Number of Days there: 1
Our Best of: Sanur has a huge variety of restaurants to choose from.
Worst of: Durian Cake - it tasted almost as bad as it smelled.
One thing unexpected: Sanur has a huge grocery store with a special aisle devoted to imports! Hello peanut butter!
Times we took the: Bus: 0 Train/Subway: 0 Taxi/Car: 0; Motorcycle: 0; Boat: 1
Estimated KM walked: 6-7 kilometers
Where we stayed: Watering Hole (RM 100,000 - about $11)
We liked: cheap, clean, quiet & centrally located 1 block from the beach & ferry terminal
Disliked: cold water showers (I will NEVER get used to them) & a bad restaurant
Favorite restaurant: Beach Cafe - yummy European breakfast with muesli, yogurt, fruit, real European style bread, cheese, meat, juice & Italian coffee (pricey at 75,000 RM - about $8-$9 US but big enough to split)
We negotiated a transfer from Amed to Sanur with a friendly driver named Tajus (contact info: to be posted). It was a bit expensive at 400,000 RM ($40 something US) but we were able to make a couple of stops along with way and it included pick up and drop off at our hotel. We stopped along the way at several viewpoints and at Tengagan which is occupied by the Bali Aga people (original Balinese). We toured their village and saw many of the local crafts being made (baskets, double & single ikat weavings, etc). I had the opportunity, not that shopping opportunities are unheard of, to purchase a hand made scarf and an ikat table runner. After stopping at Tengagen we stopped for lunch at a local warung Tajus recommended and tried lawar which is a chopped salad of coconut, chilies, pork & blood (we ordered ours sans blood but it still came with jerky made from pig heart and what I think was a piece of liver). We were not impressed. Anyways, onto Sanur!
Sanur has a reputation for being a quiet alternative to Kuta and it definitely lived up to that reputation. Compared to Kuta, Sanur was pleasantly deserted. lt's still very touristy but it has a slightly more upmarket feel and it's geared towards older travelers rather than the surf crowd. We checked into the hotel and relaxed at a beach cafe for the afternoon and then ended the evening with a long stroll through the beach and around town. We stocked up on snacks for our trip to Nusa Lembongan and searched for an ATM that would allow us to take out 3 million rupiahs (roughly $300 US which is the max any ATM in Bali will allow you to withdraw). There are no ATMs in Nusa Lembongan and we planned on diving so we needed cash & fast before our morning ferry! After stopping at 7-8 ATMs (ironically enough the amount got less and less with every stop) we finally found one near Dunkin Donuts of all places that allowed us to take out the right amount of money. We kind of laughed and joked about our bad luck but then we started to talk about the obvious underlying issue. It's very humbling to travel in a country where your dollar goes so far and to realize that people here survive on far less than an American ever could. To most Americans $300 in not that much money. There we were wanting to take out enough money to last us a week and we found only ATMs that would let us take out the equivalent of $50-$150 US. To people living in Bali and making roughly $100-$200 per month (and $200 is a REALLY good salary) that is a huge sum. Many survive on far less than that. While I wouldn't say Bali is poor by any means they are heavily dependent on tourism and the supply seems to far outweigh the demand so it's difficult for people to become upwardly mobile.
After finally finding an ATM we headed to dinner. Exhausted we decided to try the Watering Hole, our hotel's restaurant which was recommended by Lonely Planet. It was a definite disappointment though with very bland food. I don't know why but in many tourist establishments the food tends to be tasteless. We asked each other, why do restaurants adapt their perfectly good food to satisfy western palates? Don't we all need a little bit of spice in our lives?
Next stop, Nusa Lembongan!