Drone photo of Sanur in Bali

The Best Things to Do in Sanur in Bali (Plus Sanur Day Trips Not to Miss)

Known as Bali’s original and first major tourism destination, Sanur is now often overlooked with a reputation for being “too sleepy” and slow-paced. Those in the know will tell you why you should add Sanur to your Bali itinerary – here is my Sanur travel guide to help you plan your stay.

Offering a quieter island holiday than some of Bali’s other flagship destinations, Sanur (pronounced San-oor) is an underrated coastal beach town on the east coast, just half an hour away from the international airport in Denpasar.

Private beach in front of Tandjung Sari in Sanur Bali

Popular with families and people looking for a less frenetic pace and thinner crowds, the white sand beaches are a big draw, as is the long beachfront boardwalk spanning almost the entire length of the Sanur coast.

Beach table and chairs under a coconut palm tree on the beach in Sanur Bali with text overlay Drone photo of Sanur Beach in Bali Indonesia with text overlay Fishing boats on Sanur Beach in Bali Indonesia with text overlay

You can easily rent a bicycle to go for a scenic ride up and down the boardwalk, lazily stopping at restaurants and cafes along the way.

Walking on the Sanur Boardwalk in Bali

It has quickly become one of my personal favorite Bali destinations. It offers ease of access, little to no traffic, plenty of day trip options, fantastic restaurants and cafes, clean beaches, and some wonderful luxury and boutique hotels to choose from.

Soul on the Beach restaurant in Sanur Bali

Whether you are traveling with kids to Bali or on an adults-only getaway, Sanur is worth the visit. In this travel guide I will cover the following: How to get to and get around Sanur, general travel tips for visiting Sanur, where to stay, the top things to do in Sanur as well as some tips if you are traveling with young children.

You may also like: First time to Bali? Here is my easy 2 week Bali itinerary to help you plan your travels

Where is Sanur in Bali?

Main street through Sanur in Bali

Sanur is located on the southeast coast of Bali, almost directly opposite from Seminyak and Kuta. It is a quick, 20-30 minute car ride from the Ngurah Rai International Airport or, if you are traveling over from the Bukit Peninsula, you can take the overwater Bali Mandara toll road straight up from Nusa Dua.

Travel tips for visiting Sanur in Bali

First time to Sanur or Bali? Here’s what you need to know before you go.

Visa on arrival receipt in Bali Indonesia

✈️ The main airport in Bali is Ngurah Rai International Airport. Many airlines fly direct to Bali, and a 30-day tourist visa-on-arrival is available for passport holders from more than 80 countries. The Bali visa fee is US$35 or 500,000 IDR (same for adults, children and infants), and can be paid by credit card (not AMEX as far as I know). As of November 2022, you can also apply for an electronic visa ahead of your trip here to save a little time as you can head straight to the immigration queue instead of the Visa on Arrival queue.

You may be eligible for the visa exemption arrangement if you hold an ASEAN member country passport including those from Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Save yourself some time by completing the electronic customs declaration ahead of your Bali trip here.

As of February 14th 2024 you will also be required to pay a 150,000 IDR (approximately US$10) “tourism levy” to be used towards the conservation of Bali’s nature and support sustainable tourism – this fee is in addition to the visa-on-arrival fee. You should arrange to pay this fee online before your trip, though certain exemptions apply (diplomatic visa, Golden visa and student visa etc.) and must be applied for 1 month in advance. Read more here.

Indonesian Rupiah currency notes

💱 The currency is the Indonesian rupiah and the exchange rate is approximately US$1/1 Euro: 15,000 IDR or AUD$1: 10,000 IDR. There are ATMs in the airport where you can withdraw a small sum to get you started, and then you can visit a local ATM or money exchange place once you are in Sanur. Legitimate currency exchange shops in Bali advertise the rates clearly and do not charge a commission – we had a great experience with Dirgahayu Valuta Prima Money Changer on the main road (across the street from The Nest spa) through Sanur town.

However, as you would anywhere else, make sure you count your cash before leaving to avoid any later disputes. The majority of hotels, tourist restaurants and supermarkets accept credit card payments, though you will still need cash to pay drivers and for any tips.

📱 Buy a local Indonesian SIM card. The easiest way to do that is via Klook – you can get a data-only SIM card and pick it up from the airport on arrival or have it delivered to your hotel. You will need to provide certain information including your passport copy and phone IMEI. Buy your local Bali SIM card here. Everyone in Bali including hotels, taxi drivers, spas and equipment rental companies use Whatsapp to communicate, so make sure you have stable internet access throughout your Bali trip.

Bali booking tip: You pretty much never have to pay full price for admissions tickets in Bali as most tour operators, car charters, spas and major attractions are listed on Klook. Just click here and search for places you want to go, and book online for discounted entry or head on over here to read more about how to use Klook to book travel experiences.

🏖️ The best time to visit Bali is typically considered to be during the summer months between July to September, which means this is the peak travel season in Bali and the island receives the highest volume of tourists during this time – many hotels in Sanur and beyond are fully booked and the atmosphere is buzzing. This is the dry season and Bali typically receives lower rainfall during this time. The rainy season in Bali usually runs during the winter months from December to February and it can be very humid and sticky during this time.

