The Best of Sanur, Bali – Top Things to See & Do

Sanur Beach, Bali

Here’s all you need to know to have a fabulous holiday in charming Sanur – a personal guide to the best things to do and see in one of our favourite locations in Bali.

Welcome to Sanur, one of our favourite places in Bali! This charming coastal town offers a perfect blend of relaxation and cultural experiences. Whether you want to soak up the sun on the golden sands, indulge in traditional Balinese cuisine, explore the local markets, shop until you drop, do yoga, or indulge in daily massages, you can do it all in Sanur! Here are the best things to do in Sanur to help you make the most of your visit and hopefully fall in love with this beautiful coastal town, just as we did.

Sanur: Unveiling the Charm

Pronounced as sah-noor, Sanur is nestled in the southeast corner of Bali, just across from the bustling city centre of Denpasar. Renowned for being one of the birthplaces of Bali’s tourism, Sanur is a harmonious blend of traditional Balinese culture and modern amenities. From the spectacular sunrise views at Sanur Beach to the vibrant shopping scenes along Jalan Danau Tamblingan, Sanur offers diverse experiences catering to every traveller.

Getting Around in Sanur

Sanur is a relatively compact area that can be conveniently explored on foot or by bicycle. However, hiring a private car, a taxi, or even riding a scooter are viable options for longer distances or excursions outside the town. With the help of ride-hailing apps like Grab and Go-Jek, moving around in Sanur is a breeze. And, if you’re arriving from the Bali airport, transfers to Sanur can be easily arranged with your hotel or booked online.

The Best Things to Do in Sanur, Bali

Watch the Sunrise at Sanur Beach

Sanur Beach is not just another sandy stretch; it is a canvas nature paints anew every morning. The beach may not be the best in Bali, but it surely outshines many when offering mesmerising sunrise views. The spectacle of fishermen venturing into the sea, the silhouette of Mount Agung in the distance, and the awe-inspiring sunrise make this beach a must-visit spot in Sanur.

Explore the Sanur Boardwalk

Sanur Boardwalk

Stretching across Sanur’s coastline, the Sanur Boardwalk is a haven for walkers, joggers, and cyclists. The scenic path, lined with fishing boats, hotel gardens, and beach restaurants, provides panoramic views of the Mount Agung volcano. Renting a bicycle is a great way to explore this charming path.

Delight in Sanur’s Beaches

Releasing sea turtles - Sanur Beach, Bali Indonesia

Sanur’s beaches offer a peaceful atmosphere that’s hard to resist. Although it’s a long coastline, Sanur’s beaches have different names depending on their location, including Sanur Beach (Pantai Sanur Bali), Cemara Beach, and Sindhu Beach. At these beaches, you can swim, enjoy water sports, dine at some of Sanur’s best restaurants, get a massage, or relax. You’ll find locals renting chairs for lounging if you’re not staying at one of Sanur’s beachfront hotels.

Participate in Sanur’s Festivals

One of the unique aspects of Sanur is its vibrant festival scene. From the Bali Kite Festival, which fills the sky with creative kites, to the Sanur Village Festival held in July, which celebrates Balinese arts, food, and culture, these events offer a peek into Bali’s rich cultural tapestry. The timing of the kite festival in July and August is critical, as this marks the start of the windy season in Bali. In addition, both months are peak seasons for tourists, so attendance is complete, making it a fun and interactive festival.

Release Sea Turtles at Sanur Beach

Releasing sea turtles - Sanur Beach, Bali

If you’re fortunate enough, you may have the opportunity to participate in a sea turtle release event at Sanur Beach. The Turtle Conservation and Education Centre, located on Serangan Island, south of Sanur, arranges this activity, where you can release baby sea turtles into the ocean, contributing to their conservation efforts.

The Turtle Conservation and Education Centre (TCEC) is doing an exceptional job of educating the local community and school children about the importance of ending the turtle trade and supporting conservation. Turtle meat (and eggs) has been consumed in Bali for a long time and is still used in certain religious rituals. By educating and employing locals, they hope to end this practice.

Unwind at Sanur’s Beach Clubs

Sanur may not be renowned for its beach clubs, but it does have Byrd House, a stunning pool and beach club located on the picturesque Segara Beach, offering a perfect blend of relaxation, scrumptious food, and great value.

