Best Time to Visit Bali

Bali Hotels › When To Go
Updated: July 10, 2023

My Favorite Hotels in Bali

• Ubud: Four SeasonsViceroy
• Nusa Dua: St. Regis
• Jimbaran: Four Seasons
• Seminyak: W Bali
• Legian: Padma Resort
• Kuta: Hard Rock
• Sanur: Tandjung Sari
• Best New Hotel: Raffles Bali

See Also

When to Go to Bali

  • April to October is the best time to visit Bali, when there is little rain, low humidity, and lots of sun.
  • Bali is a good year-round destination . There is a wet season but it can still be a fine time to visit Bali.
  • If you want to save money the best months are February, March, April (but not around Easter), October, and November.
  • Surfing is possible year-round but the best months are from April to early October.
  • The best months for a Bali honeymoon are May, June, and September.
  • The best months for diving are April to June (good), September to November (best).
  • Swimming is good all year, but driest from May to September.
  • Nightlife is good all year round, but driest for outdoor events from May to September.

When is the Best Time to Visit Bali?

Bali Hotel Maps

Good weather in Bali.

Bali is a good year-round destination for tourists but the months of April to October generally have the best weather.

The best time to visit Bali, Indonesia, depends on your preferences for weather, activities, and crowd levels. Bali has a tropical climate with two main seasons: the dry season and the wet season.

The dry season runs from April to October, with July and August being the most popular months to visit. During this time, the weather is typically sunny and dry, with temperatures ranging from 75°F (24°C) to 88°F (31°C). The humidity is lower, making it more comfortable for outdoor activities such as sightseeing, beach visits, and water sports. The dry season is an excellent time to explore Bali’s landscapes, cultural sites, and participate in various festivals.

The wet season runs from November to March, with the heaviest rainfall typically occurring between December to February. Although the wet season is characterized by higher humidity and more frequent rainfall, the rain is often intermittent, and there are still plenty of sunny periods. The wet season is generally less crowded (though the weeks surrounding Christmas and New Years sees a spike in foreign visitors), which means lower prices for accommodations and fewer tourists at popular attractions. However, some outdoor activities may be limited due to weather conditions.

The shoulder seasons, which occur between the wet and dry seasons (April, May, and September to mid-December), can also be a good time to visit Bali. During these months, the weather is generally pleasant, and tourist numbers are lower than during the peak season. Prices for accommodations and activities may be more affordable, and there is still plenty of opportunity for sightseeing and outdoor activities.

  • Best Time for Good Weather in Bali: April to October. During the dry season, the weather is often perfect: warm, without being too hot, and not nearly as rainy and humid as the wet season (November to March), when showers and storms may sometimes affect travel plans.
  • Best Time for Beaches, Swimming, and Suntanning in Bali: April to October. Days are warm and sunny, humidity is low, and occasional rain falls in the late afternoon or overnight. But you can get good beach weather any month of the year.
  • Best Time for Sightseeing in Bali: May, June, September, and October. The dry season (April to October) is ideal, but the island’s many attractions get particularly busy around Easter and from mid-July to the end of August. Also, research the optimal times to witness and attend ceremonies and festivals (see later).
  • Best Time to Visit Southern Bali: May, June, September, and October. These months are the dry season without the peak times of July and August and the Australian school holidays around Easter.
  • Best Time to Visit Ubud: April to October. Be prepared for large crowds and cool days in July and August, might need a jacket after dark.
  • Best Time to Visit the East Coast of Bali: March to November. In the rain shadow of the Agung volcano, the east coast (especially around Amed) receives far less rain than Kuta, Sanur, or Ubud.
  • Best Time to Visit the North Coast of Bali: March to November. Around tourist areas like Lovina, it rains considerably less than along the southern beaches – and this coast never gets busy.
  • Best Time for Saving Money in Bali: February to April (except for two weeks around Easter), October, and November. These are outside the peak travel times, and hotels and resorts are often considerably cheaper. There is no off-season when things close down.
  • Best Time for Avoiding Crowds in Bali: Same months listed above for Saving Money. While it may rain for several hours on most days during the wet season (November to March), crowd numbers will be lower, hotels cheaper, and activities easier to arrange.
  • Best Time for Cultural Experience in Bali: Dependant on dates and not the weather. Religious or cultural event dates will usually change yearly according to the shorter lunar or Balinese calendars (see later).
  • Best Time for a Romantic Holiday or Wedding in Bali: May, June, September, and October. This factors in the best possible weather and avoids peak times of Easter, July, and August.
  • Best Time for Outdoor Activities in Bali: May to September. Prime time for hiking, mountain-biking but it can get surprisingly chilly in the highlands (including Ubud), especially after dark. Water sports are great any time of the year, although more enjoyable when driest (May to September).
  • Best Time for White-Water Rafting in Bali: February to April. Water levels are generally highest in February, March, and April, and crowd numbers are lowest.
  • Best Time for Diving in Bali: September to November. Diving is decent anytime during the dry season (April to October) but is particularly good in November. Dive centers arrange trips to various places according to the weather around the island.
  • Best Time for Surfing in Bali: West Coast – April to October, ideal waves at Kuta, Seminyak, and Padang Padang beaches. East Coast – November to March at Nusa Lembongan and Sanur beaches. Note: July and August are peak times for everything on the island.
Best Time to Surf in Bali
Beach Best Surfing Facing
Kuta April to September West
Airport Left April to September West
Airport Right April to September West
Balangan April to September West
Bingin April to September West
Canggu April to September West
Impossibles April to September West
Padang Padang April to September West
Uluwatu April to September West
Sanur November to March East
Nusa Dua November to March East
Serangan November to March East
Green Balls November to March East
Keramas November to March East

