The Worst Beach in Bali: What Instagram Doesn’t Tell You About Sanur Beach –

If you’ve been following ‘Earths Magical Places’ on social media (links below) you’ll be aware that I’ve recently been roaming around Bali and its surrounding islands!

Instagram//Twitter//Facebook

My first port of call on this adventure was Sanur; a more relaxed province of Denpasar, away from the party scenes of Kuta and Seminyak… I decided some time to adjust on the quiet side of town would be needed before I jumped into the craziness of these better known regions!

None the less, I was still keen to get out and explore! Thus, after a morning of adjusting to the humidity of Bali…. Which, let me tell you is intense AF! I decided to head down to Sanur beach. However, when I reached the beach, my heart sank at what I saw…

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Not so golden sand –

After months of envious scrolling through Instagram pictures of Bali’s beach’s I’d expected to be met with white sand, palm tress and a local selling freshly picked coconuts.

But, this was far from the case on Sanur Beach: the sand was almost grey and rough as hell on my feet, it literally felt like walking on glass! Can’t say I’ve ever experienced sand quite like it! I assumed it had something to do with how big the grains of sand were but still, far from what I’d dreamed of!


Litter Galore –

Further, I honest to god have never seen such a dirty beach, I could kick myself for not taking a photo of the rubbish… Instead I’ll wait here while you google image ‘Sanur Beach rubbish’ (I’ve even linked it for you – aren’t I nice)

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If you zoom in on the water in this picture you can see a fair amount of rubbish! But, it was much worse on the sand!!

A Beach of two Halves –

Perhaps what surprised me most about the amount of rubbish, was the fact that I’d had a quick look on TripAdvisor before venturing to the beach…. Most reviews I read were glowing and the beach was rated 4 stars!

At first I couldn’t quite understand how anyone could have anything nice to say … I even started to doubt the trusty app! But, as I wandered to what I thought was the end of the beach, all became clear…

As I peeped over an unruly hedge (which clearly marked the end of this appalling stretch of sand) I was surprised to see that the beach actually continued further along… Being the adventurer that I am 😉 I navigated my way around the bush, instantly finding myself in another world…

I was met by a well maintained stone path, soft golden sand (which I later discovered was imported and raked daily by hotel staff) and not a piece of litter in sight!

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Now all the good reviews made sense! It was clear that most people found themselves on this ‘side’ of the beach which, was certainly worth an Instagram or two. I too was back in my element! Finding an ‘organic cafe’ whereby I could set up my camera for a sunset time-lapse accompanied by a ‘health bowl’ and cocktail…

From here, it would have been easy to over-look the section of beach I’d first encountered! But, a part of me was constantly nagged by guilt… I was very well aware that the only reason the second half of the beach was so perfectly manicured was due to the big resorts which backed onto it!

However, said resorts seemed to have little interest in cleaning up the whole beach even though they’d surly benefit from to not having mountains of litter literally meters away? Especially since it was most likely their ‘guests’ who left continue to leave the majority of the litter in the first place?!

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It just seems that the big hotels are out for themselves and couldn’t give a damn about the rest of their beautiful country! Meanwhile, it sadly seems fated that every destination us foreigner’s find appealing will buckle under the weight of tourism, leaving the locals with poor ‘public spaces’ (when I’m sure they once had whole, untouched beaches to themselves)…

For this reason, I made a point of not returning to the resort fronted beach for the rest of my time in Sanur!

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After writing the body of this post on the first few days of my trip, I soon discovered that the whole of Bali appears to have quite a bad litter problem… I’d be interested to know in the comments below whether you think this is simply due to the countries infrastructure or the influx of tourists in recent years!?

DISCLAIMER:  I’m not trying to be a Negative Nelly in this post (excuse the odd English saying) But, I always strive to be as honest as possible on this blog and if that means shattering a perfect view of Bali, then so be it. But, I’ll assure you that there’s many positive and wanderlust inspiring posts to come 🙂

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24 thoughts on “The Worst Beach in Bali: What Instagram Doesn’t Tell You About Sanur Beach –

  1. Thank you for providing an honest review – very refreshing. There is a lot of this around and it is surprising how many “dream” places are not what they seem to be when you finally get there!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad you write this. I was about to write the same thing. I liked that Sanur seems pretty laid back. In fact a fellow traveler recommended it to me. I was planning to go to Nusa Lembongan so i figured might as well, stayed a few days in Sanur to also check out some dive shops. Two days, i didn’t know how to occupy my time. I love beaches so I’ve decided to check it during sunset but it looked dirty to me, plus it was low tide. I came back the next day and still the water was not that good.
    Maybe it was just wrong timing?
    I am the from the Philippines, and we have great beaches. We also have beaches that turned bad. I am not the type to compare for sure. Maybe I just have had high expectations.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi. Thanks for sharing this. I was in Jimbaran in 2014 for the second time and I stopped swimming in the sea because I was surrounded by plastic. Every step I took, was on plastic. And the beach was very littered too. That’s why I stopped taking plastic bags when buying my grocery and try to avoid plastic bottles

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I kind of left the same way in Cambodia – the resort’s beach was constantly cleaned while the ones on the side were full of garbage. In that particular case it was garbage brought by the sea and not left there by people. Having in mind that Asia in general is not the most environment-friendly part of the world, I guess the case in Sanur would be similar…
    Thanks for sharing your perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. it appears to be a real problem in that part of the world! Yes, I should have made it clearer in my post that a lot of the garbage appear to have been washed up as well as people adding to it by littering themselves!

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  5. I’ve been to Bali 7 times now and yes the rubbish can be a problem but there are many programs trying to make a difference which visitors are also welcome to participate in. While I have popped over to Sanur I have never stayed there but I will be doing a quick overnighter there in August before I head to Lembongan. Let’s hope they start winning the battle to keep their beaches clean. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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