Sanur is known for being one of the most quiet and family friendly areas of Bali Indonesia, but there are also plenty of good things to do in Sanur Bali.
Families will love the laid back atmosphere and chill restaurants at Sanur Beach, and the sunrise views here are some of the best you can find anywhere in Bali.
This sleepy seaside town on the southeast coast of Bali was one of the original birthplaces of Bali’s tourism, and it’s still popular for its nice hotels, shopping, breakfast, massages, and easy access to the Nusa islands.
Without further ado, here is our Sanur travel guide, with some of our top recommendations of what to do in Sanur Beach!
Where To Stay In Sanur
Where Is Sanur Bali?
First things first — where is Sanur located?
Sanur (pronounced sah-noor) is located in the southeast corner of Bali island, across from Denpasar and the main city center of Bali, Indonesia.
The Sanur area primarily includes Sanur Beach and Jalan Danau Tamblingan (the main street of Sanur), as well as the Ngurah Rai Bypass and a chunk of land west of the Bypass.
The main tourist area is concentrated east of the Bypass. This is where most tourists stay, and it has most (but not all) of the hotels, restaurants, attractions, and activities in Sanur.
Most Sanur tourists don’t venture into the area west of the Bypass at all, although it does have some hidden gems, including a few nice restaurants and rice paddies. I’m sure this area will become more important as tourism in Sanur continues to expand.
How To Get Around Sanur
If you’re staying on Sanur Beach or Danau Tamblingan street, the whole area is pretty walkable and most things are close enough to be reached on foot.
Bluebird taxis are always available for short rides around Sanur, but the prices are a bit inflated for tourists. It’s cheaper to use ride-hailing apps like Grab and Go-Jek, and the local taxis in Sanur don’t seem to fight this at all (unlike in Ubud where the local taxi mafia may be more protective of their turf).
If you want to do some exploring outside of town, you’ll need to rent a scooter or hire a private car and driver (both of these can be booked online). Airport transfers to Sanur from the Bali airport can also be arranged with your hotel or booked online.
Best Things To Do In Sanur Bali
1. Sanur Beach Sunrise
Sanur Beach may not rank up there with Bali’s top beaches, but it certainly shines (no pun intended) as one of the best sunrise spots on the island.
The combination of a cool morning breeze, birds chirping, fishermen wading out on the reef, the Mount Agung volcano in the distance, and the overall sunrise display here is just plain magic.
Sunrise on the beach is definitely one of the best things to do in Sanur! It’s a great way to start the day.
More info: Sanur Beach Sunrise
2. Sanur Boardwalk
Sanur beach has a very long coastline (around 7 kilometers) and there’s a paved foot path all the way, so it’s perfect for a morning walk, jog, or bicycle ride.
It’s a nice scenic path lined with fishing boats, hotel gardens, and beach restaurants, and you can occasionally get views of the Mount Agung volcano in the distance.
If you’re looking for what to do in Sanur Beach, the boardwalk is a great place to start! The whole public beach area is free to enter, and sunbeds or bicycles can usually be rented for 25k Rupiah (~$2) per day.
The best place to rent bicycles is at Warung Sports in Jalan Pantai Sindhu, otherwise you can find other places to rent them along the Sanur boardwalk.
For yoga lovers, there’s also a free morning yoga class every day at Pantai Karang. It starts at 7:30 AM and everyone is welcome, just join in with a mat or towel.
As of 2023, the whole Sanur Beach walking path has been renovated to make it wider. This is welcome news because the boardwalk can get pretty busy in the mornings.
3. Sanur Beach
To be honest, Sanur beach can’t compete with the nicest beaches in Bali, because there’s just too much seaweed along the shore and the sand is not really special.
There are a few exceptions, but most parts of the beach are just average. However, Sanur is great for families, and that’s why so many Balinese locals and expats like to come to the beach here.
Calm sea waves and shallow water make it an ideal place for kids to swim, and there’s a fantastic breeze in the summer months (May through August).
