Easily one of the most iconic pictures from Bali is the spectacular Gates of Heaven at Lempuyang Temple. You’ve probably seen these photos of travelers posing between gorgeous white gates that perfectly frame Mt Agung and the sky. This is the incredible Pura Lempuyang Temple!
Instagram made this image famous with good reason! However, like all insta-famous places, Lempuyang can get very busy! Is it still worth going? We definitely think so! But only if you do it right.
In this article, you will find all the best and most up to date information to make your trip to Lempuyang Temple a success!
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About Lempuyang Temple
Tourists have nicknamed Pura Lempuyang Temple the Bali Gates of Heaven, because the sky and Mount Agung are perfectly framed by the impressive white gates. However, the full name is Pura Penataran Agung Lempuyang. Each of these words translate to:
- Pura = temple
- Penataran = elevating
- Agung = great
- Lempuyang is derived from the word lempu “light” and the name of the Balinese supreme God Hyang.
So roughly translated, the Pura Penataran Agung Lempuyang means the “Great, Elevating Temple of God’s Light.”
Unlike the large, indoor Hindu temples in India, Balinese Hindu temples are outdoor temples. They are bordered by walls and the entrances are often marked by ornate split gates.
We love this part of the Balinese culture! The island itself is the source of the spiritual here, and keeping temples open to nature feels so right.
The open air temple design is especially wonderful when you take into consideration the spectacular Lempuyang location.
History of Lempuyang Temple
Lempuyang Temple is particularly significant to Balinese Hinduism. It is one of the six holiest temples in Bali called the Sad Kahyangan. Together they are said to provide spiritual balance to the island.
Lempuyang Temple is also one of the nine directional temples on the island. Each of the nine is strategically located to protect Bali from evil spirits from a certain direction. Temple Lempuyang protects the island from the east.
Where is Bali Gates of Heaven Lempuyang Temple?
Located on Mount Lempuyang in east Bali, the Lempuyang Temple has absolutely breathtaking views of Mount Agung.
Lempuyang Temple from Ubud is a 2 hour drive and more like 2.5 hours from the Canggu/Kuta area.
We prefer to stay in Amed and visit from there since it is only a 30 minute drive, and there are so many other things to do in this area.
How to Get to Lempuyang Temple
As there are no public transportation systems in Bali, you have four options to get to Lempuyang Temple. You can rent a scooter, hire a driver, rent a car, or join a tour. All of these are good options depending on your needs, but here is the breakdown so you can decide which option is best for you.
Driving a scooter is the most cost effective way to get to Lempuyang Temple. You can expect to rent a motorscooter in Bali for about $5-10 USD a day.
This is a long drive on winding mountain roads, so we would only recommend this for the experienced driver full of adventure. This is also a long day on a scooter. For the most comfortable experience make sure to rent a larger 155cc bike.
We have found that Google Maps for Gate of Heaven Lempuyang Temple is an accurate source for driving directions.
Hire a Private Driver
The most convenient choice to travel to Lempuyang Gates of Heaven Temple is to hire a private driver. This is the ‘go to’ for getting around in Bali. Hiring a private driver for the day usually costs between $30-50 USD (up to about 700,000 IDR) depending on how far you are going and how many hours the driver is needed.
The awesome thing about having a private driver is that you can relax on the drive, avoid having to worry about directions or traffic, and have someone who can help you along the way.
We love talking to our drivers and learning more about the local area and culture, as well as getting all the tips! After driving so many people around, they have a lot of good insider knowledge.
Self-Drive Car Rental
If you are comfortable driving on the left side of the road, renting a car and driving yourself is a great option. You can expect to pay $20-30 USD a day for a midrange vehicle. This is one of the top questions we get asked, so we wrote a nice guide with all the things you need to know about renting a car in bali.
The major benefits of renting a self-drive care are increased flexibility and saving some money. We prefer to do this for long trips to avoid having to arrange drivers for multiple days in another area. However, the drawbacks include having to navigate the chaotic Bali roads as well as increased liability.
Also, remember that while the rental car company will not always check to see if you have an international driver’s license, the police most certainly will if given the chance. We learned this the hard way, which included paying a huge fine when our international driver’s license expired while we were in Ubud.
