Sanur is known for being a quaint little seaside town in Bali that offers visitors a quieter slice of the island. Far away from hubs like Kuta or Seminyak, many families flock here for the serene atmosphere and the child friendly beaches. There is no surf here, so if you are chasing waves then you would be better off heading elsewhere, but if you want a relaxing beach holiday in Bali then Sanur is hard to beat.
As well as soft sandy beaches you will also find a wide selection of eateries as well as resorts and smaller hotels. There are not a huge number of attractions here like museums, but the few points of interest are fascinating, and the main reason to come here is to take it easy and enjoy the natural beauty of Bali. One of the best things to do is spend the day on the beach and then dine on fresh seafood at night, and you will find a few charming bars and live music events if you are looking for something to do in the evenings.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Sanur:
1. Admire the Blanjong Pillar
The Blanjong Pillar is probably the top ‘attraction’ in Sanur and is famous for being the oldest historical artifact in Bali.
Dating from 914 AD, the pillar is basically a stone inscription which was fashioned at the time of the first king of Bali, Sri Kesari Waemadewa.
The pillar is an enigmatic attraction and it has not been translated as the text is in ancient Sanskrit and Balinese.
You will find it in a sleepy side street off Jalan Danau Poso, so walk along the road until you are in front of Pura Belanjong and take the alleyway on the left to get to the stone.
2. Grab some gelato at Massimo
Located on Jalan Danau Tamblingan is a famous institution in Sanur called Massimo.
This delightful eatery set in a leafy Balinese courtyard is known all over the island, and features an Italian restaurant which is owned and operated by a local expatriate.
The big draw here however is not the restaurant inside by the ice cream shop located at the front of the building which serves up delicious gelato that is all made in house and is perfect if you are walking past and fancy a sweet treat.
3. Go for a walk along the promenade
One of the nicest areas of Sanur is its coastline which is flanked by a paved walkway that wraps around the edge of the sea and is the ideal spot to go for an afternoon walk.
Families flock here as it is easy to walk along the beachfront path even if you have young children in a stroller, or you can rent your own set of wheels and cycle along, taking in the pretty view along the way.
Things to look out for include the traditional boats that bob on the water, and the promenade is dotted with cafes and restaurants where you can stop for refreshments if the walk or ride gets a little tiring.
4. Dine on Jalan Danau Poso
Sanur is known for its eateries and one of the best streets to visit if you want to dine well is Jalan Danau Poso.
This street has a higher density of local warungs and cafes that other areas, and if you want to try the local fare as opposed to international cuisine then this is the place to come.
Some of the highlights on Jalan Danau Poso include the well-loved Warung Dapur Sanur which serves up a range of healthy Indonesian dishes, and Warung Jawa which focuses on Indonesian nasi campur, a mix of aromatic curry served with a variety of vegetable side dishes.
5. Tour Museum Le Mayeur
Museum Le Mayeur is one of the quirkiest attractions in Sanur and is a museum which sits on the site of the former home of a Belgian expatriate named Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merpres.
Le Mayeur lived in Bali until 1958 and you can explore his former house which showcases his collections, and much of the art on show is made up of paintings of his wife who was a Balinese dancer named Ni Wayan Polok Tjoeglik.
After Le Mayeur died the house was transformed into a museum and it is still very much as it would have been when he was in situ.
You can also walk around the Balinese compound that encircles the home and take in the scenery and beautiful light that would have inspired many of the artist’s creations.
6. Do some shopping on Jalan Danau Tamblingan
The main street that runs through Sanur is called Jalan Danau Tamblingan and it is here that you will find a high concentration of hotels, eateries, and cafes.
It is also the spot to visit if you want to indulge in some retail therapy, as the street is lined with arts and crafts shops that sell souvenirs and gifts including a huge range of local handicrafts.
Just some of the items that you can pick up here include traditional masks, vibrant paper kites, and ornate wood carvings of famous Balinese figures.
7. Try kite surfing
Sanur doesn’t have a pounding surf which means that you can’t grab a board and hit the waves here, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t indulge in any water sports at all.
On the contrary, although Sanur doesn’t have a surf scene it is famous for its strong winds which make it an ideal spot to kite surf.