4. Sanur Bali Festivals
The Sanur area is home to a number of fun seasonal festivals in Bali. These are free to visit and it can be a great activity for families and anyone wanting to see Balinese arts and culture.
Here are the main Sanur festivals you should check out:
- Bali Kite Festival (July/August). This is a yearly festival held in Sanur where hundreds of creative kites fly the skies in a fun sort of competition. During the dry season in Indonesia (May through September), Bali gets nice strong winds from the east, so Sanur has perfect weather for kite flying. The main event of the festival is usually held in July or August, and you can see all kinds of gigantic and quirky kites, sometimes up to 100 meters long!
- Sanur Village Festival (August). This is another yearly festival celebrated in Sanur Beach since 2006, featuring Balinese arts, food, and culture. There’s even a traditional boat show and competition with the colorful ‘jukung’ fishing boats.
- Bali Arts Festival (June/July). Also known as PKB or Pesta Kesenian Bali, this is Indonesia’s longest-running arts festival, which started in 1979. It’s celebrated yearly, and the festival lasts for an entire month in Denpasar city, just a 10 minute drive from Sanur. The highlight of this festival is the big parade on the opening day of the festival, which features all kinds of amazing Balinese costumes and music.
5. Sea Turtle Release
If you’re lucky, you can sometimes join a sea turtle release at Sanur Beach, although it’s not as common as the turtle release at Kuta Beach.
Olive ridley sea turtles still like to lay their eggs at Sanur and the other Bali beaches from time to time, so they have to be picked up to keep them safe from predators and people walking on the beach.
When the babies hatch, you can release them to the ocean with a donation. It’s a fun activity for families, and it benefits sea turtle conservation, which is important in Bali.
This activity comes from the Turtle Conservation and Education Center (TCEC) on nearby Serangan island, which is supported by the WWF and has been working on sea turtle repopulation and education in Bali since 2006.
There are usually batches of baby sea turtles released somewhere on Sanur Beach at least once or twice a month. Turtle releases are more common during the mid summer months (June through August), but they can happen at any time of year.
If you want to join, your best bet is to ask around with Genius Cafe or Byrdhouse, and they can probably tell you when the next turtle release is happening in Sanur.
6. Sanur Beach Clubs
The Sanur area isn’t really known for beach clubs (yet), but a few good ones have started to pop up, and some of the nice Bali beachfront hotels also offer pool day passes to walk in customers at their restaurants.
The two top beach clubs in Sanur right now are Artotel Beach Club and Byrdhouse Beach Club.
After you pay the entrance fee, you get a food and beverage credit along with access to a pool, playground, and beachfront lounge with WiFi and sunbeds.
7. Le Mayeur Museum
This is a small museum dedicated to a 1930s Belgian painter and his Balinese wife. It’s set up in their former house in north Sanur Beach (GPS here).
Reviews are mixed, because the paintings are nice, but the upkeep has been poor and there’s no air conditioning. Entrance fee is 50k Rupiah for foreigners.
The main reason to visit this place is to get a small peek into what the real Bali was like in the old days before mass tourism, malls, and the internet.
8. Sanur Rice Fields
These are some rice fields near Sanur that are virtually unknown to tourists, but they’re just as green as any of the others in Bali Indonesia.
There’s a new walking path in good condition, and you can take your bicycle or scooter on it for a nice scenic ride.
With the high speed of development in Bali and especially the Sanur/Denpasar area, sadly these rice paddies may not be around for much longer before they’re replaced by buildings. So enjoy them while you can!
More info: Sanur Rice Fields
9. Sindhu Night Market
This is a small night market in north Sanur where you can buy local cooked foods like Nasi Campur, Satay, and Nasi Goreng at very reasonable prices.
It’s popular with locals and tourists alike, and you can also find fresh veggies, fruits, and fruit juices (including durian)!
The night market is open from 6 PM until 11 PM, but sometimes can go as late as 1 AM if it’s a busy night.
10. Sanur Watersports
Sanur beach is one of the most popular places to do watersports in Bali.
There isn’t worthwhile surfing or snorkeling in this area (in spite of the many dive shops in Sanur), but the beach is a great place to do parasailing, jet skiing, banana boats, etc.
If you want a unique experience, hire one of the local fishermen to take you around on a traditional ‘jukung’ boat. I’ve seen some great fish caught in the waters near Sanur.
11. Sanur Massage & Spa
Practically every third building in Sanur is a massage shop.
Balinese massage is fantastic and the prices can be very affordable, at 100k Rupiah ($7 USD) or less for a 1 hour body massage or foot massage.
A few of the highest rated massage places in Sanur are The Nest, KOA Boutique, and Leha Leha Spa. These places are terrific and you may need reservations, but honestly you can go to just about any spa in Sanur and get a good experience.
Many of the high end resorts in Sanur also have their own spa and massage centers, which are usually pricey but top notch.
We’ve never had a bad massage anywhere in Bali. It’s the perfect way to unwind after a full day of hiking or touring.
12. Sanur Restaurants
Sanur is loaded with great cafes and restaurants, especially for breakfast.
You can sip a coffee by the beach with your toes in the sand, or enjoy one of the many restaurants lining Jalan Danau Tamblingan (the main street in Sanur).
This is far from a complete list, but these are just a few recommendations:
- Breakfast — Luhtu’s Coffee Shop, The Glass House, Daily Baguette, Canvas Cafe, Bread Basket, Square One, Soul On The Beach, Cafe Smorgas, and Kopi Kiosk
- Dinner — Naga Eight, Seagrass By The Beach, Lilla Pantai, Arena Pub & Restaurant, Kayu Manis, Le Patio, Sand Beach Bar & Restaurant, Apa Kabar, and Tandjung Sari
- Ethnic — Taqisa (Mexican), Kokoya (Japanese), Thailicious (Thai), Naga Eight (Chinese), Massimo (Italian), Trattoria (Italian), Bella Italia (Italian), The Lebanesian Warung (Middle Eastern), Curry In Bali (Indian), Warung Kecil (Indonesian), and Gong Restaurant (Balinese)
You can also find plenty of cheap and authentic Indonesian warungs in Sanur if you look in the side alleys or across the Ngurah Rai Bypass.
We plan to cover food and restaurants in more detail with another Sanur travel guide later on, so keep an eye out for that!
13. Souvenir Shopping
Shopping is one of the most popular things to do in Sanur, so it’s a great place to pick up your Bali souvenirs before leaving Indonesia.
Some people go to Artasedana (formerly Hardy’s), which has fixed prices, but if you have time to look around you might get better deals from the small shops on Tamblingan street or Sanur Beach, where haggling is expected.
You can find the usual souvenirs like keychains and fridge magnets, or a wide variety of nice handmade crafts like wood carvings, paintings, and rattan bags.
Bali is also known for coffee beans, spices, oils, lace, ceramics, and silverworks, and you can find all of these things in Sanur too.
14. Pura Blanjong Temple
Pura Blanjong is an ancient Balinese Hindu temple located in south Sanur, on the main street of Jalan Danau Poso.
Even though it’s not nearly as beautiful or photogenic as the best temples in Bali, some might find the history here interesting.
There’s a stone pillar at Pura Blanjong that is one of the oldest artifacts in Bali, and it has inscriptions telling about the first recorded Balinese king (Sri Kesari Warmadewa) and his military victories.
15. Pod Chocolate Sanur
Pod Chocolate is famous in Bali, and they have a nice shop in north Sanur where you can stock up on their amazing chocolate bars and spreads.
You’ve probably seen their chocolate for sale in the Bali airport before, but this local shop near Sanur has a bigger selection and better prices. It’s also easier to visit than their main chocolate factory, which is in north/central Bali (Mengwi area).
Pod Bali has free chocolate tasting here (so you can try before you buy), which is great because they have more than 20 flavors for sale now!
