Just as in the past famous painters have tried to capture the special Sanur daylight on canvas, present-day photographers are intrigued to catch its mystical light with modern cameras. Evidence of this love story that resulted in many paintings can still be found in the Le Mayeur Museum. But there’s so much more to explore and to be found ‘only in Sanur’.
The name Sanur apparently means a very special place to visit. Let’s discover what this friendly incomparable beach village in South-East Bali has to offer besides its unique history. When you are considering visiting Sanur or staying there for a couple of days why not read the quick facts which are good to know? To explore Sanur’s special hotspots then read the ten insiders’ tips which will take you off the beaten track.
Quick facts about Sanur
- Sanur is well known for its spectacular sunrises from the Badung strait above the Bali Sea.
- It is also loved for the occasional rise of a miraculous red full moon out of the sea.
- The reef makes it very safe and easy to swim off the coast.
- The 6 km sidewalk on the Sanur beach is the longest in all of Bali.
- The Dutch set foot on Sanur Beach in 1906 to capture it as the last part of the Dutch Indies Colony. Remarkable if you consider that the Dutch had already ruled for about 300 years in this area.
- The oldest recorded writing in Bali is in Sanskrit and can be found in Sanur.
- The Inna Grand Bali Beach Hotel has a special room devoted to Sukarno, the first president of Indonesia.
- The first museum in Bali was formally established in 1953 when the house of Le Mayeur was opened.
Our house is a splendid entourage for her beauty.
Follow the 6 km sidewalk to start exploring the first hotspots. Start walking or take a bicycle up North from ‘Pantai satu’ (‘the first beach’) at Jalan Hangtuah to the most southern beach at Pantai Mertasari, where our list ends with the kite hotspot on the coast. Finally, two extraordinary café-restaurants in Sanur are worth mentioning for their unique concept: Annapura and Manshed.
#1 Painter Le Mayeur and his muse Pollok.
‘I have built a house in front of the sea far from other buildings and especially far from other Europeans. It’s in the middle of a rice field and it can only be reached via the beach. Our house is a splendid entourage for her beauty.’
This house is now a museum where you can see the living quarters of the Flemish painter and his wife Pollok. The paintings are reminders of their extraordinary relationship. Pollok was a Legong dancer who was saved from a forced marriage by Le Mayeur, who asked her father for permission to marry her instead of the first man of his choice.
Via this online archive of a Dutch Institute, you can find black and white pictures of Le Mayeur and Pollok, also when she poses for him. The original text from his letter explaining how they met can also be found on this website.
Museum Le Mayeur, Sanur’s first museum, is dedicated to the painter and the beauty of his model and wife Ni Wayan Pollok Tjoeglik (1917-1985). To give you an impression of the recent value of his work. In 2014 one of Le Mayeur’s paintings of their garden in Sanur was auctioned for $860.000 in Australia.
Museum Le Mayeur
Jalan Pantai Sanur, Sanur, Bali
#2 President Sukarno spiritual residence in room 327
The highest landmark on the beach of Sanur is the Inna Grand Bali Beach Hotel. You can see it from afar even if you drive along Bali’s coastal main road. Since it was opened in 1966 a new rule in Bali quickly followed restricting the height of new buildings to not more than a coconut tree (15 metres).
It was Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno who enabled the establishment of this hotel with money from Japan as compensation for the war. He chose this spot in honor of the goddess Nyi Roro Kidul, the queen of the Southern Seas. A fire in 1993 almost destroyed all the rooms in the hotel except room 327 which was saved. Find out the amazing story of this room and read about its background in this Balidaily article with unique photos of the interior:
Jalan Hang Tuah, Sanur Bali P.O.Box 3275 Denpasar 80032 Bali
Telephone : +62-361-288511
#3 Local food in Sanur
#3A Beach food
At many places along the beach, you can enjoy roasted fresh corn from the grill. The local people like to eat it with a sauce of butter and sambal (hot chili sauce), but it’s also nice to enjoy it plain. Another favourite is a mix of tahu and tempe (made from soya beans) covered in peanut sauce and wrapped in a small piece of paper.
