Our final stop on our Bali Road Trip was Lovina. Our initial impression of this beach side town was pretty underwhelming, perhaps because we had been spoilt from a great beach holiday in Amed. From our reading we expected a very laid back sleepy area, but that was not our experience.
We arrived without accommodation booked, and as expected there were plenty of vacancies. I got dragged around town by a tout trying to find a place while Clare and the kids played on the black sand beach. In the end there was a hotel next to where we parked that was just right.
We could not help seeing similarities to Kuta, but as we have not been to that area of Bali for over 10 years, it reminded us of a Kuta from a while ago. Comparing the places as they are now, Lovina probably could be considered quite mellow! The main street of Kalibukbuk, the central village of Lovina, ends with the large dolphin statue and is lined with sleazy looking bars with drunk Aussie expats. We also could not walk anywhere without being hassled to buy something or go on a cruise. Living in Ubud we don’t experience this level of annoying hassle.
There was not a lot for us to do in Lovina, which is part of the attraction for many. We had a fantastic pool at our hotel, and the kids had fun with the flowers which were forever falling in the gardens. We spied the resident monitor lizard plus many holes in the ground belonging to big crabs.
One of the main things to do while here is to go on a dolphin cruise. The cruise starts at 6am, a beautiful time of day and lovely out on the water watching the sunrise. Unfortunately we did not consider that Sunday would be a busy morning with locals joining the tourists on the water. There were too many boats all vying for best position for the fleeting glimpses of dolphins as they come up for air. We were not surprised that they did not show their heads very often, as soon as they did there were noisy boatloads of tourists racing to the spot to see them.
A short distance from Lovina is the highly recommended Banjar Hot Springs (Banjar Air Panas). There were three hot water pools, with water spouts to give you a head and shoulder massage. It was surprisingly enjoyable going for a hot swim in this hot climate. The locals come as they think the waters are holy with healing powers. We were there early before it got too hot and before the crowds.
We enjoyed a couple of days around Lovina, but if you are heading to the north coast we would recommend Amed as a preferred beach location.
Where we stayed
Nirwana Sea Side Cottages are in a very central location set in large gardens with a nice pool. It was relatively quiet. We negotiated two adjoining rooms for 800,000 Rp ($75) per night. web: http://www.nirwanaseaside.com