Pura Luhur Lempuyang

The climb is worth it

Photo of , , Amlapura

What we say: 4 stars

If you're up for a bit of a climb, the trek (well, there is a road, but we're calling it a trek!) to Pura Luhur Lempuyang offers fabulous views and you get to tick off another directional temple!

Pura Luhur Lempuyang is one of Bali's nine directional temples and is of great significance to the Balinese culture and religion. Consequently you will often see Balinese families from around the island visiting in full ceremonial attire balancing large baskets of food atop their heads with the purpose of getting it blessed by the priest at the temple at the top of the mountain.

Arriving early in the morning to beat the morning heat, you will be ushered into a prime parking spot next to the steps leading to the first of six temples. This is a perfect opportunity to shed any unnecessary items from your backpack as the climb ahead is taxing.

A guide will appear to ask if you require his services, including the rental of a sarong and sash which is mandatory if you wish to avoid a cultural faux pas. The price of a guide is highly negotiable, but the opening offer is 100,000 rupiah. 50,000 rupiah including hire of a sarong and a donation for one person is a reasonable price, but factor in more than this if you're a larger group. Given that the walk is paved the entire way and it is easy to find your way to the top, a guide is not absolutely necessary, but one is highly recommended due to the various temples that you will want to enter — the guide will ensure that you don't do anything you're not supposed to.

From the carpark, it is a punishing one and a half hour walk to the top. The climb is not a mere stroll; it will feel like being in a gym class for an entire 90 minutes with your heart rate elevated the whole time. If you can handle this sort of punishment at home, you will be fine on this walk — if you can't, this walk is either going to take much longer or is probably not for you.

The heat and humidity is stifling and sweat will pour from you in amounts you never thought possible. A spare dry shirt for when the walk is complete is a good idea. A very important point to remember is that lightening your load greatly increases your ability to climb, so shed any unnecessary camera lenses, the laptop and water. Drinks and food are available for purchase at very regular intervals all the way to the top of the mountain.

Towards the top of Gunung Lempuyang, near the main temple, lives a troupe of macaque monkeys. While they look cute, they will attempt to steal anything shiny, including water bottles, that you might be flashing around. It is a good idea to shed your hat, sunglasses and put away your water as you near the top lest you be attacked. Also don't forget that if you want to walk and eat a packet of chips, the monkeys will want to fight you for them. The winner is dependent on who gets scared first and these monkeys know no fear. Carrying a big stick helps.

The views from the top of Gunung Lempuyang are sensational, looking toward Amed and Gunung Agung. For the views alone, it is worth climbing to the very top. The temple itself is unremarkable, but serves an important religious purpose and you will commonly find people praying here.

As the day wears on, the heat and crowds increase and climbing becomes less pleasant so it is recommended you arrive before 10:00.


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