#3B Mak Beng Fishfood
If you don’t mind standing in line for your food try Warung Mak Beng. Insiders swear this is the best fishmeal in the village. Most of the time people share a table with strangers just to get a chance to eat here and enjoy the fried fresh fish, with fish soup, white rice and homemade sambal.
Jalan Hang Tuah 45, Sanur, Bali
#3C Night market Sanur
Another favourite spot to enjoy local Indonesian food is the night market in Sanur. Try the ‘nasi campur’ (rice with a choice of meat, fish, vegetables and vegetarian food), ‘gorengan’ (deep fried food, often a mix of vegetables, sweet potato and tahu and tempe made from soyabeans), ‘bakso’ (soup with beef meatballs), ‘mie kuah’ (noodle soup).
Pasar Sindhu Night market
North of Jalan Danau Tamblingan, Sanur Bali
#4 Where to sleep – budget, authentic or luxury?
#4A Lila Homestay
Lila Homestay is a very nice and clean homestay with basic rooms with fans and rooms with AC and hot water. It’s close to Sanur’s night market and only a ten minute walk from the beach. Contact Mr. Wayan Janiawan (Komang) for availability.
Jalan Danau Tamblingan 6
#4B Tandjung Sari
Tandjung Sari Hotel is one of the most authentic hotel buildings on Sanur’s beach. It began as a private bungalow in 1962 for its owner Wija Wawo-Runtu (1926–2001) and his English wife Judith when they came to Bali from Jakarta on shopping trips for their antique business. ‘Soon extra bungalows were built to accommodate friends, then friends of friends. It became a hotel almost without anyone noticing it; but within a few years it was internationally renowned among smart people as the place to stay, if you could get in.’ More background information can be found in the book Tandjung Sari: A Magical Door to Bali
Jalan Danau Tamblingan 41, Sanur, Bali
Telephone +62- 361-288441
#4C Challenging deluxe Balinese style at Hotel Maya
At first, the building of the Hotel Maya was looked upon with disapproval. It seemed like the resurrection of a provocative huge ugly monster. But since starting operations early 2015 more and more people are impressed by the hotel and even charmed by its design. ‘Internationally renowned for expressing a distinctive design attitude, the award winning architect, Budiman Hendropurnomo celebrates the timeless heritage and classic elements of Bali with an innovative concept that elevates Balinese aesthetics to new heights.’ This and more information about the layout of this resort can be found on the website. Be one of the first to experience the newest hotel sensation in Sanur.
Jalan Danau Tamblingan 89M, P. O. Box 3253
Sanur, Bali, Indonesia 80228
#5 Beachlife solitude or hang out with the locals
#5A Luxury sunbeds
No doubt on the 6 km stretch in Sanur you will find a special beach to your liking. Beware that Sunday is a favourite day for the local families to spend at the beach, especially at the end of the day it gets very busy. If you like privacy and a nice white sandy beach almost all to yourself, head over to the beach in front of the Bali Hyatt Hotel. This hotel is currently closed, but you can rent a sunbed for 50.000 IDR per day. A big beach towel from the hotel is provided and nobody will bother you here.
#5B local life and goods
If you would like to get in touch with locals and learn more about life in Sanur contact Kety. Kety is one of the oldest beach vendors on Sanur beach where she works in a small store near Pantai Sindhu. She speaks enough English to introduce you to everything there is to know or to buy in Sanur.
Telephone Kety: +62-831-1486-3353
#5C Balinese arts
Unique in Bali and in Sanur are the women who play in a gamelan orchestra in a temple. Along the beach, you will find several temples and local artists like woodcarvers and painters selling their work as souvenirs. Under the sponsorship of the Tandjung Sari Foundation childrens’ Balinese dance practice classes can be seen near the hotel’s pool on Fridays and Sundays from 3 pm to 4.30 pm.
