sticking around to explore Pre Rup’s intricate brick towers, bas reliefs, and statues when illuminated by morning light.
Here are some top highlights not to miss after daybreak:
- Climbing the pyramid-like tiers for panoramic views of the countryside and a scenic spot for photos with the temple.
- Admiring the ornamental lintels above the doorways, decorated with exquisite Apsara dancers and Hindu deities.
- Checking out the eastern gopura (entrance pavilion) with its carved devatas in lively poses.
- Spotting out the vegetal and geometric motifs ornamenting the tower pediments – a signature of late Angkorian architecture.
- Enjoying the tranquility as crowds thin out later in the morning. This is the best time to wander and immerse yourself in the mystical atmosphere.
Plan on spending at least an hour exploring Pre Rup beyond just the sunrise. Its less-visited eastern galleries, libraries, and gopuras have delightful details to discover once the timeshare crowds depart.
Closing Time and Other Practicalities
So when does Pre Rup close after being open for sunrise? Official closing time is 5:30 pm. This gives you a full 12.5 hours to explore the temple complex after opening at 5 am.
However, it tends to start emptying out around noon when tour groups move on. From 2-5 pm is the quietest time, perfect for peaceful contemplation. We highly recommend staying until late afternoon if you can. The golden light before sunset is divine on Pre Rup’s tiers.
Other tips to make the most of your visit:
- Wear lightweight, breathable clothing in layers. It can be quite chilly pre-dawn!
- Bring a flashlight or headlamp if arriving before sunrise
- Apply insect repellent – the mosquitoes can be pesky!
- There are restrooms onsite but bringing tissues/hand sanitizer is advised
- Food stalls lining the entry road sell snacks, water, coffee, etc.
- Entrance is included with the Angkor Archaeological Park pass, which you need anyway to visit Angkor Wat and other main temples.
Beyond the Sunrise: Exploring More of Underrated Pre Rup
While sunrise draws the big crowds to Pre Rup, many fascinating features of this temple go overlooked as visitors quickly depart afterwards. Here are some highlights to linger for if you have time:
The Eastern Entrance – Adorned in elaborate carvings of Hindu deities above its columns and pilasters, Pre Rup’s eastern gopura is one of the most ornate entrances in Angkor. Spend time admiring the devatas (female deities) dancing gracefully across its facade.
The Libraries – Constructed later than the main temple, the north and south brick libraries exhibit a transitional style towards the more ornate Baphuon era. Note the arched pediments with deity figures.
Niche Shrines – Small chambers line the upper tiers, containing weathered lingas (phallic symbols) that represent the Hindu god Shiva. See if you can spot all 12!
Bas Reliefs – Faint traces of narrative carved bas reliefs depicting battle and procession scenes are visible on the interior northern and western galleries. They offer clues into how Pre Rup was used for royal cremation ceremonies.
The Pyramid Shape – As one of the few brick Hindu temples in Angkor shaped like a rectangular pyramid, Pre Rup represents an important architectural milestone. Marvel at how its mountain-like terraces evoke sacred Mount Meru.
Buddhist Influences – Look for the modern Buddhist shrine set up on the eastern stairs. It shows how locals still worship at the temple, blending Hindu and Buddhist traditions.
Tips for Photographing More Than Just the Sunrise
While the sunrise draws hordes of Insta-happy tourists, patient photographers will be rewarded by sticking around after the dawn crowds depart. Here are some tips for getting creative shots at Pre Rup:
- Capture the dramatic side lighting on the towers as the sun gets higher in the sky. This creates depth and dimension in your photos.
- Play with framing the pyramid shape through colonnades and doorways. Shoot from different levels like ground-level or upper tiers.
- Find reflective surfaces after rains, like puddles for mirror-like symmetry shots of the towers.
- Focus on details like carved devatas, ornamental pediments, and deterioration textures. Get artsy!
- Shoot wide and tight – capture the temple both up close and from further back for perspective.
- Change up your vantage points by climbing different tiers and exploring all sides for a variety of backdrops.
- linger for the golden hour before sunset when the light is warm and raking across the temple.
Combining Your Pre Rup Temple Visit with the Ultimate Angkor Wat Experience
While atmospheric Pre Rup makes for an unforgettable sunrise, visiting this temple as part of a wider Angkor Wat experience allows you to fully appreciate its history and architectural details in context.
We highly recommend booking a customized private tour to take in Angkor Wat’s highlights at an unrushed pace with an expert local guide. They’ll enrich your understanding of how Pre Rup fits into Angkor’s sprawling temple network.
For example, our signature Full-Day Grand Circuit Tour includes Pre Rup along with iconic Angkor Wat, the jungle temples of Ta Prohm and Beng Mealea, lesser-visited spots like Neak Pean and Preah Khan, and more. We optimize the routing so you can take in sunrise at Pre Rup then continue exploring the rest of the park.
Having a knowledgeable guide to contextualize each temple you visit makes their history come alive. You’ll gain insight that solo wandering or doing Angkor on group tours just doesn’t provide. Investing in a private guide pays off tenfold for discovering the true depth and majesty of the Angkorian Empire.
Let the Sun Rise on Your Own Angkor Adventure
Now that you know what time Pre Rup opens, where to catch the iconic sunrise, and how to make the most of visiting this Angkorian gem, it’s time to plan your own adventure!
Keep this guide handy while plotting out your custom Angkor itinerary. Or simply leave it to the experts at MySiemReapTours.com to craft your private temple-hopping journey. Our experienced guides can’t wait to show you the best of Angkor, from dawn at atmospheric Pre Rup to exploring its hidden secrets in the golden afternoon light.
Just the tips on timing your visit, photographing beyond the famous sunrise, and taking in Pre Rup as part of the bigger Angkor complex will set you up for success. With sunrise travel logistics and crowds now demystified, all that’s left is waking up before dawn to live your travel dreams.
Let the magic of Pre Rup awaken your inner Indiana Jones. This guide lights the way for intrepid explorers and temple devotees to make the most of your time at this Angkorian jewel.
So rise and shine on your own Angkor adventure – we’ll see you at majestic Pre Rup!
Pre Rup is one of the most popular Angkor temples to visit for sunrise. But what time does Pre Rup open to catch those magical first rays of light over the towers? And when does it close after sunrise?
As experienced Angkor tour specialists at MySiemReapTours, we get asked about Pre Rup opening hours a lot. So let’s explore everything you need to know about timing your visit, photography tips, tours, and more mysteries revealed about angelic Angkor!
7 Burning Questions About Visiting Pre Rup Answered
Here are the top 7 questions we get asked about visiting atmospheric Pre Rup for sunrise, with detailed answers to help plan your temple adventure:
What Time Does Pre Rup Open for Sunrise?
Pre Rup officially opens at 5:00 am, but arrive by 5:30 am to claim a prime sunrise viewing spot. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to walk from the parking area to the temple interior too. By 5:45 am, the best photo positions will be taken on the east-facing stairs. We suggest booking a private sunrise tour so your guide can stake out the optimal spot.
What’s the Best Place to Stand for Sunrise Photos?
The money shot is on the east-facing side of the central tower aligned with where the sun rises. But get there early to claim front row real estate on the easternmost stairs. Other good vantage points are the southeast corner near the modern shrine, and the northern library towers. Your guide can show you the best places marked on their map.
What Should I Know for Shooting Sunrise Photos?
Use a tripod for stability, set up well before sunup, turn off flash, bracket exposures, frame the temple and horizon, capture the changing sky colors, and zoom for detailed shots. Also scout angles the day before if possible.
What’s the Closing Time for Pre Rup?
Official closing time is 5:30 pm, giving you 12.5 hours to explore after opening at 5 am. However, it starts emptying out around noon when tour groups depart. Late afternoon from 2-5 pm is least crowded – perfect for golden hour shots before sunset!
What Should I See at Pre Rup Beyond Sunrise?
