Best time to visit Bali Indonesia – Considering the weather is usually not the first thing you think about when you’re booking your flights somewhere exciting. Nowadays it’s more like, ‘Hey Airline X is having a super cheap sale, let’s get tickets for the dates they’re available!’. The constant sales being flagged in front of your face month after month by competing brands barely gives you time to plan ahead the places you want to go, let alone when you want to go to them. And so sometimes you might end up in Florida in winter, or miss the spring season in Japan, and even though the experience would still be incredible, and you’ll leave with some of the best memories, there’s just that x-factor that is missing where – if you had visited in the right month, you would have been able to experience something even more unforgettable.
Right now, we’re talking specifically about Bali. You know, that country that always to be celebrating summer, whose cliff-top dining opportunities cause people to flock in from all around the world, whose undeniably stunning tropical paradise beaches and islands allow the average holidaymaker to take photos of themselves as thought they’ve just stepped out of a luxury travel magazine? Yep, Bali seems to be on everyone’s destination list these days, and that’s both a wonderful and bothersome thing. Not every month of the year provides the ideal environment to visit the island, and there are plenty of high seasons throughout the year that you’d want to avoid if you don’t want to be lost in the party crowd, or looking out from your resort at bleak, grey skies.
We’ve decided to discuss the best possible times you should visit Bali – from the general time frame of when the island is at its optimum weather, to when you should visit if you want the best chance of seeing manta rays swimming in the waters of Nusa Penida. Below we’ve listed out our suggestions of when you should be on the lookout for tickets.
Best Time to Visit Bali in General – Summer
Because of its location on the globe, you can expect a tropical, warm and humid climate pretty much all year round with two distinctive seasons: ‘dry’ season and ‘wet’ season. The dry season is the best season for the majority of people to visit, as it generally means no humid rain, storms, or monsoons and pleasant temperatures, however, this also means that there will be a much larger crowd than during the ‘wet’ season. The ‘dry’ season is usually between the months of April and October, and the peak would be the months of June, July and August.
As this is within the chilly winter months of those living in the Southern Hemisphere, most notably Australians, this sets up the perfect getaway for those wanting to chase sunsets around the globe. If you don’t mind slightly more crowded beaches, sharing boat rides with other travelers, and lining up just a little longer at the famous eateries, then by all means, July to August are the best months for you. The waters will be crystal clear from no rain, the sun will shine famously in the clear blue skies, and the temperatures are perfect for all the water activities you’ll want to participate in.
Best Time to Visit Bali for Parties and Festivals
If you’ve been dreaming about partying it up in Bali with some of the greatest DJs in the world, then plan your holiday around the months of August – October, because that’s when the biggest parties are usually going down.
Best Time to Visit Bali – Ultra Festival
Most partygoers would have heard of the famous Ultra Festival, an international touring music festival that features the biggest and best DJs in the world in some of the great locations. It’s possible one of the biggest and most recognized EDM music festivals in the world, and in the past, has boasted lineups including Armin van Buuren, Afrojack, Above & Beyond, Dash Berlin, David Guetta, Hardwell, Steve Aoki, Tiesto, and The Chainsmokers.
Usually held: Mid-September.
Best Time to Visit Bali – PACHA Festival
All the way from Ibiza is the famous festival curated and hosted by PACHA, one of the most respected and best club on the famous party island. Bringing together famous international DJs to Bali for all the party-people, PACHA is a festival you wouldn’t want to miss if drinking and dancing until the early hours of dawn is what you aspire to be doing. 2017 saw the inaugural Bali event.
Usually held: Mid-August
Best Time to Visit Bali – Sunny Side Up
Often hailed as ‘The Ultimate Summer Music Festival’, Sunny Side Up, hosted by Potato Head Beach Club, is a two-day international music and cultural festival drawing crowds from all over the world to Bali to experience this unique party, set on the iconic open-air venue of Potato Head’s flagship beach club with the Indian Ocean in the backdrop.
Usually held: Mid-August
Best Time to Visit Bali – Soundrenalin
Highlighted as the premier music festival made up entirely of local acts, if you’re the type to support the locals, then this is the festival you need to be at. Party it up amongst the many Indonesian music-lovers as they take the time to celebrate some of Indonesia’s biggest talents across all genres. In saying that, in the more recent years, appearances from acts such as Bloc Party and Wolfmother (international artists) have been welcome to the festival.
Usually held: Early-Mid September
Best Time to Visit Bali for the Famous Waters (snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing)
The waters of Bali are the things of legends. The azure blue of the beaches in Bali can be spotted on desktop screen savers across the world, and the mountain views and waterfall images deep within the Balinese jungles are almost on every person’s Instagram explore page whether they like it or not. Amongst the thousands of activities that you can participate in, in Bali, the water activities are some of the most memorable things you can do. From traveling to remote fishing villages on the coast to go snorkeling to surfing in Canggu right near the city, there’s something for everyone. The optimum condition to do these, however, differ depending on what you’d like to participate in. We’ve outlined below the best times for the most popular activities across the island.
Best Time to Visit Bali – Surfing
Bali receives constant swell from the Southern Ocean all year round, and with temperatures set consistently between 27 – 29 degrees, you can pretty much surf at any time of the year. However, if you’re after the optimal water conditions, the dry season (between April – October) are when the legendary waves of the west coast put up solid performances. For beginners, be sure to check out the beaches of Kuta, Seminyak, Canggu, Balangan, and Medewi for the gentler, lesson-friendly waters. For advanced or even expert riders, bring your surfboards to the beaches of Padang Padang, Uluwatu, Bingin, and Kuta Reef. If you can’t make it during the dry months, head to the east coast for better wave conditions than the west between November and March. Although the waters won’t be as optimum as the west coast during the dry season, they’re still definitely ride-able.
