Sanur is a relaxed seaside resort with an ambiance attracting families and a more mature clientele. The main street is lined with casual restaurants and shops and the golden sand beach is protected by a reef, making it safe for families with young kids to enjoy. Though popular with tourists, Sanur has maintained the feel of old Bali and offers a more relaxed alternative to the busy hubs on the southwest coast.
Sanur was one of the original beach resorts in Bali and the area maintains its classic charm to this day. Favoured by families and more mature travellers, Sanur offers the perfect antidote to Kuta which can feel too rowdy and Seminyak which while sophisticated, can get a little hectic.
Central Sanur is dotted with restaurants, cafes, shops and hotels, but the area still has that classic Balinese feel to it. Staying here is easy and accessible and if you’re looking for a more relaxed pace of life, Sanur certainly is a strong contender. The long beach with its calm waters is ideal for families and the beachside promenade is lined with relaxed restaurants and souvenir shops. Sanur is also home to a tiny seaport with fast boasts launching to the neighbouring island of Nusa Lembongan and the Gilis.
Heading up the coast, Sanur blends in with Ketewel, a string of sleepy fishing villages dotted along the beach. Though connected to the rest of the island through a central highway, this area still feels remote and relaxed, offering a real “away from it all” experience on a deserted black sand beach.
Planning Your Trip to Sanur
Our Sanur travel guide aims to give you the essential information, list the most popular things to do in Sanur, provide more information on locations you want to visit, and finish with some inspiration from our travel writers. For more information on events and festivals taking place throughout the year, check out our comprehensive Bali guide.
Bali is pleasant all year round! May through September has the best weather (drier, less humid) and is the best time for many activities including diving and surfing. November though March is rainy season – though rainfall is never excessive so you can do most activities except volcano treks.
The temperature ranges from 24 degrees to 31 degrees all year round.
Rainfall ranges from 0cm to 140cm during the wet season.
Things to See & Do in Sanur
Sanur has a very relaxing feel to it with tropical flowers framing the streets and sounds of cooing pigeons blending in with the soft lull of the waves. In many ways, the area feels like that third bowl of porridge: not too busy and not a total snoozeville but just right.
Needless to say, relaxed Sanur is the ideal locale for indulging in the kind of rejuvenating spa treatments Bali is so famous for. There are a few highly rated spas offering indulgent massages and treatment packages in central Sanur. There are also countless casual spas dotted along the main street, offering massages and beauty treatments at very affordable prices. If you’re staying in one of our villas, Ministry of Villas’ concierge team can arrange massages and other spa treatments to be carried out in the privacy of your villa.
Sanur is a great place for some souvenir shopping. The main street of Jalan Danau Tamblingan is lined with local shops selling souvenirs, apparel and accessories and you’ll find more of the same variety along the beachfront promenade. You can also pick up groceries and colourful souvenirs and clothing at Hardy’s supermarket, located right in the heart of town. You’ll also find more sophisticated boutiques dotted along the main street.
Tours & Activities
Life in Sanur revolves around the beach which is protected by a reef shielding beachgoers from waves and fast boats heading out to the neighbouring islands. The calm waters make Sanur Beach ideal for families, with soft golden sand and ample sun loungers which you can rent for the day. You’ll find plenty of restaurants lining the beach, meaning a cold drink or a hearty meal is never too far away. Though the waters in Sanur are calm, you can also try out some water sports, including stand up paddling (SUP) and wind surfing. If you want to do some actual surfing, it’s best to head up the coast to Keramas or visit Serangan a little further down south.
Sanur Beach is particularly beautiful during sunrise. Facing east, the beach is blessed with a stunning display of colours at dawn, with the calm sea reflecting the tones beautifully. Local fishing boats and fishermen wading in the water make the scene even more picturesque. This beautiful sight is definitely worth the early start.
For even more relaxation, while not try a spot of yoga while you’re in town? Sanur is home to the only beachfront yoga studio in Bali, allowing you to enjoy the sound of the waves while practicing your asanas. You can also do stand up paddle yoga on the water – just another perk of Sanur’s calm waters! If you want a more exclusive experience, Ministry of Villas can also organise a private yoga teacher to visit your villa for guests who have booked with us.
One of the best things about Sanur… is leaving it! Sanur works as a great launching off point for some island hopping. You can catch a boat from Sanur to Nusa Lembongan or make the 20-minute drive to Serangan to catch a direct boat to the Gili Islands. You can also head for the Gilis directly from Sanur but this usually involves a stopover in Padang Bai or Nusa Lembongan. The boat ride from Sanur to Nusa Lembongan takes a little over 30 minutes making a day trip feasible, though we definitely recommend spending at least one night on the island. From Serangan, the boat ride to Gili Trawangan take about three hours.
Eating & Drinking in Sanur
Following the laid-back ethos of the neighbourhood, Sanur’s dining scene is varied and relaxed. Rather than pretentious fine dining venues, Sanur offers more laidback dining options covering every budget.
