Lovina is a peaceful seaside town located on Bali’s north coast. The remote area remains far off most travellers’ radar but does attract intrepid travellers looking for a beachfront escape away from the tourist trail. Lovina is known for the pods of dolphins which frequent the surrounding waters and also works as a launching off point for snorkelling and diving excursions.
The area known as Lovina is made of up seaside villages strung along Bali’s northern coastline, located west from the regional hub of Singaraja. Life in Lovina is low key and relaxed and staying here often feels like taking a step back in time. This beach resort attracts dominantly European travellers and people looking to experience the real Bali, away from the commercial hustle and bustle which has taken over the southern parts of the island.
The small hub of Lovina offers a relaxed selection of restaurants and local shops selling souvenirs and beach friendly apparel – the feel is very much that of the old Bali. Many travellers head to Lovina to witness a pod of dolphins swimming in the surrounding waters, though a noisy cackle of single engine vessels racing to get to the animals often makes the experience less than idyllic. Lovina also works as a home base for diving and snorkelling trips, most notably to neighbouring Pemuteran and Menjangan Island.
Planning Your Trip to Lovina
Far flung Lovina remains a relaxed destination throughout the seasons. Our Lovina travel guide aims to give you the essential information, list the most popular things to do in Lovina, provide more information on locations you want to visit, and finish with some inspiration from our travel writers. For more information on events and festivals taking place throughout the year, check out our comprehensive Bali guide.
Bali is pleasant all year round! May through September has the best weather (drier, less humid) and is the best time for many activities including diving and surfing. November though March is rainy season – though rainfall is never excessive so you can do most activities except volcano treks.
The temperature ranges from 24 degrees to 31 degrees all year round.
Rainfall ranges from 0cm to 140cm during the wet season.
Things to See & Do in Lovina
Lovina is a relaxed seaside destination ideal for ultimate for relaxation, surrounded by the unhurried feel of Bali back in the day. At the other end of the spectrum, the area offers thrilling adventures with easy access to some of the best snorkelling and diving on the island.
Bali is famed for its healing traditions and getting at least one full-body Balinese massage while visiting the island should be on every traveller’s bucket list. There are some great spas in Lovina, albeit notably more low key than the luxury establishments found in South Bali. For ultimate indulgence, you can also enjoy a massage and other spa treatments in the privacy of your villa.
Lovina offers some relaxed shopping, mostly in beachside stalls selling beachy apparel and souvenirs. These casual venues don’t offer fixed pricing, so don’t forget to haggle for the prices! Remember to keep things nice and friendly – chatting with the vendors is a great pastime and a fun way to pick up souvenirs to bring back home with you.
Tours & Activities
Lovina is framed by a long stretch of beach where the sand due to volcanic activity on the island takes on a dark, almost black shade. The beaches in Lovina can be underwhelming for travellers expecting blinding white sand and turquoise waters, but a protective reef means the waters are calm and safe for swimming. The shoreline is dotted with local fishing boats and watching the fishermen haul in the catch of the makes for an interesting pastime.
Snorkelling and diving in Lovina are not worth travelling for, but there are some famous dive sites within a manageable drive. Pemuteran is located about 50 minutes west from Lovina, followed by Menjangan Island, with both areas known for their vibrant marine life.
Dolphin watching is one of the most popular activities in Lovina – and also one of the most controversial. Seeing how popular the activity is, the boats heading out to sea at sunrise often outnumber the dolphins. The experience can be far from the tranquil seaside excursion you had in mind.
Besides enjoying the beaches and underwater marvels, you can also set out to explore the stunning nature which surrounds Lovina. There are some beautiful natural waterfalls in North Bali, including Gitgit, Jembong and Aling Aling. Our team can arrange a car and driver to help you explore further a field.
Eating & Drinking in Lovina
Lovina is a relaxed seaside escape hidden off the tourist trail, but the area still offers a good spread of restaurants and warungs to choose from. Dining in Lovina is a relaxed and low key affair, perfectly reflecting the unhurried pace of life in the area.
Lovina offers a good selection of restaurants and local warungs. Most of the restaurants in the area are on the relaxed side rather than offering fine dining. Many of the more refined dining options are located at the beachfront hotels and resorts. Due to Lovina’s seaside locale, the area also offers some delicious seafood. You’ll find the largest concentration of restaurants in Kalibukbuk (a.k.a the centre of Lovina) which also offers relaxed nightlife with local bands playing several nights a week.
