Sanur and its beach is Bali’s first tourist destination and today it is still very popular. The village has a very relaxed atmosphere that lacks the hustle and bustle of Kuta beach and is not so uptight as the strip of hotels in Nusa Dua.
But what about the beach? Is Sanur beach nice? Sanur beach is actually a long string of nice beaches. The beaches where large resorts are located are a bit busier than those with public access. However, the whole of Sanur beach is clean and the water is calm. The beach can experience a dramatic low tide which changes the character of the beach.
Make sure you take the tides into consideration. Swimming is not possible at low tide unlike at high tide. Then Sanur beach is a wonderful place to jump into the ocean.
As mentioned earlier, not every part of Sanur beach is the same. We particularly recommend the beaches in the central part of town where the sand is soft and there is a shade under the trees.
Continue reading to find out what to expect at Sanur beach and which beach spots are our favorite in Sanur.
What is Sanur beach like?
Sanur beach is a couple of beaches combined that are connected by a 6km beachfront path accessible for pedestrians and bikers only. Sanur still has a strong local communal feel to it. The big hotels along the beach and in town are mostly owned by local Balinese families instead of big foreign corporations.
If you look beyond the beach you will soon see areas where local Balinese people live, making Sanur very different from other villages in the south of Bali.
On Sundays, local people come here to enjoy the beaches too. It’s funny to experience the sudden transformation of the beach. On regular days the beach is centered around the tourist.
The only local you will see is probably the fishermen standing with his rod in the water. But on Sundays, the beaches are crowded with families enjoying the beach and taking selfies. Food sellers are everywhere selling sate, fried tofu, steamed peanuts, etc.
It’s a nice change if you have been in Sanur a couple of days already. When traveling with our little son we realized he misses playing with kids. Luckily enough kids are very open and curious. On Sundays our son always seems to find someone to play with at the beach in Sanur.
Is Sanur beach clean?
The beach resorts and restaurants along Sanur beach ensure that the beaches are always clean. So there is hardly any trash on the beach. The water is clean too.
Of all the times we have been in Sanur we only experienced a bit of plastic-soup once. However, we have never experienced the abundance of trash as we did at Kuta and Jimbaran beach. I remember that there was heavy rain the night before, so that might have been the reason for the sudden trash.
Luckily there are many people at Sanur who make the effort to pick up the trash from the beach.
Is Sanur Beach good for swimming?
Sanur beach is one of the best beaches in Bali for swimming. There are hardly any waves plus the water is crystal clear. Since we are not hardcore swimmers, we can’t really say if it is good for long-distance swimming. We have never seen swimmers far out, unlike Jimbaran and Geger beach.
Understandably swimming is only possible at high tide. And another thing you should know about is the seaweed/grass.
I have a hard time swimming through the seagrass. So I always keep close to shore. Luckily the water is clear so you can easily find a sandy patch taking you deeper into the water. The Hyatt and many other hotels remove the grass in front of their premises.
Small children love swimming at this beach. The sand is soft, there are hardly any rocks in the water and the waves are at a minimum.
The first time we were here with our son we were not planning to swim. But when he saw the water he took all his clothes off and went skinny dipping. The water is just too hard to resist.
Which Part of Sanur is the best?
As mentioned earlier there is a lot of diversity of beaches in Sanur. We once spent a night at a beach resort but were disappointed that their beach was not as nice as the one we experienced further south.
The top 3 best beaches in Sanur that we recommend are:
- Batu Jimbar beach,
- the beach at the Hyatt resort
- Duyung beach.
The tidal influences are big at these three beaches are big. When it is high tide the water can come pretty close to the beach, leaving a narrow path of sand left.
It might not sound ideal, but the sand is extremely clean and soft at the end. Believe me, nature knows how to create the best beaches.
Low tide is another matter. Then it looks like all the water has been sucked away. Everything looks muddy, something you don’t expect from a tropical beach. But don’t worry, the water will rise again.
That said, the low tide has its advantages. Our son loves to wade into the water searching for fish, crabs, and seashells. A wonderful thing to do even for adults.
For the tidal conditions that suit you best, we suggest checking the tide charts online. They are very precise.