The surf conditions in Sanur and nearby Serangan/Keramas are, however, the most consistent from October to January so if you are hoping to surf these breaks you will want to head to this part of the east coast during the off-peak travel season.

Looking to surf in Bali? Also consider heading to Uluwatu and Canggu for some world-class surf breaks.

In reality, there is no “bad” time to visit Bali. You should, however, plan accordingly if you are traveling to Bali during Nyepi (New Year’s day in the Balinese calendar, typically falls in March) as the island observes complete silence on this day. Shops and businesses are closed, and everybody (including tourists) is expected to stay indoors as part of the ritual. The airport is no exception – there are no arrivals and departures on the day of Nyepi and some hotels may not arrange check-ins and outs during this day.

Another major holiday to take note of is Galungan and Kuningan, a Hindu celebration which takes place every 210 days. Many Balinese Hindus will spend the festival visiting family temples and all the streets are lined with towering bamboo penjors. Many government offices will be closed during this 10-day period and some major religious landmarks (like Pura Lempuyang) may close for ceremonies or have different opening and closing times.

Sarongs at temples in Bali Indonesia

👚 What to wear in Bali: The majority of the population on the island are Hindu, and as a top tourism destination the dress code in Bali is typically fairly relaxed. Vacation beachwear is the norm, so go ahead and pack your dresses, shorts and crop tops. There is, however, an important exception – if you plan on visiting any temple (especially if you are visiting East Bali) you will need to cover your legs with a sarong and make sure that your shoulders are also covered.

🗓️ How many days to spend in Sanur: For a first time visitor to Sanur I would recommend spending no fewer than 4-5 days to explore the region; 1 week in Sanur would be perfect if you’re looking to plan a few day trips as well.

Drone photo of Sanur beach pagoda in Bali Indonesia

🚁 Flying a drone in Sanur: You can fly a small drone in Bali for recreational, non-commercial purposes without a license as long as you follow a few important guidelines. You should not fly a drone around or over any temple, and many hotels and beach clubs will have their own policies for drone usage on their property, so it’s best to check ahead before you launch your UAV. There are also often kite surfers and helicopters over the ocean, so you’ll need to be especially mindful if you do launch your drone.

Safety in Bali

Road policeman controls the traffic of vehicles in Bali, Indonesia.
Photo credit: tang90246 via Depositphotos.com

The vast majority of visits to Bali are trouble free, and tourism is a major source of revenue for the island. Violent crime against foreigners occurs infrequently, but petty crime is not uncommon. As you would anywhere else in the world, keep a close eye on your belongings, especially in crowded areas. There are a number of common scams in Bali: if an offer seems “too good to be true” or overly convenient, it could very well be part of a scam.

I recommend taking certain precautions such as pre-booking airport transportation with a reliable car service and driver, watching your drink when you are out and about, and letting friends and family know of your travel plans and hotel contact information. Read more about safety in Indonesia and Bali by clicking here and here.

How to get to Sanur in Bali

Traffic in Ubud Bali

To get into Bali you’ll need to fly into Ngurah Rai International Airport near Denpasar. An airport transfer from the airport to Sanur costs approximately 200,000-250,000 IDR (US$15 or so) and usually takes about 30 minutes if there is minimal traffic.

I recommend contacting Sudewa/Ani (Whatsapp at +62 819 9845 3366) or Wayan (Whatsapp at +62 813 3837 4919) for any long-distance transfers, day trips and airport pick ups/drop offs in Bali. Both are based in nearby Denpasar.

How to get around Sanur in Bali

Rental bicycle with child seat in Sanur Bali

Unlike most other destinations in Bali where sidewalks are rare or non-existent, the best way to get around Sanur is by rental bicycle or on foot – we loved taking the 5 km-long scenic waterfront path which travels all the way down the Sanur coast (be careful as certain sections accommodate both pedestrians plus cyclists, and some sections are split to separate the two).

Sanur boardwalk for cyclists and pedestrians in Bali

You can rent a bicycle for 50,000 IDR/day, or you can rent a bicycle with a children’s seat for 55,000 IDR/day. We rented ours from Nyoman Bicycle Rental on Sindhu Beach in front of our hotel, Tandjung Sari. You can contact them via Whatsapp at +62 878 6111 5080 or ask the hotel to organize it for you – locks are provided as well.

Walking around Sanur in Bali

It’s also easy to get around central Sanur on foot – you can walk down Jalan Danau Tamblingan which is the main street through Sanur town, or take the pedestrian oceanfront walkway.

For longer distances, take a Bluebird metered taxi, Grab/GoJek or rent a scooter (you may want to consider this option carefully if you are not a confident scooter driver – the traffic and driving in Bali can be intense).

Electric scooter in Bali Indonesia

My husband has the proper international motorcycle certifications and license (which means that any accidents are covered by travel insurance), and we had a great experience renting an electric scooter from Noa Bike (contact them by WhatsApp at +62 822 8890 8988). You can also rent electric scooters on a monthly basis from Skute in Sanur. Please ensure that your scooter rental comes with helmets that fit properly and that you have the proper international driving license in case you are stopped by the local authorities.

