Sanur is known for being a quaint seaside town in Bali, and it offers visitors a quieter part of the island. Away from centres like Kuta or Seminyak, where many families flock to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and kid-friendly beaches. There’s no surf here, so if you’re chasing the waves then you’re better off looking elsewhere, but if you’re looking for a relaxing beach holiday in Bali then Sanur is unbeatable.
In addition to soft sandy beaches, you can also find a variety of restaurants, resorts and small hotels. There isn’t a huge number of attractions like museums, but a few are attractive and the main reason to come here is to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Bali. One of the best things to do is to spend the day on the beach and then enjoy fresh seafood in the evening, and if you’re looking for something to do in the evening, you’ll find some charming bars and live music events.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Sanur:
1. Admire Blanjong Pillar
Blanjong Pillar is probably Sanur’s top “attraction” and is known for being the oldest historical artefact in Bali.
Dating back to 914 AD, the pillars are basically stone tablets made during the time of Sri Kesari Waemadewa, the first king of Bali.
The pillar is a mysterious attraction and it has not been translated because its text is in Old Sanskrit and Balinese.
You’ll find it on a sleepy side street near Jalan Danau Poso, so follow this road until you reach in front of Pura Belanjong, then follow the alley on the left to the stone.
2. Grab some ice cream at Massimo
Located on Jalan Danau Tamblingan is a well-known institution in Sanur called Massimo.
Nestled in a tree-lined Balinese courtyard, this delightful restaurant is known island-wide for an Italian restaurant owned and operated by a local expat.
However, the main attraction here is not the restaurant inside the ice cream parlor located in front of the building, it serves delicious ice cream, all homemade, perfect if you are passing by and have a sweet tooth.
3. Take a walk along the promenade
One of the most beautiful parts of Sanur is its coastline, which is flanked by paved walkways and wraps around the sea, ideal for afternoon walks.
Families congregate here because even if you have young children in your stroller, it’s easy to walk along the coastal path, or you can rent your own wheels and ride a bike with beautiful views along the way.
Things to look out for include traditional boats floating on the water, the promenade is dotted with cafes and restaurants, and you can stop for refreshments if you get a little tired from walking or cycling.
4. Dine at Jalan Danau Poso
Sanur is famous for its restaurants, and if you want a good meal, one of the best streets is Jalan Danau Poso.
Compared to other areas, this street has a higher density of local restaurants and cafes, and if you want to try local food rather than international food, this is the place to be.
Some highlights at Jalan Danau Poso include the popular Warung Dapur Sanur, which offers a range of healthy Indonesian dishes, and Warung Jawa, which focuses on Indonesian nasi campur, a blend of aromatic curries and various vegetable side dishes .
5. Le Mayer Tourist Museum
One of Sanur’s most peculiar attractions, the Le Mayeur Museum is a museum located on the site of the former home of Belgian expat Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merpres.
Le Mayeur lived in Bali until 1958, and you can explore the house where he used to display his collection, most of which consisted of paintings by his wife, a man named Ni Balinese dancer by Wayan Polok Tjoeglik.
After Le Mayer’s death, the house was converted into a museum, and it still remains the same as when he was in place.
You can also stroll through the Balinese compound that surrounds the house, enjoying the views and beautiful light that will inspire many of the artist’s creations.
6. Shopping at Jalan Danau Tamblingan
The main street running through Sanur is called Jalan Danau Tamblingan and here you will find a high concentration of hotels, restaurants and cafes.
It’s also worth a visit if you want to indulge in retail therapy, as the streets are lined with art and craft shops selling souvenirs and gifts, including plenty of local crafts.
Some of the items you can buy here include traditional masks, vibrant paper kites and ornate wood carvings of famous Balinese figures.
7. Try kitesurfing
Sanur doesn’t have strong waves, which means you can’t catch a board here, but that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in any water sports at all.
Conversely, although Sanur has no surf scene, it is known for its strong winds, which makes it an ideal spot for kitesurfing.
