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Published: November 18th 2015
I have come to appreciate that I am somewhat of a Goldilocks. Always weighing up one thing versus another, on a quest to find that bowl of porridge that is ‘just right’. For many, the beachside town of Sanur is that: it’s just right. It is like a cross between Seminyak and Ubud – lots happening with a definite towny feel, but a very laid back vibe with healthy eating options on offer. Unlike Ubud, there is not a plethora of yoga classes on offer. Instead, Sanur travellers a little older and appreciate fine living. There are plenty of swanky beachside resorts, but also lots of little guesthouses and homestays. It’s very civilised and proper, and many mature expats have made it their home. My feelings about Sanur took the shape of a wave: first I was enchanted, then I felt bored, then I felt a fond affinity with it.
Sanur stretches about 5km along the east coast of southern Bali. There is a lovely, shaded, paved promenade that runs alongside the beach. We went for many walks along this, chilled out in the Manik Organik cafe downtown, bought lots of tasty goodies from Zula vegetarian cafe & health food
shop, browsed the shops, practiced yoga at Power Of Now Oasis, and tried lots of different eateries – most notably the lovely Japanese restaurant Soya and the institution that is Bali Buda. We hadn’t had the best experience with Bali Buda in Ubud, and unfortunately our first meal at the Sanur branch was equally disappointing. I’m not sure what made us go back again, but we managed to find some delectable dishes on the menu and became firm regulars there.
We spent lots of time at the beach – chilling out, drinking young coconuts and playing life-sized chess. There are lots of watersport activities in Sanur but unfortunately the tide times were against us for stand-up paddle boarding and it wasn’t the right time of year for kite surfing. Instead, we scooted around the area on rickety old bicycles, adopting the crazy local traffic rules and relishing our freedom. There were massages and I had the worst mani/pedi that you can imagine (I guess that’s what happens with you pay AU$20 for a 2-hour treatment). My back was still giving me grief from the fall in Ubud, so thankfully the chiropractic clinic I visited there also has a branch
in Sanur. I think I am on the mend now.
We also visited the lovely Museum Le Mayeur at the north end of Sanur. Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merpres was a Belgian painter who arrived in Bali by boat in 1932. Here he met and married the 15-year-old Balinese legong dancer Ni Pollok. She and her friends frequently modeled for Le Mayeur whose painting style was mostly impressionist. The museum, which used to be Adrien and Ni’s home, and the modest grounds have a lovely peaceful atmosphere. There is even a shrine to honour and remember the couple.
Our accommodation, Jukung Guesthouse, was located downtown about a half-hour walk away. So we decided to hire a scooter to be more mobile. The guesthouse was just perfect: down a little alleyway and away from the noise and traffic, clean and comfortable room, a small pool with bean bags, and delightful staff. What more could we ask for.
We had only allowed for one night in Sanur but, as it happened, our trip home was delayed as Mount Rijani on the Indonesian island of Lombok decided to emit smoke and ash, causing numerous airlines to cancel flights into and
out of Bali (including ours). Of course there is the hassle of finding accommodation, liaising with the airline, contacting the insurance company, rearranging things at home etc but I now know that we really needed this additional days to truly unwind and get the most out of this trip.
We were able to extend our stay at Jukung Guesthouse for a couple of nights, but unfortunately they were fully booked thereafter. We spent the next two nights at the hotel Griya which is located on the bypass road that links Sanur to the airport. This was not good. Even the Lonely Planet refers to this area and states “you do not want to stay here”. The traffic was noisy and the accommodation itself was like a bad airport hotel. It did have a nice courtyard with a nice pool, but that’s where the niceties ended. These were all your typical first world problems though: virtually no lighting in room, broken mini fridge, mold on the shower curtain, clogged up bath drain, leaking bathroom wall, holey and threadbare towels, and mosquitoes galore in the room. Certainly not things you can complain about when stories of dying refugees and terrorist attacks
are hitting the news. Our hearts go out to people the world over who face difficulty and struggle. May peace, wellbeing and happiness reach every being.
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