The calm waters off the coast of Sanur make it an ideal choice for a family beach holiday with the kids. It’s also a popular location for the more mature crowd and Europeans on long-term stays to Bali, hence the Italian cafes and Western restaurants that seem to pop up everywhere.
Sanur was once the main resort in Bali, however it now holds fourth or fifth place. With a slightly slower pace, the area has been loved for many years by those who appreciate the atmosphere of a good old beach resort, and the paved walkway that runs along the beach is a pleasant walk to soak up the vibe.
Jl. Danau Tamblingan is the main street that runs through Sanur, with tourist shops, hotels, restaurants and cafes lining both sides of the road. It however still has a calm, laid-back atmosphere and taking a slow ramble up one way and then down the other is an enjoyable way to spend some time.
Sanur's 4km long beachfront walk runs past resorts, cafes and restaurants, souvenir shops and traditional fishing boats waiting to be repaired. It's popular with both tourists and locals alike, particularly on Sundays when the place has a festive atmosphere with food vendors, balloon sellers and dozens of bikes.
Watersport activities in Sanur include glass-bottomed boat trips, jet-skiing, para-sailing, snorkelling and banana boat rides. It's also a popular dive spot, but if you can't swim or have no experience in diving, Sea Walker Sanur is an interesting and fun alternative.
Another popular day out is Bali Dolphins, located just off the coast of Sanur, while the Turtle Conservation Center at Serangan is also worth a visit. They do a great job in breeding endangered turtles and taking in sick or injured turtles found by local fishermen.
A wide range of European and American-style restaurants are available for Westerners, and close at around 11pm. In Sanur there are no bars that stay open until late, probably why the area has a more relaxed feel.
As with the rest of Bali, spas are easily accessible in Sanur albeit not as many compared with other areas, such as Kuta and Legian. Jamu Traditional Spa, located at the Tandjung Sari Hotel, is a blissful haven set in tranquil gardens and offers an intimate spa experience.
If staying in Sanur, the best places are of course along the beachfront which naturally come at a price.
For those on a bit of a budget, head to the other side of Jl. Danau Tamblingan, where cheaper guest houses and losmen can be found.
Fancier hotels include the Hotel Bali Hyatt, Paradise Beach, Inna Grand Bali Beach Hotel, and the previously mentioned Tandjung Sari Hotel.