Sunsets are one of the most fascinating light displays that Mother Nature has to offer. The colours of the sky and the landscape can change dramatically with the sun casting its bright light in a different angle. I've always been fascinated by sunsets, and any opportunity I get to see a sunset, I'd go and marvel at it. There are many places around the world where you can watch the sun set, but some locations are better than others.
I found 8 great places in Australasia to marvel at gorgeous sunset vistas:
1 - Likas Bay, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
The state capital of Sabah in Malaysia is a small city that is known as the gateway to the highest mountain in Southeast Asia, Mount Kinabalu, and other exciting adventure trips around the lush jungles of Borneo. I visited this city and chanced upon reading about this revolving restaurant called Atmosphere in the Sabah Foundation Building.
It's 15 minutes away from the centre of Kota Kinabalu, and the building itself is known for its unique architecture of having single central core structure that forms as support for the building. The revolving restaurant offers a magnificent view of Likas Bay on one end and of the mountains surrounding Kota Kinabalu on the other.
As I was having a few drinks in the afternoon, I managed to see the sun slowly making its way down Likas Bay, and the view was just simply amazing! It seems odd to be watching the sunset from a building, but there is nothing like having a few drinks and watching this great sunset by the bay. I was glad I found out about this revolving restaurant!
2 - Sihanoukville, Cambodia
Sihanoukville is Cambodia's top beach destination. This used to be the summer hideaway of the King of Cambodia before the Khmer Rouge regime. While there is a growing number of tourists visiting Cambodia to marvel at the majestic Angkor Wat temples, Sihanoukville remains a destination yet to be discovered by the throngs of tourists that visit the temples.
Still, Sihanoukville is reasonably developed and has a number of hotels and restaurants, and now, a 24-hour casino. Sihanoukville has a number of great beaches to enjoy, but the most popular one (and one of the longest stretch of beach in the area) is Occheuteal Beach. This is a great place to pull up a lounge chair, order a drink from one of the beachside bars, and enjoy the sun until it sets! It's one of the best sunsets I've ever seen in Asia.
3 - Promthep Cape, Phuket, Thailand
Phuket is a well-known beach destination in Thailand, and the best place to watch the sunset is at Promthep Cape. Promthep Cape is a magnificent headland that juts out of the southern end of Phuket.
This place is known for spectacular views of the Andaman Sea and for watching the waves crash into the rocks and cliffs. There are shops and cafes in the area and a viewing point where you can enjoy the bright orange sun sets spectacularly into the Andaman Sea.
4 - White Beach, Boracay, Philippines
Boracay is the Philippines' premier beach destination, and is known for its powder-fine white sand beaches, great diving and island parties. White Beach is the most popular beach on the island. It is a 3-kilometre long beach and offers the best views for sunset in the island.
The resorts and bars on White Beach are virtually beachfront, so you can sit on one of the bars and watch the beautiful sunset happen. Sitting on the nice powder-fine sand is perhaps the best way to enjoy the magnificent sunset. Sunset in Boracay is one of its greatest treasures, and one that simply should not be missed!
5 - Manila Bay, Manila, Philippines
Manila, the Philippine capital, is more known to be a big metropolis with the usual traffic jams, huge skyscrapers and massive shopping malls. Some of the world's biggest shopping malls are located in this city, and it can be hard to believe that Manila is actually known to have one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. Manila Bay, in particular, is where you can witness this marvellous sunset.
You can walk along Roxas Boulevard, sit on one of the streetside cafes and enjoy watching the sun set behind the yachts and the ships on Manila Bay. Another fantastic location to view the sunset is on the Esplanade near the Mall of Asia, the world's third largest shopping mall. It offers fantastic unobstructed views of the bay and the sunset. Summertime is the best time to witness this world-famous sunset, as the weather is generally dry and clear.
6 - Mindil Beach, Darwin, Australia
Darwin, at the top end of Australia, has a number of great spots to watch the sunset. The most famous one is on Mindil Beach. What makes Mindil Beach special is its sunset markets which opens on Thursdays and Sundays during the dry season (May - November). Locals and tourists come to these markets to check out different local Aboriginal crafts and products made by small local businesses, some of which can't be found in the shops in the city.
There is also a line of food stalls offering different types of food from crocodile meat to the ubiquitous Chinese takeaway. The sunset on a nice clear day is fabulous! It is even all the more fabulous during the wet season, when the sun is bright red orange in colour, and the sky radiates in hues of amber.
7 - Galle Face Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka
The capital of the island nation of Sri Lanka is one of the best spots to watch a sunset. Colombo's location, being on the western side of the island, makes it a perfect place to see the sun go down into the Indian Ocean. Along Galle Road, there is a stretch of promenade walk called Galle Face, where the locals play cricket and take a leisurely stroll along the coastline.
This is one of the ideal places to watch the sunset with unobstructed views. At the end of Galle Face is Galle Face Hotel, an old colonial hotel that is an institution in the city. There is a close association with the hotel and the famous sci-fi author Sir Arthur C. Clarke, who is a long time resident of Sri Lanka. This hotel has an outdoor sitting area that also offers a fantastic view of the sunset, and you can order a drink or two while adoring the view.
8 - Vang Vieng, Laos
Vang Vieng is in the mountainous country of Laos and is located halfway between the capital Vientiane and Luang Prabang. The town is surrounded by limestone cliffs and numerous caves, and the river Nam Song cuts through it. It's a small sleepy town with mostly backpacker tourists visiting, and perhaps an unusual place to watch the sunset.
However, once you see the imposing mountains and limestone cliffs in the area, you can imagine seeing the sun set behind these would be an awesome sight. This is perhaps one of the most hidden treasures that people in Vang Vieng and Laos don't realise. I only chanced upon this sunset as I was walking along the Nam Song river, looking to the other side of the river over the mountains, and there it was, a magnificent round glow setting behind the mountains. The dry season (February - May) would be the best times to witness this sunset.