Top 10 Things to Do in Sanur, Bali

Finding things to do in Sanur, this charming seaside town of Bali, may seem not possible as it is on the quieter side. Backing onto a long strip of sandy beach, it lacks the pounding waves of other areas of Bali which makes it a good pick for relaxed swimming and a safe spot for a beach holiday with children. There is a good range of accommodation options in Sanur * as well as a plethora of eateries where you can truly enjoy and dine freshly caught seafood as you take in the beachside views close by.

Sanur does not have many attractions as such, like temples or galleries, but there are still several spots of interest here. One of its charms is its laid back atmosphere without the crowds and throbbing nightlife of areas like Kuta. If you are travelling with a family or simply want to spend some time in a calmer corner of Bali, then Sanur has everything you need.

Here are some of the things you can do in Sanur, yourself or with your family, besides chilling around:

Boat at Sanur Beach, Bali, Indonesia

Boat at Sanur Beach. Photo by Exaudi Ebennezer

View the Blanjong Pillar

The Blanjong Pillar has the claim to fame of being the oldest historical relic in Bali as it dates from 914 AD. If you enjoy uncovering hidden archaeological finds then the pillar is well with a stop when you are in Sanur. The pillar is an inscription related to the first king of Bali named Sri Kesari Waemadewa although it has still not been fully translated due to the ancient Sanskrit and Balinese scripts engraved on the stone. The pillar is located down an unmarked lane off Jalan Danau Poso. Walk down the street until you are facing Pura Belanjong and it is the alleyway directly on the left of the pura.

Belanjong Pillar of Sanur, Bali, Indonesia

Belanjong Pillar of Sanur, Bali. Photo by PHGCOM, via Wikimedia Commons

Try out kitesurfing

Sanur doesn’t have any waves which mean that it is often overlooked by those who want to surf in favour of other spots like Kuta and Uluwatu. Many people don’t realise however that Sanur is well known for its water sports and its strong winds make it the perfect place to try your hand at kite surfing. Many of the beaches in Sanur offer kitesurfing activities where you can glide through the water while strapped to a billowing kite.

Kitesurfing / Windsurfing at Sanur, Bali, Indonesia

Kitesurfing / Windsurfing at Sanur

Visit Museum Le Mayeur

Museum Le Mayeur used to be the home of a Belgian expatriate who moved to Bali to make impressionist art. Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merpres lived in Bali until 1958 and his home has now been turned into a showcase of his work. Many of his pieces are portraits of his wife, a famous Balinese dancer name Ni Wayan Polok Tjoeglik. After the death of Le Mayeur, the house became a museum. You can also enjoy the garden and the traditional Balinese compound that the collection is set in.

Eat good local food at Jalan Danau Poso

The centre of Sanur is surprisingly small and there are basically two main roads in the form of Jalan Danau Tamblingan and Jalan Danau Poso. It is on Jalan Danau Poso that you will find some of the best restaurants in Sanur, and many of these focus on local bites rather than Western fare. Look out for Warung Dapur Sanur and Warung Jawa which offer up cheap but delicious Indonesian nasi campur, mixed rice with curries and side dishes.

-> Check out our Top 6 Local Restaurants (Warung) to eat in Sanur

Warung Dapur at Sanur, Bali, Indonesia

Warung Dapur at Sanur, Bali. Photo by Balikutours

Shop on Jalan Danau Tamblingan

The centre of Sanur is quite compact and much of the action takes place on the main artery of Jalan Danau Tamblingan. Here you will find a huge range of arts and crafts shops selling gifts and souvenirs including traditional Balinese trinkets like colourful kites, masks, and wood carvings.

-> Find places to stay in Sanur at Booking.com. Free cancellation. *

Visit the Griya Santrian Gallery

The Griya Santrian Gallery is part of the Griya Santrian Boutique Hotel and is the only real gallery space that you will find in Sanur. The gallery has a range of rotating exhibitions that feature the work of local artists as well as events such as book launches and other arts related showcases. In the past, collections have included paintings, sculpture, photography and even Balinese textiles.

Enjoy the beachfront promenade

One of the signature features of Sanur is the paved path that runs along its coastline. Unlike other parts of Bali which are tricky to walk around, Sanur is the ideal place to go for a stroll. If you are travelling with children then the promenade makes walking around easy even with a stroller. You can hike pretty much the entire length of Sanur along the path. The best times of the day to visit are early morning before the sun gets too fierce and at night under the stars.

