Last report: May 2015 visit to Sanur, Legian/Seminyak
Beach Blogger's Sanur Trip Report - visited May 2015
I've stayed at Sanur more than a dozen times over the years. It is a good base just off or before a flight (being way quieter than Kuta-Legian-Seminyak and not too much further from the airport time-wise) or coming/going to Nusa Lembongan and the Lombok Gilis, and is a pretty nice beach destination in itself. These days it has a good selection of shopping and restaurants, not to mention accommodation.
The whole length of the beach is backed by a nice paved walkway, popular with walkers (well duh!) and cyclists. Lotsa restaurants, some beach bars, and places selling touristy stuff, hiring bicycles etc along here.
The major road at left is the main east coast highway. Closer the beach you have Jalan Toba/Tamblingan, what I think of as "beach road", which has a vast array of restaurants and shops plus access to resorts. If you want to hire a car with driver there is a good selection of guys along here who will approach you. No shortage of taxis either. Look for the light blue taxis with "Bluebird Group" written on them for fuss-free meter rides.
Parigata is one of our favourite Sanur accommodation places - see down page.
GAZEBO BEACH HOTEL
Nostalgia trip - after our usual stay at Parigata we decided to spend a few nights at Gazebo, a place we holidayed at several times in the good old days.
Agoda's Gazebo page).
Gazebo is 1km north of our favourite Parigata and 800m (10 mins walk) north of the very good value Hardy's fixed price dept store (don't have to bargain and some prices are lower than I can manage to get from the wandering hawkers: and I'm a pretty experienced bargainer) .
Our room, one of the less expensive choices, was spacious, clean, had a rather hard king bed with a plastic mattress protector which some don't like in humid areas, a daybed and a bathroom where everything seemed to work - not all that common in Bali. Wifi didn't extend to the rooms but was good in the spacious, stylish reception area and the adjacent pool. The whole are was very quiet. Staff performance excellent.
SUM UP - I enjoyed my latest stay at Gazebo. It is a nice hotel in a good position. I think it is fairly priced given the beachfront location (the more expensive Parigata is not) but it maybe can't justify Agoda's 3 star rating - I'd give it 2 and a half. However others may be charmed by the garden setting and the traditional style rooms and give it the full 3.
Beach Blogger's Sanur Trip Report - visited June 2013
Parigata is the hotel I stayed at this trip (update - also returned in May 2014 and 2015).
Parigata beach club is about 5 minutes' walk north. One basic beach restaurant/bar is only about 50m south of the access lane but 5 minutes walk that way gets you to quite a selection of nice places.
Gianna's Trip Report to Sanur, Ubud and Seminyak - visited February 2013
It was our first trip to Indonesia and Bali has always sounded like a nice place to go so we started there. We knew we were going at the end of the wet season but apparently we experienced one of the worst weeks of rain in a February (the last week of Feb to be exact) for 14 years.
So we arrived at Denpasar at around 11pm and got through the visa, immigration and baggage retrieval in 25 mins from touchdown, pretty impressive ! Taxi drivers swamped us at the exit and we bargained from 250k to 100k rupiah for a trip to Sanur which took around 20 mins. We drove through the rain and slid through the puddles of water and arrived at Sun House Guesthouse in Sanur which we had pre-booked on line. Someone had waited up for us and showed us to the deluxe room up on the first floor. It’s a huge room with a nice balcony overlooking the pool, has a/c and a fridge, a nice comfy bed and a hot water shower which worked really well. We paid $US36 per night which we thought was pretty ok considering the standard of the place, and its location (behind the Mercure Hotel) just 600m from the beach. No breakfast included but there’s a kitchen where you can make yourself a cuppa all day.
It’s a really nice place and we loved the Balinese carved doors and stone work. They have various types of room, ours being the most expensive because of the fridge and balcony. The other rooms are all at ground level and open up onto communal shady seating areas which were never busy but it was nice to sit and chat with a few fellow travellers. There’s a pool which is big enough to cool off and splash about in as well as a few sun beds to laze on and a shaded gazebo. They have a couple of pushbikes for hire and offer a laundry service and arranged a car and driver for us.
So, we headed out the next morning in search of breakfast and the beach. We were blessed with a cloudy/hazy /sunny day and didn’t get far along the beach walk until we found a little cafe with some sun beds so opted to spend the day there, you know, get over the 26 hour journey etc.
