Oct 31

Swimming with Dolphins in Lovina, North BaliSome people dream of flying to the Moon. Others dream to retire early. Other humans would give an arm and a leg, if they could fulfill their dream of Swimming with wild Dolphins.

While at least the first dream is quite unlikely, if you are not happen to be Charles Simonyi, or any other Billionaire Employee or Entrepreneur – or live and breathe rocket fuel and work for NASA, ESA or the Russian Space Agency – the other mentioned Dreams are easier to fulfill:

If you happen to be in Indonesia, there are interesting locations to spot Dolphins in their natural habitat or even swim with them in a salt-water pool.

In Bali, both is possible in the Northern part of the island. While you can book the ‘famous’ Dolphin Tours at almost every hotel around Singaraja or Lovina; to swim (and touch) Dolphins in the open sea is an almost impossible thing to do.

Dolphin Watching Trip

They are way to fast and mainly are surrounded by hordes of motorized Outrigger Boats – filled with tourists of course – who shoot towards every spot, where a Dolphin just showing his long bottle-neck nose out of the water.

Dolphin Watching Tour at Sunrise in Lovina. North BaliNevertheless, it can be an interesting trip, as the beautiful sunrise over the northern mountains is already a rewarding experience – Dolphins or not. The prices for these tours are usually fixed around Rp.40.000 to Rp.50.000 per person, you will start before sunrise (around 6am) for about 60-90 minutes and the chance to see Dolphins are well above 50%.

They travel usually in groups of 5-6 and you can see several groups of adults and young dolphins swimming and playing in the shallow northern waters, hunting for food.

Swimming with Dolphins

To swim with Dolphins, you have to check out a different location: the Hotel Melka Excelsior in Kalibukbuk/Lovina in North Bali. Although the Room Rates are on the higher edge for Bali’s 3-Star Hotel standards (especially in the North), the chance of Swimming with the Dolphin is for sure worth the visit.

You don’t have to live in the hotel to be able to watch them in some larger salt-water pools in the hotel, which are inhabited by the Dolphins. Just pay the requested money. Isn’t everything always about money in the end? The Hotel features a small Zoo of other Bali Wildlife as well.

Controverse Subject?

There is a lot of controversy around that subject – Swimming with Dolphins – as you can see on several forums or websites; for instance here or here.

My 2 cents are, that while every month hundreds of Whales, Dolphins and other endangered species are killed around the world for ‘Scientific Reasons’ or plain strange Food or ‘Exotic Medicine’ Cravings; I do subscribe to the idea to let people swim with Dolphins in Swimming Basins. You should see the shining faces of little children or the hearty laughs of elderly people who fulfill themselves a dream by swimming around a pool with 2-3 Dolphins!

The usual rate here at Melka’s are for a Dolphin Show Rp. 50.000, taking pictures with Dolphins Rp. 100.000 and Swimming with Dolphins Rp. 225.000; although after a bit of negotiations, another person can join the swimmer at the Pool Site to take pictures or Videos for free. Initially they want to charge for that another Rp. 100.000.

The most famous Dolphins in the Melka Hotel are called ‘Jack’ and ‘John’, two naughty young males, who really seem to enjoy playing with visitors in their wet environment. They even try to copulate with the swimmer, if they are in the right mood. I remember reading somewhere that Dolphins are among the few animals who enjoy Sex as a pleasure and not only for reproduction. Not that you have to be afraid of that, though.

Their games are mainly only pushing you from down below, swimming around you and “dancing” together, while involving the willing victim in their plays.

You can hear the typical Dolphin Sounds, you probably know from plenty of Jacques Cousteau films or ‘Flipper’ flicks.

All in all the Dolphins look healthy and well-fed, of course you can’t judge from a Dolphin’s ‘Smile’, if they are treated well or generally happy. The children who swim with them are for sure and hopefully experience the fragile nature and the gentle charms of these beautiful animals.

What do you think about it?

