If Seminyak feels too busy and you’re not up for the long drive up to Ubud, Sanur might be the perfect place to stay in Bali. With a long sandy beach protected by a reef, Sanur offers a great selection of restaurants, cafes and shops but still maintains a more relaxed feel compared to the likes of Kuta and Seminyak. Now is the perfect time to get reacquainted with Bali’s original beach resort town, with the annual Sanur Village Festival just around the corner.
Sanur – An Introduction
Sanur is located on Bali’s south-eastern coast, about 30 minutes from Ngurah Rai International Airport and about 40 minutes from Seminyak. It’s easy to reach Sanur through the main road of Jalan By Pass Ngurah Rai or if you’re coming from southern areas like Jimbaran, Uluwatu or Nusa Nusa, through the overwater Bali Mandara Toll Road.
Sanur is known as the first upscale beach resort town in Bali and the area does have quite the history. A case in point: Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall got married at Villa Batujimbar back in 1990. Sanur maintains its timeless appeal to this day as both the resorts, villas and restaurants in the area tend to be classic rather than cool and cutting edge.
Sanur is favoured by families and couples and overall, the area attracts a more mature clientele than Seminyak or Canggu. The main draws are the calm beaches with tranquil waters suitable for children, a good selection of restaurants and cafes, a laid-back atmosphere and a definite plus: restaurants and the beach easily accessible on foot or even on bicycle.
Sanur Hit List
Here are some of our favourite spots to visit when out and about in Sanur. One of the reasons we love Sanur is the fact that you can easily make your way around on foot or if you want to live out your own version of Eat Pray Love, you can also hop on a bicycle. There are basically two main streets in central Sanur. One is the main drag of Jalan Danau Tamblingan and the other is the beachside boulevard which is only accessible for pedestrians and bicycles.
Sanur has a beautiful long beach that’s protected by a reef, making it safe for young swimmers and flanked by a leisurely beachfront strip allowing for relaxed walks and bicycle rides by the sea. What the beach has lacked is a proper beach club – until now that is. The beautiful Artotel Beach Club offers bohemian bamboo architecture, ample sun beds, a lagoon pool and a fun play area for the kids. A great all-day hang out – and definitely a place you’ll want to photograph!
Rumah Sanur proves that Sanur is by no means a total snoozeville. This vibrant hub is a hipster’s day dream come true with a co-working space, a coffee joint, beer garden, event space and a concept store selling custom designed jewellery, fashion, crockery and more. If you’re staying in Sanur, keep an eye on their Instagram feed, as Rumah Sanur regularly hosts cool events like live music, weekend bazars and various workshops.
Power of Now Oasis is not only a great yoga studio in Sanur – it’s easily one of the most beautiful yoga spaces in Bali. Boasting status as “the only ocean front studio in Bali”, Power of Now Oasis is a beautiful eco-friendly structure built entirely from bamboo. When practicing in the upper floor shala, you can hear the sound of the ocean and doves cooing in the background. The studio offers a variety of classes, including hatha, vinyasa, yin and iyengar. Drop in classes are priced at IDR 120,000 (USD $8) a pop.
Sadly, finding a decent bookshop in Bali is still a challenge, but luckily, we have Ganesha. Originally founded in Ubud back in 1986, today Ganesha has a great little outlet in Sanur. You can pick up second hand books or drop off your own beach reads once you’re done with them. Ganesha specialises in books on Indonesia and they have a great section of books about Bali and the rest of the archipelago. This is also a great spot for picking up little gifts, postcards and souvenirs.
Another hipster friendly hangout and another beautiful bamboo structure, Genius Café is the place to visit if you’re looking to catch up on some work but don’t want to miss out on all that beachside fun. Located directly on the beach, Genius Café is a hip as can be co-working space and café with a colourful plant based menu. You can simply drop by for some yummy food or else opt for their co-working membership which starts from just $5 for one-day access.
Great Eats in Sanur
Until quite recently, the dining options in Sanur tended to be limited to your run of the mill restaurants serving a tried and tested mix of basic Indonesian dishes and inoffensive western favourites. Luckily, that’s all changed in the past few years with new innovative and trendy eateries popping up all over this seaside village. Soul in a Bowl and its sister venue Soul on the Beach are perfect examples of Sanur’s new swing, serving beautifully curated cuisine in perfectly styled settings.
For great coffee in a hipster chic setting, head to Square One. When this cute little venue opened two years back, I literally blurted out “When did Sanur get so cool?!” Impeccably styled, Square One serves great coffee, smoothie bowls and other fresh fare. Another cute new coffee spot is the petite Kopi Toko nestled along Jalan Pantai Sindhu leading down to the beach.
Dusk Blue Bali will satisfy all your Instagram cravings in one fell swoop. Nestled ever so slightly off the main street, this chic eatery is dressed in beautiful hues of white and blue, with a small gift shop built into the restaurant. The menu is a fresh take on Mediterranean fare with a focus on healthy eats. Their seafood options are to die for – definitely try the mahi-mahi.