More Things To Do Near Sanur
16. Plaza Renon Mall
This is a small shopping mall in the Renon area of Denpasar city, just 15 minutes from Sanur.
It has lots of good restaurants and coffee shops, as well as a supermarket, pharmacy, and multi-screen cinema.
Plaza Renon is a good place to hang out, but it can be a bit crowded on the weekends since a lot of locals like to come here.
17. Taman Festival
This is a spooky abandoned theme park just outside of Sanur that’s turned into a bit of a dark tourism object over the years.
Taman Festival closed in 1997 during the Asian financial crisis and an overall slump in interest from tourists at the time. The $100 million USD park originally featured a fake volcano and a pit full of crocodiles, but now it’s covered with graffiti and consumed by jungle. Even bats are starting to take up residence here.
Obviously exploring a haunted park like this is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I thought it was fascinating to see the giant banyan trees starting to swallow up the buildings. It’s like the Angkor Wat of theme parks!
There’s a small entrance fee to visit Taman Festival (we paid 20k Rupiah), and you can explore the area for as long as you like, but be sure to bring mosquito spray!
18. Bajra Sandhi Monument
This is an imposing monument in Bali’s capital city of Denpasar, just a 10 minute drive from Sanur.
It’s dedicated to the struggles of the Balinese people over the centuries, and the inside has an air conditioned museum that was opened in 2003.
Personally I think it looks like the creepy castle of some movie villain, but it’s still an interesting design.
A lot of local couples like to do prewedding photos here, and it has a big courtyard area with some nice walking paths.
19. Nusa Dua Camel Safari
You can do camel rides on the beach in Nusa Dua, just 30-40 minutes from Sanur.
The rides start at the Hilton Bali Resort in Nusa Dua, but they’re run by a different company called Bali Camel Safaris (you can book with them via WhatsApp at ☎ +62 812-3615-8243).
The camel ride is nothing spectacular, just a short walk on the beach for 30-60 minutes, but if you’ve never rode a camel before it can be a fun experience for the first time.
20. Bali Zoo
The Bali Zoo has a lot of great wildlife, including some species that are local to Indonesia.
You can get your picture taken with tropical birds here, and the park facilities and animal care seem good too. I think it’s one of the best things to do near Sanur.
The zoo is just a 30 minute drive north from Sanur.
More info: Bali Zoo Review
21. Bali Bird Park
If you’ve been to the Bali Zoo and you’re wanting to see more tropical birds, there’s a bird and reptile park just a short distance away that has over 1,000 exotic bird species.
The Bali Bird Park also has a reptile center with crocodiles and Komodo dragons, and you can hold iguanas or turtles.
The park is just a 30 minute drive north from Sanur.
22. Nusa Islands
Sanur happens to be the main jump off point for visiting the Nusa islands, a group of three small islands near the east coast of Bali Indonesia.
Nusa Penida Island has some of the most amazing scenery anywhere in the Bali province, so you could easily spend a week exploring this island and its smaller twins, Nusa Lembongan and Ceningan.
There are a bunch of speedboat companies making this trip daily from the comfy new harbor in north Sanur, and the journey to the Nusa islands only takes about 45 minutes.
You can even visit the Nusa islands on a day trip and return to Sanur Bali in the same day if you’re so inclined, although I think it’s worth staying longer!
More info: Nusa Penida Travel Guide
Best Beach In Sanur
I think the best beach in Sanur might be the sandy little section in front of Tandjung Sari Hotel, which is part of Segara Beach. This spot has soft white sand, palm trees, and sunbeds, and the staff rake and clean the beach regularly, keeping it looking really immaculate.
Another nice beach in Sanur is the long stretch in front of Hyatt Regency, which is part of Sanur Beach proper. This one is lined with colorful jukung boats, and it has great views of the Mount Agung volcano in the distance.
Sanur Beach Sellers
Like most of the popular beaches in Bali, Sanur has beach sellers who walk around and try to make money by peddling their wares to you: paper fans, knives, kites, bracelets, and other handmade trinkets. They’re just trying to feed themselves and pay the bills.
