• MJ Agra

The Most Beautiful Sunsets Around the World

Updated: Sep 24, 2020

A shortlist of sunsets that took my breath away during my travels.

There are unexpected moments in life that take your breath away. Witnessing a beautiful sunset anywhere in the world will always make it to the top of your memory lane of moments that made your heart skip a beat. If you’re sharing this moment with someone special over a glass of wine or wrapping up a day at the beach, then all the better!

I’ve always set some time aside for myself towards the end of the day to watch the sunset. This time allows me to be still as I watch silently in awe, as if seeing this magic for the first time. Sunsets remind me to have faith in a higher power and to reset gratitude.

Even if travel has been drastically limited to some of these destinations, I hope you'll feel inspired and hopeful. Soon, the borders will open up again and we can continue ticking those destinations off our bucket list. For now, we can appreciate the sunset from the comforts of our own home. The sunset will always be beautiful no matter where you are, but sometimes, the change in setting makes all the difference.


Here is a shortlist of sunset moments that took my breath away during my travels. I hope you enjoy it.


1. Al Jabal Al Akhdar, OMAN

Top of the list is one that will make you look forward to setting some time away - Oman’s luxurious Alila Jabal Akhdar, where you can watch the magical sunset over the dramatic landscape of mountain views.  

A perfect combination of rustic old world charm and contemporary luxury, this exclusive resort set in the heart of the Al Hajar mountain range is perched 2,000 meters above sea level in one of Oman’s most breathtaking and untouched areas.

Located in Jabal Akhdar meaning “The Green Mountain” in Arabic, this landmark luxury resort’s architecture is inspired by ancient forts made with traditional Omani construction techniques using local stones as its main structure. In stark contrast to the panoramic views of the mountains, this oasis of relaxation makes for the perfect serene setting to soothe your senses with the sounds and beauty of nature.


2. Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL

City. Mountains. Sea. Rio de Janeiro has it all! This sassy city is not only blessed by geography, climate, and beautiful people - but an impressive roster of legendary global icons from Sugarloaf Mountain, sandy Copacabana, to the infamous Christ the Redeemer. When you’re extremely jet-lagged with a time constraint of 24 hours to take in all of the wonders of the city - what better way to marvel at these legends than from at least 2,000 feet up in the skies in a helicopter!

Lucky enough to ride shotgun next to the pilot, we prepared for takeoff and tediously buckled ourselves tightly like a toddler in a car seat. Anticipating the mere 20 minutes would fly by in a blink of an eye, I carefully positioned my gopro and camera device ready to take those snaps in a whim. Never have I been so distracted and unable to move as I slowly take in the bird’s eye view of this breathtaking beach city. I found myself gasping in awe as we soar high above the golden beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, the sparkling Atlantic Ocean, the Botanical Gardens and Tujica National Park, Sugarloaf Mountain over Guanabara Bay, and admire the bustling residential neighborhood fringing Rodrigo de Freitas Lake.


3. Grand Gaube, MAURITIUS

From the skies to the ocean on the northwest coast of Mauritius, the gleaming sunsets seen on the northern bay are said to be legendary and the perfect canvas for romance. Amped with wedding festivities for close friends at Lux Grand Gaube resort, we decided to venture off on a private yacht ride to spend some time to ourselves and enjoy the solitude of the ocean, and are we ever glad we did!


The calm winds, beautiful scenery, melodic sounds of the ocean, fresh fruit and cheese plates, and a bottle of Ruinart to toast to the moment all made it a sunset cruise to remember and a perfect ending to a beautiful day in paradise.


As we cruised by the spectacular sea cliffs and Northern isles along Coin de Mire, the crew stops the boat and asked if we wanted to take a dip in the ocean. We happily jumped in the water in no time and was it ever refreshing! They say sometimes in the year, the whales and dolphins will make an appearance. They didn’t. Still, it didn’t make us feel any less lucky than we did at that moment.


4. Bali, INDONESIA

Mere steps from the Indian Ocean and unfurling along the pristine beach on Bali’s southwestern coast is Alila Seminyak, a stunning minimalistic 5-star luxury beachfront resort whose chill-out-in-style setting paves way for unforgettable sizzling sunsets. As the sun gives way to the moon, there are many options to enjoy the sunset at this chic and contemporary resort that ups the ante on tropical cool.

