Most visitors to Bali head to the beaches of Southern Bali, like Kuta, Legian, Seminyak or Nusa Dua or the forests and rice paddies of Ubud. If you are looking for a quieter beach to relax on Bali, there are lots of choices and on my most recent trip, i visited Lovina Beach in the North of the island – instead of thousands of people, I shared the beach with fewer than 20 people every day, providing a completely different Bali experience! Find out, if it would be right for you!
Why you should go: Lovina Beach is a stretch of coast to the West of the Singaraja on the Northern Coast of Bali. The main beach is less than 1km sandy shore along a small cove near the small village of Kalibukbuk. It’s a very relaxed place and much calmer than Kuta or the other beach towns in the South. You’ll find trees providing shade along the beach and you can throw down your towel on the sand – with only a handful of other people walking or relaxing on the beach, you have it pretty much to yourself.
Along the beach promenade are merchant stalls offering food, drink and souvenirs as well as a handful of restaurants overlooking the ocean. Tour operators offer popular dolphin tours and dive shops can take you to snorkel or scuba dive spots. If you are looking to break up your beach time with some sightseeing, there are a number of temples nearby as well as hot springs at Banjar!
It is all a very low-key affair and reminds me in many ways of the Bali I visited first more than 15 years ago. If you want to get away from the crowds and are looking for a simpler and more authentic Bali, you can find it in Lovina. You do give up some of the polish you find in the South, so you will have fishing boats competing for space along the beach, vendors will try to sell you dolphin tours all day and the restaurants and bars lack the international style of Seminyak. If you don’t want the crowds of Kuta, but want the Robinson Crusoe feel of a remote, little island, the Gili islands are a better choice than Lovina Beach!
Travel Tips: Getting there is easy and cheap with a bus from Kuta to Lovina Beach for only $10 in about 4 hours with Perama Tours. A taxi from the airport – or a private car & driver for the day – will cost $50 and take about 3 hours. If you are planning to stay somewhere else on Bali first, I recommend to hire a driver for the day, do some sightseeing on the way, for example Lake Beratan or Lake Batur, and have the driver drop you off in Lovina. You can do the same on the way back and get some free sightseeing on your way (check out my Top Things to See & Do on Bali for more ideas)!
Where to stay: There are a number of small guest houses and hotels along Lovina Beach, all of them in the village and without ocean views. The village is small, so it’ll be easy to walk places or get a ride on a motorcycle or tuk tuk. I stayed at the excellent Melamun Resort – one of the best value hotels I’ve ever had on Bali for under $50 and I recommend it wholeheartedly. The only oceanfront hotel with its very own beach is the upscale The Lovina at rates over $150 in high season!
Where to eat: There are a number of small restaurants overlooking the main beach. I had a nice meal at Rendezvous – they offer a mix of local and international favorites, a little bit for everybody. The next door Tropis Bay and Bintang Bali offer similar food at similar prices, so you have a few choices!
What to do: The beach is the main attraction and I enjoyed the peaceful little beach without the crowds. There is a hard sales push for the dolphin tours, but rumors are that there are more boats than dolphins and that some operators don’t use the necessary caution and respect the animals deserve – so I passed! If you are planning to scuba dive, I recommend to check directly with the scuba operator in town to make sure they meet your standards and visit the dive spots you like on the day you want to go!