Technorati : , , , , , , , , , , ,

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

or save article to your Facebook with 1 simple click:


written by Chris

44 Responses to “Swimming with Dolphins – a Dream come true?”

  1. zahlenjongleurNo Gravatar GERMANY Says:

    Hi Chris,swimming with dolphins is one of the things, only a few people have done in their live, especially when they come from
    Europe. I wished, i would have done it on my last trip to Lovina,
    but there was no time, because the guy I visited on Bali gave me
    only ten minutes to see every spot on my “100 best spot list” for
    By the way, i know the nice lady on the photo swimming with the
    dolphins. It is …. , am I right ?
    Cheers, R.

  2. GrigoNo Gravatar CHINA Says:

    Congratulations!thank you letting us know where to swim with dolphines in Indonesia. I know we can do that in Hawaii, Caribbean or Bahamas. i wish i can go someday…

  3. Digital NomadNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    There you go man. I did some swimming with Manatee once in a river.

  4. Aunt JackieNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Ahhh I love Dolphins. If I could swim, I’d definitely swim with them. :) Cool

  5. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Wow, swimming with Manatees must be a real trait! Weren’t you scared? I was diving once with some small white-tip sharks and emptied my whole 12-liter tank in less than 15 minutes. Pure adrenaline! The dive guide had to hand me her 2nd Octopus, but it only lasted another 10 minutes. The whole dive group was mad with me, after we all had to emerge back to the surface (way toooooo early of course). ;-)

  6. AnnieNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    I have seen a lot of tours for swimming with dolphins in various tropical spots. It’s not something I feel I need to do (though just watching them play and cavort is fun), but I can see the appeal. Now the people who are crazy are the ones who are into swimming with sharks. :P

  7. dodong floresNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Hey, Chris. We also have “swimming with dolphin” here in the Philippines. It’s somewhere in the part of the Bicol region (Sorsogon, to be exact). I don’t have much details about it but I’ve read from travel magazines that it occurs in all seasons of the year. What makes it different is that it is being done in the open seas. The tour is actually better known as whale watching as “swimming” are only being done with “advance” tourists.
    Maybe, when you go back to Manila, you can try it too ;)

  8. Putranto SangkoyoNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Very interesting and such nice story. This actually brings people (tourists) and dolphins-lovers to Bali. Do you mind if I put your story on our website. This http://www.maestroindonesia.com is not final yet. I am re-making it all over and want to put your story on that website. Would you mind if I do that ?

    Thank you and regards,
    Putranto S. (Tanto)

  9. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Putranto, sure you can use the article. Just one request: please don’t just copy it complete 1:1, as it would punish us both via Google (Duplicate Content). Why not take only a part of it, link back to here and add some of your own thoughts or links to it? This way we both will benefit in the longer run.

    Anyway – thanks for your compliments. And yes – let’s spread the word about Bali and its attractions! ;)

  10. Vousie...No Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    Always wanted to go swimming with dolphins!!!
    love em!

  11. CassandraNo Gravatar GUAM Says:


    Thanks for the article. I’m headed to Bali in a couple of weeks, and that’s something I’ve always wanted to do! So, you’re saying you don’t have to stay at the hotel to swim with the dolphins? Just fork out the cash? Is there a schedule we need to be aware of?


  12. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Yup – you can just go there and do it. As far as I know there is no fixed schedule. Although I’d go during daytime. ;-)

  13. marie evansNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    swiming with dolphins is an amazing experience it has always been a dream of mine and i was so pleased to fulfill it. i swam with two bottle nose dolphins in cuba whilst on my honeymoon. i would recommend it to anyone even if they cant swim coz uyou are given life jackets & they will not put you in any kind of danger. just cant wait til ihave children so i can share the experience with them & take them to do it.

