Spend a little time away from the beach and you will discover a wealth of interesting culture and attractions in Sanur. The resort is the best place outside Ubud and Denpasar for traditional Balinese dance and music with performances taking place every night of the week in the town’s restaurants and hotels.
There are also some fascinating temples to explore, vibrant festivities and an interesting art museum. Just beyond town is a variety of natural habitats such as the Bali Mangrove Forest, colourful orchid gardens and the stunning black sand of Lebih beach. Sanur also boasts lots of classy giftware boutiques and has excellent spa facilities.
Sanur Village Festival
Each August normally peaceful Sanur sparks into life with one of Bali’s most colourful festivals. Now in its fourth year, the ever popular Sanur Village festival celebrates the town’s diversity in art, music and popular culture. This week-long event showcases fine art exhibitions, beach and adrenaline sports, musical performers and cookery demonstrations. One of the highlights is the annual kite flying competition which attracts competitors from all over Indonesia.
Museum le Mayeur
Tucked away between five star beach resorts and seafront cafes is a charming art museum dedicated to the life and work of Belgian artist Adrien le Mayeur. He was one of the earliest expat artists to settle in Bali in the 1930s and his former home is littered with personal effects, paintings and photographs.
The house itself is a traditional wooden Balinese cottage which has been lovingly restored and features beautifully carved archways set in a picturesque garden. It should appeal to anyone with a passing interest in expressionist art or traditional Balinese crafts.
Day trips to Nusa Lembongan
The most popular short range excursion from Sanur is a cruise across the Badung Strait to the tranquil island of Nusa Lembongan. It is surrounded by pristine coral reefs and has beautiful white sandy beaches and has become a mecca for scuba divers and surfers. The pace of life is markedly slower than even Sanur and although a day trip is feasible a couple of days are needed to really soak up its peaceful atmosphere.
It is a tiny island that can be traversed on foot in under three hours and features mangrove forests, seaweed farms and a couple of fascinating temples to explore. There are scheduled daily services leaving each morning between 09:00 and 10:30 operated by the Sanur boat cooperative which leave from the beach just north of Jalan Hang Tua. Perama Tour (website: www.peramatour.com) also has a daily service. Prices are from rp60,000-rp80,000 depending on the departure time and it is also possible to charter a boat at any time of day.
Temples in Sanur
Sanur has several ancient Hindu temples that are rarely visited but are some of the most historically important in South Bali. Pura Segara is the most accessible, situated just behind the beachfront and is decorated flamboyantly with coral and features carvings of weird and wonderful mythical creatures.
Necara Blanjong Temple boasts Bali’s oldest surviving inscription dating back almost 1,000 years. Admission is by donation and wearing of sarong and sash compulsory inside the temple complex, but can be hired at the entrance gate.