A recent addition to Sanur's cultural preservation efforts is the Mekar Bhuana Conservatory, Jl. Penyaringan 24 (tel. 0361/842-7030 or 08/1999191104; www.balimusic.org). After more than 11 years of intensive research in villages across the island, New Zealand ethnomusicologist Vaughan Hatch and his wife, legong dancer Putu Evie Suyadnyani, began to realize their mission of cultural preservation by opening a center where people can appreciate and learn about the endangered performing art-forms in Bali. The center has five sets of antique gamelan, a performance space, as well as an archive, and has recently released its first audio recording. Private and group courses are available. Special tours visit workshops where traditional instruments are made, and presentations of the rich array of traditional dance and ceremonial costumes can be arranged.
Cheeky Monkeys -- Situated down a little alley, off the main drag, Cheeky Monkeys, Jl. Danau Tamblingan 82 (tel. 0361/282420; www.cheekymonkeysbali.com; registration Rp100,000; daily care Rp150,000 for 8:30am-noon, Rp35,000 per hour after; daily 8am-4pm), is a children's drop-in center that is also a kindergarten and preschool. They have plenty of toys, a sweet little garden with playhouses, a trampoline, a restaurant serving organic food, and indoor rooms. The lovely staff will ensure your children have lots of fun and meet other children their own age. Activities throughout the day keep your little ones entertained: art classes, cooking, storytelling, and games. The nursery can provide short-term care for visiting families with children under 6 years old; drop-ins are available from 8:15am until 4pm daily. This is the favored nursery in Sanur among the local expats.
All big hotels have rental bikes, and Sanur is the ideal place to cycle around, especially by keeping to the back roads. It is best to set out early morning or late evening, when the weather is cooler and the roads not too busy.
The best place to cycle is down the promenade. The 5km (3-mile) stretch takes you from one end of Sanur all the way to the other, passing cafes, restaurants, and fishing boats along the way. The early evening is the best time to ride the beach as you get to mix with the friendly locals enjoying the sea and sedate atmosphere. The ride itself is easy and suitable for the whole family.
There are a few places to rent bikes on Jalan Danau Tamblingan and also along the promenade itself. Prices can vary according to season. Off season the prices will be less but with the arrival of high season the prices shoot up. Don't pay more than Rp50,000. If you would like to join a tour, the Segara Village hotel runs regular bicycle tours of Sanur.
Diving & Snorkeling
At least 50% of Bali's dive companies are in Sanur even though the diving here is not very good. Instead, Sanur makes a great base for diving expeditions further afield. The coral reef that follows the coastline is less than 1km (less than 1 mile) off the beach of Sanur. While the waters here are okay for snorkeling, those learning to dive, and those looking for refresher courses, it is not recommended for experienced divers. There's very little coral, few fish, and often very low visibility. Another consideration is the strong current and the shallow waters at low tide.
For snorkeling, many boats are available for hire to go out to the reef at high tide, including glass-bottom boats if you don't want to get wet. There's usually a surface current but the boat will follow you. Don't allow the boatman to drop anchor, which is highly damaging to the reef. He should use the moorings available.
The following dive operators are reliable and always maintain their dive equipment. They also offer valid insurance cover. Be wary of people approaching you offering cheap courses. Costs generally run US$90 to US$125 for a day trip; US$525 for 3 days, 2 nights; and US$935 for 7 days, 6 nights.
Abyss Adventures, 36B Jl. Danau Poso (tel. 0361/271317; www.abyssadventures.com), offers technical diving (and tech dive training) and recreational diving if requested. Bali Crystal, Jl. Tamblingan 168 (tel. 0361/286737; www.crystal-divers.com), specializes in Instructor Development Courses (IDC) and will provide recreational diving if requested. Ena Dive Centre & Marine Adventures, Jl. Tirta Ening 1 (tel. 0361/288829; www.enadive.co.id), a five-star Gold Palm PADI dive school, can arrange introduction lessons, PADI courses, and diving throughout Bali.
The Bali Beach Golf Course, Jl. Hang Tuah 58 (tel. 0361/287733; www.balibeachgolfcourse.com; 9 holes US$54; 18 holes US$67, prices include green and caddy fees and government tax; driving range Rp35,000 for 50 balls; caddies available at no extra charge but a discretionary tip of approximately Rp30,000 is welcome; club hire Rp22,000 per club or Rp175,000 for the set; call tel. 08/1210040612 for lessons with a pro; 1-hour lesson Rp500,000, including 100 balls), is a 9-hole course in front of the Grand Bali Beach Hotel among mature, tall trees, sculptured gently rolling fairways, and water features. Subtle breaks keep the golfer guessing and are well-bunkered, leaving little room for errant shots. They also have a floodlit night driving range, the only one in Bali, open daily from 7 until 11pm.
Udayana Golf Driving Range (tel. 0361/289603; Rp14,000 morning; Rp15,000 afternoon for 50 Balls; club rental Rp30,000 per club, Rp150,000 for set; trainer Rp100,000 for 1 hour, excludes balls and clubs; daily 7am-8pm) is another option for practice, just a few kilometers down the road west of the Grand Bali Beach Golf Course on Jalan Hang Tuah.
Kite- & Windsurfing
Sanur has ideal conditions for windsurfing with its sheltered 5km-long (3-mile) lagoon. Sanur's protective reef creates flat-water cruising conditions inside the lagoon with waves on the reef varying from small to mast height, and the Serangan Island channel is good for speed -- the wind there is always a few knots stronger than elsewhere. Rental boards are available along the beach in Sanur and generally hotels will be able to provide information on the most convenient supplier. For wind and wave information around Sanur call tel. 0361/288011, ext. Blue Oasis.
