Traveling has helped me discover the world and appreciate its beauty as it is. However, social media and mass tourism have crowded many places, often turning them into mere photo spots.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but this trend has affected even the cultural and spiritual places.

Lempuyang Temple, Bali’s most famous temple has been a victim. Today, you often have to wait hours to capture a photo of its iconic gate.

In this guide, I’ll share everything you need to know to visit Lempuyang temple — entrance fee, dress code, best time to visit — including whether it’s worth the visit and how to make your experience more meaningful.

Lempuyang Temple in Bali
The famous Gate of Heaven in Bali

My Experience in Lempuyang Temple

I went to Bali as part of my previous company’s incentive. Our itinerary included a visit to Pura Lempuyang temple Bali.

I had seen countless stunning photos of this place on Instagram, so I was excited to witness its beauty firsthand.

At 6:00 a.m., we left our hotel in Ubud. Our van dropped us off at the parking lot, and from there, we each hired a motorbike to take us to the temple. We were also told to rent traditional sarongs so we got one each.

We managed to arrive at the base of Lempuyang at 7:00 a.m. To my surprise, there was already a long line of tourists.

As soon as the line moved, I discovered that the famous Instagram photos with water reflections were just made with a mirror.

A local photographer takes pictures of tourists by placing a mirror on the lower front of the camera to create an illusion of water reflection.

We had a good laugh 😆

We stood in line for nearly an hour even though we were early. Had we arrived later, we could have waited three to four hours.

All that waiting just for a minute of photo opportunities seemed almost hilarious.

Surprisingly, I didn’t feel disappointed. We just laughed at how different the experience was from the picture-perfect portrayals on social media.

Despite the wait, Lempuyang Temple was undeniably beautiful. The gates did look like a passage to heaven, and the view of Mount Agung was breathtaking.

We even spotted some chickens nearby, walking on the gate as if they were trying to get through the gate of heaven or maybe they were just tired of the silliness of us humans and our obsession with that particular photo.

Lempuyang Temple
The famous Bali Gate photo (it’s a trick!)

Though I won’t come back to Lempuyang Temple for that photo, I was happy to have the photo.

That one-hour wait gave me time to reflect on things in my life – how grateful I am to be in Bali, how the chickens live so freely, and what kind of travels truly bring me joy.

It reminded me that even when a place does not live up to the picture-perfect expectations set by social media, a world of beauty to be discovered. This temple is genuinely spiritual after all.

Lempuyang Temple History

Lempuyang Temple is one of the Bali’s oldest and most sacred temples.

This temple is part of the Sad Kahyangan Jagad, the holiest places of worship in Bali, which are believed to provide spiritual balance to Bali.

Also known as Pura Lempuyang Luhur, this temple was founded during the reign of Mpu Kuturan, a revered Hindu sage during the 11th century AD.

The highest temple with its iconic “Gates of Heaven,” provides a stunning framing of Mount Agung, Bali’s highest peak.

Gate of Heaven Lempuyang Temple
Bali Gate of Heaven

Gate of Heaven Lempuyang Temple

Lempuyang Temple is also known as Bali’s Gate of Heaven.

The word ‘lempu’ means ‘light.’ Meanwhile, ‘Yang’ originates from ‘Hyang,’ a term used to refer to God.

Together, ‘Lempuyang’ means ‘a God that shines a bright light.

And it stays true to its name. Because it is located on the east side of the island, you can witness the rising sun, and it feels as if God is the one shining the light for you.

Standing in front of the iconic split gate Candi Bentar, you will see the breathtaking view of Mount Agung. This mountain is the highest and most sacred volcano for Balinese.

The bright light from the sun, combined with the majestic view of Mount Agung and the surrounding natural beauty, creates the impression of a pathway to heaven.

Lempuyang Temple in Bali
Gate of Heaven with Mount Agung in the background

Where is Lempuyang Temple in Bali located?

Lempuyang Temple is located at the top of Bisbis Hill, in Tista Village, Abang District, Karangasem Regency.

It is believed to have been founded around the 11th century, making it over a thousand years old.

The temple complex is situated at an elevation of approximately 1,175 meters (3,855 feet) above sea level and it comprises seven sanctuaries.

Mount Agung in Lempuyang Temple
Mount Agung

Lempuyang Temple Bali Location

Lempuyang Temple is located in the far eastern corner of Bali, Indonesia. It is best to base yourself on the Amed Coast.