Bali Travel Seasons

  • High Season (July, August, and mid-December to late January): Visits to Bali are especially popular in two phases: (1) July and August, as Europeans flock in large numbers; and (2) when Australian schools close for about six weeks before and after Christmas. During these months, streets along the southern beaches and in Ubud are packed, hotels and resorts must be booked months in advance, and flights will be more expensive.
  • Shoulder Season (April to June and September to mid-December): This includes part of the dry season but before the wet season. The weather should be great most of the time but without the crowds. Still plenty of nightlife, religious ceremonies, and cultural events. Look for special deals on hotels if booked early. (Note: it is peak time again for two weeks around Easter.)
  • Low Season (February and March): Crowds drop markedly in major tourist areas. It’s the wet season, so it’s the cheapest months for hotel rates and discounted flights. (Note: it is peak time again for two weeks around Easter.)

When to Visit Bali for Good Weather

Only a few degrees south of the equator, Bali is tropical, not monsoonal (like Singapore and India), and cyclones are almost unheard of. November to March is the wet season when it is slightly hotter and significantly more humid. Of course, the dry season (April to October) is much more pleasant. However, it may still rain during the “dry” and not rain for a week in the “wet” – and rain often only falls in short bursts, usually late afternoon or overnight.

The mountainous landscape ensures that weather is often localized. Ubud may get some light flooding while tourists in Sanur sunbathe. On the far east coast, Amed, in the rain shadow of Agung volcano, may only receive three inches of rain a year (not enough to grow anything.) While the central volcanic regions may receive 70 inches. The weather shouldn’t affect your travel plans, but the peak seasons probably will. (See earlier.)

Bali Temperature by Month (high in celsius)

Bali Temperature by Month

Bali Rain by Month (mm)

Bali Rain by Month

  • January Weather in Bali: The rainiest month of the year. Rain usually comes in the late afternoon or through the night, but expect some rainy days. The sun often returns shortly after. (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Rainfall: 350mm. Days with Rain: 18)
  • February Weather in Bali: Almost as rainy as January with the same bursts of rain followed by sun. (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Rainfall: 310mm. Days with Rain: 18)
  • March Weather in Bali: Still wet but typically plenty of sunshine for hitting the beach. (Average Max Temperature: 31°C. Average Rainfall: 210mm. Days with Rain: 20)
  • April Weather in Bali: Start of the dry season, drier than previous months and decreased humidity but still expect some rain. (Average Max Temperature: 31°C. Average Rainfall: 90mm. Days with Rain: 12)
  • May Weather in Bali: This is now entering the driest period of the year with an average of nine hours of sunshine per day. (Average Max Temperature: 29°C. Average Rainfall: 75mm. Days with Rain: 8)
  • June Weather in Bali: Great beach weather with lots of sun, and humidity drops. (Average Max Temperature: 29°C. Average Rainfall: 70mm. Days with Rain: 5)
  • July Weather in Bali: Great beach weather with ten hours of sunshine a day. (Average Max Temperature: 29°C. Average Rainfall: 60mm. Days with Rain: 3)
  • August Weather in Bali: Great beach weather with lots of sun (10 hours a day.) Also the year’s lowest sea temperature of 27°C. (Average Max Temperature: 28°C. Average Rainfall: 30mm. Days with Rain: 3)
  • September Weather in Bali: Great beach weather with lots of sun (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Rainfall: 40mm. Days with Rain: 3)
  • October Weather in Bali: Great beach weather with lots of sun though the odd downpour becomes more common. (Average Max Temperature: 31°C. Average Rainfall: 60mm. Days with Rain: 8)
  • November Weather in Bali: Getting rainier and seven hours of sun a day for hitting the beach and sitting by the pool. (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Rainfall: 110mm. Days with Rain: 10)
  • December Weather in Bali: One of the rainier months but rain storms are usually short lived and most days will still see seven hours of sun. (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Rainfall: 290mm. Days with Rain: 16)