A nice walk at Sanur's beachfront promenade, Bali, Indonesia

A nice walk at Sanur’s beachfront promenade. Photo by Matt Croxson, via Wikimedia Commons

Sign up for a dive class

You can’t dive in Sanur exactly but there are a few good dive sites that are just a short boat ride away. If you want to learn to dive, there are a wide range of dive shops and classes to choose from here. The waters close to Sanur are known for teeming with underwater life like puffer fish, lion fish, moray eels, and pygmy seahorses.

Diving at Sanur, Bali, Indonesia

Diving at Sanur, Bali. Photo by Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten

Visit the Turtle Conservation and Education Centre

The Turtle Conservation and Education Centre is nestled on Serangan Island, close to Sanur and is the place to come if you love turtles. The centre is on a mission to educate visitors of the dangers facing turtles in Bali. They also rescue sick or injured turtles before releasing them back into the wild. This is a great stop especially if you are travelling with young children, who will enjoy seeing the cute baby turtles which are born at the centre. You can also spend the rest of your time of Serangan Island exploring a quieter and less visited part of Bali.

A turtle in a sanctuary at Bali, Indonesia

A turtle in a sanctuary at Bali. Photo by Steve Deeves

Soak up the sun at Pantai Indah

Sanur has a long stretch of coastline but the sands here are actually separated into different beaches. It is not clear here where the one beach ends and another begins. As a rule of thumb, one of the best beaches in Sanur is Pantai Indah which is located half way along the main road of Jalan Danau Tamblingan. The best way to get here is the access point in front of Bali Deli which will also take you to Warung Pantai Indah, a beachside cafe. In this cafe, you can also get a range of dishes like tasty satay, curries, and fresh juices or a cold bottle of beer.

Sunrise at Sanur Beach, Bali, Indonesia

Sunrise at Sanur Beach

Beside relaxing and spending your time on the beach in Sanur, you find that there are also quite a number of other activities to choose from. If you are thinking whether to stay in Sanur * during your holiday in Bali, whether you’re on a couple trip or a family trip with kids, you can see that Sanur may be just the place to be.

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Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali

Arguably the most popular temple in Bali, Tanah Lot definitely lives up to its fame, with its dramatic setting. It is one of the six revered, cardinal temples of Bali and is dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea. Tanah Lot means “Land in Sea” in the Balinese language.

Tanah Lot is located at the edge of the rocks, giving it a breathtaking view and look, especially during sunset. The temple itself is 100m offshore and is only accessible to the Hindus. It cannot be reached by anyone during the high tide. The cliff-side path to the north passes the Pura Enjung Galuh temple (behind which are the best views of Tanah Lot) and then some steps down to the beach and onwards to Pura Batu Bolong temple perched atop a rocky headland.

Nowadays, there are many souvenir stalls surrounding the area, catering to the tourists. There are also some eateries that will open up for sunset drinks and meals.

Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali, Indonesia

Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali. Photo by Madeleine Deaton

History and facts

Tanah Lot temple was built back to 500 years ago by a Javanese priest and has been part of the Balinese mythology, venomous sea snakes are believed to guard the temple.

Where is it

Pura Tanah Lot temple is located in Tabanan at the north-west of the southern part of Bali, about 20 km from Denpasar or Kuta.

Side view of Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali, Indonesia

Side view of Pura Tanah Lot Temple. Photo by Vladimir E

Why visit

Although overrun by tourists, Tanah Lot temple is worth a visit just for its architecture, location and its significance as a very important worship place in Bali. The stroll over ragged ocean stones and the sunset cast over the whole setting will be unforgettable.

When is the best time to go

Many people come here during the sunset to catch the sun’s setting magic but if you want to avoid the crowd, early morning (before 9 am) is also a good magical time to admire the temple in silence.

Kecak Dance is held here every evening after sunset at 6.30 pm for 45 minutes. There is also a ceremony held here every 6 months, check with the place you stay.

Carvings of Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali, Indonesia

Carvings of Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali. Photo by Ken Marshall

Fees

The fee to enter the grounds surrounding Tanah Lot Temple is 60,000 Rp. (as of 2016). You’re not allowed to enter the temple except to pray. Parking fee for a car is 5,000 Rp. A guide is not necessary.

