Many first-time visitors to Bali find themselves a little underwhelmed by the beaches. It’s a response easy to imagine considering all the beautiful beaches featured on Bali brochures and the reality of crowded Kuta. Luckily, Bali is a big island with pretty beaches enough for everyone, and over the next seven days we’ll show you one a day to help you fill out a week’s beach holiday in Bali.
Sanur is far from a little-known Balinese beach — it was one of the first areas of Bali to develop a proper tourist scene and today almost the entire length of the beach is lined with mid-range to upmarket hotels that overlook a good stretch of sand and an offshore reef.
The reef keeps the waters calm, making for reasonably safe swimming for kids, and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants along the beach that Mum and Dad can take shelter in. The reef also provides calm waters for the jukungs to sail around in — it’s straightforward to rent one for an hour or so for a leisurely sail (at high tide).
Low tide at Sanur is a very low tide — in places you can walk almost all the way out to the reef. The shallows are good for a bit of a poke and play, but the best time to even contemplate swimming here is a few hours on each side of high tide.
It gets especially busy here on Sunday afternoons, when seemingly half the population of Bali descend on the beach. It can be an interesting, festival-style atmosphere with lots of roving merchants selling everything from tempe to Coca Cola, but it’s not the best time to hit the beach if you’re after some quiet time.
Another great thing about Sanur is the boardwalk. It runs almost the entire length of the beach, northwards up to at least Padang Galak, and is a hit with cyclists, joggers and families with prams. Towards the northern end is also where some of the boats depart for both Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida.
Two areas of the beach are especially pleasant: towards the centre near the Bali Hyatt and north to The Shack, and also towards the northern end, near the Inna Grand Hotel (the multi-storey eyesore). In between, groins have been built along much of the beach’s length in an attempt to prevent erosion — we’re been told that much of the sand on Sanur was shipped in from Timor after a lot of the beach was lost (but we have never read this from a reputable source — anyone?).
Overall this is a great family-orientated beach with plenty of shade, good swimming and some good reef surfing further out — something for most — and it’s just a 30-45 minute drive from Kuta.
By Stuart McDonald
Last updated on 14th April, 2015.