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Lovina Nights - Walking Tour

Edward Kurtz  Author / Photography and Production Keith Eaton
                                                                                                  Lovina Beach, North Bali

Click here for the walking tourSome people pass out and end up spending the night on the comfy chairs of the bars, but most people manage to make it back to their hotels.  There are lots of choices of accommodations in Lovina Beach, from budget bungalows to mid-range hotels to luxury villas. (Stay-Tab)
Budget properties range from four-room family-run homestay bungalows, to large but inexpensive hotels with basic but clean rooms.  Many include A/C, hot water, breakfast, and onsite restaurants and swimming pools.  Some are right on the beach while others look out over quiet rice fields.
Some of the mid-range hotels have bars and restaurants, in-house massage, spas, ocean and mountain views, wifi, minibars, in-room safes, swimming pools and gardens.  High end properties offer all of the above, but are sometimes villas that include amenities like private plunge pools and breakfasts served in private rooms or beachfront lounges. 
The Damai Lovina Villas is one such luxury property.  It consists of 14 beautiful and private villas, spa, indoor and outdoor pools, and wifi. The villas are located in a secluded mountain setting just inland from Lovina Beach.
After a restful night, it’s time to do some sightseeing!  Jump on a boat down at the beach and go dolphin watching.  These tours usually leave early in the morning.  You can charter a private boat if you are in a group. 
Next, head to Banjar to take a quick look at the Banjar Buddhist Temple with its gardens, pagodas, and a replica of Borobodur.
Although Bali is predominantly Hindu, there’s another Buddhist structure just down the road.  Brahma Vihara Arama is the largest Buddhist monastery in Bali, and is located in the nearby village of Dencarik.  It’s Buddhist in design with stupas and gold statues of Buddha, but is decorated with Balinese carvings and ornaments.
After stomping around these two sights, it’s time to relax at the nearby Bandar Hot Springs.  Set in a beautiful tropical garden, the springs are a little bit hard to find, and therefore not crowded.  The hot water gushes out of carved stone mouths and the temperature is just right.  Lockers and changing rooms are available.

For tourists who love water, there’s another place to check out after the beach and the hot springs: Git Git Waterfalls.  This is located just south of Singaraja and is well worth the trip. 

The group of three waterfalls is set in a lush forest high up in the mountains.  The best is the southernmost of the three.  Visitors can swim at the foot of the waterfalls.  There are public facilities here including a parking lot, toilet, changing room, food and drink stalls, and souvenir shops.

Near here is an interesting monument.  It’s called the Bhuwana Pangkung Bangka, and it was built to remember the heroes who fought against the Dutch.

Continuing south from Singaraja on the same road, tourists will come to Lake Beratan and its famous water temple, Pura Ulun Danu Beratan.  This incredible Hindu temple sits amid beautifully landscaped gardens on the shore of the lake, framed by the surrounding mountains: it almost looks like the temple is floating on top of the lake! (Do-Tab : Pura Ulun Danu)
For waterfall lovers, if a visit to Git Git was just enough to “wet the whistle,” there’s another waterfall to try: the Yeh Mempeh Waterfall is found near the village of Les on the northeast side of Bali.  There’s also a spice garden and a bat cave here.
Other destinations on the north shore near Lovina Beach include the highlands of Munduk to the south; the beaches of Pemuteran and the West Bali National Park to the west for birdwatching, diving and hiking; and on to Gilimanuk and the island of Java for the adventurous.
And don’t forget Singaraja, the capital of Bali before it was moved to Denpasar in 1960.  This town still looks and feels colonial, with wide streets and old houses.  There are two universities in Singaraja, a Chinese temple, Pura Agung Jagatnatha, the largest Hindu temple in northern Bali, and an Arab area near the old docks called Kampung Arab.
Diving is the main reason why some people visit Bali, and the dive sites on the north shore around Lovina Beach will not disappoint diving enthusiasts.  There are several dive shops in the area that offer diving and snorkeling trips to a variety of locations including Menjangan Island, Tulamben, and, around on the east side of Bali, the Amed coast.  These shops usually offer classes and tours, both of which are given in a variety of languages.
After all the boating, swimming, sightseeing, snorkeling, and scuba diving, it’s time to relax in one of the spas that are found in Lovina Beach.  Prices here are much lower than the spas in the south, although the facilities might not be quite as upmarket.  Nonetheless, the treatments and services are excellent: facials, massages, and scrubs are all done by professionally trained staff.

Another option is available on the beach!  The women who offer massage on the beach are highly skilled and are carrying on a tradition passed down from generation to generation.  It’s also cheaper to get a massage on the beach than in a spa!
There are several ways to get to Lovina Beach.  There are shuttle buses that leave from the bigger towns like Kuta, Ubud, Sanur, Padang Bai, and Candidasa.  These are not air-conditioned, but they go directly to the north and do not involve changing to another bus in Denpasar, the capital city of Bali.  These are also easier to use because there is no cost negotiating like there is with bemo drivers, who like to overcharge unsuspecting tourists.
Bemos are another possibility: they are also minibuses.  But be prepared to haggle over prices; to have to change bemos several times to reach your destination; and to share your trip with animals and piles of fruits and vegetables!  It’s quite an experience if you’re up for it!

Taxis can be booked at the airport: these are, of course, more expensive, but more comfortable and the ride to Lovina Beach takes about three hours.  Rental cars are available at the airport, or a car and driver can be hired after some bargaining.
It’s quite easy to get around in Lovina Beach.  The coastal area is flat and the roads are quiet, so most people walk.  Bicycles are also popular and many hotels can help make arrangements. 
Away from the coast the land gets hilly, so renting a motorbike is a good option for doing any sightseeing away from the beach.  Again, the roads are quieter here than in the south, so sightseeing by motorbike can be lots of fun and easy to do.
The other option is to jump on a local bemo.  They travel along the north coast road and, with a little patience, they can be convenient to use.
No matter which form of transportation is used, Lovina Beach offers so much and the visitor is sure to want to return again and again!

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20 May 14


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