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When to Visit Bali

Located in Southeast Asia, the Indonesian island of Bali is a popular holiday destination for tourists from across the world. With luscious rice paddies and forests in the centre, vibrant beaches and parties in the south and quiet villages in the north, there’s a little something for everyone on the Island of Gods!

When visiting any destination it’s important to consider the weather – but it is especially important in Bali! Most of the activities are outdoors, and there are distinct wet and dry seasons that need to be considered. The humidity and number of mosquitos can also affect your comfort when visiting this gorgeous Indian Ocean paradise.

That’s where we come in! We’ve done the research to bring you this guide to the best times to visit Bali. Through first hand experience – as well as advice from locals, travel experts and bloggers – we have compiled a month by month guide of when to visit the island.

If you just want a quick overview, check out our table below. Otherwise, let’s jump right into the best time to visit Bali!

 

Best Time To Visit Bali

when to visit Bali
These are the best times to visit Bali!

Located just north of Australia and east of Java, Bali is fairly close to the equator, meaning temperatures tend to be the same throughout the year! Indonesia’s location between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean means that the entire country experiences distinct wet and dry seasons, with Bali being one of the most prominent examples.

The wet season in Bali runs from November to March – with October and April being transitional months that can vary from year to year. The tropical rains can be heavy and last throughout the day, so you want to make sure you have as many dry days as possible. Even when it isn’t raining, the dry season is incredibly humid and there are swarms of mosquitoes in both urban and rural areas.

By far the best time to visit is between May and September! This is the dry season, and you are likely to have sunny days for the majority of your trip. Unfortunately, the swarms of mosquitoes are replaced by swarms of tourists – with most of the major resorts being packed throughout this season. If you are staying in the less popular areas in the North this likely won’t be an issue, but prepare for big crowds when in the south.

A good in-between option is visiting during April, September or October. September is your best chance for good weather, but you’re likely to have dry weather at least half of the time in April and October – usually more! Crowds are a little bit quieter – especially if you want to avoid the families. April also hosts a large variety of festivals.

Speaking of festivals – many of the arts festivals are based on the regular calendar, but some religious and cultural festivals follow a separate calendar. This particular calendar only recognises 210 days in the year – so if you are wanting to attend an Odalan festival at one of the temples or Tumpek Wayang (a cultural event with puppet shows) then make sure to check the dates before booking your trip. Luckily, temples host their Odalan at different times, so you have plenty of options to choose from.

One final factor people consider when deciding when to visit a destination is price. For this we have great news – Bali is cheap year-round! Prices do peak a little during the dry season, but not enough to have any significant hit on your wallet. Of course, flights tend to be cheaper in the off-season, but there are plenty of budget options from Australia and other parts of Southeast Asia year-round if you book far enough in advance. We recommend booking flights about seven or eight months in advance if visiting during the dry season – and a couple of months in advance if you want to brave the wet season.

Check out our quick guide below for an overview of each month. Want something more specific? Take a look at our month by month guide!

 

Quick Guide

Month Average Temp Rain Crowds Comfort
January 26/78 High Low 🙁
February 26/78 High Low 🙁
March 26.5/79 High Low 🙁
April 27/80 Average Medium 🙂
May 28/82 Low Busy 😐
June 26.5/79 Low Busy 🙂
July 26.5/79 Low Busy 🙂
August 26.5/79 Low Busy 🙂
September 26.5/79 Low Medium 😀
October 27/80 Average Medium 🙂
November 27/80 Average Low 🙂
December 26.5/79 High Medium 🙁

 

January

There’s no avoiding it – January is easily the worst time to visit Bali! Whilst many people do take the risk, and it can be worthwhile if you are on a tight budget and find an excellent flight deal, the chances of rain are incredibly high.

January in Bali

When it isn’t raining, January is a very humid time across most of the island. If you want to avoid the humidity and the mosquitos, staying near the volcanoes in East Bali is a good option. It does get quite cold in the evenings in this area, but it will at least give you a little bit of a break from the extreme humidity.

There aren’t any set festivals on the island at this time of year, but it’s worth checking individual temple calendars to see if there are any Odalan. An advantage to visiting these at this time of year is that there will be fewer tourists in attendance, giving you a much more authentic experience.

 

February

Whilst not quite as bad as January weather-wise, February isn’t all that much better either. Towards the last week of the month, resorts in the north of the island will start to improve – though the humidity and mosquitoes will remain. As such, we recommend taking some good mosquito repellent and light clothes if visiting at this time of year.

