Should you stay in Sanur or Kuta, Bali

Planning a holiday to Bali is an opportunity to explore different destinations on the island. Two of the most popular locations to choose from are Sanur or Kuta. Each location offers a different Bali experience, depending on your tastes.

Sanur, located along Bali’s southeastern coast, offers a peaceful retreat with its calm beaches and a family-friendly environment. The area is known for its relaxed vibe and simplicity, attracting those seeking a tranquil coastal experience.

comparative view showcasing the distinct atmospheres of Sanur and Kuta in Bali, Indonesia
Choosing between Sanur’s Serenity or Kuta’s Vibrancy – Which Bali Experience Captivates You?

On the other hand, Kuta stands out as a lively and dynamic hub, renowned for its energetic beaches, vibrant nightlife, and extravagant shopping scene.

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of each location. Here’s a deeper look into what separates Sanur and Kuta, focusing on their atmosphere, beaches, accommodation, dining, shopping, and entertainment options.

Sanur exudes a tranquil, laid-back charm that appeals to those searching for relaxation, messages, and a slower pace of life. Its beaches are lined with sun lounges and traditional fishing boats.

white sand beach in sanur with traditional boats and the coastline in the distance
Sanur Beach

The strong community vibe among locals and expats makes it ideal for families and travellers seeking serenity.

Kuta, contrastingly, buzzes with energy and is the epicentre of Bali’s nightlife and party scene. Its streets are full of shops, clubs, bars, and a young, adventurous crowd. Kuta is perfect for those looking for excitement and a lively social scene.

Beaches in Sanur or Kuta

Sanur Beach is known for its calm waters and gentle waves, perfect for swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

The 6-kilometre-long Sanur Beach Path is excellent for walks and bike rides and offers a peaceful beach experience. Sanur is known for its amazing sunrises, and the water shines when the sun comes up over Nusa Lembongan in the distance.

Kuta Beach attracts surfers worldwide with its impressive waves. Make sure you swim between the flags and take surfing lessons in Kuta.

evenings on kuta beach with music, beanbags, beers and sunsets
Sunset on Kuta Beach

The beach’s lively atmosphere extends from day to night, with visitors and locals gathering to enjoy the vibrant scene. Loud music, beanbags, and bintangs adorn the beach as people gather to watch the legendary sunsets.

AccommodationIs it better to stay in Sanur or Kuta?

In Sanur, you’ll find a wide selection of accommodations, from luxurious beachfront resorts to villas and quaint guesthouses. All promise comfort and a quiet environment conducive to relaxation.

the view from a double room at the Parigata Resort in sanur
The Parigata Resort and Spa in Sanur, Bali, Indonesia

Best places to stay in Sanur

Looking for options? Read our extensive list of the best places to stay near Sanur Beach.

Kuta offers a range of accommodation options to suit any budget, including budget hostels, mid-range hotels, and upscale villas. The variety ensures every traveller finds a suitable place to stay, close to the action or tucked away for privacy.

one of the 3 pools at harris Riverview in Kuta
The Harris Riverview in Kuta

Best places to stay in Kuta

Dining

Sanur’s dining scene boasts a mix of traditional Balinese eateries and international restaurants against the area’s charming and serene backdrop. From restaurants on the beach to bars, coffee shops, and warungs on Jalan Danau Tambligen, some options cater to all tastes and offer a quieter dining atmosphere. You can do a Sanur Street Food Tour to understand the food culture better.

a traditional chicken satay from warung rainbow in sanur
Chicken Satay and Rice at Warung Rainbow in Sanur.

Places to eat in Sanur

Kuta’s dining scene is as vibrant and eclectic as its streets, bustling with an impressive variety of eateries that cater to every palate and preference, from Jamie Oliver Kitchen to cosy beachside cafes serving freshly caught seafood to bustling street-side warungs offering local Balinese favourites. 

Essentials for travel to Sanur Bali

Kuta is a culinary paradise that promises visitors an exciting gastronomic journey. The area is also known for its vibrant nightlife, featuring bars and clubs that serve food and drinks late into the night.

Places to eat in Kuta

Shopping

Sanur’s shopping experience centres around its market, where tourists and locals can find Balinese handicrafts, art, and souvenirs. You can visit the Sanur Morning Market, Sindhu Beach Market, and the Sanur Art Market.

The Artasandana Department Store, boutique shops, and stalls offer unique items in a less hectic environment. You will not experience shopkeepers being as aggressive as they are in Kuta. 

Entry to a beach market in Sanur
You can find this type of market in Kuta or Sanur.

Shopping in Sanur

Kuta is a shopper’s paradise, home to sprawling malls, street markets, and boutique stores. Whether you’re after designer brands, surf gear, or local crafts, Kuta’s shopping scene is vast and varied, catering to every whim and budget.

Be sure to barter for everything in Kuta unless you enter a fixed-price store. Always aim to get at least 50% off their request. Don’t be fooled by words like “this is a morning price only”; I give you a good deal.

Shopping in Kuta

Activities and Entertainment

Sanur is great for cultural attractions and leisurely activities, such as visiting temples and museums and engaging in watersports suited to its gentler seas.

thrilling watersports adventures in Sanur, Bali
Watersports in Sanur

It’s a place to immerse yourself in Balinese culture and enjoy the natural beauty leisurely. There are so many things to do in Sanur.