To get to these beaches we alway hop on our bicycle around nine in the morning and cycle to Jl. Pantai Batu Jimbar. This little street is hard to spot, but it is located between the Maya resort and Parigata Resort and Villas.
The Paneeda resort sometimes places sun loungers at this beach, but other than that the beach is very quiet. A great thing about Sanur beach is that you can find trees and shrubs at the beach.
During the dry season, they offer a lot of shade. We can easily spend the whole morning here. There are no restaurants or sun loungers but if you walk a bit further you will find stalls selling drinks, fresh fruits, and coconuts.
We like to switch locations for the atmosphere. So after lunch we often go to our favorite beach, Duyung beach accessible through Jalan Duyung. Here you will find a totally different scene.
Along the beachfront pathway, there is a string of restaurants and shops. Water sport activities are also available so there are many boats in the water.
It feels much busier here but we don’t really mind. We like to pick a restaurant right at the beach, order some drinks and snacks while jumping in the water whenever we feel like it.
In front of the Hyatt, there is another gorgeous beach. We are not sure if you are allowed to hang out there if you are not a guest. We spent a couple of afternoons here when they were doing renovations at the resort. It was deserted and the water was really nice, hardly any seaweed.
What about the other beaches in Sanur?
Make sure you check other beaches too. The beachfront pathway is the ideal way to do so.
The path starts in the northern part of the village. Here you can find Matahari beach, Segara Ayu beach, and Karang beach.
The wide beaches in north Bali are often located between the breakwaters. These breakwaters prevent the high tide from setting in and affecting the beaches.
Big beach resorts are able to place many sun-loungers at these parts of the beach and there are many restaurants here for guests to enjoy.
The high tide might not be a good thing when there’s a lot of activity going on at the beach. But we think that the sand along the northern beaches feels somewhat dusty. It is never ‘replaced’ by the ocean, unlike the beaches, we enjoy going to in the center of town.
A little bit further south you’ll find Mertasari beach. Again this is a huge beach and there is one breakwater. Unlike the north part of Sanur beach, you’ll find more water activities here. Boats and jet skis come and go. Nevertheless, the beach is still nice and because of her size, it doesn’t feel crowded at all.
Getting Around Sanur beach?
It’s very easy to find your way around Sanur. The only two main streets to remember are Jalan Danau Tamblingan which runs into Jalan Mertasari after the crossroad and the perfect walk path along the beach.
The three options to explore Sanur is:
- by bicycle, Sanur is the best town in Bali for the bike as traffic isn’t that crazy
- by motorbike, a comfortable and fast way to get you to places in Sanur
- on foot, Sanur has well-maintained footpaths every in town
- by mini-bus, the public bus that runs from north and south Sanur.
- Grap or Gocar app, beware that there are places where these drivers are not welcome
Getting around Sanur by Bike
The best and highly recommended way to get around in Sanur is by bike. You can rent one for Rp. 40.000 a day. They even have child seats so little children can tag along safely. The bikes do not have lights though. So if you plan to cycle in the evening bring a portable bicycle light.
Sanur is perfect by bike because the roads are flat, everything is pretty close by and the traffic is not all that busy. But the best part is that you are allowed to take your bicycle along the beachfront path. This is one of our favorite things to do at Sanur beach. In the early morning, we just cycle from north to south.
The bicycle is also the ideal form of transportation if you are not staying at one of the big beach resorts but in hostels or at an Airbnb in one of the many side streets.
Getting Around Sanur by motorbike
You can also rent a motorbike which costs Rp.70.000 a day. Make sure you have an international license as this is one of the few places where they ask for one.
The only downside of exploring Sanur by bike is that the motorbike isn’t allowed along the beachfront path.
There are however a lot of side streets that take you straight to the beach where you can park the bike. On Sunday’s it can get really busy which makes parking almost impossible.
Getting around Sanur on foot
Sanur on foot is also a great possibility. The pavements lead you everywhere in town and are really well maintained.
That is why Sanur is popular among parents who want to take their baby around in a buggy. Wheelchair access is also really good in Sanur.
Getting around Sanur by public transport
When you have walked too much you can always jump in the local mini-buses along the road. The route of these mini-buses runs from north to south along the major roads in town.