The club’s sleek bamboo architecture, minimalist interiors, and Mediterranean-inspired decor create a serene and inviting atmosphere. The outdoor space, complete with a sparkling pool and a playground area with its kiddie splash pool and treehouse, is perfect for relaxation and entertainment.

The patisserie is a fantastic spot for breakfast and brunch. They have a wide variety of delicious artisan pastries and quality coffee made in-house. However, what we truly love is their Sunday brunch. Byrdhouse serves over 45 dishes, including options from the carving station, seafood bar, pizza counter, dessert station, and more. Ladies receive a complimentary welcome cocktail, and you can add an all-you-can-drink package to the well-priced Sunday brunch!

Related: A comprehensive guide to Bali’s best beach clubs.

Enjoy a Yoga Session.

Young Woman Exercising Yoga on the Sanur Beach

There are several places in Sanur where you can attend yoga classes, but our favourite is Khao Shala. It is in the heart of Sanur and is hidden on a peaceful lane lined with banana palms. This beautiful yoga shala and spa provides a serene escape from the busy life on the street.

Another popular yoga destination is found along Sanur’s Mertasari beach, situated in a beautiful bamboo building. The Eco-friendly yoga studio/shala Power of Now Oasis offers daily classes and yoga teacher training courses.

Visit the Le Mayeur Museum

For art enthusiasts, the Le Mayeur Museum is a must-visit. The museum, dedicated to a Belgian painter and his Balinese wife, offers a glimpse into Bali’s past before the advent of mass tourism.

Explore the Sanur Rice Fields

Sanur’s rice fields, often overlooked or unknown by tourists, provide a calm and picturesque landscape, giving visitors a glimpse into Balinese farming practices and traditions. You can take a leisurely walk or bike ride through the fields and appreciate the tranquillity it offers.

It’s best to visit the rice fields early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the colours of the rice fields are at their most vibrant, and it can get quite hot in the middle of the day, so don’t forget to wear a hat and sunscreen!

Unfortunately, due to the rapid development pace in Bali, especially in the Sanur/Denpasar area, these rice paddies may not be around for much longer before buildings replace them – so enjoy them while they last! 

Savour Local Food at Sindhu Night Market

Food stalls Night Market in Bali, Indonesia

You should check out the Sindhu Night Market to taste authentic Balinese cuisine. This traditional market is situated near Sindhu Beach in Sanur, and it offers a diverse range of local dishes, with many stalls to explore and traditional Javanese and Balinese cuisine to savour, such as Gado-Gado, Martabak, Nasi Campur, Satay, and Nasi Goreng, along with fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Aside from street food, the market sells fresh produce, groceries, and flowers for morning Balinese offerings. It is open daily, and locals and travellers enjoy the busy night atmosphere of smoke and street food.

Try Water Sports at Sanur Beach

Sanur Beach is a popular spot for water sports enthusiasts. From parasailing and windsurfing to jet skiing and banana boat rides, there’s something for every thrill-seeker.

Pamper Yourself with a Massage & Spa

A trip to Bali would be incomplete without experiencing a traditional Balinese massage. In Sanur, you can find various spas offering various services to help you relax and rejuvenate. One of our favourite spas is Khao Shala, where we often combine a yoga class with a massage. 

However, The Nest Beachside Spa, located on the beach near the Hyatt Regency, is also an excellent option. The Nest is very clean, the staff are highly professional, and the spa menu is comprehensive. These two spas are your mid to high-end options, but there are plenty of resort spas if you want something more luxurious. You can also find dozens of cheap massage shops in Sanur.

Dine at Sanur’s Restaurants

Sanur boasts a plethora of cafes and restaurants that can cater to every palate. Whether you fancy a beachside breakfast or a romantic dinner, there’s a restaurant in Sanur for you. Some of our favourites include:

Lilla Pantai: Lilla Pantai is a cute restaurant by the beach in Sanur that’s popular with expats and visitors to Sanur. Check out their breakfast menu with classics like French Toast and Fill and Cill. Catch the sun going down with their popular happy hour. Try local favourites such as Ayam Betutu and Balinese seafood curry or any new creations from their ever-changing menu.

Shotgun Social
Shotgun Social

Shotgun Social: Sanur’s very first beer garden, Shotgun Social, is a laid-back brewhouse and beer garden that serves excellent imported craft and draft beer, as well as local brews. You can also find a great selection of wines and a good food menu here with gastropub classics like the English “Big Breakfast” with all the trimmings and lunch and dinner staples such as oversized burgers and NYC-inspired pizzas.

Massimo Sanur
Massimo Sanur

 Massimo: We can’t talk about our favourite restaurants in Sanur without mentioning Massimo. This Italian restaurant has been around since 1996 and is very popular, with crowds of hungry foodies often waiting for a table to indulge in authentic Italian cuisine or a scoop of their famous gelato, which seems to be offered in an endless variety of flavours. 

Shop for Souvenirs

Sanur’s shopping scene is vibrant and varied. From traditional handicrafts and paintings to coffee beans and spices, you’ll find a plethora of souvenirs to take home with you.

Visit the Pura Blanjong Temple

Pura Blanjong is an ancient Hindu temple that holds immense historical significance. The temple houses a stone pillar, one of the oldest artefacts in Bali, inscribed with tales of the first recorded Balinese king and his victories. In addition to the inscribed pillar, other relics at the Blanjong site include sandstone statues, such as the Hindu lord Ganesh and several animal figures. This temple is now considered a national cultural heritage site and is open to visitors through an alley just off Sanur’s Jalan Danau Poso.

Take a Day Pass to a Hotel Pool

If you’re looking for a luxurious experience without spending too much, consider buying a pool day pass from one of the hotels in Sanur. This pass will grant you access to their pool and other facilities for the day, giving you a taste of luxury at a more affordable cost. Many hotels also offer day pass fee rebates in the form of food and drinks. Griya Santrian is one of the hotels that provide pool day passes.

Taste Local Chocolate at JungleGold Bali

If you’re a chocolate lover, don’t miss out on JungleGold Bali, formerly known as Pod Chocolate. This local chocolatier in Sanur has been sourcing the finest cacao beans from farmers in Bali for over a decade to produce premium bean-to-bar chocolate. Their flagship store in Sanur, located on the Ngurah Rai Bypass, is a must-visit for chocolate enthusiasts. With over twenty flavours, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Unleash Your Creativity

Are you a ceramics aficionado? Have you always wanted to learn how to work with ceramics? Head to Kevala Studio Ceramic, one of the most reputable ceramics brands in Bali. Their Sanur studio is an intimate and relaxed space offering six different ceramic workshops from which to choose. You can throw a pot, hand build, paint a plate, carve, or decorate a dish. 

Best Day Trips from Sanur

A day trip to the charming island of Nusa Lembongan for snorkelling, surfing, or hanging out at one of the beach clubs is a must when staying in Sanur. Head to Sanur Harbour and hop on a fast boat for the 40-minute trip to this wonderfully relaxed island in the sun, but make sure you book first. 

Book a day trip to Padang Bai for some of the best snorkelling on the east coast of Bali. Padang Bai is famous for its beautiful coral reefs and diverse tropical marine life. It’s also one of the best places to swim with turtles. Packed with soft and hard corals and beautiful underwater life, you may see octopuses, sea snakes or white-tip reef sharks.

Ubud is Bali’s cultural and artistic heart, an hour’s drive from Sanur. There’s so much to see and do here, including spending time at one of the fantastic waterfalls, walking through the rice fields of Tegallalang and visiting Monkey Forest. The town is overflowing with fabulous boutiques and shops where you can purchase local goods unavailable elsewhere.

When to Visit Sanur?

The best time to visit Sanur is during the dry season – April to October. You’ll find the least humidity and rainfall in June to August.

Getting From the Airport to Sanur

You can ask your hotel to organise transport for you (most will offer this as an additional charge) or book a private driver.

Safety in Sanur

Sanur is generally considered safe for travellers. However, it’s always advisable to take standard precautions. Watch your belongings, especially in crowded areas, and only engage in conversations with people trying to sell you something if you’re genuinely interested.

Sanur is a beautiful destination that offers something for everyone. With its serene beaches, rich culture, and endless activities to indulge in, it promises to be a memorable holiday or honeymoon experience. Whether you are an adventure seeker, a culture vulture, or simply looking for a peaceful place to switch off from the busy-ness of everyday life at home, Bali’s Sanur is the perfect location.

Related: The Couples Travel Guide to Bali // The Best Things to Do & See in Bali

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