So, I didn’t think it would be a complete trip to Bali unless I’d at least visited the famous Gate of Heaven! I asked in the Black in Bali Community Facebook group for recommendations of a day tour, and I got recommended this one on Airbnb experiences, Bali Gate of Heaven tour & Photography, by a company called Aperture Bali (check out their Instagram page). I hadn’t actually heard of a photography tour before and it wasn’t really top of my list to get photos taken – my priority was seeing the Gate of Heaven, and anything else would just be extra. I’m not even a big selfie person, as I enjoy taking lots of my own photos of landscapes and objects. However, I saw this tour and I thought, hey, can’t hurt to have someone take photos of me in these beautiful locations to keep as lovely mementos, rather than just having photos that I’ve taken. Plus, it included stopping at other attractions in Bali that I could explore in the same day. The price for the tour was just $70 for a solo person (it’s $50 per person when it’s a group), which sounded like great value!

The tour is a long day and a very early start at 5am. I’m not a morning person, so I wasn’t looking forward to getting up so early for this, haha, but I managed! I understood that it would take a few hours to drive from where I was staying in Canggu over to the east side of the island. I’d put on this pretty blue maxi dress that I thought would look really nice for photos. My tour guide/driver/photographer for the day was Ade (yes, turns out this is an Indonesian name, not just Nigerian!) and he turned up 10 minutes early. He gave my some breakfast snacks to eat in the car, which I wasn’t expecting, so that was a lovely surprise. I feel like a lot of service providers in Bali deliver excellent service and Ade was no exception. He was very friendly and answered any questions that I had. He had very good knowledge of all the places we visited.

Where I was particularly grateful to have a tour guide was when entering the Gate of Heaven at Lempuyang Temple. There was a numbered ticketing system that he navigated for me. The wait was expected to be rather long, like 2-3 hours, so Ade took us back into his car to visit Tirta Gangga Water Palace, about a 20 minute drive from Lempuyang Temple while we waited – another useful reason to have a driving tour guide! He really knew what he was doing with making sure we used our time efficiently in order to get enough done and seen in the tour. I’d never heard of Tirta Gangga, so I was very delighted to spend time in this beautiful place that is literally a water palace! Ade of course took lots of great photos of me and gave me bread to feed to the cute koi fish that were everywhere in the water there.

After spending time at Tirta Gangga, we headed back to the Gate of Heaven. Everyone has to wear a sarong around their legs as a sign of respect, since we were in a holy area. You can rent sarongs, but I already had my own I bought earlier on my month-long Bali trip. There is a part of this site where you have to walk up a big slope – guys on scooters would offer me a ride (probably at a cost), but I decided to just walk up with Ade. Whilst waiting my turn to pose at the famous Gate, Ade guided me to go pose at some steps, which again produced many fab photos.

After this, we continued to wait my turn to stand at the Gate. Since we had numbered tickets, there was no need for people to sit in a physical queue, so everyone was just sitting and waiting about in this area until their number got called. And then, I don’t know how he did it, but Ade had talked to someone and managed to get me pushed up the queue a bit, so that my waiting time was cut a little shorter! Another gold star for Ade the awesome tour guide! My number was finally called and I got a few minutes to pose at the Gate of Heaven, seeing some beautiful views and getting some beautiful photos taken. They guided me on the best poses to do, and Ade took some photos of me while the guys working at the temple also took some photos. Did you know, they use a mirror under the camera lens to make that reflected image? I didn’t – I’d seen other people’s photos and totally thought that was a body of water, haha!

After the excitement of seeing the main attraction, where was still much to see on this tour, which I was excited for. We jumped in the car again and stopped for lunch at this tasty buffet restaurant with the most amazing heightened views over the rice paddies. After I finished in the restaurant, I stepped outside and one of the restaurant staff led me to this fruit bat situated just outside the main entrance – another surprise! He gave me pieces of watermelon to feed and it was a lovely experience – you can see it here yourself on my TikTok video.

@toksacoyle That time I met and fed watermelon to a fruit bat 🦇 in Bali ☺️. Read more about my travel adventures at www.tokstravels.com #digitalnomad #travel #travelbali #travelasia #blacktravel ♬ original sound – Toks Coyle

Next stop, we went to Tukad Cepung Waterfall, where I had to strip to my bikini as you get really wet here! With the Bali heat, it was rather refreshing to wade through the water into these caves and then pose for photos at the waterfalls. After this, we went to a Balinese Coffee Tasting and Plantation. Who knew they had so many different flavours of coffee and tea! I like the coconut coffee the best and ended up buying a pack as a souvenir, along with some turmeric tea.

Then the last but certainly not least spot was the popular Tegalalang Rice Terrace. This place is amazing – stunning views for days! Ade taught me a bit about how they grew rice, which I actually didn’t know much about, despite loving rice all my life. There, we took some cute photos of me in what was called a big “bird’s nest”. After this, I of course had to have a go on the giant swing, which is so high that I had to get tied to a harness. It was really fun though and again, we got some great photos!

This tour – wow, I can’t think of any faults! It was just brilliant! I would totally recommend this Bali Gate of Heaven tour & Photography experience when you’re in Bali – you won’t regret it!

See below a bunch of photos from the day:

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