We had some breakfast and then settled on the sun beds under the umbrellas, got bored after an hour so decided to go for a nice long walk up the beach walk which stretches for about 5km. Wasn’t long before we got too hot and sticky so decided to go back to where we had come from for a beer and some lunch. We ended up at Tittie's Warung which served up some pretty amazing satay on its own little bbq and the best satay sauce I had all trip and it was for something silly like 25k rupiah, Big Bintang also 25k rupiah. The rain started but we didn’t care, there was a guy with a guitar singing and a crowd of aged expats turned up to celebrate someone’s 60th birthday but by 4pm the sky was black and it was really really raining so we headed home for a nap. In the evening we walked along the main road and actually were quite disappointed, the area feels run down, dirty and it’s actually difficult to negotiate holes in pavements and huge curbs and we are young !! There are plenty of shops selling tourist stuff and some great cheap dresses and t-shirts. The traffic was pretty awful too and someone we spoke to said that Sanur was quiet in comparison to other areas...oh dear Lord.
You could say the centre of Sanur is at Hardy’s supermarket about half way from south to north, along Jalan Tamblingan and its there that there’s a concentration of cafe and restaurants as well as Hardy's which has a good selection of DVD’s, beach type clothing. Cotton/rayon dresses and even upstairs you will find some souvenir type items. Opposite Hardy’s is somewhere to get a SIM card and a little further along a proper money exchange, security guard on the outside and nice a/c on the inside.
We ate in Mona Lisa’s as it was busy and everywhere else wasn’t and it wasn’t too bad but the menu is mainly western with things like chicken cordon bleu. We didn’t see much Indonesian food on any menu though apart from Rendang, gado gado ( which I tried and found horrible!) satay and the ubiquitous gorengs. Hubbie had the rendang and said it was just ok. We each had a small beer and the bill was pricey at around US$15 a head by the time they added 20% tax and service on to it. There was nothing happening anywhere, we looked for some live music or a nice bar, but there was nothing like that where we were walking so we headed home.
Other eateries we tried over the next few days were Massimo’s....supposedly the best pizza in Bali. Service was annoyingly slack, table cloths were not all that clean and the whole place resembled a canteen with bright lighting and no atmosphere at all but hey ho, I love a pizza. Where in the world would you order a veggie pizza and get it with cauliflower green beans, peas and carrots on it? Hubbie had a spicy seafood one and there was so little seafood on it he was also disappointed, Maybe the boss was off that night, it was horrible. Hugely expensive as well at 800k IDR each. Two nights in Bali, two crappy meals.
Third night we ate at Bistro 65 which was really busy so we popped in there. Great tempura prawns, fresh lime juice, very good satay and a thai curry, lovely presentation and service and alot cheaper than the rotten pizzas !
The next day we walked all the way from the south to the north of Sanur, 5km, right along the main road up to Sindhu Beach which we were told has more of a backpacker type vibe. The beach really wasn’t as nice this end.
There are plenty of shops selling all the same stuff and many beachy type restaurants which were nice. We stopped at Benno’s which was a lovely little beach side place for an iced coffee. Then we walked the full 5km back down the beachwalk, past the huge hotels fronting the beach back down to Titties for another great lunch....bbq whole red snapper with rice and salads for 30k rupiah....yummo.
We took a side trip for the day up to Ubud...........it rained all day which definitely wasn’t great but we made the most of paddling around monkey forest, Tegallalang rice terraces and the main part of the town. It was mentally busy, I mean to the point where it was hard to find somewhere to sit and have a warming coffee (yes, it was actually chilly) the traffic was chaotic and it was difficult walking past huge groups of Chinese tourists all in their colour coded t-shirts. Some amazing shops though, especially for clothing, handicrafts and artwork. To be honest we were so cold and the place was so manic we left at 2pm to come back to Snore, sorry Sanur.
We found a place called the Cat and Fiddle down in the south near where we were staying and as they advertised live music we thought it might be fun. Well, I guess the band played to its audience....old, old, old songs for old, old, old people and that was when the penny dropped. We hadn’t seen anyone our age in Sanur, everyone was decidedly geriatric, and so Sanur became Snore. Saying that we were so jetlagged and we knew it was just for a few days so it was fine.
All in all, we enjoyed Sanur as a rest stop after our mammoth journey, the beach was just ok, nothing special , the restaurants were ok, nothing special and the whole place was just ok, nothing special.
