Sanur is a cosy, little town which lies quietly along Bali’s south-eastern coast close to Denpasar. With the popular Kuta-Legian-Seminyak triangle and the beautiful Bukit peninsula not too far away, Sanur is the perfect place to be if you want to enjoy a peaceful and not-too-touristy-Bali while being close to the action. This is one of the main reasons why we chose to spend there the last part of our stay in the island before leaving for Australia.
While Sanur’s beach may not be the best beach ever – in fact we never got to swim there, to be honest – we found it so photogenic that we kept coming back with our camera, especially at dawn or at the end of the day.
As I was flicking through my pictures of Sanur as in a sort of stroll down memory lane I thought I’d make a post and share a selection of those shots. From a very high-level perspective, some of the images are pretty much unrelated and only just attempt to convey a very general sense of place, although other pictures in the set focus on the fishermen who populate the beach from the early hours of the morning.
As usual I’ll use the captions to tell the story behind the pictures and to make my comments.
Our memories of Bali include also our fairly intense social life in Sanur. In fact, I want to dedicate this post and the pictures to the people we’ve met there who made our stay special:
Samantha and Stuart, the minds behind Travelfish.org – Travelfish has helped us so much during our trip to SE Asia. Thank you!
Audrey and Daniel, ms. and mr. Uncornered Market themselves- in the travel blogosphere you don’t need any introduction. Guys, you are a great inspiration!
Emoke, friend of a friend who met us and provided an insight on how living in Bali is like. We loved meeting you and who knows, maybe we’ll join you one day!
Leming, the fisherman in Sanur’s beach – I hope you enjoy the pictures and thank you for being so nice and commenting on one of our last posts 🙂
Angga and the other guys from the Balindo Paradiso Crew who helped us in Merta Sari, when we stole a motorbike without even knowing it 🙂 It’s a pity that we didn’t get to drink Arak together. I wish you all the best for the future and a great career in the cruise industry. Your knowledge of Italian and Portuguese amazed us 🙂
Yesterday we moved to a little seaside place called Amed, on the east side of the island. As I’m typing this post from our guesthouse balcony, I can hear the waves crashing in the sand and I’m enjoying a stunning view of a volcanic beach and thinking just how beautiful this island is.
The other day, on our trip from Ubud to Lovina, we met a Dutch couple who told us that they didn’t like Bali.”It’s too touristy“, they said – yeah, it’s true, some parts of the island are crowded with tourists. Just like Thailand, Bali is probably one of the most advertised destinations in Southeast Asia. So what?
“There’s always someone trying to sell you something” – yes, that’s true also, but this happens everywhere we have been in Southeast Asia, where there are tourists around. I guess we got used to it and we don’t let this spoil our experience. Also, as annoying as it can be, we need to understand that this people are only trying to make a leaving and feed their families – most hawkers don’t have a different way to earn money (the other day on the beach I had a very interesting chat with two ladies that sell stuff to tourists – spending an hour chatting with them was really interesting as it helped me understand more about their world and the way they see us foreigners).
In the end, I just don’t care how touristy this place is. I fell in love with Bali from the moment we stepped out of the plane. We felt a great vibe and we knew immediately we would enjoy our stay here.
During our taxi ride from the airport to Ubud, we got almost emotional with the scenes passing in front of our eyes through the car’s window – young girls dancing in traditional costumes in the school yard, entire families in colourful Balinese attire on their motorbikes, houses that looked like temples with shrines and statues of Gods, beautiful stone and wood carvings everywhere on the roadside, lively temple festivals, old women walking around bare-breasted… and this was just what we saw on a one hour drive. We were both full of excitement to see what else this exotic island had to offer.
