When I had finally convinced Mr ESLT that we should go to Bali the next decision we needed to make was where on the island we should stay. We did some research and realised that the island is not that big therefore wherever we chose we could use as base to explore the rest of the island, we did not have to keep packing up our backpacks and move around. We knew from the start that we did not want to stay in Kuta as we knew the reputation that it has and if we were 10 years younger than maybe, just maybe we may have chosen to stay there. However as a married couple in our early 30s (me) and early 40s (Mr ESLT) we decided that we wanted to stay somewhere a lot less crazy and a lot more intimate. After, further research we decided that the southern beach town of Sanur was the winner.
Once booked Mr ESLT mentioned to some of his work colleagues that we were basing our trip to Bali in Sanur to be told it was ‘Grannies Paradise’!!! This worried us slightly however not to the point where we felt we needed to change our booking. To be honest has long as there were a few nice restaurants and bars together with a lovely clean beach we would be happy.
We visited in October which is considered ‘low’ season in Bali when the temperatures are in the high 20s/low 30s however the humidity can sometimes hit 100% as it’s just a few weeks before ‘the rains’ come. Low season does however mean that accommodation is reasonable priced as fewer people visit the island, so there are bargains to be had. We stayed at the lovely Bahagia Villas complete with private pool for 10 nights at a cost of approximately £80 per night. From what we had heard about Sanur coupled with the fact it was low season we were expecting to be the only people in the town. We were however pleasantly surprised to find that Sanur is not the back water town which people had led us to believe it was and that it had plenty of people milling around creating a lovely buzz with a laid back atmosphere.
Sanur is located roughly 30 minutes from Ngurah Rai International Airport located in Bali’s capital Denpasar. Which meant we did not have far to travel once we had landed after our 17 hour flight from the UK. After 12 solid hours sleep and a take away pizza (please don’t judge, we all know airplane food can be rubbish). We were taken on a tour of the town by the owner of our villa complex. He drove us round the town which isn’t that big and easy to explore on foot. He also pointed out his favourite bars and restaurants which we found really useful as there are so many bars and restaurants we wouldn’t have been able to visit them all during our stay.
The beach at Sanur is beautiful with a lot of boat traffic especially early in the morning when the fishermen are bringing in their ‘catch of the day’ to be sold that evening at local restaurants. The beach front itself has a 5km path which you can walk, cycle or even Segway up and down. Water sports are popular here too so if jet skiing or paragliding are your thing then this is the place for you. There are a lot of street vendors in Sanur selling their wares ranging from clothes to fridge magnets – remember to haggle with them, you may be able to bag yourself a bargain. If bartering over a couple of quid is not your thing Sanur is also home to a department store/supermarket called Hardys where the price you see is the price you pay.
Taxis in Sanur are very reasonable. If going head to head with the millions of motorbikes in the town is not your idea of a good time when walking into/around town – grab a cab! There seems to be a flat rate in Sanur of 30,000IDR (around £1.45) and most, if not all are air-conditioned. Try were possible to get a Bluebird Cab. If that’s not possible don’t forget to remind your driver to switch on their meter as soon as they pick you up and many ‘forget’ and then try to overcharge you!
Food and drink in Sanur (and to be fair all of Bali) is cheap especially compared to Western prices. Mr ESLT and I were having a starter each, a main course each, sharing a pud and washing it all down with 4 local beers (Bintang) each a night for no more than around £25. Cocktails and long drinks are more expensive in comparison as spirits are all imported. As is steak, this is brought in from Australia. Also, regardless of what restaurant you decide to eat at you will find the Balinese staple of nasi goreng, although some places are nicer than others.
Here are a few of our favourite places in Sanur:-
- Bamboo Bar – beach bar in the Prama Sanur Beach hotel. Here you will find GREAT cocktails, bar snacks and lovely fresh pizza cooked in their on site wood burning oven. Why not chill out at the end of a long day sightseeing/sunbathing with a frozen daiquiri whilst listening to the waves lapping on the white sand beach?
- Massimo – a fantastic Italian restaurant. So good we ate here two nights in a row! I chose the cheese and tomato calzone on both visits as it was that delicious. In fact it was the nicest pizza I have ever eaten outside of Italian. This may have something to do with the owner actually been Italian. He actually came round the restaurant and spoke with a number of patrons to ensure the food and service was up to scratch. The gelato here is also amazing and there was often a queue of 10 or so people waiting for some at the counter at the front of the restaurant on the street.
- La Brucetta –where we got the aforementioned take away delivered from. Lovely fresh pizzas/pasta delivered super fast directly to your door. We actually got two deliveries from here, one on our first night and once on a ‘pool day’ when we needed lunch but couldn’t drag ourselves away from our pool and kindles.
- Lilla Pantai – right on the beach front and a great place to grab lunch or dinner. We grabbed lunch here on our last day in Bali and I wish we had, had time to visit for dinner. This is a great restaurant to order seafood from, a lot of their menu is dedicated to it. At this restaurant you can also find a number of light lunches including sandwiches and paninis which are great if you don’t fancy a heavy midday meal in the hot Bali heat.
It may be the case that Sanur used to be a quiet seaside town which appealed to older generations but not anymore. Now it is a bustling town that attracts couples and families alike and having visited the length and breadth of the island I think it’s safe to say we chose the most suitable location to use a base for our adventure in Bali.