Scooter in Canggu in Bali

Make sure you understand the risks of driving a scooter in Bali (or anywhere, really) and ensure that you know where the nearest medical centers and hospitals are located in the event of an emergency.

It is also possible to hire a car in Bali but you should know that parking can be an issue so make sure your hotel or villa provides a space for your vehicle; while the main streets of Sanur are generally easy to navigate, this is not always the case – especially if you are heading elsewhere such as towards Canggu or Ubud where streets are narrow with scooters zooming by.

Your international driving permit may require further endorsement by the local authorities, and you should double check that your travel insurance covers any motor vehicle accidents overseas (and check whether it covers any excesses/deductibles).

Looking for the best prices for rental car companies around the world? Click here to book your rental car ahead of your Bali trip. Bookings can be cancelled or amended if your plans change.

Where to stay in Sanur in Bali

Bedroom at Tandjung Sari in Sanur Bali

Looking for the best accommodation in Sanur? There are some incredible luxury beachfront hotels in Sanur to pick from – you’ll want to make sure that you choose strategically based on location, room/property design, facilities and service quality.

Pool and restaurant at Tandjung Sari in Sanur Bali

We highly recommend booking your stay at Tandjung Sari, a family-owned boutique hotel in Sanur that is the epitome of Balinese luxury and charm. It was an absolute highlight of our latest Bali trip. You can read my full Tandjung Sari hotel review here.

Tandjung Sari, meaning “Cape of Flowers”, offers a small collection of bungalows inspired by traditional Balinese architecture. Featuring colorful tilework, the rooms are absolutely spotless and incredibly spacious – most rooms have their own garden and outdoor seating area, and you’ll feel like you have your own little slice of paradise in Sanur.

Private beach in front of Tandjung Sari in Sanur Bali

The grounds at Tandjung Sari are lovingly maintained, and the private beach complete with sun loungers under the shade of swaying palm trees is the best on the whole Sanur coast. In the evening, the beach is illuminated by paper lanterns strewn from palm to palm.

The hotel never feels crowded, unlike the other major chain hotels down the strip. While it doesn’t have a portfolio of facilities, it is easy enough to hop on a bicycle and go to a nearby kids club/indoor playroom or other restaurants and cafes.

Pool at Tandjung Sari in Sanur Bali

The 15-meter salt water pool, while small, is perfect for a refreshing quick afternoon dip. We traveled with our toddler and he just loved the space and grounds at Tandjung Sari – it is a quiet and peaceful retreat, but warm and welcoming to all types of travelers including families.

Beaachfront restaurant at the Tandjung Sari in Sanur Bali

The on-site restaurant serves up mouthwatering Indonesian as well as international fare. You won’t find anywhere else that offers a breakfast as plentiful and delicious as Tandjung Sari – the variety is mindboggling and you could easily stay there for 2 weeks without having the same meal twice.

At the heart of the hotel is the staff – the 6-star service is some of the best you will experience not only in Bali, but also in Asia. If you are planning a Sanur trip do yourself a favor and check the availability at Tandjung Sari – you won’t regret it.

Interested in checking out other options for accommodation in Sanur? Here are some other highly-rated hotels in the area – we also personally considered staying at these Sanur hotels:

Maya Sanur: This beachfront luxury hotel in Sanur is architecturally stunning, and the spacious rooms are modern with plenty of warm wood finishings. Reviewers love the pool, and say that the on-site Tree Bar is fantastic. Maya Sanur also operates a sister hotel in Ubud. Click here to check rates and availability at Maya Sanur.

Andaz Bali: A peaceful resort on the shores of Sanur’s golden sand coast, the Andaz is an upscale luxury hotel created to wow its guests. Perfect for couples visiting Sanur, reviewers love the modern rooms, helpful staff and spacious grounds. Click here to check rates and availability at Andaz Bali.

Hyatt Regency Bali: Located right next to the Andaz Sanur is its sister property, the Hyatt Regency Bali. A firm favorite with families traveling to Sanur, the Hyatt Regency has sprawling grounds so the property never feels too crowded, and offers multiple excellent restaurant options. Families with young children will love the on-site kids club. Click here to check rates and availability at Hyatt Regency Bali.

The best things to do in Sanur in Bali

Fishing boats on Sanur Beach in Bali Indonesia

Looking up things to add to your Sanur Itinerary? This quiet corner of Bali is easily accessible from the international airport and has some of the most laid back beaches and volcano views to offer. If you are looking for a peaceful beach vacation in Bali, Sanur is an obvious choice.

Here are some of the best places to visit in Sanur as well as things you won’t want to skip. Wondering what to do in Sanur? Read on for my top picks.

1. Cycle down the Sanur boardwalk

Rental bicycle with child seat in Sanur Bali

Unlike many other areas in Bali where sidewalks are a rarity, Sanur’s perfectly paved beachfront boardwalk lines the coast from north to south, stretching just over 5 kilometers.

