Sanur Beach, Bali

Sanur is on the Eastern coast of Bali, it stretches for about  5 klms along an east facing coastline. There is a path /cycle way along the entire length of the beach with tropical  landscaped gardens of the many resorts on one side and the white sandy beaches on the other. Sanur is protected from the sea by a coral reef which is from 300 to 3000 metres from the shore. At low tide the lagoon is very shallow.
If  you are staying at one of the many beach front resorts  then access is easy.  There are a number of road access points along the beach, it is best to find these in the daytime as it can be difficult to find them  in the dark. Also access through some of the resorts maybe restricted during the night.

Special Photographic Features

Sanur Beach is a photographers dream location. Facing east it is the ideal location for Bali’s fantastic sunrises. Every sunrise  is different and they never fail to provide the goods.  There is an unlimited number of backdrops and foregrounds such as  islands, boats, the reef, fisherman, palm trees and mountains.  The still waters of the lagoon provide a perfect surface  for reflections.

The tropical  gardens of the resorts provides ample  flowers and plants  to capture.
The are a number of local temples which provide colour and a window into the local culture of the Balinese people.  If you are lucky you might be able to capture a local ceremony or festival along the beach.

Starting from the southern end of the beach

Around the harbour, great shoots can be taken of the local boats, a chance to capture the  local fisherman loading and unloading their boats.

Further North – The Hyatt Hotel provides a great location, lots of palm trees, raked sand, neat and lined up  beach chairs. The gardens are great, on the northern border is a very nice temple which captures the morning sun.

Around the Besakih Hotel (about midway) there are a number of recently built pagolas on the waters edge and 2 which are on a man made island which provide a nice foreground to the sunrises.

In the Tandjung Sari Hotel next door to the Besakih Hotel is a very beautiful temple.  They hold a new moon festival here over Easter.

Look behind the Bonsai cafe, there is a garden with hundreds of mature bonsai plants.

Further north, the beach front provides lots of local colour, markets, warongs (cafes) with colourful tables on the beach. On weekends this area is crowded with local Balinese families enjoying the beach.

Night Photography

Night time is the time to capture the lights of the resorts, the warongs, the distance lights over the lagoon and the moonrise over the lagoon.

Special Equipment

  • Tripod and filters
  • sunscreen
  • reef booties if planning to walk in the lagoon during low tide

Best Time of The Day

Sunrise, if you are staying in one of the beachfront resorts, when you hear the birds singing in the morning it is time to get up.  If you miss the sunrise, there is still lots to photograph during the day. Weekends are good to capture the local enjoying the beach.  Watch the moon charts to see when there is a full moon.

Getting there

The ideal way to capture the beach is to stay a few nights in any of the resorts on the beachfront. They range from budget to 5 stars. If you are staying elsewhere, then you will need to get access to the beach via a number of access roads.  There are roads with parking at either end and a few lane ways in the middle.  Access though the resorts is possible but not always possible at night. There is access though the Bonsai cafe during the day but the cafe is shut during the night. If you are traveling from another town, to get to the beach before sunrise, you will need your own transport. It is best to book a car and driver the day before.

Author Bio

Graham Grocott

I live in Bundeena Australia, which is a small village south of Sydney. It is enclosed by the Royal National Park , the Pacific Ocean and the Port Hacking river. The area provides unlimited opportunities to take photographs. I have a website and I am a member of the Sutherland Shire Amateur Photography Society. My wife and I have been going to Bali for several years where we spend most of time traveling and taking pictures.


  1. Graham Grocott November 11, 2012

    post update – the Bonsai Cafe is no longer there.

  2. Dan October 30, 2015

    Thanks for the information, Graham, it will be very helpful for our upcoming trip to Bali.

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