Lovina

Lovina is a quiet coastal town on the North Bali coastline west of the city of Singaraja.

The Dolphin Statue, Kalibukuk, Lovina

Understand

Lovina is a relatively new name coined in the 1950s by a local Buleleng Regency official with a good eye for future tourism-based development. It consists of seven traditional villages, which all merge into one on a ten kilometre stretch of the main road which hugs the north coast to the west of Singaraja: Temukus, Kalibukbuk, Anturan, Pemaron, Tukad Mungga, Banyualit and Kaliasem. Kalibukuk is the main hub of this area and is often thought of as the "Lovina town centre".

The whole stretch of coast here is fringed by narrow black sand beaches, which are accessed by a multitude of small lanes which run perpendicular to the east-west coast road. The beaches are generally safe for swimming, and the waters of Bali's north coast, in direct contrast to the crashing surf of the south, are relatively calm.

Diving, snorkelling and dolphin watching are the main activities, but perhaps above all else, this is an area in which to relax and take in a very slow, traditional pace of life. It can get a little crowded in July and August, outside that peak season, this is a quiet part of the island.

Lovina also has a large number of cafés. Some of these establishments are not selling tea and sandwiches. They often provide loud music and an expensive and often boring assortment of alcohol. Many of the girls working there keeping the patrons company during the evening may be of questionable or negotiable virtue having little issue in following the patrons home after closing time.

It is also not unusual to see older white men in the company of much younger local girls, with the girls acting as short-term girlfriends during the weeks or months the men stay in Indonesia.

Get in

Map of the Lovina area

By bus

Perama offers transportation from major tourist destinations in Bali and has a local Lovina office in Anturan. Perama shuttle buses to Lovina leave from Kuta, Sanur, Ubud, Candidasa and Padang Bai. They use mini buses without air-conditioning and the prices are more than reasonable.

By bemo

Long distance bemos are a bit of challenge, but the most experienced of budget traveller. It is always possible to get to Lovina from most major towns in Bali, almost always via Singaraja.

By car

Most visitors arrive in Lovina from the south in a self-drive hire car or with a car and driver. A journey from Kuta takes about 3 hours and from Sanur slightly less. Ubud is a 2 hour car journey over the central highland range. Many visitors from the south choose though to break their journey at Bedugul or Kintamani.

By taxi

A pre-paid coupon taxi direct from the airport will cost you Rp 450,000 and takes about 3 hours.

Get around

This is a good area for walking as the roads are relatively quiet and the beaches long and easily passable.

Renting a bicycle is popular and again, easy to find. Many hotels have their own. You should be aware though that away from the coast road, there are a lot of steep hills.

The easiest way to visit the surroundings of Lovina is by renting a motorbike. There are many roadside outlets and expect to pay between Rp 50,000-90,000 per day. The roads are quite good here and nothing like as crowded as in south Bali.

Local bemos ply the north coast road between Singaraja and West Bali, stopping at all points on the Lovina stretch. You will need some patience and they can be very crowded indeed. As there is only one main road it is hard to get lost.

See

Lovina’s black sand beaches are quite lovely and lend themselves well to exploration on foot at a leisurely pace. The sea is very calm here and is safe for swimming. The feeling on the beaches is one of laid-back tranquility with small, colourfully decorated traditional outriggers called perahu dotted along the shoreline. These are a reminder that you are in a traditional fishing community. There are a few hawkers, but nothing like as many as on the southern beaches, and this is as good a place as any in Bali to explore quiet beaches at your own pace. At the highest of tides the beaches can get a little difficult to traverse in places, so it is best to time your walks for a falling tide. Be aware that many of the 'black sand' beaches (particularly in the central area) are an unappealing dirty brown with significant amounts of plastic rubbish

The small road that runs down to the beach-front from the main east-west coast route at Kalibukuk is called Jalan Bina Ria. At the beach end of this road is a dolphin statue (complete with one-jawed rusting dolphins). Apart from being a notable piece of kitsch, this is a reminder of the reason for the initial drive beind tourist development at Lovina (dolphins, obviously). Mini wooden and stone replicas of this statue are for sale widely in the area.

Brahma Vihara Arama

Coba Baca Public Library, Coba Baca is a library located in the center of Lovina. The collection of the library consists of Indonesian, English and Dutch books. Courses in Indonesian language are offered for tourists and expats. The main activity of the organization is to increase the knowledge level of the local inhabitants. This is done with help of English courses, books and other activities. The NGO was founded in 2009 and the amount of members is growing. A visit to the library combines well with nearly all the activities in the area http://www.cobabaca.org/.

Your hotel can (and will offer repeatedly) day tours to the nearby sights including the beautiful highland scenery of Munduk to the south, the beaches of Pemuteran to the west, and the city of Singaraja to the east. All are within easy reach.

You can arrange a half day trip to the Les village waterfall, bat cave and coral protection project, which is around 40 km to the East.

Do

You will be offered dolphin sighting trips every other minute. These leave the main beaches each morning at dawn, and have mixed reviews as the boats tend to outnumber the dolphins. It can though still be an enjoyable ride, and if you do find a pod of dolphins it is of course very worthwhile. The price is fixed by the local boatmen's association, and is currently Rp 60,000 per person. If you are in a group, ask about chartering your own private boat.

Cockfights are popular around Lovina, perhaps more so than anywhere else in Bali. This is taken very seriously, and you will see many older men training the cocks at the roadside throughout the area. At the fights, huge sums of money change hands as illegal gambling on the outcome is rife. Given the cruelty, and deaths of the birds, think twice about attending.

Banjar Hot Springs

Diving

There are several dive operators based out of Lovina that operate daily dive and snorkeling trips to Menjangan Island, Tulamben and Amed, as well as dives from the local beaches. Be sensible and careful as some hotels and counters try to sell unlicensed diving trips that may look official on paper. Do not pay before you have seen the dive centre, and check that you will dive with certified divemasters/instructors.

Spas

Lovina has several spa facilities. While they are more low key than the spas in south Bali, the service is excellent and the prices are much lower than in the south.

Also, do not under-rate or overlook the traditional massage women who work on the beaches at Lovina. Most of these women come from families where massage skills have been passed down through many generations, and they really know what they are doing. A beach massage will also cost you less.

Cooking schools

Buy

A dolphin trip at dawn at Lovina

Kalibukuk has a number of shops both on the main coast road and on Jalan Bina Ria selling the usual selection of Bali goods. You will find everything from arts and crafts to T-shirts at prices very marginally higher than you would pay in south Bali.

A Lovina speciality though are dolphin statues, usually carved from wood (don't believe those trying to convince they are from ebony!). This is due to the strong association of Lovina with dolphins, and if you want to take home just one souvenir from Lovina, then this is the most appropriate.

Eat

Drink

Sleep

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under Rp 200,000
Mid-range Rp 200,000-1,000,000
Splurge Over Rp 1,000,000

There is a huge amount of budget and mid-range accommodation in Lovina and many visitors turn up without reservations. Options at the higher end tend to be more limited in availability.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Stay safe

Visitors to Lovina are often offered magic mushrooms. Although the Indonesian legal position on mushrooms is unclear, this is very much at your own risk and best avoided.

Connect

The telephone area code for Lovina is 0362.

Internet

Free WiFi in cafes not as common here as in the main South Bali tourist destinations, so specialist internet cafes are still quite numerous.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, September 26, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.