Gates of Heaven Bali

The Gates Of Heaven Bali At Lempuyang Temple

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to visit The Gates Of Heaven in Bali, aka heaven’s gate? Chances are, if you’re going to Bali, this will be on your list of things to see and do.  Most people want to visit The Gates Of Heaven to get the epic shot between the Candi Bentar – and the gate.  In Bali, this is the most popular spot for photographs. The Candi Bentar is a split gateway seen in almost all Balinese entrances of religious compounds. These gateways usually have stairs to reach the center in the middle. The two sides represent the Balinese concept of duality and the importance of balancing dark and light forces.

While you will see Candi Bentars everywhere in Bali, the Gates Of Heaven at Lempuyang Temple is the most famous. Lempuyang Temple has a rich history, and it’s a renowned place.  Instagram has made this location even more famous as people seek a photograph that looks like the Gates of Heaven float on a clear body of water, giving a reflective shot that looks like the gates are floating. Most people do not know there is no water, and most do not know there’s a process to attempt this photoshoot. Silly as it sounds, getting or watching people get the shot is a unique experience.

Gates of Heaven Bali

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History Of Lempuyang Temple

Lempuyang Temple, also known as Pura Luhur Lempuyang, is one of the oldest temples in Bali. Some believe it is the oldest Hindu temple in Bali. Lempuyang Luhur is one of the Sad Kahyangan Jagad or the “six sanctuaries of the world.” This makes it the sixth holiest place of worship on Bali, believed to provide Bali with spiritual balance.

Getting to Lempuyang Temple 

Lempuyang Temple is located on Bali’s east side, and it’s a long drive to get there from famous locations like Ubud or Kuta.

You can either book a tour with a tour operator or arrange a private tour through your hotel. Private tours seem slightly more expensive than group tours, but they have advantages. For example, if you hire a private driver, you can set your agenda and route. And you have no restrictions on time.

We chose a private tour to visit Tirta Gangga, a former royal palace in eastern Bali, en route to The Gates Of Heaven Bali.

However, there are many options for joining a group tour; some combine stops at other temples along the way.

Map Of The Gates Of Heaven Bali at Lempuyang Temple

Note: It’s located in east Bali:

Gates of Heaven Map

Guided Tours To Lempuyang Temple and Pura Lempuyang Temples

Entering The Gates Of Heaven Bali At Lempuyang Temple

When you arrive at the temple, you will be dropped off at the bottom of the hill. Entrance is free; however, it’s customary to donate.  I recommend around 10,000 – 20,000 IDR per person, or if you are a couple,e donate 50,000 IDR. 50,000 IDR is approximately $3.60, extremely affordable.

Once you have donated, you will receive the required wrap to enter the temple. You can bring your wrap. If your outfit coordination is essential, you will want to pack your wrap or be at the mercy of available.

The locals will “wrap” you up, and then off you go up the steep hill to the entrance.

Inside Lempuyang Temple

The second you walk into the temple, you will see hundreds and hundreds of people. It’s pretty shocking to see. Everybody is sitting under the shaded huts, waiting for their turn to take their photograph at the Gates Of Heaven. This is the best place to avoid the sun.

To the right of the entrance are three Candi Bentars. You cannot climb or access these:

Lempuyang Temple

Video Of Inside Lempuyang Temple

Getting Your Photograph At The Gates Of Heaven Bali At Lempuyang Temple

You can’t simply show up and take your photo.  Upon arrival, you get a ticket with a number on it and then wait. And be prepared to wait for at least an hour. You don’t need to wait in line to get a photograph. If you’re smart or take my advice, you only need to position yourself in the right spot between photograph sessions. You can get yourself in a photograph without anybody else in it.  You could do what we did, the DIY version!

DIY Version – The Best Part!

  1. Place yourself behind the photographer in the middle of the Gates of Heaven.
  2. Please wait for a change of person or until the gates’ person is small enough that your silhouette covers them.
  3. Snap away. It will take you a  few times to get the perfect shot.
  4. Photo edit and crop your images
  5. The best time to get the image is early morning, with no crowds.

You can see the originals in the photos below; the one I photoshopped is in the middle. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough for me.

The Secret Behind The Reflection Shot

You may have seen a ‘reflection’ shot like the one here. This photo is an illusion, and it’s created by using a small mirror under your camera. The locals who take photographs will be happy to help you capture the reflection shot if you are going for this. Remember, if you have your heart set on capturing this type of image, you must grab a ticket and wait in line.

Note: Getting your photograph is free, but it’s customary to tip the photographer. This is, assuming you are going to get a ticket and wait your turn.

Lempuyang Temple Reflection Shot

Frequently Asked Questions 

How much does it cost to park at Lempuyang Temple?

Gates of Heaven Photo

The parking fee is  5,000 – 10,000 IDR.

Are there toilets on-site at Lempuyang Temple?

Gates of Heaven Photo

Yes, there are some toilets at the base of the temple. However, don’t expect warm water!

How far is The Gates of Heaven from Ubud?

Gates of Heaven Photo

It is about 50 miles from Ubud, and it takes two to three hours to drive the route.

Closing Thoughts

Everyone will tell you that no visit to Bali is complete without visiting The Gates Of Heaven. They will also tell you it is one of the main attractions. It is by far one of Bali’s most popular tourist attractions.

I agree that you are already there, so why not? And, let’s be honest. We all want to experience the things we see that motivated us to visit in the first place. Lempuyang Temple is hard to reach, tiny compared to many other temples, a tourist trap, and underwhelming. But it is the perfect place for great photographs.

We traveled hours to get to Lempuyang Temple and spent twenty minutes there. Brian, completely irritated at this point, said he’d be happy never to see another temple again. When I asked him why, he said, “They are all the same; all have the same gates.” He is correct. All of the temples have gates!

So does this mean you should not go – not? You are already in Bali, so go for it. Just know what to expect. And, if your time is limited, Lempuyang Temple is not the most beautiful or impressive.

Looking for more posts on things to do in Asia? Start here:

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