Back to Bali from Lombok
Sadly (Kuta Lombok and Yuli's Homestay were great) we travelled back to the new Lombok airport which cost 100k for the 20 minute trip. The plane was on time and we land into Denpasar and wait 55 minutes for our luggage. It was so hot and really unpleasant but eventually we got our bags and found our driver waiting to whisk us to the Bali Ginger Suites in Semniyak, which we were told was a nice upmarket area of Bali. Really ? Really ?
It was a little pricey at £60 per night but we wanted to stay somewhere a little posh for our last 3 nights and Ginger was worth it. Artistic, elegant, damn sexy and very very comfy, we certainly were not disappointed in our suite which had an amazing stone bathtub in the bathroom. From the pool, which is just outside the door, you walk into a semi open terrace/garden/kitchenette with a day bed and a table and chairs sink, fridge etc and even a water cooler. You then go through two more doors into the air conditioned bedroom which has a huge kingsize bed fitted with bamboo linen (sooooo soft) a TV, minimal furniture but plenty of space to unpack and store your stuff. The bathroom is again semi open and surrounded by foliage and has a rain shower as well as the bath. Breakfast isn’t included but you have your own tea and instant or caffetierre coffee in your kitchenette and they bring you a little selection of bakery goods – just 2 tiny things each but it was a nice start to the day.
The staff here were amazing, super efficient and so very helpful – nothing was too much trouble, from sorting out some laundry problem at a previous Bali hotel to printing off our Air Asia boarding passes. They should be cloned and slotted into other hotels around the world !
But Semniyak – what is there to like about this place ? We hadn’t thought much of Sanur until we came here.....but Semniyak was truly awful. The traffic was horrendous, the pavements unwalkable.
The beach unswimmable unless you wanted to wade through a meter or so of rubbish floating at the shore line. Some of the beach lounges we passed were just grotty apart from one called La Playa which has lovely umbrellas and charges 35k for a small beer....ok so moving on..........we walked along the main Jalan Semniyak and there were some high end shops flanked by the usual tourist stuff, coconut shell earrings and rayon dresses, some of which were so appealing they somehow made their way into my bag !! The central point along here seemed to the Bintang Supermarket and that was great to buy limes and lemongrass (living in Turkey we can’t get these necessities) there is also a proper money changer just opposite and some nice cafes around. If you want to sit next to a major traffic congested road.
To be honest, the whole place left us cold, as did the singlet short wearing antipodeans walking along a shopping street with bottles of beer in their hands. If we hand’t been staying somewhere really nice with a lovely pool it would have been a disaster but we just did some shopping, hung out at Ginger by the pool, even watched some movies on TV, found a few nice places to eat but the cost was slightly prohibitive for us so we had to scale down our expectations.
The better class of restaurants can all be found on Jalan Oberoi, about 20 mins walk from Ginger. We stayed closer to home and found a great pizza place (look, I wasn’t enthralled with Indonesian food, sorry) called Cosa Nostra round the corner on Jalan Semniyak and their “hot “ pizza was great. We also really liked Santa Fe, further up on the same street which had a live band inthe evenings as well as good menu. Spinach and cheese ravioli with tomato sauce was 37k and a pepper steak was 57k. We stopped there for lunch the next day and had a hot chicken baguette – really nice. The place was packed out every night. There were a couple of bars along that stretch of road as well and one called Bahaiana looked really cool but the one night we ventures out it was dead but the mojitos were not too shabby at all !
Semniyak wasn’t a good choice for us personally, and in retrospect Sanur was better because at least you could swim in the sea. Neither place was worth the 27 hours it took us to get there and it is possible we just chose the wrong part of Bali (well 2 wrong parts) !
"Which is best - Sanur or Seminyak?" - this is the most common Google search question which finds this page (Google Blogger has a real good statistics function which tells this plus a bunch of other things).
Gianna's trip report immediately above doesn't paint a very good picture of Seminyak. Until recently I was less than whelmed too - in 2013 I stayed a night in central Seminyak - not long enough to do a separate trip report but enough time to check the scene which I found similar to Gianna's report (although the fairly unattractive beach was at least swimmable - Gianna visited in wet season when the wind is almost always on-shore making for frequent rough dangerous conditions and blowing a lot of rubbish onto the sand).
However in May 2015 I stayed in the northern most part of Legian about 100m from where Seminyak starts in the south, and must report that the southern part of Seminyak is way more attractive than central and northern sections.