#6 Walk on the bottom of the sea at 15 feet
Name any watersport and you can do it in Sanur. Even surfing and snorkelling or diving can be enjoyed outside the reef. A relatively new activity is walking on the bottom of the sea with a helmet on, while the fish are swimming around you.
Jalan Pantai Kesumasari, Pantai Semawang, Sanur, Bali
Telephone : +62-361-8234040
#7 Colourful kites high up in the sky
On Mertasari beach the sky is filled with enormous kites during the ‘summer season’ when the wind is strong almost every single day.
Some yearly kite festivals take place from June to August. But the biggest kite events take place at Padang Galak, which is the most popular place for the villages to have their contests during the festivals. This beach is opposite the ’first beach’ where the Inna Grand Bali Beach Hotel is located.
As there are several colourful kites for sale in Bali you can use your own kite or enjoy watching others flying their kites. This takes a lot of effort as a kite can be as big as up to 12 meters and a group of 8 men are needed for its transport and to pull it up into the sky.
Check our 2015 calendar of Bali festivals and events for dates.
#8 Prasati Blanjong ancient stone epigraph
In the neighbourhood of the South part of Sanur beach on Jalan Danau Poso is Pura Blanjong. Behind the temple area of Pura Blanjong there’s a separate place where you will find a statue with the oldest inscription ever found on Bali. It is thought that this place was an old harbour and that it was ruled by past kingdoms. The text was written in Old Balinese language and in Sanskrit. The stone is preserved in a glass cabinet. If you happen to be there on a Monday morning you can ask the person who is in charge of the temple and its surroundings to open the cabinet for a better view on the text on this artefact.
Pura & Perasati Blanjong
Jalan Danau Poso in Sanur, Bali
Contactperson: Pak Made Mawa
#9 Donation based Warung Annapurna
Owner Kris Patra of Annapurna Sanur believes everyone should have a chance to enjoy a nice meal even when you don’t have much money to spend. So he leaves it up to the customer to pay what he or she thinks the food is worth. Many people give an extra donation out of appreciation for this concept. Only the drinks are sold at fix prices. Kris comes from a musical family and during a jam session guests are welcome to join the musicians, from blues to reggae.
Warung Annapurna (via Tripadvisor)
Jalan Danau Tandakan, Denpasar Selatan, Denpasar, Bali 80227
Open daily: 08:00-22:00
#10 Manshed Sanur
Manshed Sanur is outside the center of Sanur but a very special place to visit for motorcyclists and ‘retrofans’. For those of you who liked to watch the character ‘Fonzie’ in the American tv-series ‘Happy Days’, you will feel as if you walked into their studio decor.
‘The decor is a fusion of a biker bar and an apocalyptic nuclear aftermath. Very trendy n very fun. Busy at night. Cold beers served but the food was not the best. But you are there to drink- right.
Staff is cool and friendly and you can meet lots of fun new people too. Good music and play pool
Give this joint a try for something fun n different’ (Quote from a review on Tripadvisor by Irvine from California)
Jalan Tirtanadi II no. 9, Sanur, Bali
An expat view on Sanur.
Many people from abroad have found a home in Sanur. Woi-Ling Wen is one of them. ‘I came to work in Sanur (1989 to 1997) to oversee the building of all the Duty Free International stores (DFS) as director of store design construction and visual merchandising for all of South East Asia. I moved here permanently at the end of 1998.’
If Bali was a living being then Sanur would be its heart.
‘I’m a designer and keep busy with store architecture and product development. I also design jewellery under my own label and name. If Bali was a living being then Sanur would be its heart.’ Woi-Ling’s special bond with Sanur can also be seen in her photography, especially in her photos of the sunrise. Find Woi-Ling Wen on Linkedin.