February in Bali
source: Denis Moskvinov (Shutterstock)

February is when airlines usually offer many great flight prices to Bali, so it might be worth it if you find a spectacular deal – especially if you are travelling via Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia! These can be worth it if they are during the second half of the month, though there is still a high precipitation risk.

Much like January, there aren’t any festivals to speak of during February. The only ones to keep an eye on are local Odalan, Galungan and Tumpek Wayang! Usually, however, if one of these are held in February there will be another one in September – as is the case with Galungan in 2020. The advantage you have in February is that it is far less crowded.

 

March

March is an odd time of year, and if you are looking for a last minute deal it can be a rewarding time of year to visit! Though officially within the wet season, some years are drier than others. If you see a last minute deal in March, check how the weather has been across December to February and make a judgement then – though usually, things are starting to dry up by the latter half.

March in Bali

Some parts of Bali, particularly Ubud, are popular with digital nomads. If you are moving to Bali for a longer period of time, March can be a good time to pack your things and go! Whilst it is still wetter at this time of year, it gives you some breathing space to set up before the crowds of tourists arrive. You also have the opportunity to spend some time with the locals.

By far the best reason to visit in March is Nyepi! This is the Balinese version of New Year, and is a truly fascinating celebration. At sunset the evening before Nyepi, locals will join a parade through their local village whilst carrying large monsters to scare away evil spirits. They will then party until morning. Throughout the day itself, the entire island goes quiet in an attempt to keep evil spirits away by convincing them nobody lives there.

 

April

If we were to give an insider tip on when to visit Bali, April would be our pick! Whilst it is still officially part of the wet season on most tourism calendars, the reality is that wet days are far less common and the humidity is starting to clear up.

Because tourists usually avoid April, Bali is much quieter during this month – even the mosquitoes have moved on! If you want to base yourself in South Bali, you will find smaller crowds and faster transport times across the region in April. It’s still busier than the wet season, but we believe there is a good balance at this time of year – especially during the last few weeks.

April in Bali

Very occasionally Nyepi falls at the start of April – but it will be in March for at least the next decade! Nevertheless, there are plenty of other great festivals during this time of year, so arriving in late March and leaving in early April can be a good itinerary. The Spirit Festival is a popular event for those interested in yoga, holistic therapies and spirituality. Meanwhile, Ubud Food Festival is held at the end of the month featuring some of the best local delicacies.

Whilst Galungan is held in February and September this year, it will fall in April in 2021 – so if you want to book in advance, aim to have these arranged by the end of this summer!

 

May

May is the official start of the dry season, so expect tourism to pick up at this time of year! Most kids in Europe, North America and Australia are still at school this month, so if you want to avoid the family crowds this can be a worthwhile time to visit. This also means Canggu is one of the quieter towns at this time of year.

May in Bali
source: Cocos.Bounty (Shutterstock)

Nevertheless, European universities start to break off around this time of year so you will find the party resorts starting to fill up with visitors. This isn’t really a problem if your main reason for visiting is partying – given bigger crowds are better – but if you’re looking for a quiet time to visit you are better waiting until later in the year.

There are occasionally some good flight deals at this time of year, though prices are generally starting to rise! Nevertheless, if you’re arriving from Australia or New Zealand there will be a few decent last minute offers.

 

June

June is pretty similar to May – though this is true when the peak tourist season gets into full swing! If you want to visit for the big parties, June is the start of the best season for nightlife. The family-centric resorts in Canggu and Northern Seminyak are still a little bit quieter at this time of year, but will pick up towards the end of the month.

June in Bali

There aren’t any events during the first couple of weeks of June – but the Bali Arts Festival starts during the middle of the month! This huge festival celebrates Balinese heritage whilst combining it with contemporary creative practices. This results in a diverse range of theatre, dance and music performances – as well as innovative cuisine that combines Balinese delicacies with Western cooking styles.

North and East Bali are rewarding destinations at this time of year – with the mountain peaks providing a calm respite away from the inner city crowds! If you are visiting between June and August, we recommend booking activities in advance.

 

July

July is the busiest month for tourism in Bali – but also the best month in terms of weather! All of the South Bali resorts fill up with tourists at this time of year, however, this also means the restaurants and bars open later and the beaches come with more facilities.

July in Bali
source: Cocos.Bounty (Shutterstock)

Bali Arts continues into July until the middle of the month. The festival has a changing line-up throughout the run, so make sure to check out what acts are performing before you plan your itinerary on the island. Most of the festival is based in Denpasar, however, the tourist resorts also benefit from performances.

