Our first visit to Bali started in Sanur. Sanur was relaxing and away from the hustle and bustle of Kuta, yet close enough for a taxi ride to the most popular shopping precinct. The beaches are lined with restaurants and bars, yet you can still enjoy your morning stroll without being sold sunglasses every two minutes. We loved it here and can’t wait to go back.
Sleep: We stayed in bungalow style rooms at Hotel Baruna. A 5 minute walk to the beach and run by super friendly staff. With a open air lounge and kitchen looking out to a pool and plenty of foliage. I must admit the rooms were run down and the beds were hard, but if your looking for a cheap place to say with a pool (we had a private pool as the bungalow across from ours was unoccupied at the time) then this a good start. Renovated rooms are also available. We paid between $50-$60 AUS a night for the four of us. Sanur has plenty of other accommodation options including large hotels, beach front sleep outs and private villas- so all that restricts you is your budget!
Activities: We spent a lot of our time relaxing by the pool, eating and walking the streets and the beach just enjoying the peace and quiet. We also took day trips where we went on a cycle tour and went up to Ubud to do a cooking class and market tour. We dabbled in the shopping here (very cheap compared to Seminyak) and even visited their local markets which was so much fun and a good excuse to see how the locals shop.
Bali Eco Cycling Tours-
Bali Eco Cycling Tours is eco educational cycling tour which takes you through side roads lined with housing and friendly locals and rice paddy fields as far as the eye can see. You get picked up in air conditioned mini van and driven all over the place, with plenty of photo stops along the way!
It includes a visit to Mount Batur where we had a late lunch of noodles, fresh fruit, the best jasmine tea and a variety of other traditional Balinese dishes. We were taken to a Balinese plantation where they educated us on different fruits, the famous Luwak coffee, harvesting techniques and types of tea- and then had the pleasure of trying it all. To end the afternoon we jumped on our bikes and road though side roads, waving to locals and taking in the lush rice fields, even finishing with a game of soccer with locals and a massive feast at a open air restaurant- some of the best food we ate in Bali. I cannot rave on about this tour enough!
Casa Luna Cooking School, Ubud-
Another day trip was spent up in the lush town of Ubud. We pre booked a market tour and cooking class with Casa Luna Cooking School. The market tour gave us the opportunity to see where our food came from, meet the local people selling the goods and educated us on the different types of vegetables and spices used in traditional Balinese cooking. We even got the chance to have a shop- because any excuse will do to do some shopping.
You will need a driver to get here or your own scooter- it’s approx 1.5 hours from Sanur. Get there early and score yourself a day bed to relax on- locals are happy to have you there as long as your purchase a meal or drink. We stayed at the beds at Baruna Warung (order a mee goreng, it was insanely good). If you can’t swim to well then be wary as there can be a strong tide.
Bali Safari and Marine Park
Not your average zoo. Huge enclosures where the animals roam, the chance to get on a bus painted like a zebra and drive through the park to look at all kids of animals, huge aquariums, hilarious animal shows and even the opportunity to feed elephants. My favourite part was holding the baby orangutan and watching it play with the keeper.
- A local warung across from Hotel Baruna. You can buy satay in a bag, approx $1.20 with rice. You may be the only tourist there but that’s the best bit. eat on the plastic chairs or take away.
- Sanur Night markets– you can get mi goreng for less than $1.50 a serve. Cooked right in front of you in a giant wok fuelled by a gas bottle.
- Ryoshi Japanese Restaurant Sanur- all things Japanese. Sashimi plates from $9, edamame, teriyaki chicken. this was a favourite of ours during our trip.
- Bubba Gumps, Kuta- everyone raves on about this place. Maybe my partner and I had a negative experience but I wasn’t very impressed. It was a bit tacky, overpriced and the food was average- maybe worth another shot.
My hot tip: Bring gastro stop with you. Get yourself to a chemist in Bali and buy Norit (like charcoal tablets) if you have Bali Belly. They are natural tablets that work a treat if you have the runs. You can also get antibiotics without a script (we just told our driver what we were after and he sorted it for us).