  14. JenniferNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    i absolutely love bali…the first time i visited there was for my 8th grade class trip and that was way back in 94 and was the first time i went to go dolphin watching and had the opportunity to go snorkaling around that area..i absolutely fell in love with bali…i’ve been back there about 4 years ago and stayed for 6 months there…i just got married this past december and taking my husband there (he’s never been, he thinks it’s like hawaii but i told him it’s so different and in my opinion i enjoyed it there more than i did in hawaii). I can’t wait, we’re going there at the end of this month and i want him to experience all that bali has to offer (especially water related activities).

  15. BarbaraNo Gravatar GREECE Says:

    Just got back from Bali. There is a new center which opened 10 minute drive from Kuta. You can interact with the Dolphins. They are actually in the sea in a large enclosed area. My husband and I spent 45 minutes together with our dolphin ” TRITON”. The enclosure is quite large and open. The dolphins could easily jump to freedom but it seems they like the company. I recommend this tour as most people stay in this area of Bali and Lovina is quite far for a one day tour. It was a dream come true.

  16. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Many thanks for the friendly comments and additions! Didn’t know about this new center though, might check it out one of those days. :-B

  17. SoniaNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    Chris, Barbara I would love to know the name of the new center just out of Kuta which lets you interact with the dolphins in the ocean. I am heading up to Bali in July and would love to swim with them.

  18. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    So far I didn’t have any luck finding more info about this place. :-/

  19. shelbieNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    hey my name is shelbie i love dolphins and i love animals :) :)

  20. dolphin manNo Gravatar CHINA Says:

    the place is called Dolphin lodge, and it’s situated at turtle island, about 20 minutes from Kuta, most of the bigger travel agents will know about it. eg H.I.S travel, JTB travel agents.etc…

  21. dolphin manNo Gravatar CHINA Says:

    check out http://www.balidolphins.com for more infor on dolphinlodge near kuta

  22. Sea shepherd girlNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    If everyone loves dolphins so much you won’t buy into this exploitation, can you imagine being trapped and taken from the ocean and put into a swimming pool? Free the dolphins now.

  23. amandaNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    I Swam Wif Them Its Well Good L-)

  24. Sea shepherd girlNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    Yeah Amanda, the fact that the rest of the pod would have been killed in Taiji or similar place and situation doesn’t worry you in the least. Have a look at http://www.seashepherd.org to see where they came from and see if I’m such a loser then.

  25. PriscilaNo Gravatar SPAIN Says:

    Thank you very much,
    I´m spanish and I going to stayin Lovina on 17-18 october.I have wroten a mail to the hotel to book “Swim with dolphins”
    It´s my dream, thank you again.

  26. Living the Good Life in Bali - a Wrap up after 2 Years | nomad4ever UNITED STATES Says:

    […] Bintang beer or that colorful cocktail, while surfing the internet to get into the right mood. Swim with dolphins or visit sunken wrecks on the bottom of the ocean. Ride a horse on a beach during sunset or […]

  27. CJRNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    I did do the swim 3 weeks ago at Melka. I wished i had a better experience. We were a group of 10 to swim and they put me in the water first and tell you to float on your back and allow the dolphins to come to you. The dolphin came to me bit me on the arm, then swam beneath me and smashed its body against me throwing me in the air all in a matter on 10 seconds in the pool.The staff supervising moved our party to another pool of dolphins stating that the same dolphin that attacked me attacked another male tourist earlier in the day. Be aware as they make you sign a disclaimer that they are not responsible for any injuries incurred by the dolphins. I got the impression from the staff this happens all the time as the dolphin was angry for most of the day, which they did not inform us prior to gettin in the pool. Rather dissapointing was left with a torn calf muscle and massive bruising to both legs. The price was as advertised on their website one month ago was 257.000rp change to 500,00rp overnight. There excuse was we have not updated our webite yet.

  28. ChrisNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    I can only second your experience, CJR. Was there again about 4 weeks ago with 3 friends and something similar happened. The dolphins in the first basin were quite apathetic and in the 2nd basin that didn’t change much. Nothing much happened and they didn’t want to interact at all. Of course you can say it’s wild animals and unpredictable and all, but I just think, they commercialize the whole thing too much. Too many tourists in too short time – of course the dolphins don’t want to play the whole day with them. Then there are a few shows during the day as well, so those animals really have to work for their food.