This area also has budget/moderate priced dining and shopping on Jalan Double Six/Arjuna which runs inland from the rivulet - and along Jalan Padma, the traffic restricted lane behind the beach which runs a km or so south thru Legian.
So how does South Seminyak compare to Sanur? Well Seminyak beach is grayer, the surf is better (Sanur reef is mainly for experts and breaks less consistently), the sunset scene more lively and it is relatively close to the clubs etc of Kuta. I think you will find the beach/water way less attractive than Sanur in wet season (wet season winds are off the shore in Sanur, meaning smooth conditions even without the protection of the lagoon's reef) and you will probably have to pay more if you want beachfront accommodation in south Seminyak- Sanur seems to have more midrange places right on the beach and more budget dwellings off the beach road one block in. Sanur also has reasonable snorkeling opportunities for non-hardliners in the lagoon. Ditto for fishing and watersports like jet-skiing, water skiing, native boat cruises, para gliding etc. Some people may not like the fact that parts of the lagoon become rock pools at lowest tide but this may be an attraction for rock pool fossikers. Remember low tide gets later by one hour each day and there is about 6.5 hours between low and high tide, so a mid-day low tide will shift later each successive day fairly quickly.
Personally I prefer Sanur for those beachfront midrange places, its quieter nicer beach, fewer hawkers, the beach walk way and the usually serene lagoon along most of its length - Beach Blogger
Beach Bloggers Legian Trip Report - visited May 2015
When I first started visiting Bali, Legian referred to the beach areas north of Kuta. But these days the Legian strip is considered to only stretch a little more than a km immediately north of Kuta Legian is followed by Seminyak** and finally Canggu** which is starting to be connurbated into the urban sprawl that can be considered greater Kuta (although if you head east the sprawl continues right across thru Denpassar to (east) coastal Sanur - fact is all south Bali away from the Bukit peninsual in the far south is now one big urban sprawl. And the traffic is horrendous). One "Legian" resort I stayed at in the old days was well and truly in what is now regarded as central Seminyak.
**Actually there are another 2 or 3 beachside "suburbs" (formerly separate villages) along this strip but the resort booking sites tend to use the place-names mentioned above. Note if you search for say a Legian hotel many sites will throw up places in Seminyak and even north Kuta - and vice versa. Use the booking site maps to check exactly where your resort is - and check more than one map: I have found Agoda's location maps are sometimes incorrect.
Note too that hotels away from the beach strip in Seminyak may have Kerobokan addresses.
This place calls itself a cottage hotel but the rooms are in an extended block adjacent a nice garden area. At around $us30 a night (no breakfast) it was certainly reasonably priced. Because there is a narrow higher end hotel block between the above area and Jl. Arjuna, the place is very quiet at night.
Our room was a bit tatty around the edges but fine for the price - spacious, fairly comfy twin beds, good aircon, jug, frig, tv with no English language news. Bathroom was spacious and had okay water. Staff members were fine apart from the older guy at reception who seemed a bit grumpy. Charged us half a day room rate for a late (1930) check-out, which is fine except:
-many Indo hotels don't charge if they have no pressure on room occupancy, and Puri Naga was running at less than 50% (Bali seemed quieter this May than in previous years - tourist numbers may not show this because Chinese visits are up, and Chinese tend to be restricted to a few higher end hotels and spend much of the day in big coaches traveling to tourist traps like Ubud rather than on the beach. Meanwhile western tourists seem fewer - maybe affected by the recent rises in entry tax and airport exit tax, harsh Indo treatment of a few drug-running losers who made a stupid decision but not bad enough to be executed for, and by the general downturn in western economies. BTW there also seemed to be way more Javanese tourists than in previous visits.
- the50% was off the rack rate, considerably higher than the booking site rates, and cost us about $us25. Still good value by western standards.
The older style pool had several repairs to tiles - my lady was not impressed with the bottom which could have used a scrub but I found it a pleasant place to spend time - long enough to swim laps. In background is the reception/sitting area. I think it used to house the restaurant but there are no eats these days - no matter: plenty of moderately priced (moderate for Bali, downright inexpensive by western standards) restaurants in both the beachfront lane and Jl. Arjuna.
Arjuna has lots of shops selling the usual touristy stuff - 400m further inland a major street, Jl Legian,, crosses at right angles - has retailing which tends to be more high end.
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