Best time to go to Bali: My review of each month

Alexis
Modified on December 28, 2023

Picking the best time to go to Bali can be a real dilemma. Here is my review of every months in Bali in terms of weather, crowd and activities.

Factors to consider when planning a trip to Bali

Just because a destination is popular doesn't mean all trips are the same, especially in Bali. Actually, the activities available in Bali are extremely diverse, and there will always be people who prefer one season over another, or even one month over another, depending on their preferences and activities.

Having lived in Bali full-time since 2014, I believe I can provide a fairly objective summary of the advantages and disadvantages of each month and season in term of weather, crowds, price and activities you can do during your trip.

Weather in Bali: a key factor in choosing when to go

Weather in Bali is one of the decisive factors for many people when deciding on a travel date to Indonesia, and rightfully so.

Bali has a dry season and a rainy season. The dry season is cooler (27°C) and very sunny. As the name suggests, it rains more regularly during the rainy season. What many people forget to mention is that, with oppressive humidity, the rainy season is also much hotter than the dry season, especially when it's not raining. The temperature difference between a dry 27°C in August and a 31°C in December can be significant if you're not used to it.

Some activities like trekking in volcanoes or certain water sports in rivers cannot be done in the rainy season. Other sports like surfing involve changing locations depending on the season.

The water temperature also varies depending on the season. It can drop to 25°C in the dry season, and can rise to almost 32°C in the wet season (almost too warm!).

when to go bali ulu
A typical weather during the dry season in Bali

Tourist crowds in Bali: something you should keep in mind

Bali is a popular island, where tourists from around the world gather, especially from Australia, China, Russia, and Europe. Local tourism, mainly from Jakarta and Surabaya, has also been on the rise for several years.

Some periods of the year are busier than others simply because they coincide with weeks when many countries are on vacation. If you are averse to crowds and want a quiet vacation, you should avoid these peak periods. Conversely, if you want to party with people from around the world, you will be delighted during these high-season months.

Your own constraints: you might not really decide when you can go to Bali!

The best time to come to Bali is primarily the one that suits you.

If you don't have a lot of flexibility in your dates, don't worry. Even coming in the middle of the rainy season or the peak tourist season, you won't lack activities or idyllic spots to discover in Bali.

The most coveted periods for traveling to Bali are July/August and the period around Christmas and New Year.

July and August are months when many people are on vacation worldwide, and the dry season is in full swing in Bali. So, there's little chance of rain during your vacation. For surfers, this is also the time of year when the swells are the biggest, and all the spots on the West and South of the island are firing. Incidentally, no rain also means less pollution in the water, which is important on the West coast.

The Christmas and New Year period is also very popular because many people enjoy spending holidays in Bali at this time of year. It's often among the rainiest periods of the year, but that doesn't stop them from enjoying it, and it's probably still less harsh than winter in the northern hemisphere.

Contrary to the most popular periods in Bali, the less popular periods are often those between two tourist seasons, especially during the rainy season outside Christmas and New Year.

January, February, and March, as well as November, are among the least crowded months in Bali. The weather is a bit more of a gamble during these months, but you can see a less crowded Bali, spend less time in traffic, and even get more attractive prices in highly seasonal areas. Which is also nice.

With a bit of luck, it rains at night or early in the morning, so you can do your activities without interruption from the weather.

If you have some luck but not too much, it doesn't rain. You can then do everything, but it's going to be very, VERY hot!

If you're really unlucky, it rains most of your stay. It's rare, but it can happen.

rainy season bali
When it rains too much in Bali

My summarised review on each month to go to Bali

To maximize your chances and go at the right time, here's what to expect each month.

Bali in January: New Year in the tropics... and under the rain

Going to Bali in January is an excellent idea to spend New Year in the tropics. However, it's probably the riskiest month in terms of weather. You are in the heart of the rainy season, so intense heat and heavy rain will alternate.

Surfing can be enjoyable during this season, especially on the East coast, but you have little chance of encountering significant swells.

In my opinion, it's a good month for those who want to party, but it might be more challenging for those who want to engage in many outdoor activities.

Bali in February: a rather quiet and rainy month

February is a rather quiet month for Bali. The rainy season is still prevalent, few people are on vacation, and the high surfing season generally hasn't started yet.

If you want to visit Bali with as few people as possible, this is surely one of the best months. Unfortunately, you probably won't escape the rain, which can make certain activities challenging.

March in Bali: a hit or miss month to visit Bali

March is hit or miss for visiting Bali. During good years, you can have intermediate weather with some rain in the evening or morning and bright sun the rest of the day. The temperature can be quite suffocating at this time.

Tourist traffic is still quite limited at this time of year. Surfing can be interesting on both sides of the island depending on the swell, winds, and also the rain.

Despite the risk of rain, March is, in my opinion, one of the months worth taking a chance on for those who want to avoid the crowd while being able to do most activities in Bali.

Beware, the day of silence, called Nyepi, often falls in March. You won't be able to leave your accommodation that day, so it's good to know if you're on a tight schedule!

