The best time to visit Bali is generally during the summer months of June, July, and August when weather is driest and days are sunny. Unfortunately, that's also when the island becomes the most crowded — you won't be the only one in search of surf, sand, and sun!
The opportunity to escape the Southern Hemisphere's winter months is just a little too tempting for tens of thousands of Australians who grab short, inexpensive flights up to Bali.
No matter the time of year, expect Bali to be bustling. The island only goes from busy to busier. In fact, a majority of travelers to Indonesia — the world's largest island nation and fourth most populous country — only visit Bali.
It's not for lack of choices. Bali is just one of more than 8,800 named islands in Indonesia! Plus, there are many more unnamed islands in the archipelago. If Bali seems too busy, there are plenty of wonderful places to visit in Indonesia.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Bali?
That depends on your patience levels.
If you don't mind heavy traffic and sharing crowded beaches, go when the weather is best! July and August are often the driest months with pleasant temperatures.
A good compromise is to risk occasional rain showers in exchange for more peace. The shoulder months before and after high season (particularly April, May, and September) are enjoyable and experience many sunny days.
The wettest months to visit Bali are from November to March. December, January, and February are extra rainy and a little hotter. These are the peak months in Thailand and countries north of Indonesia that are celebrating their dry seasons before heat really moves in.
Despite the rain and slightly hotter temperatures in December, Bali still becomes busy with revelers during Christmas and the New Year holiday.
Weather in Bali
Although Bali is warm and comfortable throughout the year, the island has two distinct seasons: wet and dry.
Unsurprisingly, the number of visitors increases as sunny days increase. Everyone's favorite island activities, particularly sunbathing, trekking, and motorbiking, are far more enjoyable without monsoon rain!
Temperatures (F) in Bali During July and August:
- Daytime: Low 80s (28 C)
- Evenings: mid 70s (24 C)
Temperatures (F) in Bali During December and January:
- Daytime: High 80s (31 C)
- Evenings: Upper 70s (26 C)
Bali is situated just eight degrees south of the Equator and enjoys a tropical climate. Those factoids become a sweaty three-shower-a-day reality once you wander too far from the breezy coast. Humidity often hovers around 85 percent. One exception is the green Kintamani region north of Ubud in the interior. Mount Batur provides enough elevation to even make weather chilly and drizzly some days for travelers on motorbike.
Traveling during the dry/high season doesn't guarantee all sunny days. Mother Nature keeps the island green throughout the year. Even during the dry season, you'll want to be prepared for brief pop-up storms.
Visiting Bali During the Monsoon Season
Although rain doesn't exactly make for a nice day on the beach, or exploring the island's interior, there are some advantages to visiting Bali during the "green" season.
Some good reasons to visit Bali during the low season:
- You'll get better deals on accommodation and can upgrade to nicer rooms for the same price you would ordinarily pay for a budget guesthouse. With a few insider tricks, you can score great deals on hotels in Bali.
- Fewer tourists will be clogging popular hotspots such as Ubud. You may have attractions such as Goa Gajah (the Elephant Cave) to yourself. During high season, you may have to wait to go inside.
- The air is cleaner. Less dust and particulate matter from fires hang in the air.
- Interactions are sometimes friendlier when locals are not so overworked during peak season.
Some drawbacks of visiting during Bali's low season:
- Rain! Sometimes consistent downpours could span for days or dissipate within an hour. You never know.
- Humidity is much higher, making the heat feel that much worse.
- Increased flow of rivers and drains carries more rubbish and runoff to the beach. Business owners are less inclined to clean the beaches during this time.
- Visibility at dive and snorkel sites is often worse because of sediment washed into the sea. Rougher seas may make boat trips less enjoyable.
The drawbacks sound less than appealing, but many travelers prefer to visit destinations only during the low seasons!
Why Is Bali So Popular?
Perhaps because Bali is predominantly Hindu rather than Muslim or Christian, it boasts a unique vibe that differs from surrounding islands. No matter the reason, Bali is always a top destination in Asia.
Elizabeth Gilbert really spread the word with her hit book Eat, Pray, Love. Julia Roberts starred in the 2010 movie of the same name, opening the floodgates to Ubud. Prior to 2010, Ubud was mostly quiet and attracted budget travelers interested in a healthy alternative to the raging parties in Kuta.
But Hollywood isn't as much to blame as geography. Backpacking students and Australian families — along with plenty of retired expats — choose to escape cooler weather in the Southern Hemisphere by grabbing cheap flights to Bali.
With many students out of school during the summer months, party epicenters such as Kuta become rowdy as young revelers come to enjoy the nightlife. The atmosphere along Jalan Legian resembles what you would expect at some American beaches during college spring break. Fortunately, there are plenty of lesser-known places along the coast: Amed, Lovina, and Padangbai still offer escape. And if things really get out of control, the nearby islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida are tempting.
Despite the small size, the newly renovated Denpasar International Airport in Bali is the country's third busiest. Despite improvements, the airport is outgrowing its capacity. Officials are making lots of effort to shift some of the tourism focus to Lombok, Bali's nearest island neighbor to the east.
Festivals in Bali
Along with taking weather into consideration, you should check on festivals when deciding the best time to visit Bali. Some big events in Indonesia cause accommodation prices to increase; plan well in advance.
With a predominantly Hindu population of over four million people, Hindu festivals such as Holi and Thaipusam are observed. Galungan is the most important religious holiday in Bali. As with all popular destinations in Asia, Lunar New Year (dates change from year to year) draws a crowd, despite rainy weather in January and February.
Nyepi, the Balinese Day of Silence, falls on the Hindu New Year and will certainly affect your trip — but the night before is a lot of fun! For a full 24 hours, tourists are expected to remain inside their hotels and no noise is permitted. The beaches and businesses close — even the international airport shuts down! Nyepi hits in March or April, depending upon the Hindu lunar calendar.
Hari Merdeka (Indonesia's Independence Day) on August 17, may also affect travel to and from Bali. Indonesians also enjoy visiting Bali and come from as far as Sumatra and other places in the archipelago.