Photo: Beach scenes.


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The seaside town of Sanur provides a popular escape from the hectic west coast beaches with a more relaxed atmosphere and only a fraction of the hassle.

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Sanur was Bali’s first established beach resort attracting celebrities and artists, today favoured by travellers who have outgrown the party scene and golden beaches with calm, reef-sheltered waters make it an ideal destination for families. Accompanying the laidback, unpretentious vibe, there’s a wide range of decent eateries and accommodation, relatively little traffic and it’s well located for day trips to Ubud, the Bukit or Nusa Lembongan, and if you still want to party, Kuta is only half an hour away (traffic allowing).

A beach with volcano views. Photo taken in or around Sanur, Indonesia by Stuart McDonald.

A beach with volcano views. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Sanur welcomes the day with easterly facing views over the waters. The narrow resort area stretches about six kilometres north to south, hemmed to the west by busy Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai, the main link to Bali’s airport. Sanur’s main drag, Jalan Danau Tamblingan mirrors the coastline and bears the bulk of hotels restaurants and shops. Fancy resorts bag the prime beachfront positions, but a paved coastal beachwalk from Padang Galak Beach north of the main tourist area, to Mertasari Beach, some eight kilometres south, makes it accessible to all. Head into the backstreets and laneways for friendly guesthouses and homestays.

Long before tourism, Sanur was the realm of ancient kingdoms: Bali’s oldest known artefact, the Blanjong Inscription can be seen in the southern part of town. Sanur’s ancient traditions are still strong, and it’s known around Bali as the home of high priests—take a wander along Jalan Danau Beratan to see the elaborate gates of the priests homes, or visit one of Sanur’s seaside temples (don’t forget a sarong and sash). Sanur’s traditional fishing industry continues today and the colourful jukung sailing boats can be seen lining the shore all along the coast. Rise early to watch the catch come in or hire one for a sail to pass a pleasant hour or two.

Explore the mangroves. Photo taken in or around Sanur, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Explore the mangroves. Photo: Sally Arnold

If sailing’s not your thing, water activities abound: there’s sea-kayaking, kitesurfing, parasailing, wakeboarding, swimming (of course), or just hit the beach for good old lazing about in the sun. If you’re a watersports first-timer make sure you use a reputable company, there’s a few cowboys out there (and check that your travel insurance covers you for any activities). During the wet season conditions are good for a bit of a surf too and other times, the flat waves are not bad for beginners.

A local group Seger Oger, offer free yoga on the beach at Pantai Karang, daily except Sunday 07:00 to 08:00, bring your own mat or The Power of Now have a terrific bamboo open yoga studio on the southern Mertasari Beach. The flat roads and paved beachwalk are ideal for cycling, there’s even an official cycle route: pick up the free bike map or download it here (PDF). Bikes can be hired all over Sanur for around 20,000 to 30,000 rupiah per day. Between July and August the skies are a tangle of colour when Sanur plays host to Bali’s International Kite Festival.

Have a cooling drink. Photo taken in or around Sanur, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Have a cooling drink. Photo: Sally Arnold

Discover Sanur’s culture and get a taste of expat life in the early days at Museum Le Mayeur or for contemporary art, visit the in-house galleries at Sudamala Suites and Villas, Griya Santrian or Artotel. Or if you prefer your culture fermented, pop in for a wine tasting at Hatten Wines, on Jalan Bypass Nguarh Rai, wine made from grapes grown in Lovina in Bali’s north. If you’re inspired and feel creative, or just need fast WiFi, Sanur’s co-working space, Rumah Sanur is the place to connect.

Head south to visit the Mangrove Information Centre and walk the (somewhat dodgy) boardwalks through the mangrove forest and out to sea then drop in to Seranagan Island’s Turtle Conservation and Education Centre to support their good work and see some cute baby turtles. For a rather unlikely attraction, visit Bali’s own ghost town, an abandoned amusement park in Sanur’s north, Taman Festival Bali, rumoured to harbour cannibal crocodiles—if you dare!

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You can eat around the world in Sanur in many excellent international restaurants, or dine like a local—some long-running warungs are so popular they’ve run out of food before lunch. When evening falls, head to busy Pasar Sindhu, Sanur’s night market for a selection of tasty local fare. Or for self-catering Hardy’s Supermarket is in the middle of Jalan Danau Tamblingan.

Or grab a bite to eat. Photo taken in or around Sanur, Indonesia by Stuart McDonald.

Or grab a bite to eat. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Sanur is not the shopping destination of Seminyak, but there’s still plenty of boutiques and local markets to pick up a souvenir. ToKo Concept Store on Jalan Danau Poso carry a range of interesting local designer products. Jenggala has high quality Bali-inspired ceramics and Nogo is the place to go for traditional ikat. Wander along the Jalan Danau Tamblingan or the beachwalk for local art markets.

Sanur is the departure point for boats to Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida. Boats leave from the beach near Jalan Hang Tuah. Many professional dive shops based in Sanur can organise your underwater adventures before you go.

Along Jalan Danau Tamblingan you’ll find ATMs every few hundred metres.

The post office is located on Jalan Danau Buyan and the police station is on Jalan Bypass Nguarh Rai 350 metres south of Jalan Hang Tuah.

Sanur’s closest hospitals and clinics are in Denpasar and Kuta

BIMC Hospital: 100X Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai, Kuta; T: (0361) 761 263;
Jenggala; 51 Jalan Danau Tamblingan, Sanur; T: (0361) 288 147;
Nogo; 104 Jalan Danau Tamblingan, Sanur; T: (0361) 288 765;
Rumah Sakit Umum Pusat Sanglah: Jalan Diponegoro, Denpasar; T: (0361) 227 911, (0361) 227 915;
Siloam Hospitals Denpasar: 818 Jalan Sunset, Kuta; T: (0361) 779 900, (0361) 779 911;
ToKo Concept Store; 51 Jalan Danau Poso, Sanur; T: (0361) 281 300; Open daily: 10:00-22:00


What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Sanur.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Sanur.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Sanur.
 Read up on how to get to Sanur.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
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