photo credit: akari
One of the first questions I’m asked by friends who are considering a trip to Bali is “When is the Bali rainy season?” It’s a reasonable question, as we all know how much the weather can affect a holiday, when we have a finite amount of time and most likely quite a few outdoor activities planned. What is the best time to visit Bali?
Explaining the Bali wet season is a fairly simple thing, which is not to say that Bali weather is entirely predictable. Bali is 8 degrees south of the equator, and at these latitudes weather is less about temperature than it is precipitation. There are really just two seasons in Bali: the wet season in the dry season. In this short article I’ll focus in the south end of the island since that is where most tourists stay, and it is the part of the island I know best. If you will be in Ubud, in the foothills north of Denpasar, the seasons are similar but you can count on a bit more rain.
The beginning and the end of the wet season in Bali varies considerably. It can start to rain fairly hard in September, though some years (like 2009) the real ‘hujan’, or rain doesn’t begin in earnest until December. At the same time, as far as the end of Bali’s wet season goes, March can start to see quite a few sunny days, whereas some years it will still be raining in late April during the day. The pattern that one notices at the onset of the rainy season is first more and more rain at night with still-sunny days, eventually giving way to rain and wind during the daytime too, with maybe just a couple hours per day of sunshine during the “real” rainy season. In the same way towards the end of the wet season, you’ll notice that the days are sunnier but you’ll still be hearing soft rain sounds at night.
Remember that “rain” doesn’t mean “cold” in Bali, at least not in the way we think of it in North America, most of Europe or the cooler parts of Australia. A rainy day can get a little cool, especially with the wind, but wet season temperatures during the daytime will still hit 30°C or the high 80s Fahrenheit. Not only that, the humidity will make it seem much warmer for a given temperature in the rainy season.
So when would I recommend coming to Bali? If you have a choice as to the time of year I would say between May and August. It is noticeably drier and the nights are perfect. Having said that, any time in Bali is going to be a good time!