So you just arrived in Bali and you're going to maybe do a bit of traveling around the island. What would make you come to Sanur?
Firstly, let me tell you a little bit about this gorgeous little village we live in. Did you know that Sanur was the heart of Bali some 30 years ago. It was the destination for travelers and the very first (and last!) high rise hotel was built here, the Grand Bali Beach Hotel at the Northern part of the boardwalk.
Did she say 'boardwalk?'
Sanur has uninterrupted sidewalk paving, that is well maintained and spans the 5kms of the calm and sheltered reef that makes up the span of the seafront. The local jukungs or fishing boats that are in the guise of shrimp, carved out of trunks of trees and lashed together with rope, dot the coastline and bob gently up and down, whiling the day away after their 4am start and 7am finish in the early morning.
Sanur is where the sun rises.
If you are an early bird, on a clear day, you will see the volcanoes in the distance, towering above the cloud lines and dominating the landscapes in the pinkish yellow light. When this village wakes, it is the flurry of locals off to the markets to buy their wares, the wood carver putting out his latest and greatest effigies on the boardwalk to the sound of bamboo wind chimes, the smell of satay cooking away on coconut husks and the gentle lapping of the water on the shore in the quiet of the waking day.
Sanur has made it's mark on the island for it's family owed bars and restaurants. Change that has overrun the island in many other places like wildfire, has been slowed down here. It's a place where the local evening market is awash with locals and tourists talking and sitting together and sharing experiences together. Where friendships are made for life.
This sleepy little village has it's own style of night life. From funky little bars on the beach and the main drag, to well-heeled five star hotel restaurants with live music on the seafront, there is something for everyone.
If you're looking for things to do, Sanur is perfect for a number of cool water sports; you'll find them in the Mertasari end of the beach (in the South end), stand up paddle (SUP), jetskiing, parasailing, waterskiing and paragliding to name a few. If you're looking for a bit of a cultural experience, try a cooking class, see a local dance in Padang Galak 15 minutes away, or see the orchid show at Bali Orchid, take a batik class or make a piece of jewellery in a workshop at Sanur Jewellery Studio. Or you could just grab a bike from the many places renting on the beach and just bike up and down for hours to the cool breeze of the ocean, stopping occasionally to smile and sip a fresh coconut.
There's also Le Mayeur Museum; a testament to Jean Le Mayeur, a painter, who landed on the shores of Bali in the early 1930's and fell in love with her natural beauty and the beauty of the Legong dancers. His work crowds his home, which has been turned into a museum.
Sanur is also the gateway to the beautiful little islands across from her called Lembongan, Cenigan and Nusa Penida. These three islands tucked behind each other, are a fast boat ride of 20 minutes and worth a visit for the day or even a couple of nights. The water there is crystal clear blue with beautiful reefs and reggae-style vibration. You feel it as soon as you get off the boat and step on shore. Boats go from the main port near to Grand Bali Beach Hotel.
On Lembongan you will find the 'Underground House,' a cavernous mass of rooms underground, that an islander dug for his own pleasure many years ago and has now become a tourist site. Mostly these three islands attract tourists who want to snorkel and dive, because very close by is Manta Point, where a bevvy of beautiful mantas feed for many months of the year and where you can catch a glimpse of the sun fish, or Mola Mola.
Cenigan, the middle island and the smallest, can be reached by a thin bright yellow suspension bridge. Many cute boutique hotels have popped up there now and the winding roads are a bit bumpy but very authentic. Worth a visit to feel the natural surroundings and chat with the locals.
Nusa Penida has one of the most stunning temples buried in her mountain. It is Giri Putri Temple. She is accessed by a small hole about 5ft tall and inside the ceiling are 40ft high with almost stalagtite ceiling features. The temple itself is built into the ceiling. Worth a visit for the jaw-dropping awe.
Back in Sanur, hit the beach for a sunset cocktail. Although you can't see the sun actually setting, you can feel the twilight engulfing you like a warm pink robe and it is a heavenly feeling. Watch the swallows and the little fruit bats tag team in and out of the trees and smile, you are in Sanur.
You made a great choice!