Skip to main content

'Manhattanhenge' fail? 12 other superb sunset spots around the world

By Raemin Zhang, CNN
updated 12:22 AM EDT, Fri May 30, 2014
"Manhattanhenge," as coined by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, occurred on May 29, 2014 in New York. Unfortunately clouds got in the way of the spectacle this year, unlike 2013 (pictured). It's one of four days in the year (the others being May 30, July 11 and July 12) when the sun will set perfectly in line with the city's street grid. Click through the gallery for other spectacular sunsets around the world. "Manhattanhenge," as coined by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, occurred on May 29, 2014 in New York. Unfortunately clouds got in the way of the spectacle this year, unlike 2013 (pictured). It's one of four days in the year (the others being May 30, July 11 and July 12) when the sun will set perfectly in line with the city's street grid. Click through the gallery for other spectacular sunsets around the world.
HIDE CAPTION
'Manhattanhenge' and 12 more superb sunsets
Makena State Park (Maui, Hawaii)
U Bein Bridge (Mandalay, Myanmar)
Maasai Mara National Reserve (Kenya)
Uluru and Kata Tjuta (Northern Territory, Australia)
Aci Trezza (Catania, Italy)
Grand Canyon (Arizona)
Dubai (U.A.E.)
West Lake (Hangzhou, China)
Guanshan (Kenting, Taiwan)
Oia (Santorini, Greece)
Phnom Bakheng (Angkor, Cambodia)
Rapa Nui (Easter Island)
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • At dusk, Maasai Mara's savannah appears to be stained red
  • Millions visit the the Grand Canyon each year to catch a sunset
  • Guanshan offers the best viewpoint to see the Hengchun Peninsula in southern Taiwan

(CNN) -- One of the world's best urban sunsets nearly happened in New York on May 29, 2014.

Unfortunately, cloud cover spoiled the first "Manhattanhenge" event of the year, the term coined by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson to describe when the sun sets in perfect alignment with the city's street grid.

He created the term based on Stone Henge in the UK, the ancient landmark that highlights the sun in similar fashion during the winter and summer solstices.

Luckily, Manhattanhenge is happening again on May 30 and July 11-12.

And if clouds spoil all all those chances to snap pics of a slowly setting sun beside the Empire State Building, console yourself with these other amazing sunset pics, taken around the world.

We'd love to hear about your own favorite sunset spots too. Tell us about them in the comments section below.

1. U Bein Bridge, Mandalay, Myanmar

When sun sets on the world's longest teak bridge, one of the world's most picturesque sunset views begins.

U Bein Bridge, named after former mayor U Bein, is a 1.2-kilometer wooden bridge across Taungthaman Lake.

The bridge, busy by day with Buddhist monks and locals, seems to relax when the sun goes down.

Daily flights connect Mandalay with other major cities in Myanmar.

MORE: An insider's tour of Myanmar

2. Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

The word "magnificent" could have been invented in Maasai Mara.

At dusk, the expanse of savannah appears to be stained red; bewitching sunsets complement the land perfectly.

The best time to come is July to October, when the annual migration of zebra, Thomson's gazelle and wildebeest come to the Mara from the Serengeti.

Lodges, camps and balloon safaris are available inside the reserve.

It takes 45 minutes to fly to Maasai Mara from Nairobi and two hours from Mombasa, Diani Beach or Malindi.

For more info, visit Massai Mara National Reserve's website.

MORE: 10 things you probably didn't know you can do in Kenya

3. Uluru and Kata Tjuta, Northern Territory, Australia

Beauty in the outback.
Beauty in the outback.

The domed Uluru (aka Ayers Rock) rises 348 meters above the desert plain, extends five kilometers beneath it and has a circumference of 9.4 kilometers.

Kata Tjuta (aka The Olgas) is a range of 36 variously sized rock domes 36 kilometers to the west of Uluru.

Dominated by these giant wonders, the national park is a UNESCO World Heritage area.