It will cost you not more than Rp. 5000 per ride. You can hop on or off wherever you want. Just let the driver know. It’s the favorite mode of transport for the locals so you might find it an interesting experience.
Getting around Sanur by taxi
Sanur is also pretty flexible when it comes to the Grab and Go-car App. If you don’t see a sign nearby then it is very likely you can use one of the apps for pick-up.
Pick-ups are not allowed at the big resorts such as the Hyatt, Mercure resort and the area nearby Hardy’s, the big supermarket in town.
If it is just the two of you then we suggest selecting two Go-bikes. Going by motorbike taxi makes it easier to get to the beaches and back. Beaches with public access such as Duyung beach allow pickup. Little children who fit in between the driver and yourself are acceptable.
The Go-Jek app is also ideal if you want to spend the evening in your Airbnb or hostel. They have the Go-food option if you want to order takeaway food. The driver can pick up the food at the restaurant and you pay the driver once he arrives. Most small scale hotels who don’t offer dinner possibilities accept food delivery too.
What else can you do at Sanur Beach?
Besides enjoying the beach and its water, there are many other things you can do in Sanur. We enjoy doing the following:
- watching the stunning sunrise
- jogging or cycling along the beachfront path
- joining a local yoga class at the beach
- visiting the morning market
- hop on a traditional fishing boat for a tour or for some snorkeling or surfing
- many water activities available such as parasailing and sea kayaking
- visit the Mangrove Information Center
- stroll along the main roads for some shopping
- enjoy a spa
- visit Le Mayeur museum
- International Kite Festival in July or September
Sanur starts the day with a stunning sunrise every morning around 6 am. You will have a great view of Lembongan island, Penida island, and the majestic and sacred Gunung Agung volcano.
If you are an early riser and like to do some jogging or cycling, the beachfront path provides the ideal way to get to know the area. We also saw a large yoga group at the beach at the Jalan Pantai Karang entrance. Looking at the mix of people we are sure you are allowed to join. Check out their Sanur Yoga Facebook group and ask around.
After sunrise, you should try to head to the morning market called Pasar Sindu. It is nice to wander around and even get some sweet cakes or local breakfast here.
Besides swimming another great thing to do is head to the blue lagoon which is protected by a reef against the high waves. It’s ideal for snorkeling and windsurfing or for taking a tour with a ‘jukung’, a traditional fishing boat.
On the beachfront path, you’ll run into the local jukung boatmen who are waiting to sail you around on their colorful boats. They can take you to the reef, around the lagoon, to Benoa harbor all the way up to the turtle island of Serangan.
On Sanur beach, you can also arrange other water activities such as water skiing, deep-sea fishing, parasailing, windsurfing, sea kayaking, jet ski or diving. Surfing is also possible during the rainy season when the winds are offshore.
The best way to reach the surf breaks is by arranging a boatman from the Jalan Hang Tuah harbor, at Duyung beach or further south nearby the Prama Sanur Beach hotel. Organized tours with boatmen or independent boatmen can take you to the reef.
Another great way to spend some time is to head to the Mangrove Information center. It is just 10 minutes from Sanur and you can walk through the mangrove forest while learning more about the importance of this ecosystem. Kids will have fun too.
Besides water activities, you can also do other great things in Sanur such as visiting the Le Mayeur museum, going shopping or enjoying a relaxing spa treatment.
And if you happen to be in Bali between July and September then try to go to Sanur to witness the amazing International Kite Festival where the Balinese compete with giant kites.
Is Sanur worth visiting?
We highly recommend visiting Sanur beach. We think that this beach has better quality of the sand and the water is nicer than the Kuta and Seminyak area. Especially if you are traveling with children.
Couples and the elderly will definitely enjoy the relaxed atmosphere in Sanur too. The choice of restaurants is diverse, budget and culinary wise. Additionally, Sanur is a nice place to continue your journey to other villages in Bali such as Ubud, Candidasa, Munduk or to Nusa Lembongan island.
However, as mentioned earlier some travelers are disappointed when they experience low tide during their stay. If you want to avoid this as much as possible avoid Sanur during the full moon and use a Tide App to check when the low tide sets in.