One of the best things to do in Sanur is to rent a bicycle and go for a morning or afternoon ride. You’ll find yourself alongside lots of residents taking their adorable dogs for a daily stroll, and can occasionally watch the surfers and kite surfers powering along rolling waves.

Drone photo of Sanur in Bali

We spent most days sauntering up and down the Sanur boardwalk, popping into coffee shop after coffee shop and in the afternoons, lazily traversing over from Tandjung Sari (which is located about mid-way down the length of the boardwalk) to a beachfront restaurant for cocktails and dinner.

You won’t find anything like this in other popular tourism destinations in Bali like Seminyak, Canggu, Uluwatu or Nusa Dua!

2. Enjoy a beach day

Mertasari Beach in Sanur Bali

The beaches in Sanur are a huge draw for the vacation crowd. Stretching from about Sindhu Beach in the top through Werdhapura and Karang Beaches all the way down to Mertasari Beach in south Sanur, the golden sand tends to be quite fine.

As the shoreline is fairly protected from swell by the outlying reef, the Sanur beaches are usually very swimmable with calm waters close to shore, whereas surfers can paddle out or hop on a little motorboat beyond the reef to surf on bigger waves.

Sun lounger at Tandjung Sari in Sanur Bali

Offering a view of the towering Mount Agung volcano in the backdrop, Sanur’s beaches are a big part of the laidback lifestyle and tourism offerings.

Most beaches in Sanur are public beaches with sun loungers available for rent, or you can always bring your own towel and make yourself comfortable for the afternoon.

Private beach in front of Tandjung Sari in Sanur Bali

We loved the pristine, manicured private beach at Tandjung Sari with reserved sun loungers and table service – it never felt crowded and we loved being able to order drinks and snacks right to our little spot on the Sanur beach.

Ready to book your Sanur trip? We highly recommend booking your stay at Tandjung Sari, a family-owned boutique hotel in Sanur with a location that can’t be beat, stunning spacious rooms and a private beach area. Check the rates and availability at Tandjung Sari.

Looking for more Sanur hotel options? You may also want to consider Maya Sanur (a luxury beachfront hotel in Sanur with a fantastic pool and oceanfront restaurant and bar), Andaz Bali (a high end peaceful resort with modern and sleek rooms, perfect for couples) or Hyatt Regency Bali (a family-friendly resort in Sanur with excellent facilities).

3. Learn to surf

Board rental in Sanur Bali

Aside from Canggu and Uluwatu, you can also learn to surf in Bali in Sanur. The surf season in Sanur tends to run from about November to late February when the wind is offshore, but we saw a few surfers out in the waves during July/August as well. You can rent a surfboard out in front of Soul on the Beach if you don’t have your own.

You can sign up for surf lessons at Sanur Surf School or at Rip Curl School of Surf located at Prama Sanur Beach Hotel. If you are an avid surfer in search of higher quality waves you might want to take a boat out to surf at Serangan or venture up to the legendary right hander, Keramas, right in front of Hotel Komune. The car ride to Keramas from Sanur will take approximately 40 minutes.

4. Search for the perfect cup of coffee

Beach parasols on Mertasari Beach in Sanur Bali

There are a lot of fantastic coffee shops in Sanur. For your caffeine fix on the beach, head to Genius Cafe on the southern end of Sanur.

Flat white coffee in Sanur Bali

Other must-visit Sanur cafes include the newly-opened Moreno which has indoor and outdoor beach seating just steps away from Tandjung Sari, Canvas Cafe in north Sanur and Ritual Kopi located on the main strip through Sanur town.

5. Go on a day trip to Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot Temple or Pura Tanah Lot is one of the top attractions in Bali and located about a 90-minute drive from Sanur. This magnificent Hindu shrine often appears as if it is floating due to the high tide, but once the tide drops worshippers can walk across the tombolo to the temple itself.

Tanah Lot Temple near Canggu in Bali

The sprawling grounds at Tanah Lot are peppered with various oceanfront viewpoints where you can admire Pura Tanah Lot from different angles. While you’re there, don’t miss out on visiting the Batu Bolong Temple, a striking sea arch which houses a Hindu Shrine.

Batu Bolong Temple near Canggu in Bali Indonesia

The most popular time of day to visit Tanah Lot is during sunset, and this is when the crowds are really heaving as the tour buses start to roll in one after the other. You can head there before sunset to secure a spot, or simply head there in the late afternoon and escape before the crowds arrive. Book a private Tanah Lot transfer from Sanur here, or book a car and driver via your hotel.

Though there is no strict dress code for tourists, Tanah Lot is a religious site and regularly hosts pilgrimages. I would recommend that you dress on the conservative side and cover your shoulders and knees to be respectful. The Tanah Lot entry fee is 60,000 IDR for adults and there is a small parking fee for scooters and cars.

Ready to book your perfect Sanur stay? We thoroughly enjoyed our time at the classy and comfortable Tandjung Sari, a family-owned boutique hotel in Sanur with a location that can’t be beat, stunning spacious rooms and a private beachfront. Check the rates and availability at Tandjung Sari.

Looking for more Sanur hotel options? You may also want to consider Maya Sanur (a luxury beachfront hotel in Sanur with a fantastic pool and oceanfront restaurant and bar), Andaz Bali (a high end peaceful resort with modern and sleek rooms, perfect for couples) or Hyatt Regency Bali (a family-friendly resort in Sanur with excellent facilities).

6. Enjoy the beach club at Hotel Komune

Hotel Komune Beach Club in Bali Indonesia

Hotel Komune Beach Club at the famous Keramas surf break is one of the best beach clubs in Bali. Open to both hotel guests as well as day visitors, this Bali day club features an oval pool, plenty of day beds, an open-air restaurant and of course, the ultimate backdrop: the peeling Keramas break itself.

Keramas in Bali Indonesia

The black sand beach in front of Hotel Komune is perfect for young children (but I would advise against swimming in the ocean here – stick to the pool), and the sprawling oceanfront grounds are perfect for a lazy afternoon. The little ones can head to the outdoor kids club which has a skate bowl, trampoline area and playground.

Bookings are not necessary but it can get busy as this Bali beach club is so popular. The minimum spend is 300,000 IDR if you want to use a day bed (up to 3 people), or 950,000 IDR if you want to use a sofa bed (up to 5 people). Otherwise there are a few single sun beds laying around and there is no minimum spend to use those. We loved the healthy juices and snacks here.

7. Practice yoga

Beach yoga in Sanur Bali

There are several highly-rated and reputable yoga studios in Sanur. Koa hosts three daily classes a day (morning, mid-morning and afternoon – check their Facebook or Instagram for the weekly schedule), Umah Shakti hosts morning and evening yoga classes in Sanur, and there are multiple classes a day at Power of Now Oasis. Classes generally cost about 120,000 IDR.

Yoga at Hotel Komune in Bali Indonesia

If you venture up to Hotel Komune there are also yoga classes in their shala there.

You can also join free morning beach yoga classes in Sanur at 7:30 AM (pictured above). The location is here.

8. Release baby turtles into the ocean

Baby sea turtle on Kuta Beach in Bali Indonesia

Want to release baby turtles in Bali? The Kuta Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center (KBSTCC) supported by the Bali Sea Turtle Society collects and protects sea turtle (mostly Olive Ridley) eggs from local beaches and releases them once they have hatched – usually on the same day as hatching to maximize their chances of survival in the wild. The drive from Sanur to Kuta Beach will take a little over 30 minutes by car – a fantastic Sanur day trip option if you don’t want to be stuck in a car for hours.

Bali Sea Turtle Society in Kuta Beach Bali

The nesting season is from March to September each year, and hatching is from about April to October – during the peak Bali travel months between July to August there is usually a scheduled release every 1-2 days on Kuta Beach. However, there is no fixed turtle release schedule because it depends on when the eggs hatch.

Releasing baby sea turtles in Bali on Kuta Beach

The only way to find out if there is a scheduled release is on the morning of – follow Bali Sea Turtle Society on Facebook or Instagram for the daily announcements.

Bali Sea Turtle Society in Kuta Beach Bali

How do you book a spot for the Bali turtle release? You can’t book! You have to show up at 3-4 PM on the day of a scheduled release and queue up. You will then be given a token which you can then hand in for one baby turtle. This is why I recommend turning notifications on! It does not cost any money to participate in the release as the events are donations-based.

Releasing baby sea turtles in Bali on Kuta Beach

The organized turtle releases follow important best practices which include no handling of the turtles, no flash photography, no loud noises and avoiding blocking the turtles’ path to the ocean. I highly recommend visiting the KBSTCC supported by the Bali Sea Turtle Society and joining a turtle release on Kuta Beach rather than visiting one of the “turtle farms” on the beachfront in Sanur as turtles are often kept in captivity, and you can pay to hold and release babies at any time during the day.

Releasing baby sea turtles in Bali on Kuta Beach

We also considered visiting (and have heard good things about) the WWF-partnered Turtle Conservation And Education Center on Serangan Island near Sanur, but did not end up going. Recent reviews indicate that visitors are allowed to hold and handle the turtles, and you can release baby turtles for an extra charge (entry is donation-based) – however I cannot speak from personal experience, so I encourage you to do your own research and due diligence.

9. Taste home grown wine at Sababay Winery

Pergola system at Sababay Winery in Keramas Bali

Did you know that Bali has its very own homegrown wine? Produced by Sababay Winery, the award-winning wines including the “Reserve White”, Cabernet and sparkling varieties are served in restaurants across the island and beyond.

Wine vats at Sababay Winery in Bali Indonesia

Although the grapes are sourced from local farmers in northern Bali, the production facilities and cellar door are found just 30 minutes away by car from Sanur.

Winery tour at Sababay in Bali

I highly recommend going on a tour through Sababay Winery’s production facility and bottling plant. You get to learn the history of the brand how they helped local farmers sell their grapes at fair prices, followed by a tasting of three of their different wines plus snacks.