To make the most of your seaside soiree, go for a late swim at their risen glittering infinity pool which looks like it melts into the ocean and watch the sunset over uninterrupted beach views. You can also kick off with some signature designer cocktails and gourmet nibbles with live music in the background at the resort’s breezy beach bar. Another way to go is to relax on the sun loungers on the porch of your ground floor Oceanview suite and literally walk onto the beach from your doorstep. While you meander along the bright white sands beachside, be mindful of the powerful waves as it’s the wildest at that time of the day.


Alila Seminyak, which overlooks the endless and wild Petitenget Beach, is the perfect balance of luxury and relaxation right in the heart of Bali.

5. Venice, ITALY

For the best sunset and bellinis, it's no doubt Venice is the place to be to find the best of both! We were excited to step foot into the legendary Harry’s Bar, the world famous watering hole that was the meeting place of writers, painters, artists, aristocrats, kings and queens over the years like Ernest Hemingway, Katharine Hepburn, and Truman Capote since 1931.


Separated by canals and linked by bridges, Italy’s northeastern city has been voted as the most beautiful city in the world numerous times and it’s no surprise! What better way to marvel at its ancient architecture, basilicas, labyrinth of pathways, and magical canal grande then by taking a traditional Gondola ride and be serenaded by renowned gondoliers in the waters of this floating city. It’s interesting to hear that the locals have been traveling through the Venetian lagoons this way since the 11th century!


We eventually got dropped off at San Marco Vallaresso, the closest stop to Giuseppi Cipriani’s iconic Harry’s Bar for our much-awaited Bellini cocktail. There, we couldn’t resist to take quick snaps of the sunset skies with the backdrop of the intricate San Giorgio Maggiore church, apparently the best spot to watch the early sunrise. Unexpectedly and 100 euros later, this moment turned out the best of them all! Certainly, a lesson learned that a spur-of-the-moment adventure can make for the greatest memories.


6. Phuket, THAILAND

Thailand has always been a Southeast Asian favorite for holiday destinations among fellow travelers, and you never seem to get enough that you’d want to come back sooner than later! The Land of Smiles is filled with limitless possibilities for exhilarating adventures to treasure for a lifetime. From its tropical weather, blissful beaches, golden pagodas, floating markets, flavorful cuisine, vibrant culture, to its abundance of natural beauty and warm hospitality, Thailand just has so much to offer. It’s no wonder Phuket, Bangkok, and Koh Samui all made it to the Top 10 of the list!


Let’s start with picturesque Phuket, Thailand’s largest island, known for its white sand beaches, fresh seafood, azure waters of the Andaman sea, and spectacular sunsets. We stayed at The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa, a sprawling tropical paradise in the hillside of Phuket’s famed east coast which overlooks the calm and secluded Siray Bay and is a favored spot for watching legendary overwater sunsets.


This haven is close to town, yet feels private and peaceful, with golf buggies on standby to take you from your private pool villa to the lobby for your next island-hopping escapade. A traveler’s delight, the resort is a perfect vantage point to take in the panoramic ocean views from the comforts of your private balcony with a cocktail in hand, or right from its private beach with the sand grazing your toes after a late afternoon swim.


7. Bangkok, THAILAND

In the midst of the hustle and bustle of Bangkok is its world-famous sky bar, Lebua, suspended on a precipice of 820 feet in the air! Located in Silom, Hangover II’s über-cool rooftop bar is not only Hollywood famous but lives up to its expectation with impressive panoramic views of the Thai capital and re-imagined cocktails by their renowned mixologists.

If you’re also a cocktail lover and a fan of vodka, you're in for a treat with their signature drink, Sunset 63, which is the perfect blend of Absolut, Cointreau, pineapple juice and orange. You can also live it up with their Hangovertini, which is a mix of green tea liquor, apple juice, Martini Rosso, and rosemary honey. After a sip or two, you’re all set to navigate the crowds for your insta-worthy moment. Make sure to capture that magnificent post-modernist golden dome in the background!


This Bangkok institution is a favorite hangout spot for both tourists and locals, especially at golden hour, being a large business hotel in the center of Bangkok. The sunset amidst the city’s haze with Chao Phraya River winding its way through the urban sprawl is a spectacle to die for. The setting up top this funky bar changes by the hour, with flickering city lights coming to life, crowds coming and going, the colors of the backlit bar ever-changing, and live jazz performers coming out to play. In a city known for its cocktail bars, you’ll see that Sky Bar is a worthy adversary and will you ever be glad you stayed!