Linger after sunrise to see ornate carvings, climb the tiers for panoramic views, admire the pyramid shape and transitional architectural style, enjoy the tranquility as crowds thin, and discover hidden galleries and shrines. Don’t miss the exquisite eastern gopura covered in graceful devatas!
What’s the Best Way to Visit Pre Rup?
Joining our Full Day Grand Tour allows you to experience sunrise at Pre Rup then continue exploring Angkor’s temples in depth, all with an expert local guide. Our customized private tours fully unlock Angkor’s magic compared to going solo or on group circuits.
Where are the Most Photogenic Spots at Pre Rup?
Beyond the iconic sunrise shot, capture dramatic side lighting on the towers later in the morning, frame details like carvings and textures, shoot reflective symmetry in puddles after rain, and change up vantage points for perspective. Lingering until golden hour offers divine light.
Now that you’re an expert on everything Pre Rup, let’s dive deeper into timing your visit, photography tips, tours, and hidden gems to discover at this celestial Angkorian temple as majestic as the gods!
Arriving Before Dawn to Secure the Perfect Sunrise Spot
As one of Angkor’s most mesmerizing sunrise temples, hundreds of eager photographers flock to Pre Rup in the wee hours to jockey for the perfect shot. Here are some pro tips for arrival time, securing your vantage point, and making the most of your Pre Rup sunrise experience:
Get There Early! Give yourself ample time to line up, as spaces fill a good 1-2 hours before dawn. Gates may open at 5 am, but prime spots on the east stairs will be long claimed by 5:30 am. We suggest arriving no later than 5:15 am, earlier if possible.
Let a Guide Lead the Way: Book a private sunrise tour and have your guide scout the optimal photo spot the day before if possible. They’ll stake it out and save you a front row seat. No need to stress about navigating the pre-dawn crowds and finding the money shot on your own.
Dress for the Temperature Drop: In the hour before dawn, temperatures can plummet rapidly. Dress in breathable layers that you can shed as the sun warms things up. A light jacket, hat, and gloves are advised. Nothing spoils a sunrise like shivering!
Use a Flashlight/Headlamp: If arriving before 5 am, be sure to bring a light source to safely navigate the dark temple grounds before sunrise. Tripods can also pose a tripping hazard.
Pack Snacks & Water: Vendors will begin setting up nearby, but they don’t open until after sunrise. Having your own snacks and water means you can stay energized and hydrated for hours of photography.
Be Ready Early: Have your gear set up and settings tested at least 30 minutes prior to first light. You don’t want to be fumbling with equipment and missing the magic moments! Patiently wait for the sky to illuminate and erupt in color.
Capturing the Perfect Sunrise Instagram Shot
Once you’ve secured your sought-after spot facing east, how do you set up for legendary photos? Follow these pro photography tips:
Use a Tripod: This is essential for stabilizing your camera during long exposures and 30+ minutes of waiting. Alternately, brace your camera against something sturdy like the temple walls.
Get the Exposure Right: Bracket your shots and use manual mode to control your settings. The changing light will fool your camera’s meter.
Turn Off Flash: Flash will overexpose and blow out the natural lighting. The rich sunrise hues are what you want to highlight.
Frame a Wide Angle: Capture both the temple and horizon line to portray the full scope of the scene. But also zoom in for detail.
Focus on Color: Snap the “magic hour” as the sky transforms from deep blue to stunning pink, orange and yellow. This color change is fleeting!
Watch the Moon: On clear days around the full moon, you may also capture a lunar alignment with the temple towers.
Go High: Climb up the tiers for an elevated perspective over the crowds below. Bonus – you’ll get to shoot downward on other photographers too!
Return for Sunset: The evening golden light hitting Pre Rup is also sublime. Don’t miss coming back later in your stay if you can.
Making the Most of Your Visit Beyond Sunrise
Many visitors rush off after sunrise. But we highly recommend budgeting ample time to explore Pre Rup beyond the dawn crowds. Here are top highlights not to miss:
Admire the Ornate East Gopura: Covered in a parade of graceful celestial Apsaras, Pre Rup’s eastern entrance is one of Angkor’s most intricately carved. Spend time gazing at the divine devatas.