Like Ganesha Bookshop, Bali Buda originally has its roots in Ubud, an area known as Bali’s spiritual heartland. These days, Bali Buda has a whopping six venues across the island but the Sanur outlet is my own personal favourite. Located on the main road, Bali Buda is a great place to stop by for some healthy eats at a great price point. Bali Buda also stocks yummy granola and super foods and their bakery section is a must for afternoon coffee at your villa.
When in Sanur, you can’t miss Massimo Italian – literally. When you’re biking down the main drag of Jalan Danau Tamblingan, Massimo will be the place swarmed with visitors. Massimo serves beautiful Italian food, but if you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, it’s definitely the gelato! IDR 20,000 (USD $1.4) gets you two flavours of Massimo’s homemade gelato and the choices are practically endless.
Sanur Village Festival 22 – 26 August, 2018
If you need a little extra push to visit Sanur this month, the annual Sanur Village Festival offers the perfect excuse. This year, the festivities will take place on Matahari Terbit Beach which is located next to the boat harbour launching to the Gili Islands. The festival will fall between August 22 – 26, 2018.
Sanur Village Festival is an annual community event first founded in 2006. Taking place over several days, the festival features a food bazar, live music and other performances, competitions and more. A fun family friendly event, Sanur Village Festival offers a fun and festive atmosphere from noon till close to midnight. You can try local snacks at the food bazar, enjoy live music and maybe even catch a local fashion show. There are also interesting events taking place outside the official Sanur Village Festival, most notably the Sanur International Kite Festival which takes place on Mertasari Beach on August 17.
Where to Stay in Sanur
Staying in central Sanur is a great choice if you want to be able to walk to the beach, restaurants and shops. If having easy access is a must, make sure you stay on the beachier side of Jalan By Pass Ngurah Rai. This is a large main road and if you stay on the “wrong” side of it, you’ll need to cross this large road every time you want to head to town or visit the beach.
Staying in a villa is a great fit for travellers heading to Sanur, as many people choose this destination for a larger family getaway.
If you prefer a little more privacy and don’t mind taking a taxi when you want to head into town, you could also consider staying a bit further up the coast. The villas hidden just slightly off the beaten path tend to be amazing mega villas with ample bedrooms and state of the art facilities which make the villas a destination in and of themselves.
Classic Beachfront Beauty
Villa Cemara captures the classic beachfront feel of Sanur perfectly. A rare find in such a central location in Sanur, Villa Cemara Sanur offers 60 metres of absolute beachfrontage. Decorated with relaxed beach house style and opulent Balinese details, Villa Cemara features five bedrooms and comes fully staffed with a chef, butlers, housekeepers and security guards.
Great Value in the Heart of the Action
Villa Seriska Satu Sanur brings you within a minute’s stroll from the beach and also within easy reach of the restaurants lining the beach as well as the main street of Jalan Danau Tamblingan. The four-bedroom villa offers a beautiful Balinese experience with its classic décor and lush exteriors which centre around a private swimming pool. Villa Seriska Satu Sanur also has bunk beds, making it ideal for families. Prices start at a low USD $351 per night
Tailor-Made for Romance
If you’re looking for a romantic getaway in Bali, you can’t go wrong with Kayumanis. This exclusive villa resort offers luxurious private pool villas with 1,2 and 3 bedrooms. The villas are decorated with classic Balinese style and come with dedicated butler service. Hidden away from the hustle and bustle, Kayumanis Sanur offers a complimentary shuttle service to Sanur. If you’re looking to spoil your significant other, this is the place to stay. The resort also has a fabulous restaurant and a spa.
Bali Style with a Rockstar Edge
Villa Batujimbar has got to be one of the coolest villas in Bali. Not only did Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall tie the knot at this classic Balinese villa – Sting has given an impromptu concert and the likes of Yoko Ono and the Thai royal family have stayed here. With its nine bedrooms, Villa Batujimbar is the perfect place or hosting your entourage (rock stars or otherwise) mere metres from Sanur Beach.
Beachfront Luxury for an Entourage
If you’re planning an epic family getaway or want to host a retreat or maybe even a wedding in Bali, Sanur Residence is a great place to stay. Made up of three standalone villas (hello, three swimming pools!), Sanur Residence can be booked as a huge nine-bedroom estate with a huge communal meeting room to host the whole group. Sanur Residence is located just 50 metres from the beach, with dramatic views of the coastline.
With its calm beaches, ample restaurants and laid back ambiance, Sanur is one of the loveliest areas in southern Bali. If you need some help planning your trip to Bali, don’t hesitate to contact our team. Our villa specialists can advice you on the best places to stay and our concierge team will be there to look after you every step of the way.