While Sanur is only a 30-minute drive away from the International airport, it can sometimes feel like it’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of the western tourist hubs.
With the offshore reef around five kilometers out to sea, all of the lagoon like beaches in Sanur are idyllic and perfect for a lazy day on the sand or an ocean swim. Take a bike ride along the paved walkway or walk at a leisurely pace and stop off along the way. There are many restaurants and bars facing the shoreline, you’ll be spoiled for choice should you need to rehydrate or sit for a delicious meal.
Here’s a breakdown of the Sanur beaches.
PANTAI MATAHARI TERBIT
Located on the northern end of Sanur, Matahari Terbit beach is where you’ll find the fast boats to take you across to the islands of Lembongan and further onto the Gilis. The white sandy stretch outside the Inna Grand Bali Beach hotel, in my opinion, is the most beautiful in Sanur. Scattered trees give dappled shade, and the soft sand is perfect to laze on. During low tide, the rock pools are revealed and can be explored with the right footwear. High tide makes it a great beach to swim on. There are a few restaurants within the hotel which make the most of the ocean views, and for a great coffee head to Kopi Kiosk.
PANTAI SEGARA AYU
This beach stretches north and south of Jalan Segara Ayu when you get to the beach. Again, the sand here is soft, white and wide, making it a good spot for swimming. Turn left for the local warungs, cooking freshly caught seafoods. A favourite is Warung Goshan, choose from the menu, sit under the tree with a cold Bintang and enjoy the view. Segara the Seaside is on the right, with sheltered areas on the sand for a cold drink or take up a comfortable chair and enjoy a foot massage while enjoying the view.
Possibly one of the better-known areas in Sanur, where the market ladies are always happy to greet you and entice you into their stores. Be prepared to barter, they love you to play along or head to one of the fixed price stores to gauge your prices first. There are some great dining choices along this stretch, Luthus, Tootises and Soul on the Beach to name a few. There’s also the Sindhu Dwarawati Turtle Conversation center where recently hatched baby turtles are kept before they’re released into the ocean. Pura Patal (temple) is one of the larger temples on the beach in Sanur, and you’ll often see processions as they pass on their way for ceremonies.
Karang means coral in Indonesian, the sand here is courser but it’s still a great spot for swimming. One of the most famous landmarks in Sanur can be seen from this beach. An island a few meters off shore with a bale hut at either end is featured in many sunrise photos. Between 6am and 6.30am each morning, budding photographers flock here to capture the ultimate sunrise photo. If you’re lucky you may even have a local fisherman using his nets to enhance your shots. This area of the beach is also sacred to the local community as it’s the site used for cremation ceremonies. If you happen to come across a cremation ceremony, remember to be respectful and stand back, particularly if you’re in swimwear. Head south for local warungs and Sands restaurant.
This beachside location is familiar to many, with a great selection of dining options right beside the ocean. La Playa, Seagrass, Bamboo and Lilla Pantai can be found along this stretch and most offer feet in the sand dining. If you’re after something special, Pier Eight, part of the Fairmont Hotel is located along this beach also. For the adventurous, this is the spot to hire jet-skis, ride the banana boat or even give parasailing a try. Or for the surfer, the renowned Hyatt Reef can be reached from here.
Round the corner after the Fairmont hotel and you’ve reached Semawang Beach. Colorful Jukung, the Balinese fishing boats, line the shore where early morning and late afternoons the fishermen will head out to the reef. Here is where many of the dive companies will leave from early in the morning, heading out for drift dives or over to the Nusa islands for Manta Ray sightings. Directly on this beach is where Beach House Sanur is located. Grab a beanbag beachside and enjoy the view, or enjoy a favourite meal inside the restaurant. Head further south along the beach, for many beachside local warungs and sun loungers available for hire.
The brightly painted Jukung are lined all along this stretch. This beach is a favourite for the local people and families will pack the beach every Sunday. The beach is wide, be sure to look up from June through to August as many kites fly high. August is when the Bali kite Festival is held, with traditional giant kites flown competitively by teams from the local villages. For the surfing enthusiast, there’s a surf break off shore but you’ll need to be dropped off and picked up by boat. Water activities can also be done here, and during windy season there are many kite surfers making the most of the conditions. The dining scene here ranges from local warungs to resort owned restaurants, and if you look south you can even catch the sunset from here.