    The latest inflation of prices is another thing, I see it with a ‘laughing and a sad eye’ – while it’s surely a lot of money, it could probably help to lower the amount of tourists passing through to give the dolphins more air to breeze and do their own thing. Generally speaking it’s a controversial subject, offering the whole program.

  29. CJRNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    Chris, I do agree with you as the time of the day this happened was late in the afternoon and many tourists would have been through for the day. I have completed many swims here in Australia with Dolphins in controlled enviroments that were a pleasure. I suppose my message to other travellers is to be aware that your best interests are not there concern on the day only the money is. On a high note i had a wonderful trip to Bali and fell in love with the people.

  30. Sea shepherd girlNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    The dolphins were previously wild…of course they are going to get aggressive.
    CJR, are you male? This might have something to do with it.
    I’d advise travellers to visit Pet Porpoise Pool in Coffs Harbour for a more positive experience in a better environment. This Balinese Hotel has no idea what they are doing.

  31. michelNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    there is no good reason to keep dolphin in jail. it is like the first time you want to make love and you go to see a prostitute. and i have nothing against prostitute.
    but the dolphins don’t choose.
    you can argue that many are killed in the wild and so on, but for the one who want to swim with dolphins, they are places in the world that you can go to in the wild.
    everything is for sale nowadays, and nothing compare to a experience with dolphins in the wild, even if you can’t touch them.
    so please boycott these places, for you own sake.
    these dolphins often perform because they are hungry.


  32. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    You’ve got a good point here, michel. Myself, I’m a bit split between both extremes. Of course, putting dolphins in a cage is not the natural way of letting them live their lives. But then, plenty of children have no chance anymore of seeing dolphins in their natural habitat and even that is commercially exploited (i.e. the Bali dolphin tours in the north, 15 boats chasing a few dolphins).

    So how to show children and adults the fragility of the ecosystem in concrete examples? In my view it can help to show them the agility and beauty of dolphins in a closed environment, if they are treated well and not stressed out. I’m not sure, if that is the case in the above resort, probably not. Yes, there are successful whale watching tours in the world, which are even commercially successful and follow whales in their natural habitat, but where to draw the line?

    And how about whales or dolphins beached on a shore, should we let them die or trying to put them back into the water? Isn’t that tempering with mother nature as well? Sorry, I only have questions as well, but who has the answers? :-/

  33. michelNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    the optimal would be a center in open spaces with let say a jetty where the conditioned dolphins to get fed, would be fed. then put the people in the water and it is up to the dolphins to make their choices.
    of course it is still up to cash flow to keep that running.

    i know here in bali the perfect place for that, but then again the business involved with making money out of these dolphins would object.

    unless a legislation makes it illegal it will not stop, simply because it is money making.

    on the grand scale of what is happening to the ocean and the earth in general it is very minor, but in the realm of values then it becomes a important issue.

    just a point in a million other issues to consider.

    but you have to start somewhere, otherwise it becomes chemical mental masturbation(nothing wrong with that but just to call a apple an apple)

    my intuition tells me it is wrong. my intellect argues in a endless back and forth.

    up to the individual to see where he stands.

  34. nanaNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    hey my name is nana. I am a dolphin lover, and yes my dream come true… I swam with the dolphins in Melka Bali, that was an unforgetable experience. Amazing… U can touch its body n swim with them… and the dolphins watching trip also wonderful… Unfortunately the sky was cloudy so the I only saw the dolphins once, but another amazing experience there was a huge whale showed up its body… Amazing… That’s Jehovah’s creation, thax to Jehovah God for all the good things we have

  35. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    nana, glad you liked it. Just not so sure about Jehovah – what do you think would Buddha, Allah, Shiva, Ganesh, Tao, Adonai, Nitzsche, Darwin and all the others have said about that? ;-)

  36. MichelleNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    ;;) flying to bali later this year cant wait to swim with the dolphins.has always been a life long dream…

  37. AdriNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    I love dolphins! Eventhough I dont get opportunity to swim with dolphins (not yet), am happy enough to see them from the boat (many times we saw them during the diving trips). I think Melca is just too commercial and money oritented, I have no interest to go there. If I want to, I prefer take a dolphins watching trip with local people and their tradional boats, just to support local people in Lovina.