You’ll find plenty of restaurants lining the main street of Jalan Danau Tamblingan and right on the waterfront along the beachfront boulevard. Many of the restaurants have been around for years though you’ll also see some trendier new comers popping up. Newer venues have started offering plant based options and other in vogue alternatives. The beachfront restaurants vary from casual seafood venues to more refined establishments serving fresh local and international fare.
Sanur is not exactly known for its nightlife and if you’re looking for an all-night rager, it’s best to look elsewhere. That being said, there are plenty of spots for enjoying a long dinner and a round of drinks, with live music playing in the background. You’ll find ample options dotted along the main street and strung along the beachfront promenade.
Sanur centres around the main street of Jalan Danau Tablingan which snakes through the centre of town, lined with restaurants, shops and hotels. If you’re staying anywhere along or close to this street, you’ll never be more than a short stroll away from dining, shopping and the beach.
Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai is the central highway running through the area and on which side of this road you’re staying makes a big difference. If you’re staying closer to the beach, you’ll have easy access to shops, restaurants and the beach, often on foot or on bicycle. If, on the other hand, you’re staying inland from the highway, getting to the main concentration of restaurants and the beach will involve hopping in a car or on a motorbike – unless you feel like crossing the busy highway on foot.
If you’re looking for a more serene setting, Ketewel is the perfect destination. This string of fishing villages sits just up the coast from central Sanur – the drive over takes about 15 minutes depending on traffic. The shoreline is dotted with luxurious beachfront villas which allow you and your entourage to drink in the beachfront views and the soothing frequencies of the real Bali in style.
Sanur & Surrounds
Ministry of Villas offers over 20 had-selected villas in Sanur. As Sanur is favoured by a more mature clientele and holiday makers looking for a relaxed getaway, accommodation in Sanur tends to be more affordable than in the island’s southwest hotspots. Many villas in Sanur offer a central location where you’ll be within walking distance from restaurants, shops and the beach. There are a couple of beachfront villas in central Sanur, though you’ll find more options right on the water if you head up the coast to Ketewel.
Prices range from around USD $250 per night for a one-bedroom villa to over USD $1,500 per night for a nine-bedroom luxury villa. Many villas offer personalised services including: butlers, chefs, nannies, 24-hour security personnel, drivers and other services you won’t find in a hotel.
There is only one airport in Bali: Ngurah Rai International Airpor (often called Denpasar Airport) which is located in Tuban in South Bali. As one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia, Bali is connected to several international destinations via direct flights, including Melbourne, Sydney, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Dubai and more. Airlines offering direct flights to Bali include Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Jet Star, Air Asia and more. A second airport is set to be built in North Bali, but these plans are still in their early stages.
By boat, Bali is connected to the neighbouring islands of Java and Lombok which also have their own international airports. Ferries from Java to Bali arrive in Gilimanuk and boats from Lombok to Bali arrive in Benoa, Sanur, Serangan, Padang Bai and Amed.
Nationalities from over 160 countries are eligible for visa free entry into Indonesia. This means your passport will be stamped on arrival at the airport, allowing you to stay in the country for 30 days. For stays longer than 30 days, you will need to obtain a visa which will require further arrangements. Please note your passport must be valid for six months after your date of arrival in Indonesia.
Ministry of Villas can arrange a chauffeur to greet you upon arrival and escort you to your villa. This service is included for most villas when booking more than four nights. To avoid queuing at the immigration counter, we can also arrange a VIP airport service for guests. This service includes lounge access, allowing you to relax while waiting for your luggage.
If you haven’t arranged a ride beforehand, you can also get a taxi directly at the airport. You’ll find an official taxi stand close to the international arrivals, next to the information desk. This stand offers one-way transfers at fixed prices though these days metered fares are also available. The rates are updated frequently and without prior notice, making it very challenging to find up to date pricing before arriving in Bali. Besides the official taxi service, there are countless independent drivers offering their services at the arrivals hall at varying rates. To save yourself the hassle, we highly recommend organising airport transfers before landing in Bali.
There are plenty of options for getting round Sanur, so we’ve ranked them according to our recommendations for first-time travellers.
Most of Sanur is easy to navigate on foot. The main street of Jalan Danau Tamblingan is lined with narrow sidewalks and the beachside promenade is ideal for a leisurely walk while prospecting the restaurants for your next meal. When planning your way around the area, keep in mind that Sanur is pierced by a highway and crossing this on foot is not for the faint of heart. As long as you’re staying in central Sanur, close to the main street, getting around on foot should not be a problem.
Bicycles are a relatively popular way of getting around Sanur. You’ll see unhurried cyclists cruising along the main street and down smaller side streets in central Sanur. If you’re not comfortable biking amidst traffic, the beachside road is a popular option – just be prepared to hop off your bike for the occasional gate designed to keep motorbikes away.
