If Kuta is the energetic, crowded hub of Bali’s tourism, the historical and easy going village of Sanur is its sleepy antithesis, sitting on Bali’s south-east coast just a short distance from the capital Denpasar and 16 kilometres from the airport. Relaxed restaurants and bars line the road whilst a slew of resorts line the pretty beaches which are more protected than those on the west coast. They start from backpacking huts and progress to some of the original beach retreats, popular with celebrities of the '60s and '70s, which put Bali on the tourist map.
In common with many other tourist centres in Bali, Sanur has expanded, not always beautifully, and now boasts the 9-hole Grand Bali Beach Golf Course, a bowling centre and collection of spas and massage centres, supermarkets for provisioning, banks and ATMs, and a range of shops selling everything from simple postcards to sophisticated artwork. Bali’s famous silver, teak, paintings, masks and more are all available in Sanur, which remains a charming, low key, relaxed destination.
Thirteen kilometres east of Sanur, the area collectively known as Ketewel includes a string of traditional fishing villages - Pabean, Saba, Lebih, Maceti and Ketewel itself - running along the coast. The construction of Sunrise Road (also known as the Klungkung bypass) in 2004 meant that the windswept black sand beaches of this part of the Gianyar Regency suddenly became a lot more accessible. Bounded by the River Wos, terraced rice fields, tobacco plantations, papaya and banana groves, the area is blessed with spellbinding views extending across the ocean towards the beaches of Sanur and Nusa Dua, the islands of Lembongan, Ceningan and Penida, and the mountains of East Bali.
Ketewel village itself is the origin of the celebrated Legong Bidadari Dance, and the neighbouring village of Saba produced the finest Legong dancers on the island. The nearby beach of Pabean was once a small port through which oriental traders brought their products; at low tide you can still see the structure of the old harbour, and a Chinese cemetery is located close by. Balinese Hindu purification ceremonies are held beside the ocean at the sacred Pura Segara sea temple, and the offshore reef is renowned for its surf breaks. There are no Western-style restaurants in this area, but there are plenty of local warungs (eateries), while international restaurants galore can be found just down the road in Sanur.