Again, it’s best to use Google Maps Gate of Heaven Lempuyang Temple for driving directions.
Lempuyang All-Inclusive Tour
If you want to skip the hassle of trying to figure out transportation and navigation then just press the ‘easy button’ and book this all-inclusive Full Day Bali Instagram Tour.
Not only will you get priority access to Lempuyang Temple but you will also get to visit Tirta Gangga, Tukad Cepung Waterfall, and Tegallalang Rice Fields.
Best Time of Year to Visit Lempuyang Temple
The best time of year to visit Lempuyang Temple is during Bali’s dry season, which is between May and October. Going during dry season means that you will increase your chances of a clear view of Mount Agung between those gorgeous white gates.
However, there are some benefits to visiting during wet season, too. Wet season is much quieter with less tourists on the island. So visiting Lempuyang Temple during wet season can actually be a more enjoyable experience since you may enjoy it more with less people around.
Believe us when we say the Gates of Heaven are still incredible with clouds and sky behind them.
Best Time of Day to visit the Gate of Heaven Lempuyang Temple
The morning is hands down the best time to visit the Gates of Heaven. In fact, we recommend being there well before 6am (think 5:30am).
This will allow you to witness sunrise at Lempuyang Temple with all the soft light that comes with it. We did this the first time we visited, and we were able to get our pictures within 30 minutes.
Pura Lempuyang Temple is insanely popular with tourists. Thankfully they have now instituted a ticketing system to take pictures at the gates. So you don’t actually have to wait in line.. However, it is not unusual to wait 3-4 hours for your ticket number to be called.
A lot of the crowds are due to big tour buses coming in. The last time we visited, we arrived at about 6:20am and were given ticket #133. We had come right behind four huge tour groups. We waited 4 hours to take our pictures!
Besides avoiding long wait times, arriving in the morning gives you the best chance of clear skies! The view of Mt Agung is more likely to be clear in the morning. Afternoon usually brings more clouds, which obscure the volcano.
The last time we visited, a worker told us that the Lempuyang Temple complex tends to clear out just before closing. So evening could be a great time to visit, as well.
However, keep in mind that the sun sets behind the Gates of Heaven. This could be beautiful, but it could also be more challenging to photograph because of the shadows this creates.
All in all, we think getting up early definitely pays off when it comes to visiting the Gates of Heaven at Lempuyang Temple. If you aren’t inclined to early mornings, visiting in the hour before closing would be a good second choice.
Lempuyang Temple Dress Code
Tank tops are a no go at Pura Lempuyang Temple for men and women. In fact, your shoulders and back must be covered at all times. The ticket counter does have sashes available to give tourists who show up with bare shoulders.
Remember that this is a holy site to the Balinese and deserves respect. We have seen people try to take pictures without covering their shoulders, and temple workers have to stop them. Not only that, but they made the tourists permanently delete the pictures, as well.
You also need to cover your legs with a sarong. One will be provided as part of your entrance fee, or you can bring your own.
Gates of Heaven Lempuyang Temple Opening Times
Pura Lempuyang Temple is open 6am-7pm daily. However, keep in mind that the sun sets usually between 6-6:30pm in Bali.
Arriving at Gates of Heaven Lempuyang Temple
If you are coming from the south, you will arrive at a parking area about 200 meters (650 ft) below the temple. Here you can pay 45,000 IDR (~$3 USD) for a shuttle up the steep road to Lempuyang Temple fee station..
If you are coming from the north, such as Amed, you will arrive directly at the Temple Complex itself. This is usually the route we come from since we usually combine visiting the Gates of Heaven with a trip to Amed.
After you pay the Lempuyang Temple entrance fee, it is a five minute walk up a steep road to the temple itself. There are men scooters that will drive you up for a small fee. We took grandparents this last trip, and they were only too happy to take these motorbike taxis!
Lempuyang Temple Entrance Fee
The fee to visit Pura Lempuyang Temple is 55,000 IDR (~$3.70 USD). This includes a sarong rental if you did not bring your own. The temple workers are sweet and will help you tie them on, too.