Bali Holidays, Events, and Festivals by Month

Confusingly, the Balinese people and government use three separate calendars – all different from the Western Gregorian year of 365/366 days:

  1. Balinese Calendar – Many religious and cultural festivals are based on Bali’s unique 210-day Wuku calendar. Two major festivals with moveable dates that work in tandem during this 210-day cycle are Galungan, with brightly decorated streets celebrating the triumph of good over evil with ten days of temple ceremonies, culminating in a day of prayers called Kuningan.
  2. Lunar Calendar – Many temple ceremonies follow the moon’s cycles with months of only 29 or 30 days. This calendar dictates Nyepi’s exact date in March or April (see below).
  3. Islamic Calendar – Some public holidays and most Islamic events throughout Indonesia use the Islamic Calendar of 354/355 days. This rarely affects Bali, but some government offices and banks will close on public holidays.

Find up-to-date event information on these websites

  • Bali Plus – Useful little magazine now mostly digital.
  • – Loads of information with a focus on musical events.
  • The Bali Bible – Very helpful, especially for expats and families.
  • Bali Travel Hub – Goldmine of detailed information about just about everything.

Bali in January

  • New Year’s Day (1st) – Everything is open, but don’t be surprised to see some tourists still wandering the streets of the southern beaches from the previous night.
  • Chinese New Year (changeable, January/February) – Known as Imlek, Bali is a favorite holiday destination for Chinese New Year, where it’s celebrated at a few temples, mostly in Denpasar and Singaraja.

Bali in February

  • Denpasar Anniversary (27th) – Competitions, parades, and displays around Puputan Square celebrate the (often gruesome) history of the island’s capital. Only in Denpasar.

Bali in March

  • Singaraja Anniversary (30th) – Commemorates the founding of Bali’s second city along the north coast. Often ignored by visitors but bustling with colonial history. There are plenty of activities, almost entirely for Balinese people, but tourists are welcome.
  • Nyepi (changeable, March or April) – Day of Silence and the start of the Balinese Hindu New Year. All of Bali shuts down – even the airport. Everyone, including tourists, are required by law to stay in their homes and hotels for 24 hours as evil spirits hover over the island, find it empty, assume it is “abandoned,” and then move on. Hotel staff will prepare meals for guests, but anyone seen wandering the streets may be arrested. While this may seem inconvenient, the days before and after are packed with loud and colorful festivities.

Bali in April

  • Purnama Kedasa (30th) (changeable, after Nyepi) – The frequent full-moon celebrations are particularly vibrant and extensive after Nyepi (see above). Thousands arrive with abundant offerings at major temples like those at Besakih and Batur.
  • Gianyar Festival (changeable, mid-April) – Displays of art, music, and food in the regional capital only a short drive from Ubud. Lasts for up to 10 days.
  • Waisak (changeable, April/May) – Also known as Vesak, the holiest day of the year celebrated by Buddhists and many other Balinese honoring the birth of Buddha. Visits to temples. A national public holiday (when government offices and banks will close).

Bali in May

  • Bali Spirit Festival (changeable, early May) – Four or five days with performances and workshops of yoga, dance, music, and so much more in the spiritual heartland of Ubud. Lots of fun for families. Book early and stay a while.

