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Sanur, Bali; Peaceful coastal ambiance
Stretching along five kilometres of east-facing coastline, and known for its relaxed atmosphere, this former fishing village oozes plenty of charm and character. Here, the quiet beaches of the Bali Sea are protected by reefs, and provide the perfect backdrop to a daily stroll. If revitalising is your main goal, then a dip in the warm waters will satisfy that need. Most coastal hotels in Sanur feature direct access to a private beach in addition to in-house spa facilities and lush green landscaped grounds. An abundance of eclectic restaurants, shops and entertainment venues, along with a wealth in arts and culture also form the fabric of Sanur. Whether it’s a family holiday or a relaxing retreat, from night markets to festivals, there’s plenty to do and see.
Discover Sanur’s rich culture
Cultural and religious duties of Hindu Bali are still taken very seriously, and Sanur’s ancient traditions are strong. It’s still known around Bali as home to the high priests, and a walk along Jalan Danau Beratan showcases some of the elaborate gates of the priest’s homes. Clad in white robes, they tend the temples and provide guidance to the community. A visit to one of these temples, which is the focal point of Balinese life, requires woman to wear a sarong and sash. The Pura Tirta Empul Segara Merta Sari is a water temple near the town of Tampaksaring, where Balinese Hindus go for purification. As a sign of respect, visitors to the temple should never stand or seat themselves at a higher level than the priest.
Fishing also forms a large part of the Balinese culture, and those who rise early enough can catch a glimpse of the colourful jukung sailboats lining the coast. Many travellers hire a jukung to spend some time on the calm waters snorkelling, diving, or fishing.
It’s worth a visit to the Sindhu Beach Art Market on Jalan Pantai Sindhu, where locals showcase paintings, woodcarvings, jewellery, and handicrafts. It’s also a great place to source a Balinese souvenir.
Unique dishes in Sanur
Cuisine from all around the world is offered in Sanur, and if you choose to dine like a local, be aware that some of the long-standing warungs, which are pop-up eateries right on the beach, run out of food before lunch time due to their popularity. Popular choices like chicken betutu, a richly spiced Balinese poultry dish, and Ayam Sisit, which is shredded chicken with a Balinese salsa sauce are readily available, while the highly recommended deep fried fermented yam with ice-cream is a popular choice for desert.
Freshly made dishes like lawar can be found at the night markets, where a unique combination of grated coconut, minced meat, and a mix of crunchy vegetables tantalizes the taste buds. A unique ingredient of traditional lawar is animal blood for added colour and flavour.
Indonesian specialities like tuna steak and beef rendang - a spicy meat dish that originated from the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia; can be found along Sanur’s beachfront. Cuisine in Bali often uses a unique combination of herbs and spices to create a culinary experience that is true to the island.
Festivals of note
Visitors arriving in Sanur to celebrate the annual festivals make sure they don’t miss the Bali Kite Festival, an international festival that takes place each July. Different villages around Bali fly giant kites competitively that are up to ten metres in length. Because of the popularity of this event, most hotels in the Padang Galak area become fully booked quite early in the year. Another well-attended festival is the Sanur Village Festival. It runs for a week during the month of August, and combines sporting events such as fishing off the waters of Sanur Beach, along with runners from Bali and the rest of Indonesia who compete along the main coast. The festival also highlights food, culture, and environmental awareness.
The beach is the place to be
Whether it’s for a little time-out alone, or a family outing, the beaches in Sanur entice both locals and tourists alike with their golden sands and warm waters. Enjoy the sun, take a dip in the surf, then stroll along the paved pathways for a refreshing drink and a bite to eat. During low tide, visitors can walk all the way out to the exposed reefs, and the best time to enjoy a swim is on either side of high tide. Those up for it, can try parasailing or windsurfing, and for the little ones, inflatables are available for hire. Sundays are especially busy when a large part of the Bali population tends to descend on the beaches. Hawkers along the sand sell everything from coconuts to corn-on-the-cob.
Another unique experience for tourists is to explore the giant underwater rock pools, which are lined with a reef bed instead of tiles, and after a busy day of surf, sand and sun on the beach, night-gazers can settle down and admire the reflection of the moonlight on the calm translucent waters of Sanur Beach.