It’s easy to get a taxi simply strolling down the street in central Sanur. It’s always best to opt for the Blue Bird taxis though it might be hard to spot them as countless copycat taxis have appeared on the market. Pay close attention and you can spot a trusty Blue Bird taxi by the logo on the roof of the car, taxi number on the rear of the vehicle, corporate logos printed across the windscreen and on the side of the car and finally, by the driver’s blue uniform. The meter starts at IDR 7,000 (USD $0.5). Blue Bird taxis are by far the most trustworthy taxis in Bali – other operators might claim that the meter is broken or one simply doesn’t exist. If you take a ride from a taxi without a meter, always agree on the price before getting in. Besides hailing a taxi down the street, you can also order a Blue Bird taxi through their app or by calling +62 (0) 361 701 111. When ordering over the phone or using the app, a minimum charge of IDR 30,000 (USD $2) will apply. To avoid things getting lost in translation, you can ask your villa staff to call a taxi for you. Ride hailing apps like Go-Jek and Grab are banned in Sanur and you’ll see large posters across town enforcing the ban.
A private car is usually not needed if you’re staying in central Sanur: it’s easy to walk or even bike around the area and affordable taxis are readily available. If you’re looking to explore beyond Sanur, hiring a private car and driver can be a great way to see the island. A private car will also be essential if you’re staying in more remote Ketewel. From central Sanur, the drive up north to Ubud takes about one hour and the overwater toll road has made Nusa Dua and Uluwatu in the Bukit peninsula more accessible than ever. Ministry of Villas can arrange a private car and chauffeur for you. This little luxury is remarkably affordable and we can also help you arrange an itinerary, instructing your driver in advance.
It doesn’t take much time for any visitor to Bali to suss out that scooters are the most popular mode of transport on the island. Many tourists also opt for renting a scooter while they’re in town but if you’re staying in central Sanur, you probably won’t need one as it’s easy to get around on foot or to hail a taxi when you get tired of walking. If you do decide to rent a scooter, rates usually start at around IDR 50,000 (USD $4) per day. Remember to always wear a helmet and to carry a valid international driver’s licence. Driving without either will result in a fine if you get pulled over by the police.
The Balinese are among the friendliest and most welcoming people on the planet. This is all the more reason to return the favour and be respectful towards the local culture. Like anywhere else in the world, common sense and basic human decency goes a long way.
Sanur’s shopping scene is a mix of the old and new, with contemporary boutiques neighboured by local souvenir shops and markets. You’ll also find supermarkets and convenience stores for picking up groceries, snacks and drinks. All established boutiques and shops have fixed prices, while more casual shops and markets will require bargaining.
Bargaining can be an enjoyable part of shopping in Bali… or it can be frustrating! To ensure a smooth exchange first decide what the item is worth to you, then ask the seller for their price – your first offer can be from one-third to two-thirds of that price. They are likely to respond with a counteroffer, which you can either accept or negotiate further. If you don’t like the price and you walk away there is a good chance the vendor will call out to you with a better (usually final) price. Keep in mind, if an agreement is reached, you’re committed – you should buy if your offer is accepted.
Most restaurants and villas include a service component already so tipping is not expected, but if service is good, an additional cash tip is appreciated.
Indonesia’s country code is +62. Data speeds of 3G and faster is the norm across Bali. Local prepaid SIM cards are sold everywhere; any modern mobile phone will work. As of 2018, all prepaid SIM cards need to be registered which you can usually do with a copy of your passport directly at the shop where you purchase your SIM card. Prepaid SIM cards come loaded with pulsa (credit) or mobile data which you can later easily top up at other outlets. Most if not all minimarts and local phone shops can top off your SIM card when needed. Most villas provide broadband Internet and free Wi-Fi is common in cafes, restaurants, hotels and shopping malls.
Health & Safety
It’s important to note that compared to many places in the world, Bali is fairly safe. There have been some high-profile cases of visitors being injured or killed on Bali, but in many cases these tragedies have been inflamed by media sensationalism.
Unlike many of Bali’s beaches which are subject to heavy surf and strong currents, Sanur Beach is protected by a reef which makes for calm waters. Be careful when swimming over coral and never walk on it. It can be very sharp and coral cuts are easily infected. In addition, you are damaging a fragile environment. Lastly, water pollution is a problem in busy neighbourhoods. Avoid swimming near open streams flowing into the sea as they are often contaminated by run-off from built-up areas.
Violent crime is uncommon in Bali, however bag-snatching from motorbikes and petty theft does occur. Take extra care with your phone if riding pillion on a motorbike as phones regularly get snatched from unsuspecting tourists using a navigation app. Otherwise, take the same precautions you would in any urban area and secure your money before leaving an ATM (and don’t forget your card!), don’t leave valuables on a beach while swimming, and use in-villa safes to store your valuables.
Travel insurance is absolutely essential for every traveller. A typical travel insurance policy will have coverage for a traveller’s main concerns, including trip cancellations, medical emergencies, travel delays, and lost luggage. Most policies are built to be comprehensive to protect travellers from a variety of events that may cause financial loss before or during their trip. Some policies specifically exclude ‘dangerous activities’ which can include scuba diving, renting a local motorcycle and even trekking.
Worldwide travel insurance is available at World Nomads and you can buy, extend and claim online anytime – even if you’re already on the road.
Sanur charms with its restaurants, seaside setting and relaxed feel of the old Bali. Our team is always on the lookout for what’s new, interesting and noteworthy in the area. Check out our latest Sanur blog posts written by experienced Ministry of Villas travel writers.