So, the Gates of Heaven (i.e., Pura Lempuyang, Lempuyang Temple, Pura Luhur Lempuyang, etc.) has become one of those super popular tourist destinations in recent years, thanks to a certain picturesque backdrop that folks wanna capture themselves in, presumably so that they can proceed to upload to IG afterwards and showcase to their friends/followers.
I’ll admit, I didn’t know anything about the Gates of Heaven, until I saw a blog post put up by my friends over at the Life of Doing blog, and no doubt, after seeing that headline image, shoot, I wanted to go and visit too!
That just looks so dope, what can I say (and the image above, I feel is still way better than my own shot)?
Anyway, of course, after visiting the Gates of Heaven earlier this year, back in February, I got to experience the whole thing for myself… and I’ll admit, after visiting, it did cross my mind to post a “real” Gates of Heaven blog post for readers to see, but alas, ultimately, I never did get around to actually doing it…
And for the longest time, I kind of just forgot about the whole “scandal” … since when all is said and done, again, that image is just something else to behold, and for myself personally, I had already reconciled that, as I’ve been saying lately:
“The journey is more important than the destination.”
Something like that…
Anyway, I just found out today from my gf about some tweet that’s been going viral, apparently one that “shatters ethereal image of Bali’s Gates of Heaven”:
And here’s the actual tweet, below…
Proof that Instagram influencers have ruined everything?
My hopes & dreams were shattered when I found out the “water” at the Gates of Heaven is actually just a piece of glass under an iPhone ? pic.twitter.com/oiahI5VCIo
— Polina Marinova (@polina_marinova) July 4, 2019
Hot daymn, would you look at that!?!
Alright, well, since the Gates of Heaven is in the limelight at the moment, let’s just roll tide, and share my own experience with readers now!
Ok, so the journey to the Gates of Heaven has to start early in the morning, since for most tourists staying in Bali, you’re likely going to have to travel quite a distance to get there…
My friends over at Life of Doing documented this on their blog…
From Life of Doing.
For my own trip, we were staying in Canggu (which is way over on the west side of the island), so it was an even longer trip than coming from Ubud (which is more central to the island)… I forget exactly, but we left around 6-7 AM from our hotel in Canggu.
We hired a personal driver, and he took us to the bus station, which is where, at that point, you will need to hop on a bus to get to the Gates of Heaven.
It’s going uphill, and the roads are a little windy, but all in all, it’s not a bad (or too long/strenuous) of a journey…
Upon arrival, you’re gonna need to rent a sarong (to wear), otherwise you won’t be permitted to step foot inside Pura Lempuyang Temple.
Rules are rules, so be respectful.
Sarongs, here they are… pick one…
Once inside, from the upper level entrance, you’ll come across this…
Great place to take a photo… but in general, I don’t believe tourists are allowed to ascend up the stairs (reserved for prayers)… Perhaps, on occasions, visitors can gain access upstairs, but on this particular day, we were told “no” so we obliged.
“Hey, what’s all the commotion over there, to the left of us, Braddah Hutt!?!
“Oh shit, you don’t think that’s where THE SHOT is taken, do you!?!”
“Umm, well, then why are there so many people waiting in line… and why is that open space by the pillars all cleared out?!?”
“Oh daymmmmmnnnn…. Aye bro, yo, this IS the Gates of Heaven where we at now!”
I see… I see… That’s how the *MAGIC* is made!
“Yo, get in line, I still want THAT shot!!”
Wow, like night and day difference, that lil piece of glass makes…
*PHOTOBOMBED* by two cute lil kids… LOL!
Now, what lies on the other side of those steps, exactly?!?
“Oh, wait a minute… We were just down there! LOL!”
“It’s just another entrance… Make sure to capture that!”
Well, that’s that… The Gates of Heaven, ladies and gentlemen…
Was I disappointed?
Maybe surprised, at first… but disappointed?
The Gates of Heaven (“special effects” or no “special effects”) was still by far the highlight of my trip to Bali.
Guys, getting here isn’t an easy thing to do!
And to be able to witness/experience/take part in Balinese culture and observe the local customs, culture, etc., man, that’s priceless… Perhaps, I wouldn’t have had the interest/opportunity to, otherwise?
Straight up — We had the time of our lives!
That’s all that matters…
Yes, as an adult, I’ve learned to appreciate that most things in life aren’t ever gonna be (or live up to) “perfect” fairytales… For all intents and purposes, all the “good stuff” in life is ALWAYS gonna be:
- Covered up to hide the flaws, faults, drawbacks, umm bad stuff.
After you’ve stripped out all the marketing “salesman pitches” and look at things objectively, you’ve gotta be able to decide if the glass is half-full or half-empty.
Ultimately, the choice is up to YOU!
As it pertains to the Gates of Heaven, in spite of the “cold harsh truth”, all things considered, it’s NOT like they are charging you $500 USD/person to gain entry inside of the temple… or for that photograph (now that would be a rip off and grounds for feeling “discontent”)!
In reality, all you gotta do is rent a (cheap) sarong for like less than $1 USD…
Well, that, and you gotta find your ride there…
With all that says, as it pertains to early FI, I think there’s some parallels that can be drawn between that journey and the one I took to reach the Gates of Heaven.
For myself, specifically, here’s my take:
Early FI and the entire FIRE movement is continually being marketed as being the greatest thing since sliced bread to people… Of course, the journey to early FI ain’t easy at all, and NOT many people will be able to reach the summit in a timely fashion.
But even those who do make it to early FI, I’ll tell you, it won’t take long before the “novelty” starts to wear off a bit, and you’re stuck asking yourself a lot of (depressing) questions…
- Is this it?
- Umm, I thought there would be… more?
- What’s next?
- Did I make the wrong decision?
- Why do I still feel unfulfilled?
I mean, I think the above will come naturally to a lot of people, b/c after so much battling/struggling/hustle/hard work/grinding/time/etc. of fighting for early FI, it can feel like the longest, most grueling “race” ever to reach a “final destination” point…
So being only human, once you commit (and invest) a tremendous amount of dedication to chasing after something (that especially ALWAYS feels like it’s a dangling carrot right in front of you that you just can’t ever quite reach), once you do FINALLY reach it… you’re likely going to be craving a lot…
There’s a lot of reflection, introspection, analysis that you’ll likely need to do… afterward… post-FI… to really grasp the gravity of everything that’s happened… needed to get there…
But likely, once you fully consider the entirety of your own journey to early FI for everything that it was (and represented), you’ll very likely have zero regrets.
Although the “end game” of early FI may not be all sunshine and lollipops, the journey to actually get to that point, wow, that is indeed a most AMAZING victory!
The journey to early FI (similar to the journey to the Gates of Heaven) is more fulfilling/rewarding/life-changing/etc. than anything that can actually happen once you “cross the finish line” and make it to the desired destination.
And when you start reflecting on the ACTUAL JOURNEY ITSELF, that’s when you really feel the sense of pride, accomplishment, validation, etc.
Point blank — Early FI is absolutely worth pursuing…
And most definitely, so is visiting the Gates of Heaven in Bali, in my own humble opinion.
Still my favorite photo, so I’m gonna keep reppin it… regardless; the Gates of Heaven and what it means (and represents) to me is very “real” and no illusion, whatsoever.