From Amed, the distance to Lempuyang is approximately 12.7 kilometers, around a 30-minute drive.

However, if you are at Ubud, which is in South Bali, the temple is 73-76km one way, and going to the temple will take you a 2-hour drive to Lempuyang.

Whether you drive a car or hire one, you will be dropped off at the temple’s parking lot. From there, it’s a 10-minute walk to the temple entrance.

You can also book a motorbike via Grab or hire one of the motorbikes parked there for a faster climb.

However, if you’re up for it, take the steps on foot and enjoy the scenery even more with a hike!

How many steps does it take to climb Lempuyang Temple?

From the base of the temple, you’ll climb 1,700 steps to reach the Candi Bentar, the famous split gate of Lempuyang Temple.

For an easier climb, do not bring so much stuff. Drinking water, a face towel, a camera, and proper clothing are enough for you to enjoy the clime and still be fresh enough for the photos.

Lempuyang Temple in Bali
Lempuyang Temple Bali
Lempuyang Temple Stairs in Bali Indonesia
Stairs and Statues

Best Way to Get to Lempuyang Temple

The best way to get to Lempuyang Temple is by renting a scooter or hiring a private car.

Many tourists will go to this temple early morning, so start booking 30 minutes before your departure. Or to be sure, one day before your trip.

You can book scooters on Bikesbooking and a private car ride via Viator.

Important reminder: You need to get the International Driving Permit (IDP) to legally ride a scooter in Bali. Although I’ve heard a lot of tourists who get away with this rule, there are some random checks where you need to show this permit.

Lempuyang Temple Entrance Fee 2024

The entrance fee at Lempuyang Temple is 100,000 IDR ($7) per person as of 2024.

You can also take a shuttle bus from the parking area to Lempuyang Temple for 50,000 IDR ($3.50) per person round trip. Alternatively, you can walk 10 minutes uphill.

Lempuyang Temple Dress Code

All visitors are required to wear a sarong. You can rent one at the base for 10,000 IDR.

Shorts and sleeveless tops are not allowed in the temple. Shoulders and knees must be covered. You can still enter as long as you cover them with a sarong.

Lempuyang Temple Opening Hours

Lempuyang temple is open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.

The temple gets crowded on any day so arrive early in the morning to avoid long queues under the heat of the sun.

Best time to Visit Lempuyang Temple

If you want to capture the perfect photo of the Gate of Heaven, the ideal time to visit Lempuyang Temple is during the morning hours.

There’s always a line of tourists early in the morning, so line up before it opens at 6 a.m.

This way, you can avoid big crowds, long lines, and waiting. The morning sunlight is perfect for taking pictures at the ‘Gate to Heaven’ without strong shadows, and you’ll see Mt. Batur clearly with fewer clouds.

Even if you’re not just looking for the perfect photo, coming early is a good idea. Mornings are cooler, making your visit more comfortable as Bali’s tropical climate can become quite hot and very humid during the day.

Arriving in the morning offers a chance to immerse yourself in the temple’s spiritual ambiance when it’s at its most serene.

Alternatively, you can choose to visit in the late afternoon after the crowds have subsided and enjoy the sunset at Lempuyang Temple.

Temple in Lempuyang Temple
Gates of Heaven Lempuyang Temple
Lempuyang Temple Statues
Statues at Lempuyang Luhur temple
Lempuyang Temple Gate of Heaven Stairs
Another statue at Pura Lempuyang Temple Bali

Lempuyang Temple Sunset

Lempuyang Temple sunset in Bali, Indonesia, showcasing its intricately carved gate against a vibrant sunset sky with hues of blue, purple, pink, and yellow. The gate's reflection in the water below adds to the serene and picturesque scene.
Sunset Lempuyang Temple

Lempuyang Temple offers one of the island’s most breathtaking sunset views.

Aside from early mornings, this is also one of the best time to visit the temple. You’ll also encounter a smaller crowd during this time.

As the sun descends, the temple’s iconic Gate of Heaven frames the sky with orange, pink, and purple hues.

The Lempuyang Temple photo trick

Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but those famous reflection photos of the Lempuyang Gate of Heaven on Instagram that might have inspired you to visit were a mirror illusion.

The illusion of a lake beneath the Lempuyang Luhur Temple is a result of a mirror that reflects the temple itself and the people posing there for a picture.

This effect was achieved by strategically placing a mirror at the lower front of the camera. A local is available the entire day to take pictures of tourists just like this.

Even if it’s just an illusion, it’s still cool and exceptionally beautiful, so if you want to have a go at it, do so.

Otherwise, you can simply skip the whole craze and visit other parts of the temple, which are equally beautiful and more peaceful.

Photo Trick Gate of Heaven Lempuyang Temple
Gate of Heaven Lempuyang Temple photos

Do’s and Don’ts in Visiting Lempuyang Temple

Lempuyang Temple is not just a tourist spot; it is also a place of worship for locals. Therefore, please be respectful and mindful during your visit. Here are some things you should avoid:

Inappropriate Attire: Do not wear shorts, skirts, or sleeveless tops when visiting the temple. Both men and women should dress modestly, covering their shoulders and knees. You may rent a sarong at the base of the temple if needed.

Disruptive Behavior: Avoid loud conversations and any behavior that may disturb the peaceful ambiance of the temple. Remember that this is a place of worship for many, and it’s crucial to show respect.

Avoid Entering the Temple during the Cuntaka Period: Cuntaka is an impure period based on Hindu beliefs, such as during menstruation or within 12 days following the death of a family member.

Touching Sacred Objects: Refrain from touching or tampering with the temple’s sacred objects, offerings, or altars. Treat everything within the temple with reverence and avoid any form of disrespect.

Ignoring Rules and Regulations: Pay close attention to the temple’s rules and regulations, which may include specific guidelines for conduct, photography, and offerings.

Skipping the Queue: There is often a line for taking photos at the famous ‘Gate to Heaven.’ Please wait your turn patiently, as cutting in line is disrespectful to fellow visitors.

Intrusive Photography: When taking photos, be considerate and avoid stepping on or over sacred areas to get a better shot. Always ask for permission before taking photos of people.

Disposing of Litter: Refrain from leaving any litter behind. Use designated trash bins to dispose of waste, and make an effort to keep the temple area clean.

Engaging in Public Displays of Affection: Public displays of affection, such as kissing or hugging, are generally considered inappropriate within the temple. Maintain a respectful and modest demeanor.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure a respectful and culturally sensitive visit to Lempuyang Luhur Temple.

View Below Lempuyang Temple Gate of Heaven
Lempuyang Temple Bali

Is the Lempuyang Temple worth visiting?

If you’re looking to capture that sought-after “Gate to Heaven” photo, then yes, it’s worth the wait and hustle.

If you’re visiting the place to appreciate its architectural beauty and its spiritual ambiance, it’s stunning even without the gate.

You can also skip the crowd and find quiet spots at the lower part of the temple.

However, if you want a peaceful temple to visit, I would recommend skipping this temple.

There are other, less crowded temples in Bali, like Goa Gajah, that can provide you with the serenity and calmness you desire for a temple visit.

While Lempuyang Temple is famous for its iconic “Gate to Heaven” photo spot, it offers much more than just a picturesque setting.

Beyond the camera clicks, the temple reveals remarkable architecture, breathtaking views, and a spiritual atmosphere.

Read More:

Slow Travel Planning Guide

✈️ How to find the best flight to Bali?

I always use Skyscanner to find cheap flights. It’s a search engine that compares prices across many airlines to get you the best deals.

🚑 Should I buy travel insurance?

Absolutely YES! For just $5-10 USD per day, SafetyWing gives you peace of mind with its affordable coverage.

📲 Where to buy a local sim in Bali?

I’ve switched to eSIMs for all my travels and it’s been a game-changer! Airalo’s eSIM offers cheap data in 200+ countries without roaming fees. Super easy to set up and top up! Get your Indonesia eSIM here.

🏩 What’s the best way to book accommodations in Bali?

It depends. is my go-to platform for hotels and apartments. If I want to save money on hostels, I use Hostel World.

And for longer stays where I want a cozy home, I book VRBO (which is cheaper and safer than Airbnb).

🗺️ How do I find local experiences and tours?

I find the best local tours with Klook, thanks to its vast selection across Asia. Get 5% off by using the code “GLADISTRAVELS”

For truly unique and authentic local experiences, GetYourGuide is my go-to. I’ve taken cooking classes with local chefs and gone on guided tours of hidden places using both platforms. I’m really happy with how everything turned out.

🚗 Is renting a motorbike a good idea in Bali?

Absolutely! If you can drive a motorbike, I highly recommend renting one through BikesBooking. Bali doesn’t have a good public transport. We saved a lot of time and money in Bali by having a motorbike, and it was so much fun!

