Although Sanur was one of the first areas in Bali to become established as a tourist area, this seaside town still manages to retain its sleepy fishing village vibe. Life is easy here with the beach at your doorstep, calm shallow waters that are perfect for young kids and those looking for a leisurely dip, and friendly restaurants, cafes and bars lining the sands and the main street of Jalan Danau Tamblingan. Plus, there is a great mix of affordable guesthouses, luxury villas, boutique hotels and grand beach resorts for all budgets.
Perhaps one of the reasons that so many people choose Sanur over other parts of Bali is the pleasant mix of old and new. Look past the trendy eateries and live music bars, and you’ll find that tradition is alive and well here. Sanur is home to a large community of Brahmans (members of the priest caste), so there are plenty of interesting temples in the area and ceremonies that take place throughout the year. During the first half of the 20th century, many Western artists and intellectuals settled in Sanur, and you can still see their influence in the art and architecture around town.
Sanur is home to the oldest dated artifact in Bali, the Prasasti Belanjong. This stone pillar resides in the Pura Belanjong temple and is inscribed with Sanskrit writing that dates back to the 10th century and provides details about military conquests from that time. There are also plenty of ancient temples lining the coast in Sanur that are steeped in history and ritual. For nature lovers, Serangan (also known as Turtle Island) is home to a Turtle Conservation and Education Center where you can visit the turtle hatchery, see baby turtles being released into the sea and learn about how injured turtles are nursed back to health.
Things to Do
One of the most pleasant ways to start your day in Sanur is to take walk or run along the 4km beachfront walk that curves along the east coast of Bali. As you follow the path, you can take in the sights of colourful fishing boats, water sports enthusiasts windsurfing, kayaking, parasailing and snorkeling, and on a clear day, the sights of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida across the water. If you need a break, simply stop at one of the open-air cafes lining the sand. During the month of August, the Sanur Village Festival takes place with live music, cultural performances and plenty of delicious Balinese and Indonesian food. The festival ends with the famous International Kite Festival, when hundreds of youths and adults alike come from far and wide to compete with their huge custom-made and creative kites.
Due to its laid-back nature, Sanur tends to attract plenty of families, couples and a more mature crowd than youthful Kuta or scenester Seminyak. The calm waters and hassle-free beach resorts, hotels and restaurants make this the perfect environment for travellers with little ones, and there are plenty of beautiful luxury villas for those looking for something a bit more swank and secluded. As for the resident foreigners, you’re more likely to find long-term expats who have settled down here with their families than energetic partiers or surfers in Sanur.