Our introduction to Bali was the sleepy coastal town of Sanur.

Our mornings started with a lovely buffet-style breakfast prepared by our Airbnb host Dewi. She’s very conscious about cooking healthy food that is still true to Indonesian/Balinese flavors. She varied the selection everyday and we always looked forward to her dishes.

rice pudding topped with coconut milk
Rice pudding with coconut milk
Indonesian friend noodles and cassava fritter
Mie Goreng, sauteed vegetables, and cassava fritter
an Indonesian breakfast spread
Vegetable soup to which you can add a variety of toppings like tofu and beansprouts

We chose to stay in a place that we felt was traditional and our Airbnb did not disappoint (will review this listing in full in ).

Girl with flower in hair sitting on a day bed
Guy sitting in a chair on the terrace of an Indonesian house
a courtyard in an Indonesian home

On our first day we took our time exploring Sanur’s calm beaches, which is what the area is best known for. We were surprised by how long the coast is, an ideal spot for a good walk or run. The water is shallow in these parts, which makes it perfect for a relaxing swim. Sunrises are amazing here but unfortunately it was cloudy the morning we went. No problem though; there’s still a lot to see in this very chill area, a good way to ease ourselves into our Bali adventure.

Girl in a swing by the beach
boy jumping in front of sand beach mural
a man standing by the beach
All to ourselves!
a path lined with overgrown bushes
woman looking at traditional Indonesian boats by the beach
On a clear day you can see Nusa Penida from the coast
an Indonesian temple entrance
A temple along the beach path

The beachside path is dotted with various restaurants, spas, resorts, and villas. If you need a day bed for lounging it is very possible to rent one, and some resorts even allow you to use their facilities on a day pass.

blue green pool in front of day beds
tables by the side of the pool
deck in front of garden filled with plants
a bar by the pool
rows of daybeds with canopies by the beach

At the far end you’ll find countless warungs or little Indonesian food stalls that sell local fare. The ambience is far from luxurious compared to the fancy hotels and restaurants. These two opposite ends of the spectrum just simply means there’s something for everyone in Sanur.

After walking for some time we ended up finding a nice and quiet little area that had a bit of shade. We spread our blanket on the sand to mark our spot.

a woman lying on a man's lap by the beach

You’ll surely work up an appetite after all that walking and swimming. In Sanur, you will be spoilt for choice. It is not as expensive as Ubud based on our experience. You can even go to the local produce market in the morning if you wish to buy supplies and cooked food, or simply to immerse yourself in their traditional daily life.

traditional Indonesian produce market
In the morning the produce market is bustling with activity
Items for Hindu offering for sale in Indonesian market

At night, the parking lot outside transforms into a night market where you can have your fill of authentic Indonesian and Balinese food.

A man making Martabak in Indonesian night market
A vendor making Martabak Telur. He rolled out a roti-like dough and then poured an egg and scallion mixture into it.
Martabak or savory Indonesian pancake
Martabak telur with a side of pickles

We had to try the Indonesian sate. The peanut sauce was too rich for us though. That was the last time we had sate the entire trip. 😀

A plate of chicken skewers

There are “warung” or little eateries all around that will keep you satisfied at very affordable prices. We spent less than PhP 200 for these two delicious good-sized dishes.

Some places use the “warung” term more loosely but are not really small roadside eateries. They can be a bit more sophisticated (and slightly more expensive), like this place we went to that had a garden and nice little eating spaces in Indonesian architecture style. Here we had a Balinese dish called Ayam Betutu or chicken steamed in a Balinese spice blend. We had to try a dish from the region’s cuisine which, according to our Airbnb hosts, is quite different from other regions in its use of spices and flavorings.

Ayam betutu a Balinese chicken dish
Ayam Betutu: chicken steamed in a Balinese spice blend

If you want a place that’s a bit more comfortable or if you’re craving for something other than Indonesian food there are various restaurants in the area as well.

girl smiling at burger in front of her
Cup of gelato
Gelato to beat the summer heat!

For times when you can’t be bothered too much go to the convenience store. Even there you’ll find something distinctly Indonesian.

pack of salted egg friend noodles
box of snake fruit
Salak or Snake fruit, named as such because of its tough, scaly-looking outer skin

Sanur is the perfect location from which you can do other day trips to surrounding islands (such as Nusa Ceningan, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Penida) and other areas like Kuta and Seminyak. We decided to skip the latter and went on a couple of island tours instead. I will tell you all about those in another post. 🙂 But apart from being a popular jump-off point to other locations, Sanur is in its own right a charming little town worth a visit.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.