Just as the Bali Arts festival starts, the Kite Festival begins! This is a competitive event across the island where locals and visitors alike aim to have the best-designed kite. The most famous, Padang Galak, takes place in July and kicks off the festival.

 

August

Much like July, August is a busy time for tourism but benefits from having excellent weather! Ubud, in particular, is very busy at this time of year due to the multiple events on offer in the individual villages across the region. The party season winds down over the last couple of weeks of August, so we recommend arriving at the start of the month.

August in Bali
source: Dion Hinchcliffe (Flickr)

One of the largest festivals in Ubud is the Jazz Festival! Performers from across Indonesia (as well as a few from elsewhere in the world) flock to a village in Ubud to perform a series of concerts. A number of local food and craft festivals co-ordinate with the jazz festival, making mid-August a very exciting time to be in the area.

The following week is the Sanur Village Festival! This small village is on the outskirts of Denpasar, and every year showcases the best of Balinese culture. From gamelan music to sports competitions, the best of everything the island has to offer can be found at this five day festival. This is easily the best time of year to be based in the capital.

 

September

Much like April, visiting during September is another excellent insider tip! Though it is still officially within the dry season, it is much quieter throughout the month as it is at an inconvenient time of year for Western tourists.

September in Bali

The only downside is that flight prices are still set at a higher rate in September thanks to the favourable weather. That being said, many of the hotels offer special rates to encourage tourists during this quieter period!

The Bali Marathon takes place in September, as runners from across the world look to take advantage of the favourable weather. Galungan, the largest Balinese Hindu festival, will be held in September in 2020. This is when locals believe the spirits of the dead roam the earth, and families welcome these spirits into their homes.

 

October

October is the beginning of the wet season – but much like April, it is often one of the less risky times of year to visit! The crowds have completely died down by October, and travel providers start offering cheaper rates on flights and accommodation. If you want to stay on the safe side, visit at the start of the month.

October in Bali
source: Rido Zaen (Shutterstock)

The Kite Festival officially ends in October – with the grand prize being awarded in the final location! This changes every year, so keep an eye on the calendar if you want to watch the locals celebrate their winnings.

Unlike the end of the rainy season, October isn’t quite as humid – so if you don’t mind the occasional rainy day, you can still enjoy a comfortable stay on the island at this time of year. There are also still fewer mosquitoes whilst the humidity is low.

 

November

November is when the rainy season starts off fully – the humidity and insects are back, and many of the outdoor attractions start to cut down their opening hours. Much like March, however, it can be worth visiting if it is a drier year – though there is no way to know this in advance.

November in Bali

Whilst it is a bit of a risk, if you stay in North Bali you have a better chance of being able to enjoy some dry days. The mountains are also well worth a visit in November, and can provide a small break away from the insects.

In 2020 the Tumpek Wayang event falls in November. Local tradition dictates that anyone born on this day is cursed – and must, therefore, perform a shadow puppet show. People gather in the villages to watch these shows and support the performers. Like many other festivals on the island, this event follows a 210 day calendar so varies from year to year.

 

December

December is when the wet season starts to reach its peak – making most of the island less pleasant thanks to the extreme humidity and increased insect levels! Whilst the island is quite quiet at this time of year, you will want to stay inside for most of it.

December in Bali
source: thomaschristiawan (Shutterstock)

As a largely Hindu island, Christmas is not celebrated in Bali outside of the Western hotel chains. This can be favourable for those that need a break from the holiday season – albeit a very damp break.

New Year’s Eve is also a fairly small event – though those that are on the island on December 31st should head to Canggu! Finns Beach Club ensures that the usually sedate village is home to the largest party on the island on the last night of the year.

 

Final Thoughts

Bali is an incredible destination and, whilst you shouldn’t let the weather put you off, there are certain times of year that are more comfortable to visit! It’s worth keeping in mind that almost all of the attractions involve having to spend a significant amount of time outside – so if you’re highly limited on when you can visit, at least make sure you pack appropriate clothing.

In terms of the best time to visit, the dry season from May to September is the obvious choice! It absolutely is the most touristy time, but that’s for a good reason – it’s the best window for experiencing Bali to its fullest potential. September, in particular, is a good option if you want slightly calmer crowds as well as the good weather.

All in all, keep in mind any festivals you want to attend and how much you plan on doing when you’re there before booking your trip. We personally believe weather is more important than crowdedness as far as Bali is concerned, but your personal taste may differ.

We hope this guide has helped you to plan your trip to Bali. Do you have any other tips for people visiting this beautiful Indonesian island? Let us know in the comments!

Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.

 

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