Bali Kitesurf School, Jl. Cemara 72 (tel. 0361/284260; www.bali-kitesurfing.org; 75-min. introduction Rp350,000; 2-hr. level one Rp900,000; 75-min. level two Rp650,000; 75-min. level three Rp650,000), was the pioneering International Kiteboarding Organization center in Indonesia in 2004. Just in front of the club is a good kite-surfing spot in both seasons, during medium-low to high tide.
Bali has produced its very own Olympian. Although I Gusti Made Oka Sulaksana, or Oka as he is known, didn't win any medals at the four Olympics he attended, he is a very good teacher and can teach at a beginner and advanced level. Find him at the Sanur Windsurfing Centre on the Hyatt Beach.
The Blue Oasis Beach Club (www.blueoasisbeachclub.com) at Sanur Beach Hotel, Jl. Danau Tamblingan (tel. 0361/288-011; kitesurfing $95-$145, board rental $20-$50, kite rental $35-$70; windsurfing $65-$85, rental $25-$80) rents Hobie Cats, lasers, and windsurfing boards. Courses are also available.
The Royal Bali Yacht Club aims to encourage and promote the sport of sailing in Bali by providing a forum where both experienced and beginner sailors can meet to learn or practice their skills. Boat ownership is not necessary to join the club -- it's possible to join a boat-owning member for sailing. The small clubhouse has spaces for boats, several types of dinghies, and a growing fleet of catamarans. Laser races are held on several Sundays each month at times suitable to the tide.
There is also a clubhouse at Serangan with a marine services company, providing both local sailors and yachtsmen visiting Bali a place to meet and obtain help and advice. Regardless of whether you are a novice or an old salt, the club makes a special dispensation to tourists to try out the club. For the latest event calendar check www.royalbaliyachtclub.com. This is such a small club that if you want to speak to someone, it's best to call the Commodore directly (tel. 08/1353026067).
Spas are open daily. The stunning spa (Anom Rejuvenating Massage US$60, avocado scrub US$40; AE, DC, MC, V; 9am-10pm) in the Bali Hyatt has an Anom Rejuvenating Massage that starts with a therapeutic scrub of copra, dried coconut flesh, pine, and lavender flowers to gently remove dead skin before a combined Swedish and acupressure massage. The avocado body scrub is great for rehydrating the body, and is ideal for anybody suffering jet lag.
The Jamu Traditional Spa (traditional treatment US$65-US$80, contemporary treatment US$65, massage US$25-US$65, packages US$80-US$100; AE, MC, V; 9am-9pm), in the Tandjung Sari, honors traditional local therapies. Scrubs are a favorite choice here and employ natural ingredients like candlenuts, coconut, tea leaves, as well as the blended spice mixtures of boreh and lulur -- time-honored ingredients that have superb results. Two very local treatments are the Kerokan Massage, which uses a small coin-size seed to massage your back and neck, and the Selendang, a body wrap used by Indonesian women post-childbirth to help regain elasticity -- and can also do wonders for a beer belly.
Rebab (single treatment US$35-US$75, package US$80-US$100; MC, V; 9am-6pm) in the Gangsa is not to be confused with a rehab spa. Instead, you will find a holistic spa with a menu of traditional Balinese healing and beauty rituals using indigenous herbs, spices, and plants. The spa's mantra of wellness is based on the Hindu belief that balance is the essence to overall physical and spiritual wellness.
The spa (the Touch US$25-US$75, the Rituals US$60-US$90, lanang bagus rituals US$55-US$80; AE, DC, MC, V; 8am-9pm) in the Waka Maya has aromatherapy. Try the Sutra massage: a full-body massage combining pressure points, deep-tissue massage, and long strokes to relieve tension. You can chose your own scent like Crystal Breeze, a blend of bergamot, lemon, and musk meant to clear the mind and stimulate and uplift while restoring a sense of balance.
The best time to surf this coast is the rainy season, September to March.
- Sanur Reef -- Best swell: south; best size: 4 to 6 feet; best winds: west-southwest. Turn right at the lights at Sanur and you will find yourself staring at a magically long surfing set-up once you manage to park the car. The wave itself is very long and very fun and is a favorite with the crowds on wet season big days.
- Serengan -- Best swell: south; best size: 4 to 6 feet; best winds: west-southwest. This wave is in an area protected from turtle poachers, you can only get access with identification. Please remember to bring it. Turn right, heading toward Sanur from Kuta opposite the Makro and weave your way along a confusing split road. Look out for oncoming traffic, too. Pass through the village of Serangan and head out onto the reclaimed Turtle Island through the boom gates and drive through the weird, desertlike ambience toward a series of shoreline warungs. A left and right break here are an easy paddle from the beach. Leave your keys and gear with a warung and be sure to buy a thank you Bintang on the way out. Check out the karaoke-style beach discos in the village of Serengan on the way home. Wear booties if you can or surf the higher tide. A secret spot just a few years ago, Serengan now attracts the masses.
Swimming & Beaches
The Sanur reef makes the ocean here ideal for surfers and also people with young kids along the shore side. Sanur does not get a strong beach break like Kuta or Seminyak. Swimming is only possible at high tide as low tide exposes the reef. Swimming outside the reef is not recommended.
Balispirit runs yoga classes at Manik Organik Yoga Studio, Jl. Danau Tamblingan 85 (Jeni tel. 08/1338680835 or Fira 08/176655732) daily. Classes are drop in and open level and cost Rp90,000 (buy 10, get two free). Yoga mats and blocks are provided. Private classes can be arranged, see Balispirit's Private Tuition/Personal Training page. Schedules are at www.balispirit.com.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.