Did you know that the northern area of Sanur beach was the landing site of the Dutch invasion troops during the Dutch intervention in Bali in 1906? And during World War II, Sanur was also the entry point where Japanese forces landed to occupy Bali island.
But today, Sanur is home to a growing number of villa resorts. Beach goers looking for a more mature and upscale beach scene will appreciate Sanur’s resort area. The abundance of restaurants and villas ensure the comfortable stay of their tourists and visitors. Even with the active beach life, Sanur still offers a quiet and relaxed atmosphere. Sanur appears to be less expensive than Seminyak although it is definitely more costly than Kuta. This town on the east coast of South Bali appeals most to European and middle-aged families.
Sanur is about 20 minutes away from Ngurah Rai International Airport. You need 20 minutes driving time if you will come from Legian or Kuta. Sanur is a 30-minute drive from Ubud or Seminyak. It is closest to Denpasar, requiring you just 10 to 15 minutes to reach Sanur. Metered taxis and shuttle buses are available to take you to Sanur. Direct transfers to Sanur from Kuta and Ubud are likewise available.
Getting around Sanur is easy as there are cars, motorbikes and bicycles that you can rent during your stay here. Metered taxis and local bemos are your other transportation options. But Sanur is a beautiful place that is best explored by foot. The streets are quiet and the distances are not large. The whole length of the district features a paved beach front path perfect for walking.
What to See in Sanur
Sanur has an abundance of natural, cultural and historical attractions. This is also a shopping district with hip beach culture.
If there’s one thing you shouldn’t miss about Sanur, it must be the annual kite festival at Padang Galak. This international kite festival is held at Padang Galak beach every July. Expect to see traditional Balinese giant kites flown competitively by different teams from the villages around Bali. The kite flying tradition was meant to send a message to the Hindu Gods to provide the villagers with a good harvest. Apart from the actual main event, large kites are already being flown beginning from June through August.
Another must-see in Sanur is the Le Mayeur Museum in Jalan Hangtuah which houses the works of Adrian Jean Le Mayeur, a well-known Belgian impressionist. This was his former home so with your visit, you can get a glimpse of what it was like to live as one of Bali’s first expats. The Bali Orchid Garden, a beautiful park located just 3km north of Sanur, is also worth a visit.
Don’t leave Sanur without going to the Turtle Island and the 600- hectare mangrove forest on the east coast south of Sanur. The Blanjong Temple is also a must-visit so you can know more about Bali’s oldest known artifact, the Prasati Blanjong which is a stone pillar with inscription about the Javanese king of Bali in the 10th century.
And of course, the picturesque views around Sanur are the ultimate must-sees that your camera must capture.
What to Do in Sanur
The local night markets can indulge your senses with its varied food options. Shopping and eating in Sanur is exciting and relaxing. Do your usual retail therapy at Sanur and score unique Balinese handicrafts. Decorative vases and flatware from the famous Jengala Ceramics may be purchased at Gudang Keramik. High quality woven ikat fabrics from Indonesia are also being sold at most stores in Sanur.
Learn how to prepare traditional Indonesian food by attending one of the cooking classes offered in Sanur.
Go for a scenic bike ride as you pedal through the paved beachfront bicycle path that stretches up to 5 kilometres from Jalan Mertasari in south Sanur to Jalan Hangtuah.
Because you are in Bali, expect to see lots of diving lessons. There are English, Russian, Polish, French, Protuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin, German, Dutch and Indonesian speaking instructors available.
Those with adventurous spirits can try the water sports available in Bali. From diving to surfing to kite surfing, windsurfing, wakeboarding, and paragliding, you have plenty of options to choose from. Banana boat rides are available for those who want to test the waters first.
After a day of active fun, take the time to relax and enjoy Bali’s rejuvenating spa treatments. Indulge in soothing massage and spa treatments at half the price of their usual costs in America or Europe.
Where and What to Eat in Sanur
Typical Sanur cafes serve grilled seafood, western and Asian fusion dishes and of course local Balinese dishes. From steaks and roasted meat to homemade sandwiches and quiches, and to vegetarian meals, Sanur in Bali has a variety to offer. You can even find excellent authentic Italian pizzas, pastas, and gelato in Sanur.
Bars in Sanur are also great in number. There are several bars along Jalan danau Tamblingan. Choose from sports bars, open-air beachfront restobars and family-friendly bars. Some restaurants have live performances and Balinese dance performances.
Things You’ll Love in Sanur
Sanur is a family-friendly destination in Bali. Most of the villas and hotels offering accommodation are priced reasonably alhtough they target the medium and high sectors.
What you’ll love about Sanur is its balanced beach culture; it isn’t as busy and frantic as Kuta’s but it is also not as monotonous as that in Nusa Dua. Sanur is “just right” with a good mix of activity, restaurants and shops, and comfortable accommodations. The relaxed coastal ambiance of Sanur will surely make your vacation worthwhile.
The waves in Sanur beach aren’t as big as those in other Bali beaches because Sanur beach is protected by breakwaters and a reef. This makes Sanur beach area ideal for families with children. Combine this with first class but reasonably priced villa hotels, an eclectic mix of shops, bars and restaurants, and a laidback atmosphere and you’ll get a truly comforting holiday.