A laid-back place in Bali: the ultimate travel guide to Sanur Bali
March 6, 2018
Sanur tends to be the underdog in Bali, but is definitely worth a visit when you are looking for a more laid-back experience in Bali, Indonesia. Sanur has a five-kilometre-long sandy beach, plenty of (budget) accommodation, and is only a 30 minutes’ drive from Kuta and 40 minutes’ drive from Ubud. Visiting Sanur, will definitely provide you with some fresh air after exploring other places in Bali like Seminyak or Kuta.
After spending seven months in Sanur, I hope I can convince you to consider visiting Sanur while traveling through Bali, Indonesia. This travel guide to Sanur Bali, includes useful information on how to get there, things to do, where to stay, places to eat, nightlife and other interesting tips.
General information about Sanur Bali
Sanur is a beach town located at the south-east side of Bali. It has a five-kilometre-long sandy beach with reef-sheltered waters, a wide range of (western) restaurants and (budget) accommodation, tourist shops, and little traffic. Sanur is a perfect base to make day trips to other towns in Bali, like Ubud, Kuta, or the neighbour island Nusa Lembongan. In the main street, Jalan Danau Tamblingan, are most of the shops, cafés, restaurants, and hotels located.
In Sanur, you will find tourists with a higher average age, than you probably will find in other spots in Bali. When you are looking for a party location, Sanur is not the place to be, but as a laid-back destination, it is a perfect place to relax and experience Balinese culture.
How to get to Sanur Bali; air, public ferry or boat
Located at the south-east coast of Bali, it will take you around 40 minutes to reach the ‘Ngurah Rai International Airport’ in Denpasar, Bali. From Kuta it will take you approximately a 30 minutes’ drive and a 40 minutes’ drive from Ubud. You can also reach Sanur by boat from the Nusa Penida (where you can swim with Manta Rays) or the Gili’s. When booking a boat transfer, check out a few of the agents before you buy a ticket, because some of them might charge you twice the price! Also when taking a taxi, make sure you don’t get scammed in Bali, Indonesia!
These are some things I can recommend you to do in Sanur Bali:
Visit the Museum ‘Le Mayeur’ in Sanur
It is not a must-visit of Sanur, but worth a visit if you like art and history. The museum dates back to 1932 and shows many art from Bali’s landscape and female inhabitants.
Walk or cycle along the beach
With its five-kilometre-long sandy beach, you can walk or cycle for a long time along the beach! There are a few gates where you will have to hope off your bike, but it is definitely a nice activity.
Eat at the Pasar Sindhu Night Market
During the late afternoon and evening you will find at the Pasar Sindhu Night Market different market stalls that sells fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, traditionally cooked Indonesian dishes, drinks, and household goods.
Visit the turtle conservation in Sanur (Serangan island)
A little south of Sanur, at Sergangan island, you can find the Turtle Conservation and Education Centre (TCEC). Here you can learn about turtle conversation and how the organisation tries to stop turtle trade. At certain times of the month, you can even release some baby turtles on the beach.
You can easily reach the Sergangan island by crossing a bridge from Jalan By Pass Ngurah Rai to the island. Take the Jalan Pulau Serangan street to cross the bridge. With bicycle, it will take you around half an hour from Sanur. A local check point to Serangan Island charges 4,000 rupiah for cars and 2,000 rupiah for motorbikes entry fee.
Visit Sanur’s ghost attraction
Sanur has an abandoned amusement park. I have never visited this place before, but heard many people talk about it. It is called the ‘Taman Festival Bali’.
The best way to explore Sanur and its surrounding is by scooter. A scooter costs around 50,000 IDR a day (not including fuel). A scooter will give you access to the entire coastline, town and hidden spots, just waiting to be explored. But where to rent a scooter? For what price? Are there traffic rules? What to do if a police officer stops you? Make sure you know everything about driving scooter in Indonesia before you rent one.
Do some watersports at Sanur beach
At the beach of Sanur, you can do many water- sports and activities, for example sea-kayaking, kitesurfing, parasailing, wakeboarding, swimming, or snorkelling. However, the water is most of the time low tide, and therefore, not always perfect to swim.
Inside the building you can learn about the Balinese war history, and when you take the stairs to the top of the building, the amazing view of Denpasar and Sanur will impress you. Around the monument is a little park where local people exercise in the early morning or late afternoon (including me when I lived in Denpasar!). The monument is just ten minutes by taxi or scooter located from Sanur.
Relax at a spa
Have a cheap massage, pedicure, or manicure at one of the plenty spas in Sanur.
