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When's The Best Time of Year to Visit Bali?

Bali, Indonesia
Bali, Indonesia | © Kai Lehmann / Flickr
Travellers come and go from the dreamy Indonesian island of Bali all year round. The question of whether there’s a best time to visit depends entirely on you.

No matter when you book your flight, Bali has something to offer. The high season may bring crowds, but it also brings the best parties. The rainy season may be wetter, but it means heading to the nearest temple for a closer look at the island’s fascinating culture. Furthermore, Balinese cultural celebrations and festivals depend on the lunar calendar, meaning no two years are the same. Here is our guide to enjoying Bali, every month of the year.

January

With an average of 16 days of rain, January is Bali’s wettest and “coldest” month. The rainfall changes depending on the area. The central – north highlands definitely sees more rain than the southern coast. Heavy showers usually occur in the early afternoon. It’s suggested not to drive around when that happens: the streets can flood easily. Always pack a rain poncho if you are getting around by scooter. If you are keen to surf, this might not be the best month. However, there are some good surfing spots in Serangan, Sanur and Nusa Dua, on the East Coast of the island.

Rainfall: 16 days

Temperature: 79 ℉ (26℃)

Horizon at Jimbaran Beach Bali © jeniffertn / Pixabay

February

Very similar to January, February is a wet humid month on the Island of Gods. However, it’s low season, which means fewer tourists and better prices. If you are staying on the coast, pack light cottons and breathable clothes: it can get pretty sticky out there. If you are venturing inland and on the central peaks, make sure to bring layers: it does get cold, especially with the rain and in the evening. Rainy season in Bali means the rivers get full with water … and rubbish. Yes, littering is a big problem on the island and during the rainy season, the rivers bring waste down to the beach. Every year, in February, the association One Island One Voice organizes Bali’s Biggest Clean Up. With approximately 20,000 participants the event has a huge impact and could be a sustainable and conscious add-on to your holiday.

Rainfall: 15 days

Temperature: 79 ℉ (26℃)

March

Sunny days with bright clear blue sky will welcome you in March. Rainy days can still happen, but the sunshine will be priceless and the air very clean. Being the last month of the rainy season, March is where nature blooms. The lush tropical forest breathes the steam out and the rice fields look more emerald than ever. It’s a perfect time to explore the central highlands. Just make sure to always pack your wet weather gear, in case of sudden rainfall. Also, March is the month of “Nyepi,” the most magical day in Bali that marks the beginning of the New Lunar Calendar, the “Caka” calendar. Its exact date varies, depending on the moon cycle. It’s a day of reflection and self-introspection. Bali International airport is closed, it’s forbidden to go out, walk or drive in the streets. This means that tourists cannot leave hotels, guesthouses or homestays. The local police strictly check on that. Also, according to the tradition, it’s prohibited to work, use “fire” (to cook) and electricity, together with any sort of entertainment. The whole island is in deep silence, to foster purification for a healthy start of the new year.

Rainfall: 14 days

Temperature: 81℉ (27℃)

Melanie van Leeuwen / © Culture Trip

April

April is the month with most sunshine hours. The island awakes: it’s dry season … and festival season. It’s when Bali Spirit Festival happens, the largest yoga, art and music festival in Asia, held in a dreamy location close to the town of Ubud, on the central highlands. It’s the perfect place to go and unwind, through yoga and meditation practices, taught by world-class teachers. They organize cacao ceremonies, concerts and dance sessions, together with healing sessions and workshops. Also, April is the month of the Ubud Food Festival, a three-day event featuring the best food venues on the island, for an explosion of taste, local and international. The drinks are also pretty awesome.

Rainfall: 12 days

Temperature: 81℉ (27℃)

The burrito at KAFE, in Ubud, Bali © KAFE

May

With average temperatures reaching 28C, May is usually the hottest month on the island. Pack light clothes and get ready to enjoy one of the best months in Bali: few tourists, sunny days and blue sky. Plus, it’s a perfect time to surf on the southern coast of Uluwatu, Seminyak and Canggu. Do not forget the sunscreen and to hydrate: young coconut water is ideal for that.

