WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO STAY IN SANUR, BALI
Bali – Indonesia
Written by Chris Andre
Sanur is a quaint and serene retreat that gives off a neighborhood feel to a family holiday or an intimate honeymoon.
Long before Kuta’s rise to fame back in the 1970s, it was Sanur that first drew the attention of foreign visitors. The long stretch of Sanur beach with relatively low swells was enlivened with the humble locals selling traditional culinary along the coastline. That has much changed in terms of physicality now that expansive hotels are staking their claim along the coast, but Sanur has unpredictably managed to retain that je-ne-sais-quoi, sort of a genuine neighborhood feel, which is honestly charming and is what all other islands around the world try to replicate.
Where is Sanur and how to get there?
Sanur is not far from the airport, relatively 15 minutes by car. It is located in the north of Kuta and, thanks to the new shortcut road, Sanur is accessible through Jimbaran and Nusa Dua. While travelers on a shoestring budget can save much money by taking a Transarbagita shuttle bus from Kuta—where the airport is—to Sanur, a taxi ride could really save much time and the hassle of you carrying the luggage on your own. If you intend to go to Ubud, Sanur can also be a convenient pit stop for dining or shopping.
What to find in Sanur?
From restaurants to spas to retail centers, everything is at your fingertips in Sanur. The most famous Danau Tamblingan Street is packed with all those options, each place adorned in beautiful hues and quirky exteriors. A ten-minute walk from that street is Sanur Beach, which is relatively safe for children, although there are fishermen on certain sites casting their nets and simply making their daily grind. There’s an inspiring yoga hut at the back of Mercure Resort Sanur at Mertasari Street right before the beach that is run by an Australian retiree. Stretching your muscles and limbs while enjoying tropical ocean breezes, what could simply beat that?
Sanur Beach is also slightly different from Kuta and Seminyak Beach, in which Sanur Beach has a nice pathway along the coast. It’s not rare to see tourists ride their bikes and just follow wherever the path goes. This actually allows you to explore the unexplored gems, such as discovering some local foods that are not sold in restaurants or finding some breathtaking spots for sunset viewing. You can rent and ride a bike from Sindhu Beach at the northern part of Sanur to the Mercure Resort Sanur.
Sanur is also great if you’re on the lookout for Balinese paintings or interiors. There’s a high-end Italian interior store called Carlo close to Mercure Resort Sanur along with other affordable furniture pieces sold in the area. Meanwhile, Sudamala Suites & Spa located at Sudamala Street has a nice gallery displaying the works of artists from and outside Bali. The hotel is also beautiful in architecture, with a modern interpretation of Balinese homes.
Sanur is not far from Ubud, one of the most famous destinations mentioned in Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love,” and Gianyar, where Bali Safari & Marine Park is. You can ride a taxi from Sanur to those two destinations at any time, since taxi in Bali is available round-the-clock and with no surcharge for different hours of the day.
Where to eat in Sanur?
There’s a few Balinese restaurants in Sanur that offer unique local tastes. But two of the most sought-after by the locals are Warung Mak Beng at Ngurah Rai Bypass Road and Warung Nasi Ayam Bu Weti at Segara Ayu Street. The first sells spicy seafood soups that give Thai cuisine a run for their money. The latter is a pretty spectacular food stall by the beach, actually. It’s open around 6AM and sells only spicy Balinese chicken rice, but often the queue is so long that the chicken rice is already sold out by 9AM.
For non-spicy options, Italian restaurant Massimo at Danau Tamblingan Road is a great value for money and taste. Booking is requisite here, as you might have to wait for half an hour when showing up unplanned. It’s got nice spaghettis, clams and even a decent selection of Indonesian meals. Don’t miss out on the Italian gelato as well.
Where to stay in Sanur?
Sanur has many of “institution” resorts. Bali Hyatt has been an institution for around three decades and has undergone a complete interior overhaul. The new Fairmont Bali is expansive and rather traditional in the interiors. For the tallest hotel in the area, there is Sanur Beach Hotel, elegantly located close to a golf course. The Santrian hotel chain, including Puri Santrian and Griya Santrian, is owned by the members of Sanur’s royal family. This ensures that you get the best of the real Sanur hospitality. There’s also Keora Suites and Prama Sanur Beach worth mentioning as some strategically located hotels in the area.
HOW TO BOOK: