Bali-insiders have long known that the best beaches are in fact located on the Island’s northern shore at Lovina. Located about 9 kilometers to the west of Bali’s former capital of Singaraja, Lovina offers both a relaxing beach getaway and a chance to experience those charms less discernable in the Island’s south.
Sandy beaches that border non-polluted waters that are the home to large pods of dolphins, easily discoverable on a morning excursion arranged with a local fisherman. An entire range of accommodationay or near Lovina is available from simple losmen to private villas to well-run small hotels.
The history of Lovina is inseparable from the man who first coined its name. Balinese literary icon Anak Agung Panji Tisna made an extended sojourn to Asia and Europe in the 1950s that inspired him to create a modest 3-room beach resort on a piece of ocean-side land he owned near the estuary of the Tukad Cebol.
Well pleased with his creation, Panji Tisna declared his beach “Lovina” – his shorthand for “Love Indonesia.”
In 1958 Panji Tisna sold his small Lovina Inn to Anak Agung Ngurah Sentanu. While tourist visitors were few and far between, the small inn continued to prosper with visits by friends of Panji Tisna from Europe and America and local officials. The Lovina Beach location was also popular with Indonesian students who flocked to the area to partake in local temple festivals and Hindu holidays.
The economic fortunes of Lovina and nearby Singaraja, however, went into decline in the early 1960s when Singaraja lost its status as Bali’s capital, as that role moved to Denpasar.
Tourism Comes to Bali
Many date the advent of modern tourism in Bali with the opening of the mammoth Hotel Bali Beach in 1963. Taking the lead from that “sky scraping” structure, small hotels, inns and restaurants soon began to take root across the Island. In 1970, Bali’s new Ngurah Rai Airport began formal operations. Sensing opportunities afoot, the provincial government of Buleleng took early seminal steps to obtain its share or Bali’s tourist market.
After disappearing from popular usage for nearly a decade, the name of “Lovina” to designate the sub-districts of Buleleng and Banjar came back into vogues in the 1990s. Lovina today includes the beaches at Binaria, Banyualit, Kubu Gembong, Hepi, Rukad Cebol, Temukus and Penimbangan. Known as “Lovina” this area is administered locally as the Kalibukbuk Tourism Area.
The simple dream of Panji Tisna in the 1950s to create an attractive international tourism beach destination in North Bali lives on today as Lovina continues to welcomes thousands of visitors each year.
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