Blog Best time to visit Bali

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With awe-inspiring scenery, dense layers of culture, plenty of sun, surf and sand and balmy temperatures year-round, Bali calls out like a beacon to adventurers, sun-seekers and travelers who like to truly immerse themselves in the countries they visit. Whatever your travel tastes, you’ll find rewarding things to see and do in Bali at any time of year.

The dry season, from April to September, is the most enjoyable time of the year for outdoor activities, including basking on beaches, hiking, surfing, sailing, diving and canyoning. Visit during the wet season (November to March) and you’ll experience frequent downpours, but there’s good surf on the east coast and you can still enjoy the outdoors, especially in drier areas in the east and north of the island.

Temperatures in Bali don’t vary much from season to season, hovering between 28°C and 32°C (82°F to 90°F) year-round, though it’s often cooler in mountain areas. Whatever you’re looking for in Bali, here are the best times to come.

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The high season (July–August and December) is the best time for festivals and partying

The high season in Bali coincides with the traditional summer vacation season in Europe, America and Australia in July and August, and it’s the height of the dry season and the peak time for surfing on the west coast at the breaks around Canggu and Seminyak. Bali’s original beach hub, Kuta, can be mobbed at this time of year, as many travelers come here specifically for the party season.

Most parts of Bali are inundated with visitors in summer, as tourists come to sample the island’s many delights and enjoy some of its most colorful festivals. The period around Christmas and New Year also sees a large influx of travelers seeking a reprieve from cold northern winters. High season means high prices and pressing hordes in tightly-packed tourist areas; for a quieter experience, seek out more remote spots such as Nusa Penida and Pemuteran.

The shoulder season (April–June and September–October) is best for adventurous travelers

The shoulder season in Bali falls at either end of the dry season, when the weather is either improving after the rains, or getting slowly wetter after the dry months. Things are quieter without the summertime crowds, and the weather is normally still dry enough for outdoor activities. However, the two-week Easter spring break can get very busy in tourist areas such as Kuta and Legian.

As rain showers are more frequent than in the dry summer months, plan to spend some time indoors visiting temples, museums and cultural institutions in Ubud, Denpasar and other centers for Balinese culture.

The low season (January–March and November) is best for budget travelers

Bali’s low season coincides with the rainiest months of the year, and this can be an unpredictable time for outdoor activities. The crowds have decamped back home, and the island is returning to a more relaxed vibe, but there’s still decent surf on the east coast at such legendary locations as Padang Padang and the weather is still warm. Accommodation prices fall considerably, which is great news for budget travelers.

The festival of Nyepi, the Balinese New Year, moves with the lunar calendar but frequently falls in March. This is a culturally fascinating time to visit Bali, but after the colorful parades of ogoh-ogoh puppets on the night before the festival, the Day of Silence itself can be a tricky time for visitors as everything closes, transport ceases and nobody is allowed out on the streets.

Bali is lush and green in the months following the rainy season © Pete Seaward / Lonely Planet

Understanding the Balinese calendar

Note that religious festivals such as Galungan and Kuningan are scheduled according to the Balinese 210-day pawukon calendar. This means they happen roughly every seven months according to the western calendar. Dates for village festivals are not always set in stone either, and the timing of the Nyepi festival is dictated by the lunar saka calendar, meaning the date changes every year. If you’re planning a trip around a festival or event, check the precise dates before you book your flights.