8. Koh Samui, THAILAND

Wrapping up our bucket list for sunset-watching in Thailand is sequestered hillside of its second largest island, Samui. If you’re feeling like revving up your romance or just unwinding on your own while overlooking the azure reefs of the Gulf of Thailand, the luxurious Conrad Koh Samui is the place to be. This is a getaway where you won’t feel the need to leave the resort and completely relax in the confines of your Royal Oceanview Pool Villa while enjoying the luxe and benefits of a 5-star quality service and amenities.


This secluded resort in the isolated island is spread over 25 forested acres of dramatic hillside with a private beachfront and a collection of luxury private pool villas west-facing to take in the breathtaking ocean views. Koh Samui with all of its natural and cultural charms, powdery beaches and lush jungles makes this all-encompassing luxury retreat the ultimate getaway to escape the daily grind.


9. Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS

The Dutch brother of the Eiffel Tower, Berlin Fernsehturm, and the London Eye - A’DAM Lookout, gives you unparalleled panoramic views of Amsterdam, most especially at sunset! Come to think of it, my sunset moment at this ICON building was an accidental surprise.

After landing in the Netherlands’ capital, I decided to try something new and daring. I then signed up for a ride on their Over-the-Edge swing for the adrenaline rush, where I will be literally swinging over the edge of the lookout tower at a terrifying height of about 100 meters above the ground all while safely strapped into a secure harness. There was no availability during the day, so I took the next slot to ride on Europe’s highest swing at sundown.


Lasting for only a few minutes, this was another check off the bucket list as nothing beats the combination of adrenaline rush and awe-inspiring sunset views. Located in Amsterdam Noord tower on the 20th floor, you can enjoy a drink in the open-air observation terrace, take in the ambience and listen to lounge music in the background, watch the tourists and locals get-together to unwind, or explore their interactive exhibition. Another fun and romantic option is to have dinner at their circular restaurant Moon, which slowly revolves around its axis every hour to take in all of the wonders of Amsterdam at a dazzling height.


10. Nice, FRANCE

A leisurely sunset stroll along Nice’s iconic Promenade des Anglais with views of the sea and sounds of the waves crashing across the shore is one for the books! Translated to walkway in English, this 5km long boardwalk along Baie des Anges in one of Europe’s cosmopolitan city is a culture feast for the eyes and soul.


Take in the scenery of dancing birds, palm trees, signature blue chairs, pebbled beaches, and join in the action of people running, biking, rollerblading, and walking beach side in all hours of the day. On the other side of this flawless shoreline strip is a display of captivating architectural and historical structures boasting all of Southeastern France’s artistic glory.


The seaside esplanade also leads to interesting wonders and discoveries in Nice like one of its most expensive hotels, Le Negresco hotel, where the late Michael Jackson stayed. Wrap up your evening with the ultimate French Riviera experience with a glass of Champagne at their Negresco bar while listening to soft jazz playing in the background.


11. Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Last but definitely not the least is my current home - DUBAI.


This city of gold is filled with picturesque settings to catch the sunset. From beachside at the Palm Jumeirah islands, to the top of Burj Khalifa tower downtown, to a traditional Abra boat ride in Old Dubai during golden hour, to roadside in Al Jadaf with insane views of the Dubai skyline, the list goes on!


However, nothing compares to watching the sunset over the majestic Arabian desert. There’s a reason they call it “iconic.”


Far from the city noise and absent of smog, watching the sunset over the sand dunes is like witnessing this magical phenomenon with a clearer set of eyes. Desert safaris are a crucial part of any itinerary during a visit to Dubai, so choose wisely because it makes all the difference!


Opt for a private desert setup tour and enjoy a glass of champagne while you watch the mesmerizing sunset with your loved ones minus the rush and hassle of a group tour. From camel trekking, to dune bashing across the red dunes, a barbecue dinner, belly and fire dance performances at a traditional camp, your desert experience will sure rise to the top of your trip highlights!

There are many more unexpected spots around Dubai to watch the sunsets that many have yet to discover. Having lived here for many years and living like the forever-tourist, you can say I've become the expert in chasing sunsets.


Catch my upcoming post on best romantic spots to catch the setting sun in Dubai! If there are any spots you suggest I include here or on my next blog post, sign up and drop me a line!


Copyright © Mary Jane Agra Dreaming of Sunsets 2020. All rights reserved.

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