After a long, dreamy, groggy sleep, Sanur is awakening with a roar. Long tagged as “Snore” by the partiers in Seminyak and considered unenlightened by the yogis in Ubud, Sanur has remained pretty much the same for the last 23 years that I have known this place. I live here peacefully and happily tucked between a tree lined street and a shady beachfront area, which is free of traffic, hawkers and crowds. Alas, the secret is out and this sleepy little village is finally changing. At last count, eight new hotels are under construction and traffic congestion is starting. Change is inevitable, but I will miss the quiet serenity of this little town.
One of the best things about Sanur is the shady beach complete with a six kilometer sidewalk. There are also about ten public oceanfront bales available for anyone to enjoy. And it’s a great place to mingle with the Balinese, as on Sundays, hundreds of locals come out for the day. I’m going to share some of the secrets of this lovely beachfront with you, so come on over for a day or a weekend and enjoy what serene Sanur has to offer.
Sanur Beach is comprised of seven main areas. At the very north coming down off Jalan Hang Tuah is Pantai Satu, which means the first beach. Then going south you will find Segara, Sindhu, Karang, Duyung , Cemara, and Mertasari at the Southern end. Most of the activities listed can be found at each of these areas.
One of the most unusual things about Sanur Beach compared to most of the other beaches in Bali, is no one really bothers you here. You can just relax so:
1. Rent a beach chair for the day at a cost of about 20.000rp.
2. Read a book.
3. Sketch or paint a canvas.
4. Take a leisurely stroll down the beachfront sidewalk.
5. Swim up to a bar for a cocktail at one of the many beachfront pools.
6. Swing in a hanging chair at the Bamboo Bar in Sanur Beach hotel.
7. Enjoy a margarita on a beachfront lounge bed at Puri Santrian or
8. Swim out to one of their floating rafts in the ocean.
9. Get up early and watch a magnificent sunrise. SPORTS AND ACTIVITIES ON THE WATER:
Sanur Beach is unusual in that there is surf beyond the reef and on the shore calm waters. This opens the area up to a large variety of water based opportunities.
10. Rent a kayak.
11. Take a fast ride on a jet ski.
12. Take kite surfing lessons.
13. Learn to windsurf.
14. Rent a snorkel and fins and go out to the reef.
15. Rent a surfboard or take a lesson.
16 Organize a dive trip from one of the water activity places on the beach.
17. Have a relaxing swim in calm waters.
18. Fly high on a parasail.
19. See how your balance is on a paddleboard.
20. Grab a hat and a pole and go fishing with the locals.
21. Hire a guide to take you out in the colorful local canoes called jukung.
22. Go for a ride in a glass bottom boat.
23. Be in Nusa Lembongan in 30 minutes on a fast boat from the beach. SPORTS AND ACTIVITIES ON THE SHORE:
Lots of activities abound without going in the water for those of you who like to stay dry.
24. Rent a bicycle for 25.000rp and cruise the beach sidewalk.
25. Get really fit with a fast jog.
26. Jump in with the locals on a fast moving soccer game.
27. Join a game of Volleyball.
28. Play ping pong at Inna Sindhu.
39. Play billiards at Mangos.
30. Find a Martial Arts class in progress that you can watch or join. BEAUTY & SPA
Here you can choose, go to the beauty therapists or they will come to you. Lounge on your rented beach chair and get a pedicure or find a massage table beachside for a Balinese massage.
31. Massage – 60.000 an hour
34. Hair Braided
35. Dreadlocks – Costs about 2 million and takes all day, but you can get it done.
36. Foot Reflexology
37. Henna Temporary Tattoo
38. Find a jamu lady and drink a healthy spa tonic that will revitalize you. ENLIGHTENMENT/SPIRTUAL
Quiet and peaceful Sanur Beach is a perfect place for reflective activities.
39. Free Qi Gong near Bali Hyatt on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons.
40. On weekends, join in dance and song with the Hare Khrisnas.
41. Practice Tai Chi.
42. Meditate in a bale on the ocean.
43. Practice yoga alone or ask for Mangku in front of Laghawa for a private lesson.
44. Just North of Bali Hyatt is my favorite shaded natural space for meditation.
45. At Mercure a new Yoga/Qi Gong/ Meditation space is opening beachfront. CULTURAL:
You will find an interesting variety of cultural experiences on this beach.
46. Beachfront, just before Jalan Hang Tuah is LeMayeur Museum. In 1953, it was the first museum to open in Bali.
47. At Santrian Griya follow the signs inside the grounds to their museum. They change exhibitions of local artists monthly.
48. The boys club of Sanur in the 70’s had some interesting characters. Artist Ian van Wieringen traded a couple of orangutan paintings for the balance on his bar bill at La Taverna. The paintings still hang today.
49. On Sunday afternoons Tandjung Sari offers free Balinese dance lessons to the young girls in the community, and it’s lovely to watch.