Climb the Tiers: Ascend the pyramid-like structure for panoramic views of the jungle-covered countryside. It’s the perfect scenic spot for an iconic temple photo.
Marvel at the Architecture: As a late 10th century temple, Pre Rup shows an important transitional style from Angkor Wat to the Baphuon ornate era.
Seek out Bas Reliefs: Faint traces of carved depictions illustrating royal cremation ceremonies grace the interior galleries. They offer clues into how Pre Rup was used.
Discover Hidden Shrines: Linger to find the 12 niche chambers hiding weathered lingas on the upper tiers. How many can you spot?
Appreciate the Serenity: Without sunrise crowds, Pre Rup exudes a peaceful, almost mystical vibe. Wander and immerse yourself in the magic.
Timing Your Visit and Other Practical Tips
To fully experience Pre Rup beyond the sunrise, here are some key timing and practicalities to know:
- Official opening time is 5 am; closing is 5:30 pm – giving you nearly 13 hours to explore!
- However, the temple starts emptying out around noon when tour groups depart for lunch.
- From 2-5 pm is the quietest time, great for photographic stillness and peaceful contemplation.
- Wear breathable clothing in layers to adapt to the temperature shifts.
- Bring insect repellent – the mosquitoes can be pesky!
- Restrooms are onsite but limited – pack backup tissues/hand sanitizer.
- Vendors along the causeway sell snacks, coffee, water, film, etc.
- Admission is included with the Angkor Archaeological Park pass.
Creative Photography Beyond the Iconic Sunrise
While everyone flocks to Pre Rup for the classic sunrise shot, patient photographers are rewarded for lingering after the dawn rush. Here are some tips for getting artistic at Pre Rup once the crowds dissipate:
Play with Side Lighting: The raking sunlight later in the morning creates dramatic shadows and dimensions to your temple photos. Shoot from different angles for varied effects.
Frame Through Doorways: Use the colonnades and gopuras to frame creatively, shooting through them to highlight the symmetry.
Capture Reflections: After rains, puddles create mirror-like effects. Catch the temple reflected for surreal double exposures.
Focus on Details: Zero in on carved devatas, weathered bas reliefs, ornamental pediments, and deterioration textures for abstract looking compositions.
Change Perspectives: Shoot from down low, up high, far away, and super close up. Explore all sides too for diverse backdrops.
Wait for Golden Hour: The last two hours before sunset infuses Pre Rup in golden light. It’s worth returning if you can!
Taking in Pre Rup as Part of an Epic Angkor Wat Tour
For the complete Angkor experience, we highly recommend experiencing atmospheric Pre Rup as part of a wider private tour exploring the incredible temple network.
Our expert customizable tours allow you to take in sunrise at Pre Rup then continue your adventure at an unrushed pace ideal for photographers. You’ll get to witness the golden light over Angkor’s icons like Ta Prohm, Bayon, and unforgettable Angkor Wat.
Our unique Full Day Grand Circuit Tour combines all the major temples PLUS hidden gems like Banteay Srei, the River of a Thousand Lingas, and more. We optimize the timing and routing so you never feel rushed or overwhelmed by the crowds.
Having a knowledgeable local guide is what unlocks Angkor’s magic compared to figuring it out yourself. Let us customize your private temple-hopping journey to highlight the majesty of Angkor!
We hope this guide provided you everything you need to know about discovering the celestial wonder of Pre Rup, from sunrise opening hours to photography tricks for capturing its towers in the best possible light.
Armed with these Angkor expert tips, you can now confidently plan your atmospheric Pre Rup sunrise experience. Then let the temples reveal their secrets as you explore the surrounding glories of Angkor with a friendly local guide.
The gods await at hyper-real Pre Rup! Experience its ancient energy for yourself on a once-in-a-lifetime Cambodian adventure. MySiemReapTours can’t wait to show you ALL the heavenly highlights that magnificent Angkor has to offer.