Kuta is all about entertainment, offering everything from surfing, water parks, and indoor theme parks to nightlife that keeps the party going until dawn. This attracts people to Kuta.

Waterbom Bali Park is an amazing activity to do in Kuta Bali Indonesia
Waterbom Waterpark in Kuta Bali Indonesia.

It’s a hub of activity where boredom is virtually unheard of, thanks to the endless options for fun and excitement.

How to get to Kuta or Sanur from the airport

Getting from Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport (also known as Denpasar International Airport) to either Kuta or Sanur is relatively straightforward, with several transportation options available to suit various preferences and budgets. Here’s a guide to help you navigate your way from the airport to these popular destinations:

Bali Airport's departure terminal
A private driver can take you to either Sanur or Kuta

Getting to Kuta

Taxi: Upon exiting the airport, you’ll find an official taxi counter where you can book a fixed-price taxi to Kuta. This is one of the most convenient options since Kuta is close to the airport, roughly a 15-minute drive, depending on traffic.

Private Driver: You can pre-book a private driver for a more comfortable and personalised experience. Several companies and local drivers offer this service, and you can arrange for them to meet you at the airport arrivals hall with a sign bearing your name. Expect to pay between $10 AUD and $20 AUD.

Grab: Grab is Southeast Asia’s answer to Uber and operates widely in Bali. You can use the app to order a ride from the airport to Kuta. Note that there may be a designated pickup area for Grab cars, so check the app for directions.

a traveller opening up the grab app
Grab app is an application for smartphones in street traffic that allows users to call, use Grabbike (bike), Grabtaxi (taxi), Grabcar (express delivery), and use Grabfood (food delivery) service.

Getting to Sanur

Taxi: Similar to the journey to Kuta, you can catch a taxi from the airport to Sanur by visiting the official taxi counter. Sanur is a bit farther than Kuta, typically around a 30-minute drive from the airport. Fixed-price taxis are available, offering a hassle-free transfer to your accommodation.

Private Driver: Booking a private driver can offer a seamless experience, especially if you have a lot of luggage or are travelling in a group. Arrange your pickup in advance, and enjoy the convenience of being taken straight to your Sanur hotel or villa. A private driver will cost you from $15AUD to $25AUD.

Grab: The Grab app is a popular choice for getting to Sanur. It combines convenience with the ability to see your fare upfront. Remember to check the app for the designated Grab pickup area at the airport. There is a Grab Lounge after you exit the airport where you can organise a car ride.

Regardless of your choice, it’s advisable to have some Indonesian Rupiah on hand for taxi fares or bus tickets, although Grab rides can be paid through the app. Pre-booking a private driver or using the Grab app can also provide a more predictable fare and reduce the need to negotiate prices after a long flight.

For more accommodation options in Sanur Bali, click through to our places to stay page or search Booking.com Agoda or Luxury Escapes.

Best time to go to Bali

The best time to visit Sanur and other spots in Bali, Indonesia, is during the dry season, which runs from May to September. During this time, the weather is generally sunny with low humidity, making it perfect for outdoor activities such as walking, swimming, snorkelling, and lying by the pool.

April and October shoulder seasons can also be good times to visit Sanur, as the weather is still pleasant but with fewer crowds. Pack your suitcase and book your flights for one of the best periods to visit attractions such as Bali Zoo, Waterbom, and the Monkey Forest.

However, if you don’t mind the occasional rain shower, visiting Sanur during the wet season from October to March can also have advantages. The lush greenery and cooler temperatures can be refreshing, but ensure you have a waterproof bag and umbrella for your outings in case of a downpour.

It’s worth noting that Bali is a popular tourist destination, and the peak season for tourism is from June to August. Planning your visit outside these months is best if you prefer to avoid crowds and higher prices.

the beach front path in Sanur in the early evening
Evening strolls along the beach in Bali are popular.

Whether Sanur is better than Kuta depends on what you want in a holiday. Sanur promises a peaceful retreat focusing on culture and leisure, making it ideal for a relaxing escape.

Kuta, meanwhile, offers an electrifying atmosphere with its unbeatable nightlife and shopping, perfect for those seeking adventure and social interaction. Each destination provides a unique slice of Bali, ensuring travellers can find their ideal vacation spot on the island.

Either Sanur or Kuta, you can’t make a wrong choice. Transport from Sanur to Kuta or Kuta to Sanur is easy and inexpensive. When you choose between Sanur and Kuta, there is no reason why you can’t make a day trip to either. We also have articles comparing Sanur with Ubud, Sanur or Canggu, Sanur and Seminyak and Sanur or Uluwatu.

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog post about Sanur Bali! We hope you found it informative and helpful when planning your trip to this beautiful region. If you’re looking for more information about things to do in Sanur, recommendations for places to eat, or where to go from Sanur, be sure to check out our website.

Our team is dedicated to providing you with the most up-to-date and accurate information to make your holiday planning as smooth as possible, from finding supermarkets to choosing hotels and renting a scooter. Once again, thank you for reading, and we hope our articles continue to be a valuable resource for your travel plans.

Things to do in Sanur

Things to do in Sanur and its content is created by two Australians who have been to Sanur many times. We have enjoyed food and drink on the beach, we have sipped coffee on Jalan Danau Tamblingan. We have stayed in homestays and hotels in Sanur and made day trips to see the best of Bali. Not only that, but we aim to keep the information fresh by continuing to visit Sanur and getting first-hand information off our Balinese friends.

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