Update (August 2020): Bali is closed to foreign tourists through the end of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I assume Bali will reopen their borders in 2021 but the exact date has not yet been announced. Make your plans in pencil, not pen. Good luck!
So, you're planning a trip to Bali, Indonesia — how exciting! Bali is one of my favorite places in the world. In 2019/2020, I spent the months of August, September, October, February, and March living and traveling in Bali. After spending so much time in Bali, I can confidently recommend the best months of the year to visit.
Let me begin by saying this: there's no wrong time to go to Bali. However, I did notice a significant difference in temperature, humidity, rain, tourism, and "buginess" depending on the season.
So, what month is best? If you want a month-by-month breakdown that's infused with my personal experience, then just keep reading.
Image c/o Bali.com
Bali's rainy season begins in October and ends in March, so you can expect quite a bit of rain in the months of January, February, and March. This time of year is also considered the "low season," meaning there are fewer tourists and you can find reduced prices on accommodation, dining, and shopping.
I spent the entire month of February and part of March in Canggu, and I noticed a big difference in weather compared to my previous visit in September. I experienced rain almost daily, much higher humidity, and more bug bites. (I got 15 bug bites during my first three days in Canggu — my legs were covered. After that, I wore a pretty nasty DEET repellant which helped quite a bit.)
Let's start with the rain... it's wonderful! Bali's tropical downpours bring a reprieve from the heat and are actually pretty fun to watch. Carry a packable rain jacket in your daily bag, or just duck into a cozy cafe if you get caught in a storm unexpectedly. On most days, it rained in the afternoon or evening for about 1-3 hours. I did experience a few days of non-stop rain, but it was a great excuse to slow down, take a breath, and rest.
Expect temperatures, humidity, and UV index to be high. Don't bothering packing beach pants or long flowy dresses for evening dinners unless you want sweat dripping down the back of your legs.
Here's the best part about visiting Bali during the rainy season, and why you should seriously consider going: It's much less busy! If you want to avoid the crowds, then this is a wonderful time to visit Bali.
While I can't speak from personal experience, April and May are two of the best months to visit Bali. April is the beginning of Bali's dry season, so you'll experience consistently sunny days with little-to-no rain. In fact, April sees about one-third of the rainfall in March. The months of April and May are that "sweet spot" in between Bali's low season and peak season where visitors get to experience the best of both worlds: great weather with fewer tourists.
The months of June, July, and August are the absolute best weather in Bali. Rain is basically nonexistent, temperatures are cool (for Bali) and comfortable, and humidity is pretty low. Evenings will be slightly cooler, so consider packing a light sweater, flowy beach pants, or a long dress for dinners, beach bars, and social gatherings.
On the flip side, this is when Bali is at its absolute busiest. Expect beaches to be more crowded, traffic to be more congested, and more foot traffic at rice terraces, waterfalls, and temples.
The months of September and October are two of the best months to visit Bali. Similar to April and May, these months are considered the "shoulder season" in between peak season and low season, meaning it's less busy but the weather is still wonderful.
I spent all of September and most of October 2019 in Bali and found September to be absolutely ideal. Traffic was more bearable, we were able to eat lunch without a reservation, and we spent every night enjoying the sunset on the beach.
October is a transitional month when Bali's dry season ends and the rainy season begins, so you could experience some rainfall during this month, but rainy season is definitely not in full-swing.
I spent the majority of October in Bali, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Cenigan, and it didn't rain once. I did, however, notice a significant uptick in temperature and humidity compared to September. This is when things will begin to feel "sticky."
In November, Bali's true rainy season begins. The island becomes quiet and everything slows down. If you don't mind rainfall and higher humidity, this is a great time to take advantage of the decrease in foot traffic and enjoy the "real" Bali. You might even score a great rate on a hotel room or snorkeling tour.
December is much like November, except tourism spikes for the Christmas and New Year holidays. The island will be pretty busy from mid-December to the beginning of January as holiday-makers return to Bali for New Year's Eve parties and more.
To summarize, the best months to visit Bali are April, May, September, and October! During these months, you'll likely experience great weather with fewer tourists. It's as simple as that. Based on my personal experience, I recommend September.
I hope this helps you plan your trip to Bali, Indonesia! Let me know when you're visiting.
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