    For dolphins lover, check this out: http://www.takepart.com/thecove/


  38. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    All the best for your Dolphin trips, Michelle and Adri. As much as I agree to better support the locals with their boat trips; even those are quite commercial already – you have sometimes 20 or more boats chasing the few dolphins. On the other hand, even Melca is providing jobs for locals to feed and take care of the dolphins and their other animals. Hard to say, which one is better. :-/

  39. RyanNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Swimming with the Dolphins?

    Try Swimming with Whalesharks in Donsol, Sorsogon in the Philippines. That’s what I am talking about. :)

  40. Kim KNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    I found this book that has all the location where you can swim with dolphins in the wild. It is called Swimming with Dolphins in Paradise; A guide to professional wild dolphin swims. I saw it on ebay. It is a early release edition for christmas. I am going to buy it cuz i have searched forever for a book on it with pics and stuff. now i finally found one. It looks sooooo awseome. I swam with dolphins in panama city florida once it was so cool. I can not wait to read this book. Anyways it has like prices, locations, and a whole bunch of other stuff in it. i put the website in my website box it’s on ebay or swimwithdolphins.moogo.com so. Hope that helps someone else out too!

  41. Anti-dolphin crueltyNo Gravatar JAPAN Says:

    Keeping dolphins in captivity for human entertainment in this way is down-right cruel. People should really think twice before paying to swim with dolphins in a swimming pool (in the wild is completely different).

    People think it’s cruel to make bears dance or for lion tamers to make lions perform and yet it’s perfectly fine to keep dolphins in extremely (compared with the distances they are capable of in the wild) small spaces, to jump through rings and balance balls etc!!!!!!! Do you think it’s the fact that they live in water is what confuses people? Or maybe it’s because they look a little too similar to fish…? Or maybe it’s because dolphins always seem to be ‘smiling’ that they must enjoy being at the beck and call of humans?

    In the wild dolphins can live up to 45 years and yet in captivity most dolphins last an average of 5 years. So please think twice before supporting this type of animal cruelty. Thank you

  42. LisaNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    Just watch “The Cove” and make up your mind. I know after I saw this movie there is no way I will ever go and see/swim with captive dolphins.

  43. Neil & JorvaNo Gravatar MALAYSIA Says:

    Update on Bali’s Lovina Bay early morning ‘dolphin’ viewing trip. We were there in mid February, 2011. One of 28 small boats, all with long-tail outboards (unprotected propellers). The few pods that came through were not dolphins at all, they were porpoises (small, no snout, different dorsal fin from porpoises, chubbier, and duller). They seemed terrified, surrounded by dozens of boats as they were, chased whenever they appeared and tried to move away. We stopped our boat and left the others to harrass the terrified creatures. One of my least enjoyable experiences.

  44. MacNo Gravatar HONG KONG Says:

    Swimming with wild dolphins is a truly wonderful experience. The best you will ever have. BUT swimming with CAPTIVE wild dolphins is nothing but a direct funding for Dolphin slaughter and the Live Captive Trade. Please NEVER buy a ticket for a captive dolphin encounter. SEE Taiji Dolphin Slaughter / kidnap

Leave a Reply

Hey, if you want a picture to show by your comment, why not get a gravatar?

;-) :twisted: :roll: :oops: :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :evil: :cry: :arrow: :?: :-| :-x :-o :-P :-D :-? :) :( :!: 8-O 8)