Sanur is certainly one of our favorite places to stay in Bali. It’s close to our land so we can easily check on things in Ketewel, so we tend to spend a good amount of time in Sanur. Despite it being one of the oldest places for expats to occupy, it has retained its charm and boasts one of the best beaches in southern Bali. When the Dutch came to colonize Bali as far back as the late 1800’s, Sanur was their point of entry and where they called home. Also during World War II, The Japanese used Sanur as their entry point. This being said, current day Sanur shows very few remnants of these past events and is a cozy small town with excellent restaurants, great little shops, a fun nightlife and plenty to do to keep you busy. It's a great alternative to loud and crowded Kuta and it's still close enough to the airport so its not a difficult journey.
But as mentioned above, the biggest draw might be the clean white sand beach. It's protected by a reef making the water calm for swimming and snorkeling at high tide. And at low tide the beach can be explored for marine life. Although many areas like Amed and Menjangan Island are far superior for snorkeling and scuba, its still a nice way to pass the hours hanging out at the beach. There is a lovely beachfront walk that covers the length of the town’s downtown area (over 4km) and has some little cafes, which are perfect for a beachside Bintang and there are many hotels that you can pop into for a nicer bite to eat.
There is some surfing as well, but mainly the surfing done here is wind surfing.
Our two biggest suggestions for Sanur are The Village and The little Pond. Little Pond is a small hotel with perhaps 15 rooms and a nice small pool. It’s nothing fancy but the value is excellent as the rooms range from about $17-35 USD and they are clean and fairly well appointed. If you are not looking for really cush accommodations and want to save a bit of money, this is a great place to stay.
On the other hand, a bit more pricey suggestion is The Village restaurant. While I much prefer traditional Indonesian food when I am in Bali, once in a while its worth it to try something else. The Village is one of these places. I lived in Italy and this modern eatery in Sanur is perhaps one of the top 10 Italian meals I have had outside of Italy. The design of the restaurant is modern and stylish and the wine cellar is one of the best in the area. The volcano pizza is one of the most bizarre looking entrees you can imagine but its really not quite as tasty as some of the other dishes. It is certainly a head turner and a fun option but I would suggest the pasta dishes.
I do also want to mention Warung Pregina as it is also an excellent option as it serves delicious traditional Balinese food. The crispy duck is fantastic and the value is hard to beat.
Sanur is a great place to spend a few days. While it is heavily touristed and you will be annoyed by hawkers and the inexplicable practice of each and every taxi passing by honking at you, its still a nice place to stay and enjoy the beach and it’s turquoise waters, good food and minimal but fun nightlife.