We had no immediate plans leaving the Gili Islands except needing to be on the Indonesian island Java in ten days. We also knew we wanted to try surfing.
Some of the popular areas of Bali, include Kuta, Seminyak and Jimbaran all of which we have been warned to stay away from because “it’s a party scene full of belligerent young Australians on holiday”. Literally, everyone has used that phrase as a description.
We toyed with the idea of going to an area called Uluwatu, which is touted as the 4th best surfing spot in the world but we couldn’t seem to find a decent accomodation on our budget. Google searching showed resorts that out priced us or surf bungalows, and not much else.
Eventually I read about the town of Sanur, locally known as “Snore” by young travelers, as it is not a party town. It’s on the beach, has beautiful sunrises, is very walkable and has affordable accommodation. We looked further into it and after Nate found an awesome deal at a brand new 4 star hotel, we booked 2 nights to check it out. We took a cheap uber from the port that we had been dropped at from Gili T and less than 20 minutes later, we arrived.
Nate and I were both feeling under the weather which Gili T is to blame from the late nights, drinking, and the hot/cold contrast from intermittent power. We were looking forward to recovering in the quaint town of Sanur.
We walked across the main road that is nicely laid out with shops, restaurants and massage parlors. We chose Canang Grill to grab some lunch. Already, we liked the vibe in Sanur, it has a very local, livable vibe, not too touristy with nice standards.
Sanur was once the first touristy town in Bali, so it has long been established. Though the tourist market has moved over to Ubud and Kuta it’s set up very well for visitors.
Our time in Sanur was almost too boring to blog our daily activities mostly in part to us both being sick for part of the time and pretty lazy the rest. Exhibit A and B below.
Instead, we summarized our time because it’s worth highlighting this sweet town.
Lets start with the fact that we extended our reservation from two nights to six nights after arriving. We could not beat the deal Nate scored us on such a nice hotel so we took full advantage of their grand opening rates.
Our days were spent trying all of the great restaurants Sanur offers. Our favorite restaurants were Soul Bowl and Dusk Blue. Both had vibes that would not feel out of place in New York, but at one third the price.
We rented chairs at the beach (which is just okay in Sanur). Far from crystal clear waters or white sand beaches but a beach none the less and there are pretty pagodas adding to the scenery.
The coastline has a long walking path that you could probably run along for at least 30 minutes, maybe even longer which makes for a pleasant stroll through shops, restaurants, street stalls and lots of stray pups. Everyone was so friendly and their are minimal hawkers, except cabs… they always honk at you to see if you need a ride which gets old.
We spent almost every day at the hotel pool because it was really nice! The rooftop has beautiful views of the town and beach.
We ate mangosteens every morning from the hotel buffet…mmm
Nate took surf lessons one afternoon. My shoulder hasn’t healed yet from my canyoning injury so I decided that swimming for two hours against the surf was probably not a smart investment. The surf breaks really far from the beach, so you take a boat out.
One afternoon we rented a motorbike to drive to a restaurant further away and use it to tour the outer areas. We also got cheap massages that were not very good but at $6 for an hour what can you expect!
One of very favorite things to do in Sanur was get up around 5:30 am and watch the sunrise. We watched it from three locations.
We took the motorbike to the swimming beach since it’s a solid 20 minute walk that neither of us wanted to do at 5:30 am.
Our time here was so pleasant and we throughly enjoyed ourselves. Though Sanur is not a town that draws tons of tourists compared to Kuta, I could see why expats would relocate here. There is a high standard that matches Western expectations yet still feels very authentic to Balinese life.
Next up…we go against all advice and venture to the west coast to see what the hype is about and spend our last 5 days in Bali.