Getting up in the middle of the night just to see the sun come up might seem like a crazy idea to some people and if I´m honest I did seem crazy to me once too. But ever since I´ve seen the magical sunrise colours in Bryce canyon (USA) when I was 13 this changed – now I´m happy to go out in pitch dark, because I know something so simple and yet so amazing happens every morning and sometimes it would be really a shame to miss it. Here are our TOP 20 picks (random order) of the best places visited so far to wake up or watch sunrise at!
1. sunrise at MOUNT MOSES, SINAI (EGYPT)
After a couple of hours walking up to the top with a head torch and seeing just a few steps in front of us, we were rewarded with this amazing view on the top! We had no idea that we were surrounded with such magnificent mountains the whole time going up. Very peaceful and definitely worth the night walk!
2. sleeping on a boat, KERALA (INDIA)
You can do a day tour in Kerala´s Backwaters, but if you have enough time you should sleep over a night or two on the boat while cruising the channels. Seeing the sun come up between the palm trees and watching the usual morning rituals of the local people doing pretty much everything on the water banks from washing themselves, doing the dishes, swimming and kids being brought to school with wooden boats is just amazing. Accompanied with the most delicious Indian food of course ;).
3. sunrise at ANGKOR WAT (CAMBODIA)
Back in 2007 we were still lucky enough to have that privilege of enjoying the sunrise without being surrounded by hundreds of other tourists – I believe by now there are more and more, so go there early to get a good position. It is worth it if it´s not raining as the reflections in the lake in a combination with orange-yellow sunrise light are unforgettable.
4. morning look through the window, TIGNES (FRANCE)
At skiing on such altitude it´s sometimes hard to predict the weather conditions as they change so quickly with the wind. Since we were kids, we always jumped off the bed first thing in the morning and looked through the window – and with a view like that all you can do is smile!
5. sunrise in Batang Ai NP, BORNEO (MALAYSIA)
It hardly gets more peaceful than this. A remote hotel in the middle of a national park, on Borneo. You can only reach this place by a boat as there are no roads. Going down to the pier in the morning made me feel like I should do yoga – only, I don´t know how to do yoga ;). But if you do, this is the place to be, I´m, telling you!
6. morning boat ride in VARANASI (INDIA)
Did not like Varanasi as a city so much, but it´s simply one of those mystical places you have to visit at one point. And the best way to experience this mystical spirit as an outside visitor is to spend a couple of hours on a little wooden boat cruising up and down and watching what everyone is doing.
7. view from our beach house, PERHENTIAN (MALAYSIA)
Beach bungalow with a big terrace, just a few steps from the sea? For a reasonable price? Yes, please! A view like this always makes a good reason to start a day with a smile! We were too lazy for the sunrise though – maybe the beers / cocktails in the evenings are to blame 🙂
8. upper deck sunrise view, HA LONG BAY (VIETNAM)
This is what you get if you spend the night on one of those old-fashioned boats that cruise around the many islands in Ha Long bay in Vietnam. Most of the visitors come only for a day and it does get quite busy but if you stay until the next day you will have the morning just to yourselves! I say, coffee and fruit pancakes with a view!
9. hard to beat sunrise in the desert, MERZOUGA (MOROCCO)
Seriously, deserts are one of my favourite places on earth – they are so calm and peaceful and I always feel very relaxed there. Setting off on a camel into the vast landscape and patiently waiting for the sun to come over the sand dunes is an unforgettable experience and I strongly recommend it! The colour of the sand is changing minute by minute and you can feel how the air is getting warmer and warmer – it just makes you feel very small!
10. breakfast at a private plunge pool, BALI (INDONESIA)
Wiiiii this was great – we spend a couple of days in a small beach house with a private plunge pool – never mind the smaller size, it was big enough and not even really expensive. Lu got up on his own at 6AM each morning and for a change did not bothered dragging us out of the bed immediately! – just a few steps and he was playing in the pool! :). So cool!
11. waking up on a sailing boat, IZOLA (SLOVENIA)
Waking up to the sounds of seagulls and drinking a coffee in pure peace with a view on the other sailing boats on a sunny morning – there is something really nice about such mornings!
12. morning pee view, “cannot find it on the map” (LAOS)
This photo might seem meaningless, but it does bring up funny memories! We spend a couple of nights by a local family in southern Laos where there was no toilet inside the house so we had to do it outside – with the view like this it wasn´t so bad at all!
13. sunrise from a feluka boat, NILE VALLEY (EGYPT)
Cruising the Nile river offers one some amazing views, especially in the mornings and in the evenings when the light changes – we loved the mornings especially because everything was extremely calm in comparison with the chaotic daily happenings in busy little towns on the way.
14. daddy brings food & makes us breakfast in bed, SICILY (ITALY)
Waking up in Palermo and noticing the other half of the bed is empty and then a couple of minutes later the man returns with a delicious Italian breakfast from a local bakery! And then you simply eat it in the bed, where else ;).
15. terrace view, LAKE BUNYONYI (UGANDA)
When you come in late in the evening and are so tired that all you care about is a bite to eat & a bed to rest and then you wake up the next day with a view like this! Just wow, we loved this lake!
16. in the middle of nowhere, HAJAR MOUNTAINS (OMAN)
My first thought was: “huh, the car is still here, yay!” and then I noticed the sunrise! We were the only guests in this roadside guesthouse in this spectacular mountains and had this beautiful morning light all to ourselves :).
17. waking up to this beauty, VATNAJÖKULL NP (ICELAND)
When the skies finally clear up and you wake up to this view! And the best thing about it – you don´t even have to walk for hours to see it, you just step outside! Ahhh Iceland is just beautiful 😉
18. good morning Africa! AI AIBA (NAMIBIA)
Waking up in the middle of African landscape is magical every time – surrounded by bushes and god knows how many animals you watch the colours change and enjoy a peaceful morning. Surely this must be even better if you sleep in a tent, but this lodge was also not bad ;).
19. wine everywhere! GORISKA BRDA (SLOVENIA)
Ahhh the beautiful Slovenian wine region of Goriska Brda with its green hills and rows of wine grapes – perfect for an early morning walk to chase away the hangover!
20. amazing winter sunrise, at home (GERMANY)
Last but not least – the so-called “Morgenröte” – an amazing red-pink-orange light which last for about half an hour in the wintertime mornings. We see it from our balcony every season and it´amazes me every time over and over again. Driving to work with such views just makes your day!
That was it! Maybe someone got an idea about how & where to spend the next holidays, with the best sunrises of course ;). There were a few more I could put on the list (like the one in Bryce canyon or the Ayers Rock one), but unfortunately those were looong time ago already – maybe we will just have to repeat those soon ;).