We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Bali is a magical place. It’s a destination with so much to offer, from the jungle surrounding Ubud (largely considered Bali’s cultural center) to the beaches lining its southern shore. You can make your Bali vacation whatever you want it to be — a tour of the island’s many temples, a spiritual journey to learn more about Hinduism, a yoga retreat, a luxury hotel immersion, a hiking adventure, or all of the above. You might even want to visit Bali specifically for one of the many festivals or spiritual celebrations hosted each year. Ultimately, how you choose to define your Balinese adventure is entirely up to you — and you may not know exactly what you want out of your experience until you arrive on the island.
One of the best ways to set yourself up for success is to head to the island at the right time. There are two seasons in Bali: the wet season (November to March) and the dry season (April to October). The average temperature doesn’t fluctuate much throughout the year, hovering around 79 degrees Fahrenheit. However, humidity is an important variable when it comes to Bali weather. The humidity increases significantly during the wet season, making it muggier and — let’s be honest — sweatier.
Below, we’ve mapped out the best times to go to Bali, depending on how you want to spend your vacation.
High Season in Bali
High season in Bali runs from April to August. Tourism begins to climb in March and drops off considerably in the fall. Hotel prices mirror that trend, peaking in June, July, August, and September. However, tourism does see a boost in November and December, which means even though the rainy season has taken hold, hotel prices are still higher around the holidays than during other off-season months.
Rainy Season in Bali
The rainy season in Bali falls between November and March, with precipitation peaking in January. While the rain brings mosquitos and may take activities like diving and surfing off the table, it’s not a deal-breaker if you’re in Bali to tour temples, do yoga, and find pure relaxation. In fact, you might find that the peaceful rain in the Ubud forest adds to the overall serenity of your experience. The jungle and rice paddies thrive in this season — and the magnificent green color and sprouting vegetation are worth seeing, if you don’t mind a little rain. A quick warning: Rainy season is mosquito season, too. The risk of mosquito-borne illnesses (like dengue fever and malaria) increase in these months. To ward off the insects, some locals drink lemongrass tea, which is a delicious and all-natural bug repellent.
Best Months for Hiking in Bali
If you plan to spend your days hiking, visiting between April and October is ideal. The rainy season is just too unpredictable for daily hikes, especially if you’re trying to cram in serious mileage. For those who are game to watch the weather, find a sunny morning, and take one short trek, visiting during the rainy season can work. But if you’re traveling to Bali specifically to hike, much like those visiting for the beaches, you’ll want to come in the dry season. Similarly, if you’d like to rent a motorbike and spend your days zipping around the island, the dry season is also a better fit.
Best Time to Hike Mount Batur
Mount Batur is perhaps the most iconic Bali hike. Typically, you’ll book through a tour company that will pick you up from your hotel at about 2 a.m. for the 1,717-meter (5,633-foot) trek. You’ll summit the active volcano as the sun rises, and depending on your guide, you may even be treated to eggs boiled in the volcanic steam at the top of Mount Batur. The two-hour hike to the summit is best done between May and September to ensure dry weather and clear views.
When to Visit Bali to Avoid Crowds
October, January, and February are Bali’s true off-season. All three months are officially the rainy period (January sees the most rainfall), which means you won’t find crowds in search of perfect beach weather and diving conditions. And because you’ll also be avoiding the biggest holiday months (November and December), you’ll find the island to be calm and filled with locals and expats. Ultimately, October, January, and February offer the best opportunities to see the temples without the tourist throngs, have the beaches to yourself, and cash in on the best hotel deals in Bali.
Best Times to Visit Bali Around Specific Holidays and Festivals
One of the most iconic festivals in Bali is the Bali Arts Festival, which occurs in June and July. Indonesian Independence Day (or Hari Merdeka) falls on Aug. 17, and it’s commemorated with parades and outdoor celebrations. Meanwhile, Galungan, which is a 10-day holiday celebrating the triumph of good over evil (dharma over adharma), happens in November. Keep in mind that if you’re traveling for a Hindu celebration, Balinese Hindus often celebrate different holidays than Hindus in India. Galungan, for example, is a feast that isn’t observed in India, but is extremely important in Bali. Nyepi, a day of fasting before the New Year, typically takes place in March (and it’s akin to Navreh or Ugadi in India, which happens in April).
Best Months to Visit the Beach in Bali
The best months for a classic Bali beach vacation are May, June, July, August, and September — August is the driest month on the island. These are also the best months for snorkeling and diving, as rain limits visibility below the water’s surface and sunshine enhances the underwater experience. Of course, the drawback of coming to Bali between May and September is that you’re visiting during peak season. The temples, beaches, hotels, and yoga classes will be crowded, so it’s likely you won’t have as many opportunities to soak up that sweet Balinese serenity you’re treated to in the low season.