The Uluru rock appears to change colors as the sun beams over the desert landscape, hitting Kata Tjuta in the background.

Daily flights to the Northern Territory are available from major cities in Australia.

MORE: How to survive in the wilds of Australia

4. Aci Trezza, Catania, Italy

Aci Trezza is a fishing village on the east coast of Sicily.

It's the town where Giovanni Verga set his 1881 novel "I Malavoglia" ("The House by the Medlar Tree").

The Islands of the Cyclops -- three column-shaped basalt rocks -- are the main attraction for visitors. According to legend, these rocks were thrown by Polyphemus at Ulysses.

The Mediterranean here sparkles with golden sunlight at dusk.

Aci Trezza is about 10 kilometers from Catania. Daily shuttle buses and trains from Catania to Aci Trezza are available.

MORE: 10 things Italy does better than anywhere else

5. Grand Canyon, Arizona

"I believe in evolution. But I also believe, when I hike the Grand Canyon and see it at sunset, that the hand of God is there also," said U.S. senator John McCain, ever the politician.

No matter their religious beliefs, millions of people visit the the 445-kilometer long, 29-kilometer-wide Grand Canyon each year to catch a sunset.

Hopi Point, where you can see layers of rock, is one of the best places to photograph it.

Daily flights, buses and trains to Grand Canyon National Park run from Phoenix, Flagstaff and Las Vegas.

MORE: Yellowstone geyser puts on surprise show

6. Dubai, U.A.E.

A desert scene for the 21st century.
A desert scene for the 21st century.

There's nothing like experiencing a desert sunset atop a camel in Dubai.

Sand dunes, lolloping gait and distant Dubai skyline create a classic Arabian sunset.

Failing that, you can consider a view from the thousand-meter-long Jumeirah Beach, a white sandy stretch along the Arabian Gulf with private beaches and top-notch facilities belonging to luxury hotels like The Ritz-Carlton -- it's open to the public for a small fee.

MORE: Never before seen photos of Dubai's stunning skyline

7. West Lake, Hangzhou, China

West Lake boasts an exquisite sunset scene, with Leifeng Pagoda illuminated by the final rays of the day.

The pagoda became famous with the spread of the legend of Madam White Snake, said to have been jailed in the pagoda for decades.

The original Leifeng Pagoda was built in the year 975 to celebrate the birth of the Wu Kingdom's prince. It collapsed in 1924.

The five-sided, eight-floor pagoda was rebuilt in its original lake-side location in 2002.

Daily flights and trains to Hangzhou are available from major cities in China

MORE: The oddest-looking hotel you'll see this year

8. Guanshan, Kenting, Taiwan

A Guanshan sunset is one of the great attractions of southern Taiwan.

Guanshan is a 152-meter-high mountain inside Kenting National Park -- it offers the best viewpoint from which to see the Hengchun Peninsula, a popular tourist spot in the south of the island.

The peninsula has no train or highway, making it a natural paradise. What it has is beautiful hot springs and forests.

The pavilion adjacent to Fude Temple (Gaoshanyen) on Guanshan Trail offers the best viewing point for sunsets.

Daily flights and trains to Kenting are available from major cities in Taiwan. Kenting National Park is open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily.

MORE: Insider Guide -- best of Taipei

9. Oia, Santorini, Greece

The hilltop town of Oia is a well-known sunset destination.

The porous volcanic rock and white and blue houses, backed by a crystal Aegean Sea, make for one of the travel world's most photographed scenes.

People flow into every restaurant, nook and cranny along the cliffs in the afternoon to wait for the majestic sunsets.

Daily flights to Santorini are available from Athens.

MORE: Greek islands consider segregated tourist zones

About 3,700 kilometers off the Chilean coast, Rapa Nui is the easternmost Polynesian island.
About 3,700 kilometers off the Chilean coast, Rapa Nui is the easternmost Polynesian island.

10. Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Chile

About 3,700 kilometers off the Chilean coast in the Pacific Ocean, on the easternmost Polynesian island, the enigmatic stone statues of the Rapa Nui culture have for centuries been seeing off the sun with ancient stoicism (their backs are turned to the sea).

Though the moai (as the statues are called) haven't been around forever -- they were erected between AD 1400 and 1600 -- taking in a sunset with them sure feels like an eternal experience.

It's an event -- and photograph -- cherished by every visitor to the island.

MORE: 5 luxury vacations in Chile

11. Phnom Bakheng, Angkor, Cambodia

Known for its "sunset on the hill," Phnom Bakheng is a popular place for a Cambodian-style sunset.

The Hindu temple built at the end of ninth century is on top of a hill, giving great views of its more famous sibling, Angkor Wat.

Take an elephant ride and you can avoid climbing those steep steps yourself.

It's best to arrive early to get a good spot. The temple closes at 6.30 p.m.

Phnom Bakheng is 1.5 kilometers from Angkor Wat.

Daily flights to Angkor Wat, Siem Reap are available from major cities, including Bangkok, Shanghai and Singapore.

MORE: Inside Cambodia's stunning new temple discoveries

12. Maui, Hawaii

You actually thought we were going to leave out Hawaii?

Just about any spot along the coast of America's 50th state makes for a poster-worthy evening photo, but the long, white sand beach, crashing waves and prominent cinder cone of Pu'u Ola'i keep sunset lovers coming back to Makena State Park on Maui.

Even if you don't catch one of the islands' famed "green flash" sunsets (Ever seen one? Leave a comment below), it's hard to feel anything but deep satisfaction when the sun sets over Maui and the tiki bars start getting crowded.

MORE: Fearless photog risks limbs for perfect wave pics

Raemin Zhang is an editorial intern for CNN.

Story originally published August 2013, updated May 2014.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:00 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
A foreign language can be the best aphrodisiac, so we traveled the world in search of the hottest accents.
updated 10:12 PM EDT, Sun September 21, 2014
Hidden from the rest of the world for decades, Myanmar's Lethwei boxing is experiencing a revival globally.
updated 7:17 AM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
This aging cargo work whale makes more than 60 flights each week, carrying parts for all of the Airbus programs.
updated 7:32 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
Vikings, vicious politics and vindaloo curries -- Scotland isn't all tartan and bagpipes.
updated 8:26 PM EDT, Sun September 14, 2014
Former brothels, public toilets and war bunkers now provide eccentric watering holes for those willing to drink deep.
updated 11:04 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Ushaka Marine World, Durban, South Africa
Joburg is trendy, Cape Town is glamorous, but Durban has style -- and a restaurant inside a shark tank.
updated 3:56 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
Tirana's nightlife
Former Tirana stronghold of a totalitarian leader now home to a pulsing clubs and bar scene.
updated 11:38 PM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
Whether filled with electric blue sulfur flames or hissing lava, these mega mountains offer incredible vistas.
updated 8:40 PM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
This once-a-year luxury cruise visits untouched islands and never-snorkeled reefs.
updated 9:05 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
Peter J. Goutiere was just shy of 30 years old when he piloted a Douglas C-47 from Miami to Kolkata, India.
updated 6:47 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Breathtaking scenery, championship design -- many of the courses dropped into the Canadian Rockies are among the most memorable in the world.
updated 9:06 AM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
A floating hippo in the Thames river designed by artist Florentijn Hofman
Why Florentijn Hofman is sending a giant beast into London's River Thames.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
Scrap all those other bucket lists you've been compiling and start saving -- these memorable-for-a-lifetime trips don't come cheap, or easy.
updated 8:42 PM EDT, Fri September 5, 2014
A squabble over a device that limits how far a seat can recline has brought inflight etiquette into the spotlight again.
updated 6:23 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Thirst for victory competes with thirst for booze in event where competitors raise their glasses long before they cross the finish line.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT