15 Best Things to Do in Sanur in 2023
Located just east of Denpasar, Sanur was one of the first popular tourist areas in Bali and for good reason. With a long stretch of white sand beaches, beautiful sunrises, cozy cafes and lively restaurants. Sanur has a reputation for being a more quiet destination with a village vibe, and while it’s true that this is a great place to relax and take a family holiday, there’s also plenty to do in Sanur! That’s why we’ve compiled this list with all the best things to do around Sanur. Whether you plan to come for a day or a stay, be sure to check out some of Sanur’s best highlights.
1. Enjoy the beautiful sunrise
While Sanur is not the place to catch a sunset, it is absolutely an awesome place to watch Bali’s beautiful sunrise. Every morning you’ll find walkers, runners, riders, photographers, locals and tourists all making their way to the beaches of Sanur to catch a gorgeous sunrise. On a clear day, you can see Mount Agung and Mount Rinjani in Lombok from the Sanur beaches. Cemara Beach is one of the best spots to enjoy the sunrise view. Catching a sunrise is the perfect way to start off your day in Sanur!
2. Ride or walk the beach path
The beach path, which stretches over 8 kilometres, is one of the biggest draw cards to the Sanur area and is perfect for walking, running or riding a bicycle. When you find yourself in Sanur, taking a trip down the beach path is a must! You’ll pass everything from local warungs, trendy cafes, markets, fancy resorts, massage stations and plenty more. You’ll see the colourful jukungs (local small wooden boats) everywhere, and there’s always plenty happening on the beach. You can rent a cheap bicycle right beside the beach and start your journey. Some good starting points are Mertasari Beach, Sindhu Beach, or the end of Jalan Kusuma Sari. Read more about Mertasari Beach here.
3. Free morning yoga class
Starting at 7:30 am every morning there is a free yoga class on the beach. Attracting locals, expats and tourists, this is an excellent way to start your day in Sanur. The class is instructed in Bahasa Indonesian, but don’t worry if your Indonesian is still limited because the class is very easy to follow even if you don’t understand anything that’s being said. The class lasts about an hour, and starting your day with some relaxing yoga outside on the beautiful beach will surely put you in a great mood for the entire day. The yoga classes are held on Pantai Karang (accessible via Jalan Pantai Karang). There are no signs but just look for others joining the class or ask a local and they will point you in the right direction.
4. Sindhu Night Market
Sindhu night market gives a contrast to the calming day atmosphere in Sanur. A great place to try all the famous food Bali has to offer, attracting a mix of locals and internationals. With bakso, gulai, chicken soup, nasi goreng and many more of the best Balinese and Indonesian dishes, you will find everything you need to satisfy your cravings and expand your palate. There are plenty of traditional snacks, sweets and refreshing drinks to enjoy while you’re exploring the market, and everything comes for a very good price. The night market opens at 6 pm and closes around 10 pm and makes for an exciting night experience in Sanur, so don’t miss it! Read about all the best night markets in Bali here.
5. Make a pot at Kevala Studio Ceramics
Kevala Ceramics is a household name in Sanur (and indeed in Bali), supplying ceramics to some of the best restaurants on the island. In their intimate, relaxed studio space in Sanur, you can choose from 6 different workshops to learn the craft yourself. Hand-build your clay creation, try your hand at wheel throwing, and learn the art of decorating, there are even classes for kids and those who are advanced potters. Enjoy a hands-on introduction to the world of clay and channel your inner artist. With lots of options for shapes and colours, you can let your creativity run free as you develop a new skill. This super fun experience can be done alone, with friends, or with family, as kids will surely have a lot of fun too! Discover more creative workshops in Bali here!
6. Enjoy fresh grilled seafood at Warung Amphibia
Photo by Mary L
Locally famous warung (which means small, local restaurant) Warung Amphibia is a casual, beachfront place, so beachfront that you’ll be dipping your toes into the sand. They have a seafood display so you can have a look at the fresh catch of the day and choose what you fancy. Known for their friendly service and even more for their delicious seafood platters, this is a must-try restaurant for seafood lovers in Sanur. Treat yourself to a big seafood platter or choose whichever fish you would like grilled, from crab to octopus to a whole grilled fish. Click here for the directions.
7. Canoe or paddle in the calm waters
As the waves are calm and the current is not too strong, Sanur Beach is a great place for canoeing and paddling. You will find rental companies along the beach everywhere but we recommend Semawang Beach, as it offers amazing views, a large area and it’s not too deep. Make your way through the beautiful clear water along the beach and admire life below the water, while anchored local boats add to the scenery. This is the perfect activity for those who want some low-risk adventure fun during their stay in Sanur. These vendors are often even open at sunrise, making this the perfect activity for a unique way to catch the famous Sanur sunrise. Discover more of the best activities to do in Bali here!
8. Take a surf lesson
Bali has rightfully earned its title as one of the most sought-after surf havens in the world. Everyday thousands make their way to beaches of places like Canggu and Kuta to catch some waves, but Sanur also offers two popular locations to surf: Sanur Reef and Tandjung Reef. As the names suggest at both of these spots the waves break over a patch of reef. This means that you’ll have to paddle quite a bit to get there and that the waves break fast. This may make surfing here challenging for beginners but provides an excellent playground for more advanced surfers. Alternatively, if you don’t want to spend time paddling, you can also hire one of the local Jukung boats to bring you there. Sanur is best surfed at high tide in the wet season, so be sure to research the conditions before you plan your surf day. If you’re new to surfing and interested in where to learn in Bali, check out this article!
