Finding places for awesome sunsets was on our list of goals during our trip. We became pretty worried as all the way through northern Thailand we had not found great places to watch the sun disappear over the horizon. Our worries were quelled once we made it to Laos, as we were treated to the most spectacular sunset we had ever seen during the Gibbon Experience. Total serenity in a dream treehouse 140 feet in the air watching the sunset over the hills and valleys of the Laos rainforest? We were more than satisfied and figured that we couldn’t beat that for the rest of the trip. However in the end, Koh Tao, an island in southern Thailand proved us wrong. Read more on our 11 best sunset experiences in our handy list below!
11. Luang Prabang – Okay we know the above picture isn’t a sunset, but watching the sunset from Mount Phou Si is supposed to be an awesome experience. Unfortunately both times we hiked up the hill in the center of the town we were only treated to dimming greyness as there was thick cloud cover. The view was still awesome, so we can imagine the sunset being great, but since we can’t confirm this based on personal experience Luang Prabang drops down to number 11 on our list. As you can see by the photo above, the location gives some promise!
10. New Zealand North-South Island Ferry – We booked our ferry from the North Island to the South Island to coincide with the sunset (we like sunsets if you haven’t picked that up yet). After figuring out how to get outside (they closed a bunch of areas for some reason) we managed to huddle against the wind and watch the sun disappear into the ocean. Not the most colourful we saw all trip, but definitely made the trip between the two islands very enjoyable.
9. Kuta -We watched a Kuta sunset atop the roof of SkyGarden. Not your token island beach sunset, we watched the sun colour buildings and streets as it dropped below the horizon. Watching the bar signs and streetlights come on around us was pretty cool. It also helped that we were enjoying an all-you-can-eat BBQ buffet and unlimited alcohol for $10 CAD.
8. Railay Beach – We were treated to a Railay Beach sunset as we were arriving to the East Railay pier, and after a long day of travelling it was an awesome sight! The sunset paints the massive limestone cliffs in reds and pinks and creates a surreal spectacle. Watching the sunset from West Railay isn’t bad either.
7. Don Det – We stayed in Mr. B’s Sunset Bungalows on Don Det in southern Laos, and as the name suggests, we had an awesome sunset view. Our wooden box trying to pass as a bungalow was tolerable because we had a balcony facing west with hammocks overhanging the Mekong River. Relaxing here and enjoying the sunset was a perfect way to end a day of exploring the island.
6. Temples of Angkor – The temples of Angkor in general are amazing, but seeing the sunset or sunrise over the ancient temples is spectacular. Phnom Bakeng is the place to be come sunset, as it’s perched atop a hill with views of the rest of the temples, namely the famous Angkor Wat. However, due to this special spot it draws a ton of tourists. If you want to get atop Phnom Bakeng temple for the best views, prepare to get there 1.5 hours before sunset at the latest. Otherwise you can still climb the hill and catch views through the trees while wading through tourists. A little annoying but still cool to see!
5. Sydney – Watching the sunset from Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair in the Botanical Gardens was a treat. Not the most colourful we had seen, but watching the sun set behind world famous landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge was really special. Seeing the lights come on as the sky darkened is an experience you cannot miss in Sydney.
4. Fraser Island – We travelled down the east coast of Australia, which rarely offers a good sunset view. However, Fraser Island is one place you can find one. Our guide on our Cool Dingo Tour made sure we got to the west shore before 7 to witness an awesome sun setting over the Australian mainland.
3. Gili Air – Though it is another tiny island sunset, Gili Air had slightly different perks. No matter where you were on the island, you were no more than a ten minute walk from a west facing beachside bar to enjoy the sunset. As long as you bought a beer (and why wouldn’t you) you were able to settle in to a bean bag chair in the sand or a private cushioned beach hut and just enjoy the spectacle.
2. Gibbon Experience – Our Gibbon Experience Tour started in Huay Xai and took us on a zip lining trip deep into the Laos jungle, ending in a 3-storey dream treehouse 140 feet up in the air. The zip lining was awesome, but the sunset view from our treehouse was just as amazing. Our whole group decided to sit and just enjoy the sunset in silence, listening to the sounds of the forest as the sun set over the hills and valleys of the jungle. It was a surreal experience.
1. Koh Tao -We spent 4 nights in Koh Tao getting our Open Water Diving Certification staying at Big Blue Resort right on the beach. Luckily we were on the west side, or we might not have seen the most amazing series of sunsets ever; each lighting up the sky and ocean with pinks and oranges and purples. We were mesmerized on our very first night, and went to sleep talking about how lucky we were to have seen such an awesome sight. Little did we know that each night after that would treat us to an ever better one, which at the time we didn’t think was possible. Make sure to get a spot on the beach on the west coast of Koh Tao, you will not want to miss these shows!
Bonus: Queenstown – Not known for it’s sunsets because the lake is to the south and the rest is surrounded by mountains, we were pretty lucky to be greeted by an amazing one on our arrival. After a 13 hour drive (including all of our side trips and stops for pictures) we were dead tired when finally arriving at our destination. Our spirits were lifted however by an outstanding bright pink sunset over the mountains 5 minutes from town. We obviously stopped to take pictures, and we were blown away.