Best Time to Visit Bali – Scuba Diving & Snorkeling
For the underwater exploration activities like scuba diving and snorkeling, again, like surfing, anyone can participate during anytime of the year due to the warm temperatures of the water even in the colder months. However, between the dry months of May to November, the water is more than likely to be absolutely crystal clear, making it much easier to spot the marine life. Although rain from mid-December to mid-February can reduce visibility, on most days you’ll still be able to spot out extraordinary sights in the waters, and the warm sea water temperatures is a bonus. Just an FYI, the renowned manta rays at Nusa Penida can usually be spotted all-year-round, so by all means pop that into your itinerary! In fact, we’ve got you covered on the best snorkeling and diving experiences you could have. Read our dedicated article here: Scuba Diving Bali.
Best Time to Visit Bali – Chasing Waterfalls
If you, like many other nature-lovers out there, understand the sense of awe and accomplishment of trekking for hours through dense jungles, hiking up mountains, and climbing steep stairs to get to a majestic cascading waterfall waiting on the other side, then you should know that Bali absolutely sets the standard for phenomenal waterfalls that will literally take your breath away. However, the images you see online might not be what greets you when you arrive, and that’s because of the disparity cause by the seasons. The best time to chase waterfalls all over the islands is during the wet season, i.e. between October through to April. The heavy waterfall in the aftermath of rainfall pumps directly into the waterfalls and produces beautiful and strong flows of water. During the peak dry season, the flow of water may be mere trickles compared to what you see during the wet season. However, keep in mind that there may be road closures or entrance blocks for safety reasons (i.e. much higher than anticipated water levels). If you want to know more about some of the best waterfalls across the island of Bali, head on over and read our article here: Bali Waterfalls.
Best Time to Visit Bali – Island-Hopping
If you’re planning to go island hopping around the coast of Bali (thinking about the gorgeous waters of the Gili Islands, anyone?), then the best times would be during the peak of the dry season, i.e. anytime between May to September. The reason for this is because sometimes the transport method to get to the islands, more often than not ferries and speedboats, are not as reliable during wet season due to the more inconsistent water conditions. There will be delays and (although rarely) cancellations if the water becomes too erratic to transport people between the mainland to the islands. Also, there is a higher chance of you getting sea sickness if you are traveling on a turbulent boat for a few hours. There is also the consideration that during the wet season, your plans of landing on an island faraway from the mainland without the big crowds to sunbake leisurely on the beach might be dashed if it decides to rain. And rain plus muggy weather is not the makings of a great tropical island holiday.
If you’re a bargain hunter looking for a deal, we have two pro tips: make sure you’re not booking during any school holidays, and be wary of the season you’re booking tickets.
During the school breaks, prices are notorious for jumping up to 50% more than its original value. This usually occurs during the Christmas and New Years holiday period (i.e. during the second half of December through to January), and the Australian winter vacation period (i.e. April, July, Sept-Oct). Anytime outside of those dates would be ‘non-school holiday’ periods, and will therefore be generally cheaper.
In terms of seasonal influences, off-peak season, i.e. the wet season between October to April, will always yield cheaper tickets than peak season. However, the general consensus is that tickets at the beginning and end of the off-peak season, i.e. April, May, and September, October, are usually the cheapest of the bunch. If you plan ahead, get alerts for ticket prices, and do a bit of research, you’ll be able to score a deal in no time.
During off-peak and non-school holiday season, the accommodation prices can be 30%-50% cheaper than during peak season. As you can imagine, the demand is significantly smaller and thus you’ll be saving quite a bit of money. Coupled with not having to line up for Bali restaurants and clubs, and various other activities, it almost seems like a no-brainer.
Also, flights that are indirect and stop by neighboring countries such as Singapore and Malaysia are often cheaper, so that is also something to consider. Whilst you may be ‘wasting’ a few precious hours in a country that’s not your destination, you can think of it as knocking two birds with one stone. Get out and explore!
To save money, feel free to check our article about the best (and cheap) hostels in Bali.
Avoid The ‘Wet’ Season
During the months of October to March, specifically during the months of December and January, it is the notorious ‘wet’ season in Bali, when rainfall is expected and the skies won’t maintain their glorious blue for weeks on end. In saying that, it is holiday period for many people around the world, and they often take advantage of their time off to fly to countries like Bali where days are long and drinks are cheap at the expense of restrictions in activities due to unpredictable rainfall.
Despite it being a famously wet season on the island, sales for this period of the year tend to start super early, and people flock to them like moths to a flame, so if this is the only period during the year which you can take off, we recommend you booking your flights and accommodation early, because millions of other people around the world have the same idea as you.
However, if you do have a choice, and you want the tropical Bali sun and waters to shine during your time on the island, we highly recommend you avoid the above months. Your holiday will be less than optimum (if you’re expecting clear blue skies everyday), and you’ll be amongst some of the biggest crowds the island will experience during the year. As mentioned above, try to avoid the peak season, and book between the months of April to September to truly get that Balinese summer experience you’ve been daydreaming about.
For more articles about Bali, feel free to check out these articles too: Bali Travel Blog.