Opening Times

Open from 7am to 7pm for visitors. For worship purpose it is open for 24 hours daily.

Beach and sea, Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali, Indonesia

Beach and sea. Photo by Thomas Schlosser

Get in and get around

From Kuta or Seminyak – about 45 minutes drive
From Denpasar – public transport are limited and it is not available after sunset.

Where to stay near Tanah Lot

The nearest popular luxurious hotel you can find to Tanah Lot temple is the Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort *. This would be a great choice if you want to keep catching the beautiful sunset by the temple. Besides, there are also affordable hotels nearby such as Villa Puspa and Kubu Kedungu *. If you are in a budget, then you are in for luck with this highly rated affordable inn called Kedungu Surf Camp *

-> Find the best hotel deals near Tanah Lot Temple *

Where to eat

Recommended restaurant here is Melasti Tanah Lot. It is on the headland just north of the temple and has one of the most beautiful settings for a restaurant. Here one can enjoy candlelight dinner of fresh seafood while enjoying the famous sunset view. The meal may be a little expensive and the prime view tables are only reserved for evening diners.

Sunset at Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali, Indonesia

Sunset at Pura Tanah Lot Temple. Photo by koyne


Nearby tourist attractions

Taman Ayun temple at Mengwi – one of our top temples in Bali, this is more unknown but still a very beautiful royal temple.

Travel Tips

It is recommended to hire a car for the day in Bali for other excursions since all the tourists spots are far from each other. The road to Tanah Lot temple is also dangerous, so it is better to hire a car with a driver to take you there, or get a taxi and ask them to wait while you visit.

If you come early in the day, the paddy fields view along the way is worth the slow ride to take it in. A detour to the rugged beaches nearby such as Pantai Seseh is also recommended.

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Top 5 Things to Do in Canggu, Bali

While backpackers looking to party flock to Kuta to spend a hazy night gouging themselves at Sky Garden, and yogis looking to eat, pray, love may find themselves physically and spiritually in Ubud, I found myself instead in a next upcoming hotspot of Bali – Canggu.

Full of cute cafes, fun bars, trendy shops, and decent surfing waves, Canggu is attracting a beautiful crowd looking to escape the cluster of neighboring Seminyak and Kuta. The town is much more mellow, dotted with lush, green rice patties, along cobblestone roads filled with surfers on scooters. It has a small town feel with all the luxurious amenities.

Scooters through Canggu Shortcut, Bali, Indonesia

Scooters through the “famous shortcut” in Canngu, Bali

Here’s our top 5 things to do in Canggu during your visit in Bali:

Eating heathy and local around Canggu

Good coffee and beautiful, bright nalu bowls (Bali’s answer to acai bowls!) are reason enough to make your way to Canggu. Like other places in Bali, there are plenty of affordable healthy eats – it’s probably one of the easiest places to be vegan throughout all of Asia. Some of my favorite haunts include Crate for nalu bowls, quinoa salads and peanut butter shakes from Peloton, a matcha green tea latte and sweet potato toast from Avocado Cafe, and poke bowls with large chunks of freshly caught tuna at Poke Poke. If you’re looking for something more local, there are plenty of Warungs (local food stalls) including my personal favorite, Warung Heboh where it’s buffet style and you pay by item rather than weight which means you can pile heaps on for a cheap and filling meal!

Coffee, desserts, avocado toast at Crate, smoothies, juices, salad at Peloton in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

From left: Coffee and desserts and avocado toast at Crate; Smoothies, juices and salad at Peloton in Canggu, Bali.

Party, drink and live band in Canggu

While Canggu’s nightlife may be a bit more subdued than in other parts of Bali, you can still have a great out and get up early to surf, depending on how many Bintang beers you’ve had the night before. One of my favorite places to drink has to be Pretty Poison in Canggu. Open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, there’s an emptied out swimming pool in the back where skaters show off their tricks to an adoring and attractive crowd sipping on their beers and cocktails. Other must visits include Old Mans, which turns into a party after dark, live rock band included on Friday nights, and Deus, a restaurant/bar/motorcycle shop with a big backyard that gets filled to the brim on Sundays as visitors sway to the live reggae band. There’s also free tacos and tattoos on Tuesday. For a fun day party, Finn’s Beach Club is a trendy and affordable alternative to the more popular Potato Head Beach Club, while the Lawn by Old Man’s Beach is a cheap and great place to curl up on a bean bag. and buy a beer while chatting with the friendly staff who occasionally break out their guitars to serenade lucky guests.

