The sleepy beachside village with a little bit of city that is Sanur in Bali was the next stop on our "lets find a suitable place in Bali to keep coming back to" tour. I liked the place, Andrew did not. Of course, we do not have to agree on everything but we do need to find a place to live that we both like… Or I could just say that we are staying in Sanur, and that is final! That won't happen. Honest.
This is why I like Sanur (and why Andrew doesn't like it).
Sanur is a beachside city that actually has quite a nice ocean to swim in, especially when the tide is in. When the tide is out, the water will come up to your knees for at least 100m if not more. The beach sand is quite clean. We noticed that the Sanur schoolchildren walk along the beach in the morning picking up rubbish. I am unsure if this occurs everyday.
I like a town that cares about cleanliness. Especially on the beach. I don't know about you, but I really dislike swimming in beach water with floating cigarette butts and heaven knows what else. Gross!
Although the hawkers, restaurant staff and market stall owners can be quite pushy, once you get past those areas with a smile, the beach area really is lovely. There is a bike / foot path that runs 5km along the waters edge. We often saw people jogging and riding. Not that we participated in exercise. We really are lazy.
Along the beach edge is a number of restaurants that have comfy tables, chairs and sun lounges for customers to use. Some cafes are more expensive than others but you can still get a fresh juice for about 25,000 IDR. Order one of those, perhaps a gado gado for 30,000 IDR and you can use their sun lounge for as many hours as you want.
Oh, and some of the restaurants have wifi so you could supposedly lay on a sun lounge overlooking the ocean on FB or similar. Nice. We take notice of things like this as we do love our internet after all.
Inland from central Sanur beach, and you have a main road that houses most of the hotels, home stays, and guest houses for the area. Of course, there are other places to stay both north and south of central Sanur, as well as more inland, but most people try to stay here.
We found the accommodation options quite expensive for what they are. We stayed in a guest house for 200,000 per night. That's around AUD $20 for the folks at home. It was a very basic small room with a double bed, not quite a desk size desk, a chair, a wardrobe, air con and a fairly dismal bathroom. The room and bedding were clean though. Just old and tired I guess. Wifi was included although not very good. There was also a plunge pool that was nice to cool off in. We had to walk around 10 minutes to get to the beach as we were unable to just walk through hotel grounds. It was ok but felt a little expensive for what it was.
Many other hotels along this strip range in the $40 - $300 per night range. As the price goes up so does the quality of course. If you can afford to stay in a $60 room per night for weeks on end, you certainly would not want to stay at the place we did. There were quite a few long-termers staying there though.
Back to the fancy places. Most of the hotels, guest houses etc offer a pool to guests. Sometimes, you just can't be bothered with beach sand, full sun, hawkers and market stall owners. The size of the pool adds to the price of the hotel room of course.
We did not find that many cheap places to stay in central Sanur. We most certainly know that they exist, especially for people renting a place for one month or longer. Most accommodation providers will strike a deal with you for a monthly rate. You may lose out on the complimentary daily breakfast but at least long-term staying does exist.
It is important to note that there are many apartments / flats / villas for rent in Sanur from private owners and agencies. We did not really look too much into this in Sanur only because we were a little lazy. I am sure that Bali Rooms For Rent or Bali Advertizer could help find you an apartment to rent.
The wifi / internet situation was pretty good in Sanur. We had a lot of trouble with the wifi at our guesthouse so we had to go out every day for breakfast to use a restaurant's wifi. Once we found a good place or two, all we had to do was wander down the road, order a drink and some food and we were set for 2 - 4 hours of quality internet access. Just for future reference, our favourite places to work were…
Street Cafe: a large restaurant with large fans circulating the air so the place was quite cool, comfy tables, chairs and couches were provided. If you sat at the right tables you could even plug your laptops into power. Food was pretty good too.
The Porch: They had a little air-conditioned room with funky booths you could sit and work in. The power point situation was poor but the delicious food and air-conditioning made up for it. We really recommend the Porch for their vegetarian breakfast set. Get the vege juice and coffee. Even the coffee was good! Most restaurants and accommodation options offer free wifi. Lucky us.
Back to food. If you looked hard enough, there were a few cheap eating options scattered among the the not-so cheap restaurants. Little Bird is one of them. They make a fine Soda Gembera (nom nom nom) and Mango BBQ Bar (or something like that) for their 10,000 IDR avocado shakes and 15,000 IDR mie gorengs. This restaurant also supplies free wifi.
Most other places in central Sanur were a touch on the expensive side. We found it fun to try and find the best deals. Because you know. We are cheap after all. You want the cheapest food yet? The Sanur Night Market offers great cheap and very tasty food for the tourists and the locals alike. Forget your fancy pantsy pantaloons, and plonk on down next to who knows who on a plastic stool and have yourself a meal of chicken sate for 1,000 IDR per stick. That's AUD 10c each. Do you like durian? Yes please! Well, here you can have a durian shake made with heaps of fresh flesh for 15,000 IDF ($1.50). This is the place you want to come to totally pig out.
Sanur is a quiet place to hang out. It is not at all like Kuta or Legian. The tourists are different, mostly European, and they generally keep their tops on which is a good thing. Sanur attracts an older crowd, so the pub scene is based around watching football, tennis, cricket or rugby on the TVs. Shopping wise, Sanur is about a 30 minute drive to Carrefour, traffic permitting. Carrefour is our default supermarket although there are other ones just as good.
Although they do not have quite so massive a range you can also head to Hardy's Supermarket at the southern end of Sanur and pick up all things International. Reasonably priced too. Clothing and trinkets can be bought. Apparently quality swimwear can be bought here for next to nothing. Nice!
The airport is about a 45 minute drive away. Ok, maybe an hour and a half because of the crazy traffic. Sanur has KFC and McDonalds for when you have a "I'm desperate for home food" moment. Big banks are scattered along the main roads. And there is a really good travel and tour agent that can help you without being pushy if you need help.
It is quiet in Sanur. Perhaps even a little boring. But if you are looking for a very simple life of doing some work throughout the day, heading to the beach for a few hours, walking along the beachside, taking a dip in the pool, and ending the day at a cheap and quality warung, this is the place. I am still unsure why Andrew doesn't like Sanur? I am ready to head back there today.