Breathtaking Bali sunrises and postcard perfect beaches. And that is just the start.
Sanur is located on the east coast of the island of Bali and is one of the island’s original beach resorts. As such, it is the opposite of Kuta, both in characteristics and nuance. Yet it is just a short taxi ride to the hustle and bustle of the city. Today, the former fishing village maintains much of its traditional Balinese charm. Many of Bali’s finest resort hotels and beachfront retreats, together with an eclectic mix of restaurants, bars and shops share the Sanur beach coastline. Sanur is the ideal destination for those looking to enjoy the best of both traditional and modern Bali.
So, what can your day in Sanur look like?
Bali is famous for many things, including the incredible sunrises over Sanur Beach. Depending on the time of year, sunrise is around 6.00 am. Rise early and make your way to the beach. You’ll be surprised how many people are up and about enjoying the first light of the new day. An amazing way to start your day. And don’t forget your camera!
6.30 to 7.30 am
A brisk walk or a leisurely stroll along the Sanur Beach Boardwalk is a great way to get the day going. Running from Grand Bali Beach at the northern end to the Bali Hyatt at the southern end, the boardwalk covers about 5 kilometres of beautiful beachfront passing many of Sanur’s famous resort hotels and beach-front restaurants and markets. You’ll meet fellow walkers, locals and visitors alike as well as hotel staff preparing the beach for another busy day. Small streets and laneways link the boardwalk to JI. Danau Tamblingan, the main road through Sanur. If you’d prefer not to walk back, you can easily hail a taxi back your hotel.
8.00 to 9.30 am
Breakfast time and there is no shortage of great locations to enjoy the first meal of the day. The resort hotel restaurants are all open and serving a great beach-side Bali breakfast. Relax at a table by the pool or at the beachfront on the sand. The food is excellent, and depending on the hotel or restaurant, you can choose from the a-la-carte breakfast or off the menu. The restaurants and eateries on JI. Danau Tamblingan are also open for breakfast. And of course, there is a Starbucks adjacent to the entrance to Griya Santrian Beach Resort Hotel. Resort hotel breakfast menu prices are around 150,000 IDR per person for all you can eat.
10.00 to 12.30pm
Pool time. Sanur resort hotels are famous for their beach-side swimming pools. Crystal clear water that is naturally warm all year round. Here is the perfect location to relax on a pool lounge under a large market umbrella while reading the last best seller. 20 minutes in the sun reading and 10 minutes in the pool. 20 minutes in the sun reading then 10 minutes in the pool. You get the picture! Or book a massage or relaxing spa. Many pools also feature swim-up pool bars, so you can enjoy an ice-cold Bintang beer or specialty cocktail without even having to get out of the water. Decadent? Absolutely, but you are on holidays!
12.30 to 2.00 pm
Lunch time. Decisions, decisions. Venture out onto JI. Danau Tamblingan and find a great restaurant or eatery, or choose a café along the beachfront boardwalk, perhaps one you identified during your morning walk. Or the easy option – a t-shirt over the swimmers and a table at your resort hotel’s beachside restaurant? Eating beachside is cooler, particularly during the middle of the Balinese day. Light lunch or large lunch? Most courses seem to average 100,000 IDR. In our experience, one main course with a Bintang or a glass of sparkling water is just right for lunch. So, relax and enjoy.
2.00 to 4.00 pm
Repeat morning activities. Back to the pool or perhaps, relocate to the beach. Most resorts provide big, comfy beach lounges under broad market umbrellas for their guests. The beach is really a lagoon surrounded by a coral reef, so it tends to be shallow and it is safe for swimming. If you want to venture beyond your hotel, just follow the boardwalk to find your perfect spot under a shady palm tree. You can also partake in the many water sport activities available along Sanur Beach. Hire a jet-ski, a windsurfer or stand-up paddle board.
