A guide on Sanur
Where to shop, eat, stay in the not-so-sleepy seaside coastal town
Sanur is no longer the docile village that earned the nickname ‘ snore’; it’s now a vibrant shopping, dining and entertainment tourist precinct.
Looking for a great alternative from those busy, trendy beach towns in the south? Sanur is no Seminyak or Canggu, but this lively tourist town on the southeast coast of Bali certainly has its own charm! In fact, Sanur is the oldest, original beach resort destination on the island, and yet, it never lost its tranquillity, unique personality, and traditional Balinese feel.
Sanur is totally lovable, and it is the #1 destination for families with kids (especially from Europe!). Located just a 30-minute drive from Bali’s international airport, Sanur is easy to reach, and it makes a great base from where you can explore other tourist hot spots such as Seminyak, Nusa Dua and Ubud. Sanur has all of the modern conveniences you could wish for, including shops, beach clubs, trendy coffee bars, ice cream salons, supermarkets, restaurants ( make sure you visit the famous Mak Beng restaurant ) and bars, but the ambience is very relaxed, mellow and peaceful.
Away from hordes of tourists and traffic jams, in Sanur, people like to ride their bicycles (even the locals!) or stroll around on flip-flops, walking from the villa to the beach, to the supermarket and back home for a plunge into the pool. Ideal! The golden beaches in Sanur are beautiful, with awe-inspiring views of nearby Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida. While Seminyak is famous for its sunsets, Sanur has the most magnificent sunrises you will not want to miss! The beaches have clear and calm waters most of the time, perfectly safe for children, and if you’re looking for some action, there are plenty of water sports activities!
Unlike in Seminyak and Canggu, Sanur Beach has lots of shade, and there are plenty of beachfront restaurants and bars – you can chill out here all day and never get bored! Popular among European families and seniors, Sanur is a lovely place for a laid-back beach holiday close to the action of South Bali.
Quick facts about Sanur
- Sanur is the oldest beach resort town in Bali
- Breathtaking sunrise views
- Beautiful beaches with plenty of shade
- Water Sport facilities
- Lively yet laid-back tourist centre with plenty of shops, spas, cafes and restaurants. Not nearly as quiet as everyone thinks!
- Just a 30-minute drive from the airport, Kuta & Seminyak
- Easy access to the toll road that leads to Nusa Dua and Uluwatu
- The main gateway to get to Nusa Lembongan. If your planning to spend a few days on this pristine little island, have a look at Villa Voyage – it’s absolutely stunning.
- Most popular with European tourists who love to be able to walk around and cycle without getting stuck in traffic jams
- Short drive to Serangan Island (also known as ‘turtle island’)
- The best option for families!
- Less than 30 min to get to Bali Safari & Marine Park
Shopping in Sanur
There are loads of shops where you can buy almost anything; clothes, homewares, jewellery & souvenirs
- Sanur is jam-packed with stores, chic boutiques, antiquities, lovely art shops, and the list goes on and on. It recently transformed from a sleepy fishing village into one of the most popular tourist hubs in Bali.
- The central shopping zone in Sanur is made up of 3main roads; Jalan Tamblingan, Jalan Mertasari, and the Ngurah Rai bypass road. Here you will find art galleries. Tamblingan Street and the huge Mertasari Street where you head for your shopping experience. You will find everything here from surf shops right through to department stores, malls and upscale boutiques. It has something for everyone.
- The best supermarket by far is the Grand Lucky Supermarket just outside Sanur on the main highway. It has absolutely everything you could ever want to take back to the villa.
Family holiday time in Sanur
Why not stay in a villa for a real treat
Sanur is a bigger beach town than Seminyak and there are several beaches to explore. Rent a bicycle and go cycle along the coastline, stopping wherever you like. This way, you get to explore the surroundings and find the beach you love the most. Don’t worry about the sun beating down on your head, the beach in Sanur has plenty of shade. You will find beaches where there is nothing more than sand, water and trees but most of the beaches have lovely beachfront bars and restaurants where you can chill out all day.
There are several beach clubs worth checking out. The best one for families with kids is Artotel Beach Club (ABC), featuring a playground, a lagoon-like pool with a large kids area as well as an adult-only pool. Another lovely place to chill out and meet like-minded people is Genius Cafe with bean bags on the sand and organic food served to you on the beach.
There are lots of water sport activities as well such as surfing, stand-up paddleboard, kayaking, paragliding, windsurfing and more. There are lots of dive schools in this area as well, taking you on trips to the beach diving spots around the island.
If you happen to be in Sanur on the last Sunday of the month, make your way to Mertasari Beach (where Genius Cafe is located) and check out the colourful Sunday Market with lots of souvenirs and food stalls, live music and liveliness. It is lovely!
If you’re into yoga, you will love The Power of Now Oasis, sitting right on the beach in Sanur, tucked in a gorgeous bamboo structure. They even have their own holy cow who is very happy and well taken care of 🙂
Dining in Sanur
Many famous restaurants you find in Seminyak are also located in Sanur. There is no lack of great dining options! Trattoria, Ryoshi, Bali Buda, Bread Basket – you will find them all on Jalan Danau Tamblingan.
If you’re in for a scrumptious Balinese/Italian feast for lunch on any random Sunday, reserve yourself a table at Trattoria Sanur – there will be a grand Sunday Roast buffet with Balinese suckling pig, salads, veggies, Italian bread and not to forget, amazingly yummy sweet treats and desserts. Yummy and great value (only +- AUS $ 10 – all you can eat).
We also love Soul on the Beach if you are up for a salad or smoothie bowl to the view of the ocean. Want to go local? Head over to Warung Kecil and make your own plate.
Nightlife in Sanur
If you came to a party all night – Sanur is not where you want to be. Better head to the southern beach towns (Seminyak, Canggu, Legian and Kuta). However, Sanur does have some bars with live bands for an evening of entertainment. The Onion Bar can be great fun with coo live bands. Out with the family? Check out movie night at Genius Cafe. Who doesn’t love a cinema on the beach?!
Accommodation in Sanur
There’s one thing that Sanur has in plentiful amounts and that’s places to stay. From high-end resort-style hotels on the beach to private luxurious holiday villas, the place is packed with all types and styles of accommodation. The beauty of Sanur is its proximity to the airport and ease to get to. Hop off the plane in the morning and by lunchtime, you can be sipping your first cocktail by the pool. It’s a mecca for tourists all over the world looking to relax unwind and experience the world-famous Balinese hospitality from the comfort of their best Sanur villas.