Bali in April: visiting during the Balinese shoulder season

April is generally a very pleasant month in Bali, quite similar to European spring. Weather is usually very nice, even if it can still lightly rain at this season, and the water temperature remains very high. The tourist season is starting, but it's still far from the peak season for Western tourism, even with Easter. It is, however, the period of Idul Fitri, so there can be many domestic tourists coming from Java and Jakarta to celebrate the end of Ramadan in Bali, which can create some traffic jams.

Surfing is generally pleasant during this period and manageable for beginners and intermediates. Most outdoor activities (climbing volcanoes, treks, waterfalls) are doable.

In my opinion, this is one of the months not to neglect if you have availability during this period.

Bali in May: the official start of the dry season

May is often the official beginning of the dry season in Bali. One beautiful morning, you wake up and realize it's cool, even cold for residents who are not used to less than 27°C.

Weather generally very nice in May, sunny and on the fresher side. Surfing is still at human size. The tourist season is launched at this time, so you won't risk being too alone.

Again, in my opinion, this is one of the months to prioritise for a trip to Bali if you are available.

June in Bali: a good month without risks or compromises

June continues the trend of May. The weather is often very nice in Bali, with occasional cool mornings. June also marks the beginning of the high tourist season, so Bali may become a bit busy.

The water can be cooler than in the previous months, and the swells are often quite consistent during this period. A treat for surfers. 

My opinion: June is the last opportunity for those who want to visit Bali before the most touristy areas (especially the south of the island) get too crowded.

Bali in July: the first month of peak tourist season in Bali

July is the first month of the highly peak tourist season in Bali. The weather is excellent, and you have almost no chance of rain during your stay if you go in July.

For surfers, the swells are the most consistent, and all the spots in Bukit are on fire.

My opinion on visiting Bali in July: it's one of the most sought-after months, especially for its great weather. If you want to avoid mass tourism, head to the less crowded areas of the island (like the north and central regions). 

August in Bali: the busiest month of the Year

August is undoubtedly the most popular month in Bali. The tourist season is in full swing. The weather is like July: perfect.

The swells are also very consistent, naturally attracting many surfers. No chance of rain during this season, but you won't be alone in Bali.

Again, if you seek some peace during this season, don't overlook the more remote areas of Bali, which remain calm and dry with plenty of possible outdoor activities !

Bali in September: another shoulder season in Bali

September is a very good month to visit Bali. In my opinion, it's even among the best. The weather is very similar to July and August, but the tourist numbers decline quite sharply.

Little chance of rain during your stay, and the season remains ideal for surfers.

The only problem with visiting Bali in September is that it can be challenging to negotiate holidays with your boss when everyone else is getting back to work!

October in Bali: a transitional month, a bit hit or miss

October is a transitional month in Bali. Some years, it hardly rains; in others, the rains begin. The heat starts to be felt and can become quite oppressive if you're not used to it.

If you have the misfortune of visiting during the first heavy rains of the season, you may witness a sad spectacle on the west coast: numerous debris and trash from the entire island converging via rivers and ditches onto the beaches. 

The pollution can make some beaches almost unusable on certain days. But not all beaches are affected, and with a bit of luck, the phenomenon might occur in November.

For surfers, the waves can be good on both sides of the island during this season, so there's no reason to be disheartened. If pollution is too significant on the west coast, just head east or wait a few days.

Bali in November: a quiet month and likely rainy

November is also a hit or miss month in Bali. Generally, the first heavy rains have already hit and brought their load of debris to the beaches on the east coast, but not always.

The climate becomes more typical of the rainy season: suffocating humid heat, especially when it's not raining, almost making you wish for a bit of rain.

Significant swells start to become rare in this season. Surfing is therefore on the very exposed spots and on the east coast, which is more often offshore during this season.

Tourist attendance is often quite low this month, making it an ideal period for those who want to explore Bali with the least crowd possible. But beware, the rains make some activities, especially in the mountains, challenging and sometimes impossible.

December in Bali: Christmas in boardshorts under the rain

December, along with January, is the month when you are most likely to encounter rain in Bali.

The rains can be very intense and flood certain parts of the island. However, they rarely last for more than two consecutive days. When it's not raining, the heat can be challenging to bear due to very high humidity.

Tourist attendance depends on the week. From December 15th, Bali is in very peak season; before that date, it's rather calm.

In terms of surfing, you often have small swells of short duration. So, surfing is mostly on the very exposed spots and on the east coast, more often offshore during this season. 

My opinion on Bali in December: you have almost no chance of avoiding rain in December in Bali. But if your goal is to have a good time with family on New Year's or Christmas, it's not the worst idea, but you won't be truly alone!

My Opinion on the Best Months to Visit Bali

In my opinion, the mid-season is often preferred by most travelers because it strikes a good balance between weather, tourist attendance, and activity possibilities.

If you have availability and a bit of rain won't ruin your trip, I recommend visiting Bali in:

  • In April
  • In May
  • In September
  • In October

You can, of course, have a dream stay in other months, but you might face more tourist crowds in popular areas, more rain, and sometimes both (during the Christmas and New Year's week, for example)!

If you know you're traveling during a specific season like the rainy season, plan activities that won't be too affected. Also, try to have some gaps between your excursions to have some time ahead in case you're forced to wait out the end of a violent rainy episode.

If you're travelling during the peak tourist season and don't plan to party too much or...

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