I’ve been a frequent visitor to Bali, Indonesia’s famed holiday isle.
“Bali is an island with many faces.”
The predominant religion here is Hinduism, and signs of that belief are everywhere, with offerings, altars and small temples common in every home and workplace.
The most popular tourist resorts are in the south of the island, centred near the city of Denpasar. Along the southern coastline is the village of Kuta, which was once famed for its surf beach, but is now better known for its hotels, bars, nightclubs, shops, West Australian Bogans and crowds.
When I visit Bali I prefer to avoid Kuta. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with Kuta, it’s just that I prefer to stay in Sanur, which is on the other side of Benoa Harbour and is a lot quieter than Kuta.
For me, the beach at Sanur is superior to the beach at Kuta. The sand is whiter (Kuta’s beach is made of volcanic sand, which is a dull grey colour), and the township has more of a village atmosphere.
“Sanur is certainly a much laid back place, although it is still home to many hotels.”
You are less likely to be hounded by hawkers at Sanur, but some of the stall holders in the markets can be very insistent in their aggressive approaches to encourage you to buy from them. The best way to deal with them is to tell them a firm “No!” If you tell them that you will return tomorrow, they remember, and they hound you every time you walk past because you promised to buy from them.
If you are used to their methods it is not an unpleasant experience, and you can actually joke with them, as long as you don’t lie about turning up at a later date.
Not all stall holders are aggressive, as over the years I have built up a great relationship with a stall holder at Sanur Beach Markets so that even if I don’t wish to purchase anything, I can just go along for a chat.
“Sanur has both a long, sandy beach and, slightly inland, a long street that is full of shops, restaurants, bars and hotels.”
For those who are terrified of contracting Bali Belly you will find known chains such as KFC and McDonalds there too.
The water is quite good for swimming in, and on the northern side of the beach, immediately in front of the Grand Bali Beach Hotel is a nice little reef area that is perfect for exploring at low tide.
If you wish to visit Bali, but wish to avoid the Kuta crowds, then Sanur is the perfect location for that laid back, tropical break.