Lovina, located on Bali’s northern coastline, is an area unlike many tourist-focused spots in Bali. While south Bali’s Kuta, Seminyak and Legian swell with people and demand attention, Lovina remains relatively quiet, with a focus on relaxation and a slower pace of life. The area, which was brought to life around the 1950s by Anak Agung Panji Tisna, the late king of Buleleng, comprises of seven traditional villages stretched over 12 kilometres. The surrounding areas, although quiet, offer a range of activities from coastal adventures, to inland explorations.
- The Beaches – The Lovina area is known for its many unusual stretches of beach, which consist of black and brown sands. Although not a traditional image for beach holidays, the sand’s unique colour is caused by volcanic ash from Bali’s nearby active volcanoes. The beaches offer a range of potential activities for visitors, and due to their location are almost always very calm and perfect for swimming.
- Dolphin Watching – Local dolphin pods are what made Lovina the tourist centre that it is today, and although decades have passed since the creatures motivated development, they still make regular appearances. This makes sunrise dolphin spotting one of the most popular attractions in the area. A large number of boats leave from various locations along Lovina’s coastline at sunrise to spot the pods of dolphins, which feed nearby at this time.
- Diving and Snorkelling – Despite the area bearing the scars of past coral bleaching and some dynamite fishing, the Lovina area is loved by both divers and snorkelers. It’s location means that it is within easy reach of Bali Barat National Park, home to the protected Menjangan Island. The island is known for its blooming coral growths, but even closer to Lovina the calm waters mean that snorkelers and night divers can easily, and safely, view the coral reef and marine life without issue.
- Banjar Hot Springs – Just outside of the main areas of Lovina to the west are the Banjar Hot Springs. The springs consist of a number of pools, with traditional stone water carvings spouting water that visitors can bathe in. The water is reasonably warm, and its high sulfer content means that it has long been touted as a cleansing and therapeutic location. The springs are popular with locals on Sundays, but tend to be quiet early in the mornings most days.
- Brahma Vihara Arama Temple – Located very close to the Banjar Hot Springs outside of Lovina is Bali’s largest Buddhist temple, the Brahma Vihara Arama. The structure follows traditional Buddhist architecture, with a number of decorative and ornamental details that embody the Balinese traditions. On the site visitors will find gold buddhas, stupas and beautiful views of the surrounding areas.
|Dolphin Watching Tour||Prices are set by local monopoly, and start at Rp. 60,000 per person.|
|Snorkelling||Prices will vary, but start at around Rp. 70,000 per person with (very used) gear. Prices can be negotiated for grounds.|
|Banjar Hot Springs||Entry is Rp. 10,000 per person|
|Brahma Vihara Arama||Entry is by donation.|
|Bali Paradise Hotel Boutique Resort|
The alternative, luxury Hotel Resort in Lovina, North-Bali. They offer a great selection of food, beautiful swimming pool and massage facilities.
- High Season Dolphin Watching – Like many locations in Bali, Lovina fills up in the middle of the year and around Christmas time with holiday makers from all over the world. For most of the year it is a relaxing location, but when busy, a number of attractions are better skipped, including the dolphin watching. There appear to be no limits on the amount of boats participating, and the large flotillas in the high seasons rarely see dolphins.
- Getting Around Lovina – Lovina is a 12 kilometre area that contains seven villages. Although much of the action happens around Kalibukbuk village, visitors should explore the entire area. Bicycles are by far the best way to do this, and can be rented from many hotels (or are provided for free). Alternatively, local bemos, motorcycle hire and taxis are all available.
- Nearby Attractions – For those visitors looking for a few different experiences while in Lovina, consider taking a day trip to visit nearby Bedugal and view the area’s lakes and waterfalls. A number of local guides and tour services will offer this as a package.
- Car/Motorcycle – A trip from the south of Bali can take up to three hours, and is often longer if traffic is heavy. From Ubud the trip to Lovina takes around 2 hours. Both are very well signed, and there are a number of attractions on the way in both Bedugal and Kintimani to break up the journey.
- Tours – A good way to experience Lovina as well as some of the interesting surrounding areas and attractions is to go on an organised tour. There are a number of legitimate tour companies running in the area, offering tours that vary from a full day trip, to a nine day exploration.
The Lovina area has an interesting history entirely motivated by one man named Anak Agung Panji Tisna. In the 1950s, Panji Tisna took an extended trip through Asia and Europe, and was inspired to build a three-bedroom beach resort on some land he owned near the Tukad Cebol estuary. He named the beach Lovina.
In 1958 he sold the land and the Lovina Inn to Anak Agung Nhurah Sentanu, who continued to run it with small successes. Admittedly not many visitors travelled so far into Bali’s north, but regulars and locals helped keep the Lovina Inn running.
When Singaraja was replaced with Denpasar as Bali’s capital city, the area became much quieter and Lovina started to struggle. The area wasn’t supported by a number of government officials who didn’t believe that Lovina was an accurate representation of Balinese culture appropriate for tourists. One of their major issues was the areas name, which didn’t show its Balinese roots. The name was eventually banned.
However, the reputation of Lovina was already established with tourism agencies, and visitors wanted to experience the area, regardless of the ban on the name. Thanks to this tourism demand, the six area beaches combined, and began to call themselves Lovina Beach, leaving Bali’s north coast destination the place it is today.
- Many people mistakenly believe that the title Lovina is a mix between the words Love and Indonesia. However, Anak Agung Panji Tisna has said that his intention was more symbolic, and the word arose from mixing the English word Love with the Balinese word Ina, which means mother. He considers its meaning to be ‘Love Mother Earth’.