Dining area at Sababay Winery in Keramas Bali

Feel like staying a little longer? The grounds are absolutely dreamy! After the tour, order a platter of snacks (or two) and more drinks to make the most of a fun wine-filled afternoon with friends.

Wine tasting at Sababay Winery in Bali Indonesia

Looking for the best hotel in Sanur? You can’t go wrong with Tandjung Sari, a family-owned small luxury hotel in Sanur right on the beach. The rooms (or bungalows) are incredibly comfortable and spacious, the on-site restaurant is one of the best in all of Sanur and you are made to feel welcome the moment you step in. We felt right at home and didn’t want to leave. Check the rates and availability at Tandjung Sari.

Looking for more Sanur hotel options? You may also want to consider Maya Sanur (a luxury beachfront hotel in Sanur with a fantastic pool and oceanfront restaurant and bar), Andaz Bali (a high end peaceful resort with modern and sleek rooms, perfect for couples) or Hyatt Regency Bali (a family-friendly resort in Sanur with excellent facilities).

10. Go on an epic East Bali day trip

Pura Lempuyang in east Bali Indonesia

Once you are in Sanur, you may also want to set aside one full day to embark on a day trip to East Bali as it is home to some of the top Bali attractions and landmarks.

Tirta Gangga palace in East Bali Indonesia

The full day trip from Sanur should take you 10 hours at the very minimum (if you don’t queue for a photo in front of the Insta-famous Gates of Heaven – you could be waiting for up to 4 hours!) and you can charter a car and driver for approximately 750,000-850,000 IDR for the day, or book a highly-rated private east Bali tour via Klook here or contact Sudewa/Ani (Whatsapp at +62 819 9845 3366) or Wayan (Whatsapp at +62 813 3837 4919).

Gates of Heaven at Pura Lempuyang in Bali Indonesia

Start bright and early by heading on the 2-hour journey to Pura Lempuyang and the Gates of Heaven with Mount Agung dramatically looming in the background. Unless you are planning on touring the entire Pura Lempuyang complex, 30-45 minutes should be sufficient here.

You have to take a shuttle bus which costs 45,000 IDR for the return journey, and entry costs 55,000 IDR. Visitors have to wear a sarong (which the temple provides), shoulders must be covered, and holy water is sprinkled on your head at the temple entrance.

Lahangan Sweet viewpoint in East Bali Indonesia

You can then slowly make your way back towards Sanur by stopping at the stunning Lahangan Sweet viewpoint and taking a photo at one of their tree platforms. Entry costs 30,000 IDR for Lahangan Sweet and 50,000 IDR if you want to take a Jeep there from the parking lot.

Tirta Gangga water palace in East Bali Indonesia

Next up, head to the koi-filled ponds of the Tirta Gangga water palace. Explore the lush grounds and water fountains, or stop for a quick coffee at one of the restaurants inside. Unless you are queuing for a photo, I recommend spending no more than 30 minutes at Tirta Gangga as the grounds are compact and it gets very crowded. Entry costs 50,000 IDR.

Taman Ujung water palace in East Bali Indonesia

Last but not least, my favourite stop on the East Bali day trip itinerary was the Taman Ujung water palace. The breeze that swept over the manmade lake was welcome after a huge day out in the sun.

Taman Ujung water palace in East Bali Indonesia

The sprawling and uncrowded grounds at Taman Ujung are popular for people taking wedding photos, and offered a stunning view from above. Entry costs 75,000 IDR – credit cards are accepted.

Goa Lawah bat temple in East Bali Indonesia

If you have more time (and energy), pause at Goa Lawah as your final stop of your Sanur day trip to check out the colony of bats at this unique Hindu temple. As you approach, you’ll start to hear the fluttering of hundreds of bat wings, together with their little squeaks.

The sacred temple is one of the holiest in Bali – entry costs 30,000 IDR (which includes sarong rental). The drive back to Sanur from Goa Lawah will take an hour. Here is my full East Bali day trip itinerary (complete with additional options if you have more time) to help you plan your journey.

11. Visit the Nusa Islands

Kelingking Beach at Nusa Penida in Indonesia
Photo credit: jirousek.zoo-foto.cz via Depositphotos.com

A popular day trip from Sanur is to head to the Nusa islands southeast of Bali – with an infant in tow we ruled out taking the speedboat out on sometimes choppy waters. Sanur Port is where you’ll find all the ferries heading out to Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan.

If you only have 2 weeks in Bali then you likely only have a night or two to spare for a quick day trip to Nusa Penida from Sanur – you can choose to visit either West Nusa Penida or East Nusa Penida on this highly-rated full day tour.

Looking for the best hotel in Sanur? Take my word for it and book your stay at Tandjung Sari if budget allows. This small luxury hotel is the epitome of Balinese luxury and offers a private beachfront area as well as a plunge pool. Though the grounds are sprawling, there is nothing about this place that makes you feel like you are in a stock standard resort – we felt right at home and pampered every second. Check the rates and availability at Tandjung Sari.