50. Locals are happy to help you with your Indonesian in exchange for an English lesson.
51. Beachside stalls sell bamboo rindik xylophones and in hope of a sale, the vendor will give you a lesson.
52. Pantai Karang has a cemetery and some pretty fancy cremation ceremonies are set up on the beach. Be polite and keep your distance if not properly dressed. SOCIAL STUFF:
There are lots of social opportunities on this laid back beach. Don’t be shy and see what unfolds.
53. Many local ex-pats hang out at Bonsai Bar. Pull up a bar stool and learn about Bali from people in the know.
54. There’s a beachfront Circle K with tables out front and always a crowd. Stop in for a chat and a Pop Mie.
55. Challenge your brain at any number of regular size or giant life size chessboards.
56. Play a board game, such as scrabble or backgammon.
57. Enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner right on the beach.
58. Join in a game of ceki, remi or other card games with the local guys.
59. Organize a beach party for any event with most any hotel or restaurant.
60. If you must, get in touch with home using free Wi-Fi. FAMILY:
Beaches always make for good family fun and Sanur Beach with its calm waters near the shoreline is family friendly.
61. Buy a kite and fly it.
62. Rent some buckets and shovels and build a sandcastle.
63. In low tide, look for starfish, but leave them where you find them.
64. Lots of locations rent small inflatable tubes and rafts for the little ones. The cost is 10.000 for a couple of hours.
65. The sidewalk is perfect for bringing that stroller out for a nice long walk.
66. Climb a tree.
67. Play a game of Frisbee with your dog.
68. On Sundays, all the locals bring their puppies out – fun puppy watching.
69. Have a family picnic under a lovely shady tree.
70. At sunset find a local guy to build a small bonfire for you. Bring your own marshmallows.
71. Book a family expedition at any of the beachfront tourist booths. FOOD AND DRINK:
There is no shortage of food and drink from one end of the beach to the other. Here are a few of my favorites.
72. Many small warungs sell fresh young coconut. Only 10.000rp for a healthy and refreshing drink.
73. Roast corn is also sold by vendors all along the beach for 5.000.
74. Find the peanut man on the beach for delicious roasted peanuts.
75. Monday nights Griya Santrian has fresh seafood buffet served beachside.
76. Beach Café has a more extensive kids menu than most places.
77. Lutuhs Coffee Shop has cappuccino and yummy homemade desserts.
78. Just beside Kami Sami is a small place called Warung Kopi where everything on the menu is 20.000RP or less.
79. Peneeda View warung has become quite popular. It has a laid back beachfront atmosphere along with grilled fish and cold beer.
80. Cool down with a delicious ice cream dessert at Stiff Chilli’s.
81. Just before Puri Santrian is Ni Putuhs Warung. A quiet and cozy place to rent a beach chair and have a cold beer or soda.
82. At the Southern tip at Pengembak beach, Warung Tanjung serves interesting drinks like Lychee-Basil Roska and Pineapple Mint Roska
83. You can make a special request to Ketut at Seaside Bar at Laghawa for a local buffet spread. Give her a day’s notice.
84. Meet a fishing boat on the beach and buy fresh catch to cook at home. ENTERTAINMENT:
85. Reggae Music is still popular on Sanur Beach and can be heard at Warung Sunrise with Ida and Friends on M/W/F or Mangos on T/TH/S.
86. Several of the beachside restaurants feature Legong Dance with dinner.
87. Stroll the beach early evening and you’ll come across quite a few small ensemble of latin or easy listening music.
88. Rent a DJ and set up a stage for a rocking beach party SHOPPING:
89. There are several markets from Pantai Satu all the way to Mertasari where you can find clothing, bags and souvenirs. Be sure to bargain.
90. Bonsai Art Gallery has a nice collection of paintings.
91. Order a custom dress at CantikTailor, located beside Inna Sindhu.
92. Just on the North side of Hyatt, Johnny’s beachside shop has been selling wood carvings for many years. UNIQUE:
93. My daughter and her friends love climbing in the giant blue diamond at Bali Beach.
94. Check out a luxury beachside villa and perhaps make an offer.
95. Call the Beach Café for a booking to attend their monthly full moon festival, featuring wayang kulit, kecak dance, gamelan and Balinese buffet under the moon and the stars.
96. Feel like a king with a royal beachside dinner at the Hyatt complete with throne like chairs and palatial decorations.
97. If you fall in love in Bali, plan a beautiful beach wedding for a fraction of the cost in your country. AND IF YOU’RE VERY LUCKY:
98. On rare occasions Mt. Agung unveils itself completely from the clouds, and the view from Sanur Beach is stunning.
99. Sometimes there are turtle eggs protected and enclosed by fences; be there when they emerge from their shells.
100. When the Mertasari temple celebrates an odalan (temple birthday), they have an amazing Barong trance dance that very few tourists attend. It’s the real thing.
And the 101st and most amazing thing to do on Sanur beach if you’re really lucky is:
101. Watch the Red Moon Rise. On rare occasions, just after the sun sets another luminous red sphere rises; it’s a red moon and it’s magical.