Lovina is a peaceful seaside locale with a very relaxed pace of life. Nights in Lovina are relaxed affairs spent over a long dinner with friends and family, with cold Bintang beers adding to the ambiance. Thanks to a steady (albeit moderate) stream of tourists, the area does offer some entertainment after nightfall, including live music playing in local pubs and warungs. Besides local sports bars, there are also a couple of more sophisticated venues dotted along the beach, offering a refined setting for dinner and drinks. Needless to say, Lovina doesn’t offer wild parties or nightclubs – and that’s part of the area’s charm.
Rather than a standalone town, the area known as Lovina is a cluster of neighbouring villages strung along the coastline. Kalibukbuk is considered the centre of Lovina and this is where you’ll find most of the hotels, restaurants – and tourists. A pleasant alternative for staying in central Lovina (which of course provides you with easy access to all the necessary facilities and the beach) is to look for accommodation a little outside the main area. This could mean a remote beachfront villa within a short drive from Lovina or a scenic hillside retreat closer to the mountainous area of Bedugul.
Lovina & Surrounds
Lovina sits nestled along Bali’s northern coastline, offering a serene break away from the tourist track – most travellers heading to Bali stay squarely put on the southwest coast, perhaps venturing out to Ubud but no further. Travelling along the coastline, Lovina is neighboured by the diving mecca of Pemuteran and the regional capital of Singaraja. Beyond these minor hubs, Lovina’s neigbourghs consists of small Balinese villages strung along the coastline and hidden in the misty mountains of Bedugul. Travelling southwest, you’ll reach the verdant region of Tabanan, home to the UNESCO protected Jatiluwih rice terraces and deserted black sand beaches. South of Lovina, Gianyar is another lush regency characterised by rice fields and home to Ubud, also known as the spiritual and cultural capital of Bali. Though located a good two hours from Lovina on the east coast, Amed feels like a natural pairing as this area is also popular with snorkellers and divers.
There are a handful of Ministry Approved villas in North Bali, located a short drive from the centre of Lovina. As Lovina and North Bali are more remote areas and remain off most travellers’ radar, villa prices tend to be significantly lower than in other parts of Bali.
Villas in North Bali range from around USD $130 per night for a two-bedroom villa to over USD $1,000 per night for a five-bedroom luxury villa. All of our villas come with professionally trained staff. Many villas offer personalised services including: butlers, chefs, nannies, 24-hour security personnel, drivers and other services you won’t find in a hotel.
Bali’s only airport, Ngurah Rai International Airport (a.k.a. Denpasar Airport), serves over 20 million passengers a year. Located in Tuban in South Bali, the airport is connected to several major cities across Asia, Australia and the Middle East. Direct flights to Bali are available from Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Doha, Dubai and more, from carriers including Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Air Asia and Jetstar. There are some plans to build a second airport in North Bali but these plans are still in their early stages. If completed, the new airport would give a huge boost to tourism in the area.
You can also reach Bali by boat. This would usually entail landing at an international airport on the neighbouring island of Java or Lombok and then crossing over to Bali by boat or ferry. From Java, ferries arrive in Gilimanuk (about two hours from Lovina) and from Lombok, boats arrive in Bali in Benoa, Sanur, Serangan, Padang Bai and Amed located in southeast Bali.
Nationalities from over 160 countries are eligible for visa free entry into Indonesia. This means your passport will be stamped on arrival at the airport, allowing you to stay in the country for 30 days. For stays longer than 30 days, you will need to obtain a visa which will require further arrangements. Please note your passport must be valid for six months after your date of arrival in Indonesia.
There is no public transport to get you from the airport to your accommodation, so the only option is to use a private driver or a taxi. Ministry of Villas can arrange a chauffeur to greet you upon arrival and escort you to your villa. This service is included for most villas when booking more than four nights. To avoid queuing at the immigration counter, we can also arrange a VIP airport service for guests. This service includes lounge access, allowing you to relax while waiting for your luggage.
If you haven’t organised transfers prior to landing in Bali, you can also get a taxi directly at the airport. There is an official taxi stand in the international arrivals hall, next to the information desk. This stand offers both fixed price and metered fares, though the pricing is updated frequently so finding accurate, up to date pricing before landing in Bali is very challenging. Besides the taxi stand, there are countless independent drivers floating around the arrivals hall, offering rides at varying rates. To save yourself the hassle, we strongly recommend arranging your airport transfers before landing in Bali, especially if you’re heading to a more remote destination like Lovina.
There are a few options for getting around Lovina, so we’ve ranked them according to our recommendations for first-time travellers.
Lovina is a small town and if you’re staying in the centre of town, you can usually make your way around on foot. This is often the best way to reach the beach and the local restaurants. If, however, you’re staying further off from the centre or are looking to explore further, hiring a car or a motorbike will be ideal.