Want to explore even more hotel options in Sanur? You may also want to consider Maya Sanur (a luxury beachfront hotel in Sanur with a fantastic pool and oceanfront restaurant and bar), Andaz Bali (a high end peaceful resort with modern and sleek rooms, perfect for couples) or Hyatt Regency Bali (a family-friendly resort in Sanur with excellent facilities).

Best places to eat in Sanur

There are some excellent restaurants in Sanur, we happily tried as many of them as we could during our week there! Here are some top picks.

Genius Cafe: An institution on the beach, this Sanur beach restaurant serves up some delicious dishes and can cater to most dietary requirements. The extensive menu has plenty of options – everyone in your group will be happy!

Byrd House in Sanur Bali

Byrd House Beach Club: If you don’t head up to Hotel Komune, this is another popular beach club in Sanur that you can set up shop at. Located at Sanur’s Segara Village, just north of Sindhu Beach, Byrd House offers a restaurant, pool access and a children’s playground. Bookings are recommended.

Shotgun Social in Sanur Bali

Shotgun Social: Whether you are traveling to Sanur with kids or without, I highly recommend checking out the lovely space at Shotgun Social. The food was stunning and we loved the open lawn and playground.

Soul on the Beach: Soul on the Beach is located right on the Sanur boardwalk. We loved their healthy juices, salads and the tacos – perfect for sharing!

Massimo: For a family-friendly authentic Italian meal head straight to Massimo’s. We loved the carbonara and ravioli with ricotta and sun dried tomatoes. Don’t leave without tasting their homemade gelato.

Pizzaria restaurant in Hyatt Regency Sanur Bali

Pizzaria: Located within the Hyatt Regency Bali, this Italian beachfront restaurant serves up refined Italian classics. The calamari, polpette, spaghetti aglio olio and vanilla panna cotta were huge hits.

Breakfast at Tandjung Sari in Sanur Bali

Tandjung Sari: The restaurant at Tandjung Sari is also open to outside guests and one of the best restaurants in Sanur. Every single dish on the menu is prepared and cooked to perfection. Come here for the breakfast selection or try their soto ayam – we happily ate this almost every day of our stay.

Travel tips for visiting Sanur with kids

Camp Hyatt Kids Club in Sanur Bali

Heading to Sanur with children? It is, hands down, one of the most child-friendly destinations in Bali and a must-visit if you are spending 2 weeks in Bali with young kids.

Compared to places like Uluwatu and Canggu (and even Ubud to a degree), Sanur is much better suited to families with young kids – not only is it just a short drive away from the international airport, it is also far easier (and safer) to get around by foot or rental bike thanks to the main street as well as the boardwalk, there are plenty of kids clubs and indoor play areas (there’s even a lovely outdoor playground on the beach), and it’s generally less frenetic and crowded. The beaches are also much nicer and easier to access.

Sanur beach in Bali Indonesia

There are lots of beachfront Sanur hotels to choose from, all of them offering a golden sand stretch at your doorstep. We absolutely loved our time at Tandjung Sari – it was peaceful, welcoming and relaxing. Our toddler loved exploring the grounds and the bungalows were spacious and set far enough apart that you have plenty of privacy.

Pool at Tandjung Sari in Sanur Bali

The hotel is very accommodating towards families traveling with young children, but aside from the small saltwater pool there are not many other facilities geared towards children. In general, there are fewer children staying at the Tandjung Sari than at places like the Hyatt Regency Bali, Segara Village and Prama Sanur Beach, so the overall vibe at the property tends to be more quiet.

Camp Hyatt Kids Club in Sanur Bali
Camp Hyatt Kids Club in Sanur

We had no issues with that as we were all too happy to venture out and visit other kids clubs or hang out at the beach, but if having an on-site kids club and other children around to play with is a must-have, then you might want to consider staying at Andaz Bali or Hyatt Regency Bali.

The best play areas in Sanur include the Camp Hyatt Kids Club at the Hyatt Regency Bali (huge indoor and outdoor space), the free outdoor beachfront playground in front of the Mercure Sanur, the humongous indoor Kids SoHo Playground, the outdoor play area at Shotgun Social, and the playground at Byrd House Beach Club. I’ve also heard great things about Big Garden Corner which has lots of outdoor sculptures, water play area and play ground.

Splash waterpark children's section at Finns Recreation Club in Canggu Bali
Kids section of Splash Water Park at Finns Recreation Club

Older children might also enjoy the water slides at Prama Sanur Beach Hotel Bali (day passes are available if you aren’t staying there), or you can venture over to Finn’s Beach Club or Splash Waterpark in Canggu (which is about an hour away from Sanur by car).

Worried about bringing too much luggage? You can rent any baby gear including travel cots and car seats for around US$5 or AU$7 a day. We have used Bali Baby Hire in the past, but hotels like Tandjung Sari provide high quality, wooden cribs.

Book a driver with a child car seat. I recommend getting in touch with Gede or Sudewa/Ani (numbers at the top of this Uluwatu travel guide) who can provide a forward-facing child car seat. If you need a rear-facing baby car seat for younger babies book one for your trip via Bali Baby Hire.