The beach sellers in Sanur are not nearly as aggressive as the ones in Kuta, but some of them are still pushy at times, which can be a bit annoying if you’re just wanting to enjoy your meal or relax on the beach.
On the main street of Jalan Danau Tamblingan, you get the same thing from taxi drivers and local transport trying to offer you tours around Bali. I find the taxi touts more annoying as they’ll even yell to you from the other side of the street when you’re clearly preoccupied.
Unless you’re genuinely interested in something they’re selling, it’s best to avoid engaging in any conversation or eye contact with them as this will only encourage them to keep pestering you. Don’t say ‘maybe later’ either, as they’ll hold you to your word!
For me, the best solution is to smile, shake my head no, and keep walking. Otherwise, if they catch you while you’re sitting at the beach, usually a simple ‘no’ or ‘tidak’ (tee-dah) will do the job. If you give them money just to leave you alone, then you’re likely to be surrounded by other beach sellers wanting the same thing!
What To Do In Sanur At Night
Even though Sanur isn’t known for nightlife, there are some things to do if you look around.
The Sindhu market in north Sanur gets lively at night, and it usually goes until at least 11 PM. You can find cheap local food there, plus fresh fruit and veggies.
For bars, you have lots of choices in every area of Sanur, like Casablanca, Arena Pub, Bamboo Bar, and Sand Beach Bar. There are too many to list.
Sanur isn’t a sunset watching spot since it faces east. Probably the only way to catch a good sunset in Sanur is a romantic dinner on the rooftop of the Maya Resort.
Maya has a nice elevated rooftop for fancy dinners, and you can get some great panoramic views of the sunset from there. You can book this dinner with them directly here.
Is Sanur Safe?
Yes, Sanur is very safe. It’s generally known as one of the safest areas in Bali. Just take normal precautions and you shouldn’t have any issues.
I’ve brought my camera gear to the beach in the dark many times for sunrise, and there are usually plenty of other photographers there taking sunrise pics.
Even before sunrise, lots of people start jogging the path at Sanur Beach. Violent crime is rare in Bali, and Indonesia in general.
The main thing to watch out for is drive-by phone snatchings, which do happen in some parts of Bali from time to time, so just remember to put away your phone when you’re by a busy road with passing motorbikes.
Snorkeling In Sanur Bali
If you’re expecting great snorkeling spots in Sanur, you’ll be disappointed. You may get lucky and see some fish and coral, but in general the visibility is not great and there really isn’t much to see underwater in Sanur.
The good news is that it’s easy to do a day trip from Sanur to Nusa Penida island, where you can snorkel with some fantastic fish and coral. In fact, Nusa Penida is one of the best places in the world to swim with manta rays and giant mola mola fish.
You can go to Nusa Penida and arrange a snorkeling tour yourself at Toyapakeh boat harbor, or it’s also possible to book this online as a day tour departing from Bali, complete with hotel pickup and speed boat transfer.
Book Now: Nusa Penida Snorkeling / Manta Ray Tour
When To Visit Sanur Bali
The best time to visit Sanur depends on what you’re looking for:
☁ Bali’s rainy season runs from November to April. The weather during the day can be hot and humid at 90-95 F (32-35 C), but it’s less crowded during this time, and the rain is mostly at night.
☀ From May to August, the temps are cooler, and it’s more breezy and sunny. This is the windy season and it’s the nicest weather. It’s also the high season for tourists, so it’s generally more crowded.
With the exception of the Sanur festivals (which only happen during the windy season), you can experience any of the other sights in this Sanur travel guide all year round!
More Bali Travel Tips
Thanks for looking! I hope you enjoyed this list of the best things to do in Sanur Bali!
We plan to add more tips to this Sanur travel guide in the future, so please check back again later.
In the meantime, don’t forget to check out my complete Bali Travel Guide for more tips, info, and photos!
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