Friday, 17 May 2013

Sanur Beach, Bali, May 12th 2013

Chaos and Mayhem...

An excursion to one of Bali's beaches, well, would be rude not to see something of beach life which, after-all is the Islands biggest draw - for Europeans and Aussies at least. A bus trip south to Sanur, a suburb of the capital Denpasar and is reputed to have a fine beach. £4 return and should take an hour each way as - a shuttle bus is what the company 'Perama' markets this service as.

Not that I'm remotely concerned about the town on this occasion, but from the bus I can see its a relatively modern affair having arrived along a four lane highway. Serves tourists well with a KFC the most prominent feature, right at the junction opposite the beach road. Plenty of shopping, plenty of good value I would presume, especially for Western visitors. My primary concern is the Beach and how it stacks up among the competition from the likes of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Malaysia I'm afraid is not in contention here, not best visited for a quality beach!

Late Sunday morning on Sanur Beach then and it's definitely touristy. Not overrun with Aussie boobs or British bums though, but has a relaxed and lazy kind of atmosphere. Right or left is the choice to make with left looking like a shortish route towards a busy urban area whilst a right heads away into a quieter section - palms and fishing boats. A nice brick path under the palms and a sea breeze makes this a very pleasant place to be. White sand, blue turquoise waters with gently rolling waves lapping ashore under blue skies and garbage, Yes, in keeping with public Asian beaches garbage is evident though not as bad as in India for example, not really anything to spoil the scene too much. Tourist nicknack's, tourist cafes and the Hilton, but I have spotted a locals cafe, and coffee with the fishermen is a financially rewarding experience!

It's a long hike but a nice one as beach life is observed through the eyes of a first time visitor. A few places to sit without needing to buy something, and just the mildest of pestering from shop owners. Beach hawkers are few and far between, and actually there are people raking the sand, especially around the Hilton area, and even further. Infact it's become a very clean place indeed, not a shred of garbage to be seen.

Sanur Beach, the alternative to Bali's primary tourist beach, Kuta. No drug addicts, alcoholics or prostitutes that I noticed  anyway. More family orientated resort holidays here, much like the Spanish Costa's or Balearic's are for the British and Germans! The beach itself is actually quite littered - not with garbage but with an interesting array of corals. Various colours of sponge like matter mingled with seaweeds adds some interest to this beach.

Mid afternoon and there seems to be a sudden influx of visitors, locals I
should think from the city. Hundreds, maybe thousands are packing onto the beach and curiously, about a hundred local folk have waded out quite a  distance to do some fishing - for the BBQ later I assume.

Despite the tourism, there are quiet spots to be found here, well, up until about 3pm on  Sunday anyway. Look beyond the tack, overpriced coffee and western pandering and there is a good variety of Indonesian beach life to be observed. Locals relaxing, unwinding while the other half of course are busy making a living - from us tourists, yes, even I paid parted with some cash, about 30p for a Bali coffee. So, how does Sanur Beach rank among those Asian top spots? Crystal clear waters, clean white sand (eventually), interesting natural beach debris and a few quiet spots - 9/10.

Chaos and mayhem, that's the scene here in the moped and scooter park as I wait for the bus back to Ubud. Thousands have turned out to make the most of what's left their weekend as the sun begins to sink. Not for some unfortunately as the place is now full to bursting and new arrivals are turned away. Whole families somehow packed onto a scooter, mothers with their babies huddled close in one arm whilst hanging on with the other and some just choosing to balance themselves hoping for the best. Safely on the bus and heading on up to Ubud, amazed that there hasn't been some-kind of mishap before now as thousands weave and swerve between traffic, but of course it's the way of life around here for most.

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