Young boy in swim gear and googles on his head sits on a white sand beach in the late afternoon sun looking out across the sea

A family beach break in Sanur, Bali (2024)

One of the things the boys liked best about attending school in Bali was ALL the holidays – in just the six weeks they spent in school they had so many days off for festivals! This worked really well for us as it meant that as well as having some time to ourselves we also then had weeks where we were all together again for a run of a few days. And when we have some downtime, we love the beach – and Bali has some fab family beach locations!

On one of these weeks, the boys had Tuesday-Thursday off school so we decided to head out of Ubud and explore a bit more of Bali. Sanur seemed like a great option – only an hour from Ubud and offering white sand beaches that were reported to be good for swimming. 

Where is Sanur and how do you get there?

Sanur is a small town on the eastern coast of Bali, about an hour from Ubud and 30-40minutes from the airport. 

The easiest way to get to Sanur from anywhere else on Bali is either in a rental car, on a scooter or with a driver. As we avoided hiring wheels in Bali we opted for the latter.

The journey from our villa in South Ubud took around an hour and cost £15/Rp300,000 each way. 

What is Sanur like?

Sanur felt much more chilled than central Ubud, where we had got used to the constant noise from scooters! It has a main road that cuts through the town and runs parallel to the beach; as long as you avoid staying along this you should get a peaceful stay! 

The town itself is not huge so you can wander round quite easily – there are a couple of streets with nice little shops and restaurants and the if you stay on the beach side of the main road you’ll only even be a few minutes walk from the sea.

The beach in Sanur is a long, fairly thin stretch of white sand – it’s not the most stunning beach in the world (or even in Bali!) but it’s pretty enough. There is a footpath and bike path that run the length of it and a string of small restaurants, bars and cafes along the edge. There are also several places where you can rent sun loungers, surf boards and umbrellas. All of this make it a great beach in Bali for some family time!

As you head further South along the beach there are bigger hotels and resorts, that take up a lot of the space on the sand. We found a nice spot just before these kicked in where the locals seemed to hang out (particularly in the evenings).

Where to stay in Sanur

We stayed at a small, family-run guesthouse called Mangga Bungalows, in two double rooms. The guesthouse is all single level, with the rooms in a courtyard facing the small pool in the middle. The rooms all have aircon and hot showers. 

It was quiet and comfortable and the owner was lovely – really friendly and helpful. 

We paid a total of £75/Rp1,520,000 for two double rooms for two nights. 

Small guesthouse with rooms surrounding a small swimming pool. A small statue of a sitting person is in the foreground on a table

What is there to do in Sanur?

We had a very chilled couple of days, mostly hanging out at the beach and swimming in the sea. There is a reef just off the coast at Sanur, so the water along the shore is really calm and lovely for swimming (particularly great for the kids). In the evenings during our stay it was so flat it was almost like a lake!

We spotted lots of little fish in the water, including shoals of flying fish which we spent ages watching.

If you want to surf though there are plenty of places to rent a board and you can either paddle out to the reef or take a boat. We saw lots of people surfing the reef during our stay.

There are also a number of places where you can hire bikes to ride along the beachfront.

The boys also really enjoyed seeing the turtles at the Sindu Dwararati Turtle Conservation centre, which is right on the beachfront. They had lots of turtles of all sizes/ages in the tanks there; it is a good chance to get up-close-and-personal with the turtles but seeing them in confined conditions is difficult. There was a lot of discussion afterwards with the boys about conservation efforts and ethical ways of working with endangered animals. 

Young boy in swim gear walks through the shallows of the clear blue sea. In the background are two small long boats and waves breaking over an offshore reef

Where to eat in Sanur with kids

There is no shortage of options in terms of eating out in Sanur, and price-wise it didn’t seem too different to Ubud. 

There are lots of ‘easy’ options for the kids – pizza, burgers etc – but also some cheap warungs that do some great Nasi Goreng. If you wander off the beaten track, down some of the side streets in Sanur, you’ll find some lovely little places. Our favourite was Warung Papa Pizza, tucked away down a narrow little street. Despite the name, they had more than just pizza on the menu and we had some great fried rice in the beautiful little garden.

We also had two tasty (and affordable) breakfasts right down on the beach in the mornings, which was a real treat.

The verdict

Sanur is a great place to spend a couple of days with kids if your main objective is to hang out at the beach.

It’s never going to win any prizes for the most beautiful beach, but the sea was lovely for swimming and it was an easy, chilled out spot to spend a couple of days. Especially if you want to avoid the crowds/hectic-ness of Kuta and Legian. A fab beach getaway for anyone in Bali on a family holiday!

Planning a family holiday to Indonesia?

If you’re planning to visit Bali – or wider Indonesia – with kids then check out some of our other posts below for inspiration and advice:

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