January sees a slow-down after the Christmas crush

As the year-end party buzz wears off, international revelers prepare to go home. January in Bali is a good month for laid-back activities and indoor pastimes as the rainy season is at its peak. However, rafting and surfing are especially exciting during the rainy months, with wilder waves because of the influence of monsoon winds. It’s also a good time to explore the attractions of the north and east coast, where the rain is more intermittent.
Key events: Balingkang Kintamani Festival, Chinese New Year (can fall in February)

February brings colorful festivals

At the end of January or the start of February, Chinese New Year celebrations feature spectacular dances and parades with typical Balinese elements such as barong (dancers dressed as lion-dogs) and Balinese percussion bands. Bali has dozens of first-rate museums and art galleries to explore, so if those February downpours put a dampener on outdoor excursions, just head to Ubud where the Arma, Agung Rai and Neka museums and diverse art galleries will keep you entertained for hours.
Key events: Chinese New Year (if not in January), Balingkang Kintamani Festival

The rains start to slow down in March

Bali’s rains start to lay off in March, heralding the arrival of brighter weather. Rafting is especially popular at this time, as mountain streams run at full bore. In preparation for Nyepi, the Balinese New Year, lots of colorful melasti processions happen all over the island, as each village undertakes the ritual cleansing of their temple icons at the nearest beach or holy water source.

On the day before Nyepi, papier-maché puppets called ogoh-ogoh are marched through the streets by joyous crowds and ceremonially burned on the beach. Nyepi is a day of silence and reflection so prepare to spend the day at your accommodations. Bali almost completely closes down, and no one is allowed on the streets.
Key events: Ogoh-Ogoh parades, Nyepi, Omed-Omedan Kissing Ritual

April ushers in the dry season

April marks the beginning of the dry season. Easter school breaks bring many vacationers to Bali for fun and relaxation, and popular tourist areas are thronged, but the remainder of the month is quieter than the summer peak.
Key events: Bali Spirit Festival, Ubud Food Festival

You can surf in Bali year-round if you pick the right coast © Wonderful Nature / Shutterstock

May is a great time for surfers

After Easter, things quieten down again, and May is a great time for outdoor activities. The surfing season is in full swing on the west and south coasts, and rafting, trekking and spelunking beckon to adventure sports fans.
Key events: Buleleng Art Festival

June welcomes the summer crowds

The dry season is well underway, and mild trade winds ensure average temperatures of 28°C to 32°C (82°F to 90°F). June is an ideal time for beach visits and outdoor fun. Mid-June sees the start of the month-long Bali Arts Festival (PKB), a colorful smorgasbord of Balinese art forms including dance, music, drama and pictorial arts. Equally mesmerizing is the festival in Tenganan village, marked by elegant Rejang dances and coming-of-age rituals.
Key events: Bali Arts Festival, Tenganan Pegringsingan Festival

July is peak season for tourism

August is dry, sunny and crowded

August is the height of the tourist season, and popular areas such as Kuta, Seminyak, Sanur and Ubud are crowded. If you’re seeking a more laid-back experience, head for the east or north coasts where the vibe is decidedly less frantic. Indonesia celebrates its independence from colonial powers on August 17 with plenty of pomp and fanfare. Expect entertaining parades and street parties in the bigger towns, especially Denpasar.
Key events: Sanur Village Festival, Independence Day, Bali Marathon

Bali’s kite festivals fill the skies with movement and color © Tropical studio / Shutterstock

September is marked by big music festivals

September is the month to see a calmer side to Bali, without the frenzied tourist crush of the high season. The weather is still gorgeous, although intermittent rain showers indicate that the rainy season is approaching.
Key events: Bali Blues Festival, Soundrenaline Music Festival, Lovina Festival

The rains return in October

The rainy season arrives in October, so plan your schedule accordingly. Have a backup plan ready for trips to beaches and other outdoor activities that may be affected by the weather.
Key events: Nusa Dua Fiesta, Ubud Village Jazz Festival, Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, Bali International Triathlon

November is film festival season

If November rains thwart your beach plans, check out indoor events like Bali’s first-rate international film festival, which includes international releases in a wide variety of cinematic genres.
Key events: Balinale film festival

December welcomes back the holiday crowds

December marks the beginning of the holiday party season, and many hotels, restaurants and other venues organize special dinners and entertainment to mark the festive season. New Year’s Eve is particularly memorable, with spectacular fireworks at midnight to help you rock in the new year in style.
Key events: Pemuteran Bay Festival, Penglipuran Village Festival, New Year’s Eve celebrations