Some people who visit Bali prefer to hire a driver with car to move around, but beside being significantly more expensive, having a driver can be limiting and sometimes frustrating. As we’ve heard that some of these people who offer to drive you around for a fee can act as ‘informal guides’ giving you a perspective on Balinese culture and traditions, we thought we would try the experience. So we hired a driver for a day at the beginning of our Balinese adventure in Ubud. First off, he didn’t seem to know much about his own country – of all the many questions we asked about culture and traditions, most of them remained unanswered or if there was an answer, it was confused and (in some cases we found out later) rather imprecise. Second, communication was a major problem because we don’t speak Balinese or Indonesian and he didn’t have good English. Lastly, he drove us to all the tourist traps around Ubud, rather than helping us discover what’s beyond the beaten path.
I don’t doubt that there may be good drivers in Ubud, but it just didn’t work out for us. Actually, we soon realized that if we wanted to see something interesting we needed our own transportation, so we rented a motorbike and since then we got hooked on it. It’s quite easy to drive in Bali. The roads are ok and with Emanuele’s experience driving in Sicily, which is where he is from and where he was raised, Balinese roads don’t seem scary at all 🙂
The motorbike is allowing us to see a different Bali, sometimes even outside the tourist areas and the guidebooks. Most importantly, it’s enabling us to soak up this island at our own pace and with enough independence.
I can say, whether it’s ‘gatecrashing’ a temple festival, mingling with the locals and hearing their stories, waking up at sunrise to enjoy spectacular views, or just driving our motorbike through the rice fields and the luscious vegetation, the Bali we are experiencing is proving so energizing, inspiring and rewarding, that we’ve moved the date of our next flight to Sydney to the 18th of May… Australia can wait! 🙂
Now, I’ve selected a few pictures we shot in the past few days, which I wanted to share with you. I hope you enjoy them.
The rice fields
Temple festivals and religious rituals and celebrations
…In the next few days I’ll post more pictures on our Facebook page, so stay tuned if you want to see more of our Bali images 🙂
Yesterday we left Ubud for Lovina, in the North. One of the first things we did when we arrived, alongside with finding accommodation, was to rent a motorbike, so we could be independent and free from touts and guided tours. Lovina is a nice place to stay (nothing too exciting but nice), but if you want to move around on your own and explore more than the main road, you need your own transportation.
Once we secured a two-wheeler, it wasn’t too long until we decided to go to see the sunrise at lake Bratan. Because of its ancient and very photogenic temple complex which features two multi-layered ‘floating’ shrines, Lake Bratan is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Bali, and one of the most photographed spots.
As the main source of irrigation for the surrounding region, Lake Bratan plays an important role in the life of the locals too. Actually, the temple itself is dedicated to the cult of the Lake Goddes to which devotees pay homage as a propitiatory ritual.
As I recently got myself a nice and light travel tripod – oh, that Low Yat Plaza shopping centre in Kuala Lumpur! 🙂 – I was looking forward to putting my new piece of equipment to work.
We woke up at around 3am and left one hour later. The trip wasn’t too bad: 40kms total, most of which up-hill – after all the Lake stands at about 1200 metres above the sea level. The road, was a tad curvy as all mountain roads, but not too bumpy… at that time, although dark as you can imagine, it was almost deserted.
When we arrived (we drove very slow) the ‘blue hour‘ was already kicking in and I suppose we had already missed the best sky we could have got. But nevermind! The light was great anyway, at least I liked it – and the tripod proved to be one of the best purchase I’ve made in the last few months 🙂
We stayed until about 8 so I had the chance to photograph the temple and the surroundings under different angles and types of light.
Ultimately the reward for interrupting our sleep and and doing a few kilometers up-hill was a stunning view, which we were able to enjoy in a sort of surreal, serene atmosphere, with nobody around, except a few local women doing their laundry in the lake and their children playing around.
Enough with words, here are a few shots – I hope they give you a sense of what it was like being there.
…I thought I’d also share a picture of lake Buyan (below), by which we stopped on our way back to Lovina, after a nasi goreng (fried rice) based breakfast on the shore of Lake Bratan…
The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.