So many of the beaches here offer kitesurfing options, and even if you haven’t tried the sport before, you can go out with an instructor and take advantage of the strong winds to fly through the water.
There’s no better way to enjoy the scenery along the coast, and many people who have tried kitesurfing in Sanur say it’s the highlight of their trip.
8. Lunch at Warung Krishna
Many people take the main roads of Jalan Danau Poso and Jalan Danau Tamblingan when looking for food, but if you’re ready to venture off the beaten track, you’ll be rewarded at Warung Krishna.
This small traditional Balinese cafe is located on Jalan Kutat Lestari, far from the tourist area, but the food makes up for it.
Some of Warung Krishna’s famous dishes include traditional Balinese fish satay and lavar made from chopped vegetables, herbs and plenty of shredded coconut.
9. Visit the Griya Santrian Gallery
Sanur isn’t known for its rich cultural attractions, but if you want to see some art work, you can head to the Griya Santrian Gallery, located inside the Griya Santrian boutique hotel.
The gallery features many different exhibitions, which change throughout the year and often feature local artists and traditional artwork.
You’ll also find other art events here, such as book launches and autograph sessions, and you can expect a variety of different types of art, including ceramics, photography and painting.
10. Go diving
Sanur itself does not have its own dive sites, but you can register to dive here and visit several dive sites that are just a few minutes away by boat.
There are tons of dive shops and schools in Sanur, so if you are a new diver and want to get certified, this is a great option.
Lessons take place in the waters around Sanur, where you’ll find marine life such as eels, seahorses, lionfish and other aquatic life during diving trips in the surrounding waters.
11. Shop for souvenirs at Hardy’s
At first glance, Hardy’s doesn’t sound exciting as this is the only hypermarket and department store in Sanur.
On the ground floor is a supermarket where you can buy all kinds of local and imported products, but the real reason to come here is the upstairs section, where you can find all kinds of souvenirs at very cheap prices.
Almost all kinds of trinkets are displayed here, from textiles and clothing to wood carvings and spice bags, so whatever you’re looking for, you’re sure to find something to suit.
Prices are fixed but reasonable, which is easier than haggling with local vendors on the street.
12. Go to the Turtle Conservation and Education Center
The Turtle Conservation and Education Centre is not actually in Sanur, but on the nearby Serangan Island, a short drive away.
This center is perfect for any animal lover and is dedicated to saving and rehabilitating sea turtles injured in the wild.
The focus here is on educating visitors on how to protect the environment to best care for turtles, and if you’re traveling with kids who can get up close to the tank and check out baby turtles that are born, this is a great place to be in the center.
13. Sunbathe at Pantai Indah
Locals will tell you that by far the best beach in Sanur is Pantai Indah.
Located almost in the center of Sanur, the beach is one of the cleanest in the area, covered with soft golden sand.
You can get here by walking along the coastline from another beach, or by walking along Jalan Danau Tamblingan and turning into an overgrown road in front of the famous Balinese deli.
Apart from the good opportunities for sunbathing and swimming, you can also enjoy the local cafe called Warung Pantai Indah, which is the best place to relax with a beer or fresh coconut on a hot day.
14. Visit Bali Orchid Garden
The Bali Orchid Garden is also not technically in Sanur, but about 3 kilometers on Jalan Ngurah Rai, the main road to the area.
Many visitors to Bali may not realize that orchids are a staple of the island as they thrive in the mineral-rich volcanic soil.
The colorful orchid garden is filled with thousands of different shades of orchids, making it an ideal stopover on your way in and out of Sanur.
15. Visit Pasar Sindu Night Market
Pasar Sindu Night Market is one of the focal points of Sanur at night, if you like late night shopping and snacks, this is your first choice.
Like many other night markets in Southeast Asia, the market is more of a static market than a rotating one, but you’ll find a wide variety of items for sale, including a variety of delicious local street food.
The night market is one of Jalan Pasar Sindu, which usually enters sleepy Sanur at nightfall.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Sanur, Indonesia
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