Sanur Beach, Bali with Kids
Sanur is, so far, my favorite beach in Southeast Asia for kids. Every other beach I’ve gone to, the water has been too deep or too rough for the kids to enjoy. That means the entire time was spent attempting to keep my son OUT of the water – not an easy task with an adventurous and determined toddler or pre-schooler.
Why I Loved Sanur
During the week, the beach was really quiet. We showed up around 9am, and plenty of loungers and sun shades were still available. Everyone at the beach was able to get a lot of personal space, which is key when your kids are experimenting with seeing the sand blowing in the wind.
The water was so calm and shallow that my 3-year-old could play in it by himself for hours. We did have him wear his floatie just in case he started wandering out, but even then he would have had to walk out very far to be in water over his head.
Where We Camped Out
The beach was clean, and trash cans lined the promenade. We camped out at the Grand Hyatt on the northern end of the strip, which was probably one of the pricier locations for a lounger (80,000 IDR or about $6.50 USD), but you could sit in the sand without a lounger for free. The food and drinks were excellent from the Grand Hyatt. Dozens of restaurants with baby chairs also lined the strip, however with the kids it was much easier to stay put in one place and just eat there.
My 8-month-old daughter was a bit too young to enjoy the beach; she is still at the stage where she wants to eat everything, so sand play was out. We could have taken her in the water as it was so warm, but she spent most of the time sleeping in her tent. She did end up getting a little sunburned, so for her one day at the beach was enough. Even in the shade, you probably need to apply the sunscreen once per hour.
What We Did in the Evening
After a morning at the beach, we headed back to our villa for naptime and an afternoon at the pool. Around sunset, we went back to do some walking. The main road that runs parallel to the beach has lots of interesting shops (aimed at tourists of courses) and restaurants. The promenade along the beach makes a beautiful beach and is suitable for strollers.
I asked several waiters along the way if their restaurants had baby chairs, and I was always given an emphatic yes. We settled on Cafe Bamboo and ordered a sampler of different local foods. It was a bit pricey compared to Vietnamese restaurant prices at around $20 for the platter and two small cones of rice. The food was delicious and not too spicy. After dinner, Gabriel and I shared a tangy strawberry and raspberry ice cream.
How We Got Around
Our villa provided a free shuttle at any time to and from the beach, however we neglected to book ahead and when we were leaving the promenade in the evening the shuttle wasn’t available. We ended up calling BlueBird taxi. The driver used the meter and the car had air conditioning. Gabriel at first refused to get in it, because “Taxis are not BLUE! They are are green and white!” After explaining that in different places taxis are different colors, he acquiesced.
Why I Would Go Back
I wished I had booked more nights in Sanur. With the kids, we took things slowly and spent a lot of time at the pool. It would have been nice to have more time for exploring local markets, shops, and restaurants that aren’t solely for tourists. We asked the villa staff to get us “something local and cheap,” and they got us an amazing chicken and rice dish for just 20,000 IDR ($1.65). That was the tastiest thing we ate during our entire trip!
The vibe in Sanur was laid back. No mega malls, amusement parks, or towering hotels have made it there yet. I have never been much of a “hang out on the beach” person, but Sanur made me want to do just that. Well, until I got back to the villa and saw my sunburn!