If you’re planning to explore beyond the immediate hub of Lovina, hiring a private car and driver is the best way to travel. Ministry of Villas can arrange a private car and chauffeur for you. This little luxury is remarkably affordable and we can also help you arrange an itinerary, instructing your driver in advance.
If you’re looking to get out and about by yourself or as a couple, hiring a scooter can be a great way to get around the area. It’s also very affordable as scooter rentals usually start at around IDR 50,000 (USD $4) per day. Keep in mind you should only hire a scooter if you’re an experienced driver and hold a valid international driver’s licence. And of course, you should always wear a helmet. Driving without a helmet and/or valid licence will result in a fine should you get stopped by the police.
There are no official metered taxis in Lovina and ride hailing apps like GoJek and Grab are also not available. That being said, there are plenty of local drivers offering transport services in the area – you’ll likely be offered a ride just walking down the street or you can ask your accommodation to arrange a car for you. Always make sure you agree on the price before getting in.
The Balinese are among the friendliest and most welcoming people on the planet. This is all the more reason to return the favour and be respectful towards the local culture. Like anywhere else in the world, common sense and basic human decency goes a long way. For more detailed information about local culture, language and safety in Bali, check out our comprehensive Bali guide.
SHOPPING & BARGAINING
Whether it’s at a local stall or market, bargaining can be an enjoyable part of shopping in Bali… or it can be frustrating! To ensure a smooth exchange first decide what the item is worth to you, then ask the seller for their price – your first offer can be from one-third to two-thirds of that price. They are likely to respond with a counteroffer, which you can either accept or negotiate further. If you don’t like the price and you walk away there is a good chance the vendor will call out to you with a better (usually final) price. Keep in mind, if an agreement is reached, you’re committed – you should buy if your offer is accepted.
In late 2018, Bali’s governor banned single use plastic on the island, meaning shops, boutiques and supermarkets no longer give out plastic bags. When out and about, it’s best to carry a reusable bag with you.
Most restaurants and villas include a service component already so tipping is not expected, but if service is good, an additional cash tip is appreciated.
Indonesia’s country code is +62. Data speeds of 3G and faster is the norm across Bali. Local prepaid SIM cards are sold everywhere; any modern mobile phone will work. As of 2018, all prepaid SIM cards need to be registered which you can usually do with a copy of your passport directly at the shop where you purchase your SIM card. Prepaid SIM cards come loaded with pulsa (credit) or mobile data which you can later easily top up at other outlets. Most if not all minimarts and local phone shops can top off your SIM card when needed. Most villas provide broadband Internet and free Wi-Fi is common in cafes, restaurants, hotels and shopping malls.
Health & Safety
It’s important to note that compared to many places in the world, Bali is fairly safe. There have been some high-profile cases of visitors being injured or killed on Bali, but in many cases these tragedies have been inflamed by media sensationalism.
Many of Bali’s beaches are subject to heavy surf and strong currents – always swim between the yellow flags. Be careful when swimming over coral and never walk on it. It can be very sharp and coral cuts are easily infected. In addition, you are damaging a fragile environment. Lastly, water pollution is a problem in busy neighbourhoods. Avoid swimming near open streams flowing into the sea as they are often contaminated by run-off from built-up areas.
Violent crime is uncommon in Bali, however bag-snatching from motorbikes and petty theft does occur. Take extra care with your phone if riding pillion on a motorbike as phones regularly get snatched from unsuspecting tourists using a navigation app. Otherwise, take the same precautions you would in any urban area and secure your money before leaving an ATM (and don’t forget your card!), don’t leave valuables on a beach while swimming, and use in-villa safes to store your valuables.
Tap water in Bali is not safe to drink. Bottled water is widely available and cheap, however Ministry of Villas encourages visitors to keep a reusable water bottle to reduce plastic consumption.
Travel insurance is absolutely essential for every traveller. A typical travel insurance policy will have coverage for a traveller’s main concerns, including trip cancellations, medical emergencies, travel delays, and lost luggage. Most policies are built to be comprehensive to protect travellers from a variety of events that may cause financial loss before or during their trip. Some policies specifically exclude ‘dangerous activities’ which can include scuba diving, renting a local motorcycle and even trekking.
Worldwide travel insurance is available at World Nomads and you can buy, extend and claim online anytime – even if you’re already on the road.
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Lovina is a relaxed destination ideal for some real R and R or for heading out for the scuba diving adventure of a lifetime. Our team can’t help but feel inspired every time we visit this scenic area. Check out our latest Lovina blog posts written by experienced Ministry of Villas travel writers.