🏦 What is the best way to withdraw money in Bali?

I use my Wise card. provides free global accounts and the most affordable money transfers. I can manage multiple currencies easily and withdraw cash at very low costs. Plus, I find their exchange rates are among the best available!

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  1. Beautiful photos and great information! I am glad you explained the mirror illusion and the pros and cons. In a way most travel photos are an illusion, just showing the beauty and best part of a place. We recently drove all the way to a beautiful castle in Croatia, that does have a beautiful lake that mirrors it spectacularly. Sadly, no where was it mentioned that the lake has been drained for the last year! lol I should have tried that mirror trick perhaps. 🙂

    1. Hi, Jeanne! Thank you for your kind words. I figured it’s a very important detail to included on the post. Sorry about that lake in Croatia. But hey, you know the trick now so the next time you see an empty lake or anything you want a water reflection of, you can try the photo trick.

  2. Wow, I didn’t know there’s actually a whole temple around the gate! You only ever see the gate on Social Media but not the temple. Which is a pity in my opinion. I bet it’s so much more fun to explore the temple and not wait in line to get that one “fake” photo. 😀 Personally, I wouldn’t wait but I understand why so many people do tho. And your photo turned out pretty awesome!

  3. The problem with wanting the Instagram-worthy picture is you miss out on all the hidden alleys, back streets and genuine encounters with locals.

  4. What a delightful read! Lempuyang Temple is on my bucket list. The mirror trick revelation made me smile – a playful twist to the usual travel narratives. Thanks for all the helpful tips!

  5. I was pretty surprised when i first heard all those photos are from a mirror trick – but I would be way less mad now I know! To be honest, the rest of the architecture of Lempuyang Temple is gorgeous, and I’d be happy to look at the mountain from another viewpoint… so I’d probably just skip the photo with the mirror. The rest of it looks even better to me.

  6. Your Bali adventure sounds incredible! Thank you for being honest about the famous Instagram photos not being real and instead an illusion created with a mirror and a photographer. It’s also refreshing how you embraced the differences between social media portrayals and the genuine beauty of the temple. Your reflection on gratitude and the true joy of travel, despite deviations from expectations, offers a valuable perspective for anyone planning a visit.

    1. hank you for your kind words. I started traveling more because of how easily it can put me in a state of awe and gratitude. It’s very meditative, relaxing, and exciting at the same time. However, traveling has recently turned into long lines of waiting and photo spots. I try to focus more on remote places for a slower pace of traveling, but when I visit a touristy place, it’s a test of patience and even being present in the moment. I attempt to experience and practice balance and peace as I travel and explore the world.

  7. It is a truly beautiful place and easy to see why so many tourists head there. It is a double edged sword really: we all want to see these places but over-tourism can spoil them. I had no idea that the famous reflection shots were made using a mirror. What a cheat! I am with you though: all you can do is laugh and enjoy the experience for what it is.

    1. Absolutely! They are tourist spots for a reason. When I first arrived there, I was looking for the lake, and when I found it, I just laughed, especially when I saw the chickens walking on water!

  8. Beautiful photos and such helpful hints! Also, what a great reminder that what we see on social media isn’t always what it appears to be. Thank you for sharing this post!

  9. Thank you for all the helpful information!
    Do you recommend getting a ‘Visa on Arrival’ online or at DPS airport? I don’t know how long it takes for either method.
    Is there a particular sarong or long skirt we need to wear (and for men also)?
    I see the posted picture, and I want to make sure showing a leg is fine while taking pictures?
    Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Sara! It depends. If you plan on extending after 30 days, get the visa online. This will allow you to also get the extension online. The e-VOA (online visa) saves you time on queuing (one less queue), though I never experienced having a long line at DPS after traveling three times. You also need to accomplish this weeks before your desired arrival.

      Getting it at DPS is easier if you plan to stay only for 30 days and if your country is part of the free visa on arrival. It’s also fast and I liked that we were able to get some rupiahs at fair rate.

      I would do it online though if its a busy season and I plan to stay longer than 30 days.

      Regarding the sarong for temples in general, you will get them at most temple for free or around 10,000 rupiahs (60 cents usd). If your legs are covered, usually they just give a red cloth to tie around your waist. You will have around a minute to take photos so I did some yoga poses quick. Ideally, you should cover your legs.

      Hope this info helps! Let me know if you have other questions.

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