Or, why not a half-day or full-day excursion. You can hire a driver to take you to Kuta and Denpasar sightseeing or shopping. He’ll wait for you while you browse the streets, café, shops and bars then bring you back to your hotel. Cost is 450,000 to 500,000 IDR. For a full day expect to pay around 600,000 to 750,000 IDR. Your hotel can organise this for you.
4.00 to 5.00 pm
Stroll the streets and explore the shops along JI. Danau Tamblingan. Here you’ll find an eclectic mix of traditional Balinese craft shops, tourist shops, up-market clothing shops and surf-wear shops. Even a thong (flip-flop) shop appropriately called Flipper! One of our favourite shops located towards the southern end of the street is Titisan Art. The store is full of genuine Indonesian and traditional Balinese art and artefacts. We like to collect mementos of our travels and Titisan Art is great for the not-so-expensive, unique and authentic. Another one of our favourite shops is Uluwatu Handmade Balinese Lace, specialising in casual and beach wear. A beautiful shop with beautiful clothing. And of course, there are dozens of shops and stalls along the street and in market laneways off the boardwalk selling tourist souvenirs. Explore Jeny’s, Shop 29 Sindhu Beach Market. A huge range of souvenirs and Balinese treasures. How about US$5 for batik-patterned beach pants? Fixed prices – no bartering – but we think the best prices in Sanur.
5.30 to 6.30 pm
This is the quiet time. We like to spend it relaxing on the veranda of our hotel room, looking out over the beach and the last light of the day. A cool shower to wash off all the day’s activities, casual clothes for the evening’s outing and a quiet beer or glass of wine. Speaking of wine, it is expensive in Bali. Even from a ‘quickie market’ it costs around 230,000 to 460,000 IDR a bottle. More in restaurants.
6.30 to 9.00 pm
If you thought deciding where to dine for lunch was a challenge, wait until you consider which restaurant for dinner. There are dozens to choose from, so you can eat at a different restaurant every night. Three of our favourites on JI. Danau Tamblingan are the Mango Taru Restaurant and Bar. Offering simple, inexpensive food, this is a great spot for lunch and dinner. The Three Monkeys restaurant is famous in Sanur for its outstanding food and spectacular Balinese bamboo décor. And the Grill Bar is a great place to relax and enjoy Balinese cuisine with live music most evenings. On the boardwalk and constructed as a treehouse around a giant Borneo Mahogany tree, the Arthotel is a funky poolside place to eat. Or you can choose traditional Balinese street food at the Pasar Sindhu Markets, open every night and located just off JI. Danau Tamblingan. The satays are fantastic!
9.00 pm to whenever
It’s been a long day but if you are up for it, you can party on into the night. Sanur’s nightlife encompasses many notable bars and pubs where you can enjoy a great evening with live bands playing everything from rock and roll to reggae. Venus mostly overlook the beach or are street-side within walking distance of the hotels. If you cannot live without your sport, check out Barb’s Sports Bar on JI Danau Tamblingan. Its open until late and is a favourite haunt of expats. Or, if rock and roll is your scene, then the nearby Casablanca Sanur is open 10.00 am to midnight and is one of the coolest spots to go – great music and great food.
Finally, its bedtime and the end of a day in your life in Sanur. The really beaut thing about it… you can do it all again tomorrow.
Main picture: Sunrise over the lagoon in Sanur is one of life’s special experiences
- The sunrises on Sanur Beach are legendary and not to be missed
- The peace and tranquility of the beach front in the early morning light
- Start the day with a brisk walk along the Sanur Beach Boardwalk
- Something refreshing beside the Griya Santrian pool
- Lunch at the Arthotel, our beach-side/pool-side restaurant
- The first Bintang of the day
- The sun sets over our hotel pool
- Dinner and a show
- And after at the Pool Bar
- The Grill Market on JI. Danau Tamblingan, one of our favourite places for dinner
- The Three Monkeys is a fantastic place to eat in central Sanur