Sanur’s laidback family-friendly beaches entice locals and tourists alike and offer a plethora of distractions and diversions or just a bit of time-out.The sweep of coast stretching from Padang Galak Beach in the north, to Mertasari Beach, some eight kilometres south, with a handful of variously named beaches in-between all come under the general moniker of “Sanur Beach”. Fringed by a paved beachwalk, the golden sands (although black towards the north) are lapped by gentle reef-protected waves making it safe paddling for kids and non-swimmers and a sheltered zone for an assortment of watersports.
The beaches are punctuated with groynes in an attempt to prevent erosion, popular as fishing spots or just sitting and watching the world go by. Low tide can be very low—in places you can walk almost all the way out to the exposed reef. The shallows are good for a bit of a poke and play, but the best time to even contemplate swimming is a few hours on each side of high tide.
Along the sand hawkers ply their trade selling everything from barbecued corn on the cob to coconuts, not pushy like some other of Bali’s beaches. You can hire inflatables for the tiny tots or bigger folk can try windsurfing or parasailing, or just rent a sun lounge for the day.A really pleasant way to lose an hour or so is to hire a traditional jukung sailing boat. The colourful double-outrigger canoes are primarily used for fishing, they use a lateen sail (a triangle-shaped sail), though most have a small engine to keep them going through the doldrums. Painted bulging eyes on the bow wards off evil and gives the boats the power of night-vision, handy if you’re caught out after sunset. The boats comfortably seat two or three adults (plus the boatman) and can be hired mainly towards the northern end of the beach. Prices are “fixed” at 400,000 rupiah for an hour, but you can try your bargaining skills.
On Sunday afternoons the beach gets especially busy when seemingly half the population of Bali descend. It can be an interesting, festival-style atmosphere but it’s not the best time to hit the beach if you’re after some quiet time. Sanur is graced with a couple of surf breaks, sometimes. Wet season is best (October to February) when you can take advantage of the offshore winds. Tandjungs, in front of Tandjung Sari Hotel offers lefts and rights and Sanur Reef in front of the Inna Grand Bali Beach Hotel with a long right hander. Hyatt Reef, near the ex-Hyatt Hotel, is often accessed by boat so save on the paddle. Surfboards can be rented on the beach.
Don’t know how, but want to learn? RipCurl operate a surf school at the Prama Sanur Beach Hotel (http://www.ripcurlschoolofsurf.com/school/sanur/). For underwater activities, Sanur’s diving is not the best Bali has to offer, but 300 metres off shore there’s a couple of sites if you don’t want to travel too far although visibility can be iffy, you’ll need to take a jukung. We’d recommend heading over to Nusa Lembongan instead. Boats depart for both Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida near Jalan Hang Tuah at the northern end of the beach. Edging the the entire length of the beach, the flagstone beachwalk is a hit with joggers, cyclists and pram-pushers, and general meanderers will enjoy the mostly shaded path—a whole day can be filled stopping off at warungs (our favourites include Nasi Men Weti on Jalan Segara Ayu and Warung Mak Beng on Jalan Hang Tuah) and beachfront cafes (Kopi Kiosk near Jalan Hang Tuah makes a decent brew), browsing for souvenirs in the art markets, popping into Museum Le Mayeur for some culture, peeking into the gardens of fancy villas and resorts, staring out to sea at Nusa Penida or up the coast towards Gunung Agung, all interwoven with a slice of local life. Relax and enjoy.