As much as I do adore Bali, even I have to admit that the constant heavy streams of other travellers can prove a bit tiresome. Places in the region that were once ‘off the beaten track’ are quickly added onto every travellers itinerary and are quickly overrun. Finding quiet places with few other travellers is getting harder and harder, but despite this, it is yet not entirely impossible.
After extensive research – I decided to dedicate a day to driving far away to visit the lesser known Pura Lempuyang, a temple on a mountain in East Bali.
It was a long drive to get to the temple, but it was an incredibly scenic one, so the drive and the time flew by incredibly quickly.
After getting past Ubud, the throngs of travellers noticeably thinned out and we were left with long stretches of beautiful and pristine rice paddies, winding roads and breathtaking mountains.
After 2.5 hours of driving, we arrived to the gorgeous Pura Lempuyang temple. I had heard about this temple through social media (Instagram to be more specific) and ever since seeing a photo of the temple in the clouds, I knew I had to visit it.
Located in East Bali, near the Karangasem Sub-District, this temple is pretty far away from everything, which means that for now, it remains a relatively quiet Hindu temple. In fact, our lovely driver Made Paul Artawan who has lived in Bali his entire life had never visited this particular temple, so it is certainly off of the well beaten Bali track.
Entrance to the temple requires a small entrance fee (less than $2 AUD) and a little extra surcharge to don a sarong (less than $1 AUD). There are many temples going up this hill and to see all of them, you would need to set aside a good 4-5 hours, however, the most beautiful one is only a short hike away from the entry point and is one of the most accessible temples in the complex.
Once making your way up the first set of stairs, you are met with a glorious view of a temple reaching up to the sky, surrounded by plant life growing anywhere and everywhere. The views are downright gorgeous and at this point I hadn’t even seen it from its most beautiful vantage point.
As I mentioned above, even though Made is a born and bred Balinese local who drives people around Bali for a living, he had never visited this particular temple! He was rather excited to be seeing it, as you can tell by this next photograph.
After walking up the third set of stairs you are met with an absolutely beautiful grey and gorgeously gloomy trio of steps. In this next picture you can even see one of the Hindu priests watching over the temple.
But when you look away from the trio and back towards where you had actually just walked through, that is when the views become truly worthy of the long trip.
It isn’t hard to see why this place is nicknamed the Gateway to Heaven! It is nothing short of magical, you really do get the feeling that you could talk a big leap and reach out to touch the fluffy white clouds.
Between myself, Matt and Made – we took a lot of pictures! Made especially so, he got very snap happy at this new discovery!
Faced with a long drive back to Seminyak, we snapped a last few pictures and started the journey back.
I expected the return drive to take a similar amount of time as the initial trip, but that was a bit of a rookie error. Bali traffic is notoriously unpredictable, and the drive back ended up taking close to 4.5 hours! Luckily the route we took was absolutely stunning and we were able to stop a few times to break things up.
The trip to and from Pura Lumpuyang may be a long one, but if you are looking for a Bali experience that you won’t have to share with hordes of other travellers, then for you, it might just be worth the trip.
Getting to Bali: Flights to Bali are frequent, check out adioso.com to find the cheapest dates to fly
Getting to Pura Lumpuyang: Click here for directions from Seminyak
Kunja Villas Seminyak: Secluded yet central, these are the best private villas in all of Seminyak – click here to learn more
Made Paul Artawan Private Driver: One of Bali’s best drivers! Click here to get in touch
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1 with M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2.8 lens
What to Pack: Snacks for the drive!
Remember: While the drive may seem long, it is so worth it