Where to party in Sanur Bali
Sanur Bali knows many bars and restaurants, but offers less excitement by night than other popular destinations in Bali. This is a selection of some good nightlife places in Sanur:
This place is definitely worth a visit and every evening full! It is a bar both popular with tourists and expats. Every evening there is live music.
Beatles Cavern Bar
This bar in Sanur is a unique music-themed spot. They often play live music and have good affordable drinks.
At this bar, you can enjoy an Asian fusion cuisine and live (DJ) music.
Arena Pub & Restaurant
This restaurant in Sanur Bali is huge and offers great food. Try the snales! Happy hour starts from 16:00 o’clock onwards and on Friday nights there is a live music performance.
The bamboo bar is a nice café located at Sanur beach. During the day, you can follow yoga workshops and other activities, and during the evening you can enjoy plenty of cocktails.
Where to eat in Sanur Bali
In Sanur Bali are plenty of locally owned warungs, but also restaurants serving international food. Here are some of my favourite places to eat:
This restaurant is really worth a visit! It offers excellent service and food including live music for an average price. They mainly serve Asian dishes with a French accent, but also local dishes and fresh seafood.
Pasar Sindhu Night Market
During the late afternoon and evening you will find at the Pasar Sindhu Night Market different market stalls that sells fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, traditionally cooked Indonesian dishes, drinks, and household goods. I love it!
This restaurant looks like an old garage filled with classic cars, motorbikes, and all sort of automotive decoration. It is a unique place to have a drink or eat a meal!
Restaurant Three monkeys
Three Monkeys is a nice restaurant offering good quality food, great variety of drinks including cocktails and a great service. When travelling to Ubud, you should also visit the Three Monkeys restaurant over there. It is located in the rice fields and has a great atmosphere.
Café ‘S morgas
This place is worth a visit for breakfast or lunch. They have amazing (detox) juices, yoghurt bowls, fresh fruit, salads, but also things like burgers or sandwiches.
Restaurant & Icecream café Massimo
This Italian restaurant is worth a visit if you are looking for an international place to eat in Sanur Bali. They have a great variety of pasta and pizza. Next to main dishes, they have amazing homemade gelato. I often just went there to eat the best ice cream ever!
This café is located on the beach of Sanur Bali. Surrounded by palm trees, you can enjoy fresh seafood, pizza, or local dishes.
Warungs and seafood BBQ style dining along the waterfront
Along the beach, you can find plenty of warungs serving fresh seafood. My recommendation is Lilla warung, Mila’s warung, or Dapur Mamiku.
Soul in a bowl
This place is the coolest café in town! It has good food, a great atmosphere, good prices and some nights live music. Try the ginger beer!
The Glass House
This place is unique and worth a visit. Sanur restaurant the Glass House is a beautifully place that serves great food. It is also known for serving affordable wine.
Where to sleep in Sanur Bali
There are plenty hotels, guesthouses, home stays, and other (budget) accommodations in Sanur Bali. Booking.com is a good place to book your stay. I will introduce to you some of the accommodations I have stayed:
A semi luxurious resort where I have stayed was ‘Sindhu Mertha Suite Sanur Bali’. This suite is a small property located in the center of Sanur, Bali. The property has 10 rooms which are traditionally designed and offer great comfort. The current manager, Ketut Sastrawan Gede is a great host and will try to make your stay as comfortable as possible!
I have also stayed at the ‘Sanur House’, a hidden and beautiful gem in Bali Indonesia. This hotel is a beautiful, quiet, gorgeous, and peaceful place. Boasting traditional Balinese architecture, the hotel is not only spacious and comfortable, but also feels very traditional.
Another great place to stay in Sanur Bali is ‘Stana Puri Gopa Sanur’, a traditional Balinese hotel with a story. The hotel is family owned and offers a traditional Balinese hospitality. It is a hotel with a story, that is not part of a big random hotel brand. The family still lives on the hotel compound and tries to share the Balinese habits, culture, food, and architecture with its guests. You can visit the family temple, and watch the daily offerings by the Balinese staff.
A more budget hotel in Sanur Bali is ‘Puri Sanur Hotel’. This low-budget hotel offers everything you need; airconditioned large hotel rooms, a swimming pool and good breakfast. The staff is also very kind.
I hope this information can help you prepare and enjoy Sanur Bali. I am sure you will enjoy Sanur, Bali as much as I did. If you have been to Sanur and know any other good things to do, food to eat, hang out places or general advises to other travelers, please let me know in the comments! I would love to hear about them.
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