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Sanur, Denpasar

Busy Bypass Ngurah Rai highway takes you from the airport to the city of Sanur. Restaurants, tourist offices, furniture stores, accessories shops, and palaces of famous foreign companies are on both sides of this highway.

The highway divides the city in two. The old center is a little bit farther to the west and it's much quieter. There you'll find the City Hall and other governmental and religious institutions. It is there, also, that the Balinese live, protected from the plain view

Sanur was a small fisherman village. There was no tourism. After the opening of „The Bali Beach Intercontinental Hotel” in 1966, the transition to the exclusive touristic site was unavoidable.

This was the first and the last skyscraper, 10 stories high and for the people represented a small wonder. Locals from all over the island would come to see running water and elevators. After a big fire in 1933, the hotel was renovated and the name changed to „Grand Bali Beach Hotel”.

Sanur of today offers many luxurious hotels and bungalows to tourists. The new Balinese building code prescribes that newly built structures can only be as high as the palm trees in the surrounding area. Most of the buildings are right on the coast and surrounded with red brick fence or greenery. Almost all hotels are furnished in Balinese style, using only natural materials. There are restaurants, souvenir shops, and many famous designer clothes and accessories boutiques on the water's edge.

On weekends, especially in the afternoon, a few kilometers long beach is filled by Indonesian families. It is fun to meet them and socialize. Young people all speak English, and it is fun to meet them and learn about the locals' lifes. Just avoid annoying salesmen who will try to sell you pretty much anything.

In the evening you can observe everyday life of the locals. The only danger here is poor street lights and many potholes, so you need to have a flashlight. If you hear the music of gamelan rehearsing, go and listen.

Sanur is very important for the culture and history of Bali, and it is surely one of the cultural centers. Many western painters and writers came and found their new home here. In the 1930s that was Belgium national Le Mayeur and little later German Walter Spiess. The tourism development did not take away Sander's village character and traditional way of life of its inhabitants.

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