Riding into the sunset: Sanur, Bali
A guide to bike the 5km trail along Sanur golden sand beach
Imagine you’re on a tropical island, riding a bike along an endless stretch of uncrowded beach. Cool ocean breeze. Clear blue water. Soft golden sand. You would get off the trail, leave your bike on the beach, and go for a leisurely swim. Then sprawl out on the warm sand and take a nap under the shade of a coconut palm. Imagine you're the only person on the beach. Welcome to Sanur, Bali.
Sanur is a small beach resort town located near the southern tip of the island of Bali – about 30 minute’s drive from the capital city Denpasar.
A former fishing village, Sanur maintains most of its charm, with warm and friendly Balinese people, and a slower pace of life compared to other beach resort towns in Bali.
Sanur is famous for a very long stretch of serene, unspoiled, beautiful golden sand beach that covers the entire length of the town’s coastline.
An offshore ecosystem of coral reefs protects the beach, keeping the big waves far away and creating a series of calm, shallow nearshore lagoons that are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, windsurfing, kitesurfing, etc.
A 5-kilometre (about 3 miles) biking/walking trail runs along this idyllic beachfront, inviting visitors to explore the Sanur coastline in the most fun and relaxing way – on bicycle or on foot.
The trail starts at Jalan Metasari street beach south of Sanur and ends at Jalan Hangtuah street beach in the north, near where the speed boats take visitors to the neighbor island - Nusa Lembongan.
The 12-foot wide trail is completely paved (with gray bricks),very well maintained and easy to follow.
The trail meanders along the beachfront with the ocean on one side; the other side is lined with coconut groves, gardens, old temples, and dreamy vacation resorts.
Tips on biking Sanur beach trail
- Most hotel/resort have bicycles for rent. Inquire or make arrangement at the front desk.
- Try the bike BEFORE you head out to the trail, make sure its tires, brakes, and pedals are in working order, as some bikes are in better shape than others!
- Choose a bike that has a front basket – for the nostalgic look, but it’s also convenient for storing your beach towels, sunscreen lotion, books, water bottles, etc.
- You may start biking at either end of the trail, or at any point along the trail, depends on where you’re staying in Sanur (i.e. there are many shortcuts from town to the trail).
- Be courteous, you’re sharing the trail with others! If necessary, ring the bike bell to alert other bikers and walkers on the trail.
- There are plenty of great spots along the trail to stop for a dip in the ocean. Pick your own beach, stay a while then hop back on the bike and go on to the next one!
- Take a break from the hot tropical sun inside one of the several Balinese bale (tiled roof open verandas on raised platform) that are scattered along the beach.
- You may buy snacks/drinks (try fresh coconut juice!) from the vendor stalls set up along the trail or enjoy a delicious lunch with a view at a beachside warung (small family-run restaurant).
- At one point, the trail goes past a busy beach market: it could be a challenge to bike through the throngs of tourists and souvenir vendors, so just walk with your bike.
- On the other hand, because you’re on a bike, you can quickly get away from those pesky hawkers who try to sell you everything from straw hats to fake Rolexes!
- Be sure to stop at the satellite office of the Serangan Island Turtle Conservation Center (located near the trail’s northern end) to watch baby sea turtles swimming in an outdoor nursery, waiting to be released into the ocean.
- Another must see stop on the trail is Le Mayeur Museum – former residence of the famed Belgian painter Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merpres who lived in Sanur from 1932 until his death in 1958. His paintings, as well as his impressive collection of local artifacts, are on display inside this exquisite Balinese-style home and garden.
Interesting facts about Sanur
- Sanur is Bali’s oldest beach resort town, having been discovered in the early 1960s by European expats, artists, backpackers and surfers.
- In 1906, during the Dutch Intervention in Bali, northern Sanur beach was the site where the Dutch invasion troops landed.
- During WWII, Japanese navy forces first landed on Sanur beach to start the occupation of the island of Bali.
- There are several historic hotels located on Sanur beachfront, most renowned is the Inna Grand Bali Beach (formerly Bali Beach Hotel). Built in 1965, it was the only high rise hotel in Bali at that time.
- The International Kite Festival takes place every July at Pandang Galak beach, just north of Sanur. Teams from different countries compete against each other, flying the most elaborate, colorful, and biggest kites (some are more than 50 feet long!) high in the sky above the beach. About 10,000 spectators from around the world come to Sanur for this spectacular annual event.
Where to stay
Upscale resort tucked away in a quiet, charming neighborhood, just a short stroll to the beach and main village street where many restaurants/shops are located.
Featuring stunning one-bedroom, two-bedroom private villas, each with its own swimming pool and walled garden oasis. Luxurious amenities, outstanding service, and incredible friendly staff who are eager to pamper you every step of the way!
Where/what to eat
An eclectic mix of restaurants, including several that cater to the health-conscious visitors, can be found in Sanur. Most are located on the main street Jalan Danau Tamblingan that runs parallel to the beachfront. Here are some dining options:
CharMing – This restaurant is aglow with grace and charm. Filled with gorgeous Balinese antiques, arts and sculptures, it’s like dining in a museum! Unique, exotic blend of European and Asian seafood and meat dishes. Excellent wine selections.
Three Monkeys – Every dish is exquisitely prepared and presented, truly a feast for your eyes and taste buds! Contemporary menu offers Indonesian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cuisines. Jazzy, hip, elegant, it’s THE place to see and be seen in Sanur.
Buda Bali – Cool, casual atmosphere. The menu is the size of a newspaper! Interesting, wholesome and delicious foods: from soups to sandwiches, pizza to popular Indonesian dishes like soto ayam, and of course the famous vegan gourmet burger. Very affordable. Check out their health food market and bakery at the front entrance.
Zula Vegetarian – The food is amazingly delicious, perfectly seasoned and just the right portion. Intriguing ingredients are used to create such wonderful vegetarian and vegan dishes. Interesting health benefits for each entrée are written on the menu. Must try the Corn Coconut Chowder, it’s orgasmic!
Café Batu Jimbar – Hugely popular, especially on Sundays with their sumptuous brunch buffet. Offers traditional Balinese dishes like nasi goreng (fried rice with chicken or shrimp) and satay ayam (chicken satay with rice cake and peanut sauce). Also serves kid-friendly dishes like spaghetti, nachos, and burgers. Large selections of mouthwatering, irresistible desserts!
Would you enjoy this bike ride in Sanur?
About this article
The author had a lot of fun biking on the Sanur beach trail. He outran most of the beach peddlers, except for one kid who sold him a beautiful kite.
All photos were taken by the author with an Olympus Stylus TG-630 iHS digital camera.
© 2016 Viet Doan