As a result, many of the beaches here offer kite surfing options, even if you haven’t tried this sport before, and you can go out with an instructor and fly through the water using the awesome power of the wind.
There is no better way to take in the scenery along the shore line, and many people who try kite surfing in Sanur say that this is the highlight of their trip.
8. Go for lunch at Warung Krishna
Many people stick to the main roads of Jalan Danau Poso and Jalan Danau Tamblingan if they are looking for some food, but if you are prepared to venture off the beaten track then you will be rewarded at Warung Krishna.
Located on Jalan Kutat Lestari, this small traditional Balinese cafe is away from the tourist area but the food more than makes up for it.
Just some of the dishes that Warung Krishna is famous for include traditional Balinese fish satay as well as lawar which is made up of minced vegetables, aromatic herbs, and plenty of shredded coconut.
9. Tour the Griya Santrian Gallery
Sanur is not known for its huge wealth of cultural attractions, but if you want to see some art then you can come to the Griya Santrian Gallery which is located inside the Griya Santrian Boutique Hotel.
The gallery features a number of different exhibitions which change throughout the year and tend to feature local artists and traditional art work.
You will also find other arts events here such as book launches and signings, and you can expect a mix of different kinds of art including ceramics, photography, and paintings.
10. Go diving
Sanur doesn’t have its own dive spots per se but you can sign up to dive here and visit several dive points that are only a few minutes away by boat.
There are a huge number of dive shops and schools located in Sanur, and if you are a new diver and want to get certified then this is a great place to do it.
Classes take place in the waters around Sanur, and on a dive trip in the surrounding sea you can expect to find marine life such as eels, seahorses, lion fish, and other aquatic oddities.
11. Shop for souvenirs at Hardy’s
At first glance Hardy’s doesn’t sound very exciting, as this is the only large supermarket and department store in Sanur.
The ground floor is dedicated to the supermarket where you can get a comprehensive selection of local and imported produce, but the real reason to come here is for the upstairs section which has a wide variety of souvenirs that are surprisingly cheap.
Just about every kind of trinket is represented here, from textiles and clothes to wood carvings and bags of spices, so whatever you are looking for you are bound to find something that suits.
Prices are fixed but reasonable and this can be an easier experience than having to haggle on the street with the local vendors.
12. Travel to the Turtle Conservation and Education Centre
The Turtle Conservation and Education Centre is not actually in Sanur proper but is located on the nearby Serangan Island which is a short ride away.
The center is perfect for anyone who is an animal lover and is dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating turtles that have been hurt in the wild.
The focus here is on educating visitors on how to take care of the environment to best look after the turtles and this is a good spot if you are travelling with children who can get up close with the tanks and check out the baby turtles that are born in the center.
13. Sunbathe on Pantai Indah
Locals will tell you that by far the best beach in Sanur is Pantai Indah.
Located pretty much in the center of Sanur, the beach is one of the cleanest in the area and is covered in soft golden sand.
You can either walk along the coastline from another beach to get here, or walk along Jalan Danau Tamblingan and turn onto an overgrown road in front of the famous Bali Deli.
In addition to the good sunbathing and swimming opportunities, you can also enjoy the local cafe based here called Warung Pantai Indah which is a top spot to chill out with a beer or a fresh coconut on a hot day.
14. Visit the Bali Orchid Garden
The Bali Orchid Garden is also not technically in Sanur but rather around 3 kilometers away on the main road that leads out of the area, Jalan Ngurah Rai.
Many visitors to Bali may not realize that orchids are a staple on the island as they flourish in the volcanic earth here which has a high mineral content.
The Orchid Garden is a riot of color and is covered with thousands of orchids of different hues making this an ideal place to stop off at on your way either in or out of Sanur.
15. Visit Pasar Sindu Night Market
Pasar Sindu Night Market is one of the focal points of Sanur in the evening and is a top spot if you fancy some late night shopping and snacking.
The market is more of a static market than a rotating one like many other night markets in Southeast Asia, but you will find a good selection of items for sale including a huge variety of delicious local street food.
The night market is one Jalan Pasar Sindu and usually gets going as night falls over sleepy Sanur.