Live Band on Friday nights at Old Man's in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

Live Band on Friday nights at Old Man’s in Canggu, Bali

Chill with spa and massages at Canggu

If you’re still feeling stressed or just simply looking to pamper yourself, there are a few good places for massages, facials, and other spa treatments in Canggu. While prices may vary, Goldust is a popular spot that comes highly recommended. While it’s a bit pricier than other places in Canggu, the bit of extra cash you spend goes a long way in terms of luxury. Always #TreatYoSelf, especially when on holiday.

Goldust, best spa and massage in Canggu Bali, Indonesia

Goldust, best spa and massage in Canggu, Bali

Shopping at markets in Canggu

If you’re looking to take home something unique and fashionable from Bali, Canggu has a decent amount of boutiques and markets filled with trendy goodies. Old Man’s Market which occurs on the last Saturday of every month is a top hit with fashionistas. There’s also a Sunday market by People’s Café with clothes and jewelry made by local artists. And nothing is better than bringing home a bathing suit, the perfect souvenir to remember your wonderful time in Bali.

Jewelry shopping at Sunday's Market in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

Jewelry shopping at Sunday’s Market in Canggu, Bali

Surf at the trendiest spot in Canggu

Of course, no trip to Canggu would be complete without surfing. While Canggu is a becoming a trendy spot amongst beautiful sun seekers, it’s first and foremost a town for surfers. You can take a cheap lesson or rent boards in various sizes right by the beach. The best surf spot for beginners would be Old Man’s beach, while Echo Beach and Berawa are also nice for more seasoned riders. While it’s not exactly empty, the water isn’t as crowded as other neighboring areas.

Surfing babes and new friends at Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

Surfing and new friends at Canggu, Bali – what else do we need?

With its burgeoning popularity, new hot spots for eating, partying, drinking, shopping and massaging are likely to pop-up in this little slice of paradise. What’s your favorite places and things to do in Canggu? Do share with us!

-> Find the best hotel deals in Canggu *

Related articles:
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Jimbaran, Bali: Seafood Dining on a White Sandy Beach

Famed for delicious varieties of beachside grilled seafood, Jimbaran is a quaint, little beach resort town settled along the Jimbaran Bay in South Bali. Every night, Jimbaran comes alive with numerous beachside warungs serving grilled fish varieties on the candlelit tables set on the sand. It is simply a wonderful and unique experience enjoying fresh seafood on the beach while watching the gentle waves of water coming from the sea and ultimately wetting your feet in the sand.

Jimbaran, also sometimes called the “Beverly Hills of Bali”, was actually a little fishing village in its earlier days, where people used to trade their catch at the daily market. Things started to change after the 1980s with the wave of development that completely changed the identity of the village. Today, Jimbaran is home to several luxury resorts, high-end villas, and up-market chain hotels, all catering to the needs of luxury tourists visiting Bali to witness the beauty and the charm of this mesmerizing island.

Jimbaran Beach, Bali, Indonesia

Jimbaran Beach, Bali. Photo by Trans World Productions

Where is it

Jimbaran is located about 15 km from Denpasar and 3 km from Ngurah Rai International Airport in South Bali. It lies between Kuta and the Bukit Peninsula, with Kuta to its northeast and Uluwatu to the southwest.

Why go

Think of a town where you can have a superb seafood dining experience while watching the sunset on a white sandy beach. Jimbaran is the only place on Bali wish provides you with this wonderful opportunity. The town also offers a beautiful coastline along Jimbaran Bay, serving as home to some of the best surfing sites in Bali.

Fishermen at Jimbaran Bay, Bali, Indonesia

Fishermen at Jimbaran Bay, Bali. Photo by Mark Lehmkuhler

When is the best time to go

Although you can visit Jimbaran any time of the year, the period from May to August is usually the best time to visit the town. The cool, pleasant weather makes conditions perfect for traveling during these months. Jimbaran, like other regions of Bali, experiences tropical climate year round. The rainy season lasts from October to March and is usually avoided by tourists for travel purpose.

