Wednesday, April 03, 2013

10 Of The World's Best Places To See Stunning Sunrise Views


 Angkor WatLet’s face it: Winter has left us chilled, pallid and perhaps a little less than energized. But the arrival of the vernal equinox on March 20—the first day of spring for the Northern Hemisphere—brought the promise of warmer temperatures and brighter days.

Skip ahead to see the most stunning sunrise views >

Historically, pagans aligned this turn in season with the theme of rebirth, both spiritually and agriculturally. Likewise, many pagan deities were associated with renewal and rejuvenation. Egyptians looked to Hathor, daughter of the sun god Ra, who bore a golden solar disk between her horns. Greeks turned to Aphrodite of Cyprus, who is associated with love and fertility. And the Saxons honored Ostara, the goddess of springtime and the namesake of Easter.

Perhaps our ancestors were on to something. (Who doesn’t link the spring and summer months with growth and positive energy?) So take a cue from nature and begin the season of renewal with a visit to a place that celebrates and accentuates the beauty of the morning horizon. Soak in the silhouettes of Cambodian temples in Angkor Wat or peer out at the waters over the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Take a walk by India’s Ganges River and see one of the world’s greatest tributes to romance, the Taj Mahal, or travel to the South Pacific archipelago of Tonga, where islanders are among the world’s first to see the sun rise each day. Each of our 11 favorites is bound to be enlightening. 

Skip ahead to see the most stunning sunrise views >

More from Departures:

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

It’s only fitting that the Hindu deity Angkor Wat was erected for—Vishnu—would have a connection to the sun. Although he is known as “the Protector” today, Vishnu is referred to as the Sun God in ancient Hindu scriptures. And although Angkor Wat has since become a Buddhist site, it remains one of the world’s best vantage points for a sunrise.

Book a room at La Résidence d’Angkor, a lavish riverside resort located near both the majestic temples and Siem Reap’s vibrant markets. The hotel offers a daybreak tour of Angkor Wat, with an optional breakfast picnic or an early-morning water blessing, in which a monk bestows fragrant flowers on guests and blesses them against the backdrop of ancient temples. For the full experience, schedule a meditation session with a Cambodian monk.Rooms start at $280; River Rd.; 855-63/963-390;

Bali, Indonesia

Bali’s gorgeous seascape is perfect for the romantically inclined. Book a room at the Amankila, a cliffside resort perched high in the hills overlooking the Lombok Strait and the volcanic eastern coastline.

The resort’s 35 thatched-roof suites embody refuge and relaxation; each suite is elevated and connected to the main hotel by tiny walkways. Start the day with a combination of light cardio and yoga, or opt for a sunrise cruise up the coastline for radiant views of Mount Rinjani, a volcano on the island of Lombok. Eat breakfast onboard and try your hand at fishing on the tranquil ride back. Another reason to set your alarm? A cooking class at dawn includes a guided market tour during which guests can handpick ingredients to cook an authentic Indonesian feast. Rooms start at $950; Manggis; 62-363/41333;

Great Barrier Reef, Bedarra Island, Australia

Located just off the coast of Mission Beach, Bedarra Island is a secluded alternative to Cairns, the city where most tourists end up when seeking out Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. With a maximum capacity of 14 guests, Bedarra Island has all the amenities of a large resort combined with the intimacy of a bed-and-breakfast.

Soak up the sun on a nearby deserted island, book a private deep-sea fishing charter or explore the lush rainforest surrounding the hotel. The privately owned island has seven villas, each nestled away with private beaches and commanding views of the reef. Sustainability is important here, so expect fresh produce from the island’s garden, water-saving d! evices a nd a new off-grid hybrid solar system. Rooms start at $990; Bedarra Island; 61-7/4047-4747;

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