This is also where you will receive your number to queue for the famous Gates of Heaven photo opportunity.
The Gates of Heaven Bali Reality
You know that amazing reflective picture you’ve seen time and again at the Gates of Heaven? Some people are disappointed to find it is actually a camera trick. There is no pond or reflective water at the temple.
At some point, a clever photographer found that holding a mirror under the camera gives this effect. And now a worker sits in the perfect spot with a mirror and takes pictures for each person for a small donation.
We still love it. Those reflective pictures of the Gates of Heaven are hard to beat!
Pose Suggestions for Gates of Heaven
With so many people waiting to take pictures, you have a limited time to take photographs in the Gates at Pura Lempuyang Temple.
When your number is called, you will hand your phone to the temple worker taking photos and then have the opportunity to capture 4-5 poses.
They will take several pictures of each pose and call out “Next pose!” to signal when to change.
Our favorite poses are standing forward smiling, holding hands looking at each other, turning around and looking toward the volcano, and jumping.
The following poses are prohibited: kissing, yoga poses, or any position where the feet are raised too high.
What Else to See at Pura Lempuyang
Most people don’t realize that Pura Lempuyang Temple is actually a part of the Lempuyang temple complex. There is a loop that takes you to all seven temples in the complex. The loop takes 3-4 hours and includes a lot of staircases!
It really is a shame to only take a picture and leave. Take the time while you are waiting for your turn to explore a bit! Even if you are not up for the full loop!
And in case that loop sounds intimidating, the main temple complex that houses the famous Gates of Heaven is only a 5 minutes walk from the parking lot.
What Not To Do at the Lempuyang Temple Complex
There is a code of conduct posted at the Lempuyang Temple Complex that includes several rules. Please remember this is a religious site, and the Balinese religion and customs should be honored if you choose to visit.
Here is the code of conduct, including the Lempuyang Temple dress code:
- Women are not permitted to enter the temple when menstruating.
- A sarong is compulsory and must be worn at all times.
- The shoulders and back must be covered at all times.
- Never climb up or sit on the temple walls, raised platforms or statues.
- Only those visitors intending to pray are allowed inside the main area of the temple.
- The use of drones for photographing the temple are not permitted.
- Please avoid yoga poses or any position where your feet are raised up high.
- Keep your thoughts and language positive.
- Kissing is not permitted.
- Babies less than 105 days are not permitted to enter the temple.
Is it Worth Visiting the Bali Gates of Heaven?
If your time on the island takes you to Eastern Bali, or if you are planning a 10-day Bali itinerary we think the Gates of Heaven Lempuyang Temple is a ‘must do’.
Use the information in this post to time your visit and be prepared for at least some waiting. There are some snack and drink stands outside the temple complex, or you can bring your own. You might even want to bring a deck of cards to pass the time just in case.
But we recommend you use any wait time to wander around the complex, climb a few stairs, slip down behind the Lempuyang gates, and talk to some of the locals. It would be a waste to come for the picture alone.
Should You Hire a Guide for Lempuyang Temple?
While certainly not necessary, a guide for Pura Lempuyang Temple is never a bad idea. If your budget allows it, taking a Lempuyang temple tour can offer wonderful insight into Balinese Hindu practices as well as more history of the temple and area.
A guide is also a built in photographer, which is always a handy thing.
This is the best Gates of Heaven Tour which also includes three other stops!
Other Things to See Near Bali Gate of Heaven
The great thing about visiting Pura Lempuyang Luhur is that there is so much to do in this area!
A few options that can easily be combined with a Lempuyang temple visit are:
- Lahangan Sweet Mount Agung viewpoint
- Tirta Gangga water palace
- Tukad Cepung
- Taman Ujung water palace
- Bukit Cinta Mount Agung viewpoint
Or if you prefer some water adventure, snorkeling or diving in Amed is spectacular!
Wrap-Up: Gates of Heaven Lempuyang Temple
Even though the Lempuyang Temple location is a bit far from the Bali tourist hubs, we recommend it (along with East Bali in general!) to all our friends who visit the island of the Gods.
So add Lempuyang’s Gates of Heaven to your itinerary, and rest assured that you have all the insider information to make it a fantastic experience!