Travel Stories

A travel blog for a long-term expat, backpacker, traveler, ESL teacher, and photographer. 

Lovina and the cockfight.


After taking the hour and a half ferry over to Bali, we hopped on a bus going along the northern coast. Luckily, the bus station was right outside the ferry port so it was quite easy to go from one mode of transportation to the other. After relying on the Lonely Planet to guide us to our first destination, we decided to go to Lovina. Bali is extremely touristic and pretty much relies on its tourist industry. Lovina is a perfect example of how touristy Bali is - it is a place a traveler may not necessary enjoy, it is for tourists. It was probably my least favorite part of the trip. Lovina is known for its copious amounts of dolphins and snorkeling. Other than that, there isn't much there. There's a tiny beach full of men trying to sell you tours - tours that every other person in the town is also trying to sell you. Note that haggling does not work here and the price is the price when it comes to the tours as they are set by the village. There are a few Western restaurants and massage parlors in town but other than that, there is not much to do besides the aforementioned tours of snorkeling and dolphin watching. Because the the lack of exciting choices, we arranged the one thing we could do, a dolphin tour for the next morning. We spent the majority of the day taking it easy and planning our next leg. I spent some time talking to the security guard of my hotel who, in his entire life, had never left Lovina. He had never even been to the capital of Bali - what a different life.

At around 5 PM, we were walking around the beach and a Balinese man started a conversation with us. He, (okay do not judge me too hard - Lovina didn't have much), offered to take us to a local cockfight. I had never seen one before so I thought it would be interesting to observe. In a nutshell, it was a bunch of middle-aged men holding paper bills and yelling to buy in each time a new set of roosters came out. Knives are tied to the feet on the roosters and they essentially slash each other until one of them dies. It is pretty brutal/bloody and obviously extremely inhumane. Bali is predominately Hindu and because Hindus love animals, it was pretty surprising to see how popular cockfighting was in Bali. As we traveled around, we asked multiple men from different villages about it and apparently it takes place in most villages across the island. Apparently, but presumably, it is not as popular in other parts of Indonesia because the majority of Indonesians are Muslim and gambling is haram in Islam.

After returning from the cockfight, we went in for massages and turned in quite early because we were still exhausted from climbing Ijen that morning. The massage parlor offered four hand massages which was tempting, lol. I had pre-booked a tour to go see dolphins at sunrise as well so it was important to get some sleep.

In the morning, the tour guide knocked on our door to wake us up. We were sat into a small motorized boat and along with 100 other boats identical to ours, we set off into the darkness to starting our dolphin gazing. Over the course of 1-2 hours, we saw quite a few dolphins - we even managed to see a few jump together. It was another early morning sunrise but would be the beginning of an animal immersion in Bali.

By the time we returned to shore, we had decided to rent motorbikes to go around Bali for the following five days in order to properly explore outside the touristy towns.