The word “paradise” is used often to describe Bali and it is not without reason. The combination of friendly, hospitable people, a magnificently visual culture infused with spirituality and (not least) spectacular beaches with great surfing and diving have made Bali Indonesia’s unrivaled number one tourist attraction.
Daytime temperatures are pleasant, varying between 20-33⁰ C (68-93⁰ F) year-round.
Three Distinct Seasons:
- Dry Season (April – September):
- Temperature: Highs around 31-33°C (88-91°F), lows around 23-24°C (73-75°F).
- Rainfall: Minimal to none, making it the ideal time for outdoor activities and beach outings.
- Highlights: Crisp blue skies, pleasant temperatures, and a bustling tourism scene. This period is considered the peak tourist season.
- Wet Season (October – March):
- Temperature: Highs around 29-31°C (84-88°F), lows around 23-25°C (73-77°F).
- Rainfall: Frequent showers and occasional heavy rain, particularly from December to February.
- Highlights: Lush landscapes, fewer tourists, and a rejuvenated environment. The wet season is a unique time to explore Bali’s cultural offerings and indoor attractions.
- Shoulder Seasons (April and October):
- These months mark the transition between the wet and dry seasons. The weather can be unpredictable, with occasional showers and increasing humidity.
The Best Times to Visit
- Peak Season (July – August): During these months, Bali experiences its driest and most pleasant weather. It’s the ideal time for beach activities, surfing, and water sports. However, popular areas can get crowded, and accommodations may be pricier.
- Shoulder Seasons (April – June, September – October): These months offer a balance between reasonable weather and fewer crowds. It’s a great time to explore cultural sites, trek through rice terraces, and enjoy the island’s natural beauty.
- Low Season (November – March): While the wet season may deter some visitors, it presents a unique opportunity to experience Bali’s charm without the crowds. Prices for accommodations and activities tend to be lower during this period.
- Packing Essentials: Light, breathable clothing is essential year-round. Don’t forget swimwear, sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses for sunny days. An umbrella or raincoat is advisable during the wet season.
- Rainy Season Adventures: Embrace the wet season by exploring Bali’s indoor attractions, such as art galleries, museums, and traditional performances. It’s also an excellent time for rejuvenating spa experiences and indulging in Balinese cuisine.
- Surfer’s Paradise: If you’re a surfing enthusiast, the wet season offers excellent waves, particularly on Bali’s west coast. For beginners, the dry season provides gentler conditions for learning.
Unlike any other island in largely Muslim Indonesia, Bali is a pocket of Hindu religion and culture. Every aspect of Balinese life is suffused with religion, but the most visible signs are the tiny offerings (canang sari, or sesajen) found in every Balinese house, work place, restaurant, souvenir stall and airport check-in desk. These leaf trays are made daily and can contain an enormous range of offering items: flowers, glutinous rice, cookies, salt, and even cigarettes and coffee! They are set out with burning incense sticks and sprinkled with holy water no less than three times a day, before every meal. Don’t worry if you step on one, as they are placed on the ground for this very purpose and will be swept away anyway (But you better not step on one on purpose, because – as Balinese believe – it’ll give you bad luck!).
The Day of Absolute Silence
Nyepi, or the Hindu New Year, also known as the day of absolute silence, is usually in March or April. If you are in Bali in the days preceding Nyepi, you will see amazing colorful giants (ogoh ogoh) being created by every banjar. On the eve of Nyepi, the ogoh ogoh are paraded through the streets, an amazing sight which is not to be missed.
Nyepi is a very special day to the Balinese as this is the day that they have to fool all evil spirits that no one is actually on Bali – hence the need for silence. If this can be achieved, then it is believed that the evil spirits will go looking elsewhere for their prey and leave Bali island alone for another year. Balinese people are very religious and life is full of ritual – Nyepi is one of the most important days in their calendar. Police and security are on hand to make sure that everyone abides by this rule.
Nyepi also serves to remind the Balinese of the need for tolerance and understanding in their everyday life. In fact, Hinduism on Bali is unique because it is woven into and around the original Balinese animistic religion. The two now have become one for the Balinese – a true sign of tolerance and acceptance.
On Nyepi absolutely everything on the island is shut down between 6AM on the day of the new year and 6AM the following morning. Tourists are confined to their hotels and asked to be as quiet as possible for the day. After dark, light must be kept to a bare minimum. No one is allowed onto the beaches or streets. The only exceptions granted are for real emergency cases. The airport remains closed for the entire day, which means no flights into or out of Bali for 24 hr. Ferry harbours are closed as well.
Selamat Jalan! (Safe travels in Bahasa Indonesia)