9. See the kite festival
Kiting is a very popular free time activity in Bali and when the wind is good you’ll find hundreds (if not thousands) of kites flowing through the sky in all different shapes and sizes. You can make your way to one of the beaches around sunset time any day and you’ll find plenty of people kiting, but during the windy months of the year, the kite festival is sure to take your breath away. Held annually between July and October down on Mertasari Beach, the kite festival brings the most talented kite pilots to the beach with their unique and colourful kites. Winners are chosen within different categories and the festival is a spectacle for all attendees. It is said that the kite festival is held as a way to thank the Hindu Gods for their abundance in crops and harvest. The date changes each year so stay tuned to our Instagram where we will post details in our stories.
10. Eat lumpia on the beach
Lumpia is a local favourite snack similar to a spring roll, and the sellers on Sanur Beach are famed for their delicious Lumpias. Brought to Indonesia by Chinese immigrants but adapted and modified to local taste, lumpias have become a favourite snack for many in Bali. They can be filled with shrimp, bamboo shoots or tofu and are often topped with a delicious peanut sauce with or without green chillies. Commonly combined with a refreshing young coconut drink this snack is perfect to satisfy your craving and a must-try for foodies in Sanur. Right along Sanur Beach, at any time of day, you will see the Lumpia sellers walking with large boxes filled with lumpia on their heads. Locals come from all over the Island to taste the delicious Lumpia on Sanur Beach, and you should try them too! Check out these other street foods you must try in Bali too.
11. Brunch at The Hyatt
The Hyatt has been an icon of Sanur Beach for 50 years, and their famous Sunday brunch is a great way to spend a Sunday with an ocean view and delicious food. The all-you-can-eat brunch includes international and local favourites, with seafoods, cheeses, cold cuts, pizza, pasta and more to choose from! Dine by the ocean with live acoustic music in the beautiful scenery. The brunch kicks off every Sunday at 12 pm and lasts until 3 pm. Non-alcoholic drinks are included, with an option to also purchase free-flow cocktails, beers and wines too! Brunch lover? Check out Bali’s best brunch spots.
12. Indonesian feasting at Tandjung Sari
Tandjung Sari is one of the first resorts ever in Sanur and was at the forefront of the influx of tourists to Bali. This little place has built a legacy over the last 60 years and remains equally as popular to this day, as it was all those years ago. Tunjung Sari is located on Sanur Beach shaded by tall trees and remains serene and elegant. To this day you can book your stay at this timeless hotel, but nowadays you can also visit their spa for a relaxing day as well. We recommend trying out their beachfront restaurant for some delicious Indonesian food. The restaurant is one of the most picturesque along the beach, you may recognise the many, many photos that flood the internet of their beachfront location. The Indonesian food is exceptional, along with the service…this place hasn’t held its fame over the years for nothing! Tandjung Sari remains in the hands of the same family that started it all, and they’ve stayed through to their values and quality, bringing good Bali vibes to every customer. Here’s how to get there.
13. Make a trip to Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida
Picture by Madan Kumar
While technically not in Sanur, if you’re staying in Sanur it is the perfect place to start your visit to either one of these neighbouring islands. Sanur boasts one of Bali’s biggest harbours and everyday there are boats leaving the Sanur harbour to bring you along on a 30-minute boat trip to Lembongan or Penida island. Perfect as a day or weekend trip, these islands offer amazing nature views, astonishing beaches, chill vibes and of course their famous beautiful snorkelling spots where you can even swim along with the manta rays! Check out our article with everything you need to know if you plan a day trip to Nusa Penida!
14. Enjoy a massage on the beach
Bali is full of massage spots where you can get anything from a foot rub to a traditional Balinese massage to aromatherapy treatments. There are plenty of great full-day spas in Sanur, but sometimes nothing beats a relaxing massage right on the beach! If you take a little walk on the beach you’ll find many beach massage stations to enjoy a no-frills oceanfront massage. It’s quite the experience to relax with the ocean breeze and all the sounds of the beach in the background. Not to forget these massages are very easy on the pocket too! When you’re taking your walk, ride or run along Sanur Beach, consider stopping at one of the many massage stations located all along the beachfront.If you’re looking for the best spa experiences in Bali check out this article.
15. Try the gelato at Massimos
Italian restaurant Massimos has become an icon in Sanur and for good reason! This chef-owned restaurant serves delicious pasta and pizza, but it is most famous for its street-front gelato bar. It’s quite popular so in the evening big crowds gather around the gelato bar, but don’t worry, there are usually 4 servers behind the bar ensuring everyone gets their gelato fix fast. First, you’ll choose if you want your gelato in a cup, a cone or a waffle and how many scoops you want, then you can pick your favourites out of their massive selection of flavours. Delicious ice cream with so many flavours, you will be coming back for more! While a visit to Massimos makes for the perfect end to your Sanur day, you may want to visit earlier in the day to skip the queues.
We hope this list helps you to explore what is arguably one of our favourite areas of Bali (and also the part of Bali that we call home!). Sanur is perfect for a day trip, but even better for a stay! If you are planning to spend some time in Sanur, you can check out all of our favourite places to stay in the area here.
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