Rainfall: 9 days

Temperature: 82℉ (28℃)

June

During the last few years, June’s weather has been pretty unpredictable. The dry season doesn’t always mean it is not going to rain, especially when visiting the highlands or mountain areas. Come prepared. June is also the month when the annual Bali Arts Festival is held, from the second Saturday of the month through to the second Saturday of July each year. It’s one of the best events to fully experience Balinese culture and performances. June is also the beginning of high season, so expect the island to get busier and busier.

Rainfall: 5 days

Temperature: 81℉ (27℃)

Balinese barong masks as souvenirs © SarahTz / Flickr

July

High season has officially started. The weather is usually excellent, but the island is full of tourists. Traffic can get a bit overwhelming. Plan your transport ahead and do not trust times from Google Maps: it will take much longer to reach a place than that. Despite this, July is an amazing month to visit the island. The wind is blowing with a specific intensity and direction: it’s kite time. The locals get their kites out and paint Bali’s sky with flowy colors and flying shapes. In July, the Bali Kite Festival is held, an annual celebration of one of the cultural icons of the island: the traditional Balinese kite. The event summons kite clubs from the local villages and showcases their unique – and giant – creations, in a mix of traditional and contemporary design.

Rainfall: 4 days

Temperature: 81℉ (27℃)

August

August is the busiest month on the island. If you are looking for off-the-beaten-track adventures, this month is perfect to venture north and discover the lush Balinese jungle and northern beaches. August also holds some awesome events. Including Ubud Village Jazz Festival and Sanur Village Festival, both must-go events, one on the highlands and one on the beach. You’ll be spoiled for choice. Also, August 17 is Indonesia Independence Day so make sure to celebrate with locals, play popular tunes and traditional local games. Indonesian flags, white and red, will be displayed everywhere.

Rainfall: 3 days

Temperature: 81℉ (27℃)

Balinese sunrise © Dean Croshere / Flickr

September

Still dry season, but right after the tourist storm, September is one of the best months to visit Bali. The surf is good, as is the weather, the prices get lower … what else? Lovina Festival usually happens during this month. So why not venture towards the north coast where the village of Lovina is? The drive up there is worth it for a windy road, caressing the lush jungle, topped up with breathtaking views and some waterfall spots. Also, September is the month of the Annual Balinale, Bali International Film Festival, held in Kuta, for all the movie lovers out there. And for festival fans, both UltraBali and Bestival take place in September. What a time to be on holiday.

Rainfall: 4 days

Temperature: 81℉ (27℃)

October

The rainy season is about the begin and some days are already wet on the central highlands. However, Ubud is the place to be in October for vegan foodies and book lovers. Bali Vegan Festival, an annual three-day event held at Paradiso Ubud and the surrounding streets takes place this month. It’s a celebration of the animal kingdom, the environment and the Earth, open to both vegans and vegan-curious of course. Also, Ubud Writers & Readers Festival is on at the end of October, a perfect event to discover dreamy books and participate in creative writing workshops.

Rainfall: 8 days

Temperature: 81℉ (27℃)

November

November is probably the quietest month in Bali. A perfect time for those who come here to recharge, reconnect and relax. So why not celebrate the Full Moon – the Purnama – as Balinese Hindu do? Balinese worship the Sanghyang Candra as the God of Brilliance to implore the perfection and sacred light of the moon. Every month, the temples celebrate this special day with beautiful ceremonies, both for the eyes and for the soul.

Rainfall: 13 days

Temperature: 81℉ (27℃)

December

Despite being rainy season, December is a busy month in Bali, due to Christmas holidays and New Year. But there’s more than that happening on the island. It’s when Nusa Dua Light Festival takes place: you’ll be mesmerized. Plan your moves and accommodation in advance, and if you are keen for an adventure, go up the northern coast, where Pemutaran Bay Festival takes place – a celebration of ecotourism, exotic dances, music and food.

Rainfall: 13 days

Temperature: 81℉ (27℃)

The garden at The Yoga Barn, in Ubud, Bali. © The Yoga Barn

When not to visit Bali

Bali weather can be pretty unpredictable sometimes, but generally speaking avoid the rainy season months – October to March – and the high season peaks – August and Christmas holidays.