What to see

Jimbaran beach, a pleasant white sandy beach, with calm waters which makes it completely safe for swimming. One of the favorite activities for tourists on this beach is to enjoy the sunset with food and drink at any of the restaurants located on the beach.

Fish Market at Jimbaran Bay, Bali, Indonesia

Fish Market at Jimbaran Bay, Bali. Photo by Annie Mole

Jimbaran fish market, located at northern end of the Jimbaran bay. Every morning, fishermen return to this traditional fish market to sell their daily catch. Different varieties of fishes are sold here, and all top restaurants of Bali get their fish supply from this market. The best time to visit the market is between 6 am – 9 am when the market is buzzing completely with the activity of buyers and sellers.

What to do

Of course enjoys Jimbaran’s beach barbeques. There are several beachside warungs which serve fresh fishes grilled over coconut husks, and it is an amazing experience enjoying the dinner served at candlelit tables on the sand.

Seafood dining at Jimbaran Bay, Bali, Indonesia

Seafood dining at Jimbaran Bay, Bali. Photo by Güldem Üstün

Surfing on Jimbaran Bay. Jimbaran is one of the safest places in Bali to try surfing and swimming. Some perfect surf breaks are accessible from Jimbaran Bay using chartered boats. The bay is also perfect for swimming. A large number of local children can be seen swimming on the beach in the evenings.

Strolling on the narrow streets of Jimbaran is an activity that most tourists like to enjoy. The town with its small streets and gangs (alleys) appears like a little Balinese society, and watching smiling faces of the locals while walking on Jimbaran streets is a pleasant experience for most tourists.

What and where to eat

Jimbaran is famous for fresh fish barbeques served at most beachfront warungs. You can find many people coming to Jimbaran from areas like Kuta, Sanur, and Nusa Dua just to enjoy the fishes grilled in front of them and served with sauces and vegetables. At every beach-shack warung, you will find a table set out on the sand. Warungs near the Kedonganan fish market offer the cheapest food. Sharkey’s Ayu Wandira, and Pudak are some of the well-known warungs in this area.

Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay, Bali, Indonesia

Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay, Bali. Photo by Sarah_Ackerman

Where to stay

Most of the accommodation available in Jimbaran is up-market, catering to luxury tourists. You can find several beach resorts, 5-star hotels, and high-end villas in the town. Budget accommodation is available but little in number. Rimba Jimbaran by Ayana, Kayumanis Private Villas and Spa, The Villas at Ayana Resort, and Jamahal Private Resort and Spa * are some of the well-known top-end options in Jimbaran.

-> Find the best hotel deals in Jimbaran at Booking.com *

How to get there

Fly into Ngurah Rai International Airport, which is served by many national and international airlines including Garuda Indonesia, Korean Air and Singapore Airlines.

By Taxi – The airport lies just 3 km north of Jimbaran, and a pre-paid taxi costs around Rp 65,000 – 85,000; the exact figures depend on the location of your hotel in the town. Metered taxis are available from outside the airport area and a bit cheaper compared to pre-paid taxis.

By Bus – Dark-blue bemos ply regularly between Tegal bus terminus in Denpasar and Jimbaran (via Kuta). Trans Sarabagita bus service also connects Denpasar to Jimbaran and Uluwatu.

How to get around

You can easily explore Jimbaran’s downtown area and narrow lanes on foot. Like other tourist resorts in Bali, rented motorbikes and metered taxis are also readily available all around the town day and night.

Sunset at Jimbaran Bay, Bali, Indonesia

Sunset at Jimbaran Bay, Bali. Photo by Adam Lai

Where to go nearby

Denpasar, the administrative capital of Bali

Kuta, Bali’s most famous beach resort offering lots of opportunities to enjoy partying and surfing.

Ubud, the center of art and culture in Bali and home to a large number of artistically-designed temples.

Uluwatu, located south of Jimbaran and featuring Uluwatu Temple, one of the oldest existing temples in Bali.

Nusa Dua, a high-class beach resort located southeast of Jimbaran.

Related articles:
Sanur: The Relaxing Beach Resort Town of Bali
Top 10 Areas to Stay in South and Central Bali
Top 10 Best Bali Beaches