Balonkubaby shop in Sanur Bali

Stock up on diapers and baby food. You can easily buy diapers and baby food from Balonku Baby (a huge children’s supply store in Sanur) or from small shops along the main street.

Be prepared if your baby gets sick in Bali. Some Sanur hotels will have a pediatrician on call, make sure you ask if your baby requires medical attention. Otherwise, head straight to BIMC private hospital in Nusa Dua or Denpasar. You can also buy baby paracetamol in liquid form from Guardian pharmacies.

Last but absolutely not least, here is my top tip for traveling to Sanur with kids: need an extra pair of hands to wrangle your little one? There are many experienced nannies in Bali who you can hire by the hour (or day, or even your whole trip) to help you out so that you can actually sit down and eat your meal, go for a surf, practice yoga or go for a massage.

I highly recommend getting in touch with Febri from Feby’lous Bali Nanny or Ani from Mom’s Nanny Care – we have personally used both services. We first met Ani in 2022 and she joined us for a few lunches and afternoon play sessions over the first 2-3 days to see if it was a good fit, and she since joined us again through Bali for three weeks in 2023 – our toddler just loves hanging out with her, and she is incredibly playful and watchful over him. Get in touch with Febri or Ani as soon as you know your dates for visiting Sanur as good nannies are in high demand!

Looking for the best hotel in Sanur? Take my word for it and book your stay at Tandjung Sari if budget allows. This small luxury hotel is the epitome of Balinese luxury and offers a private beachfront area as well as a plunge pool. Though the grounds are sprawling, there is nothing about this place that makes you feel like you are in a stock standard resort – we felt right at home and pampered every second. Check the rates and availability at Tandjung Sari or read my Tandjung Sari hotel review here.

Want to explore even more hotel options in Sanur? You may also want to consider Maya Sanur (a luxury beachfront hotel in Sanur with a fantastic pool and oceanfront restaurant and bar), Andaz Bali (a high end peaceful resort with modern and sleek rooms, perfect for couples) or Hyatt Regency Bali (a family-friendly resort in Sanur with excellent facilities).

So, is Sanur worth visiting?

Moreno coffee in Sanur Bali

Sanur offers the best of both worlds – peace and quiet, but also easy access to excellent restaurants and bars. Getting around is easy and unlike many other places where renting a scooter is almost necessary, you can walk or cycle to most places up and down the Sanur strip.

The beaches in Sanur are generally very clean, and the ocean is fairly swimmable. In my opinion the beaches were more swimmable than those in Canggu where the ocean can be quite rough. However, surfers will find more wave options and bigger waves in Uluwatu and Canggu.

Beaachfront restaurant at the Tandjung Sari in Sanur Bali at night

I can understand why some people might find Sanur too slow-paced for their liking, especially if they’re after a more lively bar or nightlife scene like Seminyak. But if you are looking for a low-key beach holiday in Bali, Sanur has it all. If you are traveling with young children then Sanur is an absolute no-brainer! Personally, we have traveled to many places in Bali and I would 100% visit Sanur, time and time again.

Where to go after Sanur

Beach umbrellas and sunset on the beach in Canggu in Bali

Sanur to Canggu: Canggu is another popular Bali beach destination with breathtaking sunsets, excellent surf, an endless string of cafes and restaurants and proximity to Tanah Lot temple. Canggu is usually approximately an hour’s drive from Sanur depending on the traffic going into Canggu, though this can take up to two hours because of heavy congestion. Here are some of the top things to do in Canggu.

Tis Cafe in Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud Bali

Sanur to Ubud: Ubud in central Bali is one of the top tourist destinations in Bali and often referred to as the cultural capital of the island. It is famous for its emerald cascading rice terraces in Tegallalang, thousands of Hindu shrines, powerful waterfalls and art museums. Ubud is approximately 25-30 kilometres or a one hour drive from Sanur, but like Canggu there can be lots of traffic in/out of Ubud so this drive time can be significantly longer than expected. Here are some of the best things to do in Ubud.

Sanur to Nusa Dua: The resort community of Nusa Dua is on the eastern coast of the Bukit Peninsula, just below Sanur, and a popular option for people who are looking for a relaxing fly-and-flop Bali vacation. This is where you’ll find many 5-star resorts and hotel chains, though if you are already spending time in Sanur during your Bali trip you might want to head elsewhere for a different pace. You can take the overwater toll road between Sanur and Nusa Dua, the drive will take just 30 minutes or so.

Parasols on Seminyak Beach in Bali Indonesia
Photo credit: Alexander2323 via Depositphotos.com

Sanur to Seminyak: The sleek Seminyak is probably the most popular tourist city in Bali. It offers a whole range of swanky beachside resorts and world-class restaurants, along with the perpetually busy Potato Head beach club. If you are looking for an electric and buzzing atmosphere and nightlife then head to Seminyak. Though Seminyak is only 15 kilometres away from Sanur, the drive will take more than half an hour or closer to an hour with the traffic.

Drone photo of Sanur Beach in Bali

I hope this guide to Sanur in Bali helps you to plan your perfect beach getaway!

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