Bali in June

  • Bali Arts Festival (changeable, mid-June to mid-July) – Huge month-long cultural event in the island’s capital, Denpasar. Plenty of art, music, dance, and a parade or two. Easy side-trip by taxi from the southern beaches.
  • Bali Blues Festival (changeable) – Several days of live bands across interesting locations, mostly around the southern beaches and Denpasar.
  • Ubud Food Festival (changeable, late June) – Chefs, foodies, and writers descend on Ubud for four days of tasting, cooking, and feasting. Showcasing cuisines across Indonesia during the day and live music at night. (May be held on different dates.)

Bali in July

  • Makepung (Negara) Bull Races (the month of July, and November) – Now a major tourist attraction on the far west coast. Farmers become jockeys and race on brightly-decorated chariots along various tracks throughout the area. Usually every Sunday in July, with finals in November. Ask a local for more information about dates and locations. Can be part of a day trip from the southern beaches or Ubud.
  • Bali Kite Festival – Mainly July and August, but often lasts until October. The location can change, most recently in Sanur. Lessons and serious competitions among passionate locals.
  • Bali International Choir Festival (changeable, late July) – Five days of performances, competitions, and workshops.
  • Tenganan Perang Pandan (changeable) – Traditional historical “war” reenactment. In the ancient Bali Aga village of Tenganan (near Candidasa) in eastern Bali.

Bali in August

  • Sanur Village Festival (changeable) – Five days of culture, arts, and music celebrating Bali’s history and heritage. Also, water sports, yoga, and triathlon. With more side events added each year, it is loads of fun.
  • Indonesian Independence Day (17th) – School parades and red-and-white flags adorn some streets, but low-key compared to other parts of Indonesia, Most obvious in the capital, Denpasar. A public holiday so government offices and banks close.
  • Ubud Village Jazz Festival (changeable) – Two days of toe-tapping fun featuring Indonesian and international performers. Also, workshops for fans.

Bali in September

  • Persona Nusa Dua Fiesta (changeable, September/October) – Up to seven days of music, dance, sports, arts, and crafts celebrating the best of Bali and Indonesia. Lots of food – even competitions in cocktail-making for bartenders.
  • Lovina Festival (changeable) – Not to be outdone by festivals in other tourist regions, Lovina (more specifically, the village of Kalibukbuk) hosts three days of arts, crafts, and live music – even bull races. As much for locals as tourists and much more authentic.
  • Bali International Film Festival (changeable) – Known as Balinale, a celebrated gathering of filmmakers and enthusiasts with a diverse range of films and documentaries.

Bali in October

  • Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (changeable, late October) – Long-established and internationally-renowned, with many visiting speakers, discussions about global issues, workshops, and book launches. Popular and enlightening four days across Ubud.
  • Kuta Karnival (changeable) Balinese cultural displays, movies, and food stalls. Sand sculptures and kite-flying for the young ones.

Bali in November

  • Legian Beach Festival (changeable) – All sorts of displays and stalls selling locally-made products, as well as traditional music and dance performances for a week or so. Popular and extensive.

Bali in December

  • Christmas Day (25th) – National public holiday, but everything stays open on Bali (except government offices and banks). Plenty of activities and events offered by hotels and shops throughout December.
  • New Year’s Eve (31st) – Like Christmas Day, everything stays open because it’s peak tourism season. Major hotels and resorts normally offer special events for guests and the public.

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My Travel Newsletter

  1. Bali in January

    Do you think January is a good time to visit? You talk about the rain but trying to get a feel for just how much rain and whether we can still have a good trip. Looking to relax by the pool and explore the island. This would be a last minute visit for early.

    1. Bali Dave

      I think January is a fine time to visit. Yes, you need to be mentally prepared for a little rain, but the rain is usually short lived (duck into a cafe for a beer or two then the skies clear and it’s perfect again, albeit pretty humid). This is especially true if you’re a pool-person. There can be issues with the seas being rough and the beaches being littered with ocean debris in the wet season but the pool is, obviously, always clean and relaxing.

  2. August or September

    We’re deciding between late August and late September for a Bali trip. Is there any preference between the two? Just looking for good beach weather and cheap hotel rates.

    1. Bali Dave

      Both have great weather but late September is quieter than late August, and thus hotels will be a little cheaper and easier to book (not a huge difference but enough to notice).

  3. Best Bali Beaches in February

    Hello Dave
    We will be in Bali from 14 February till 17 February. We prefer calm and clean beaches, need your recommendations.
    At the same time , I would like to buy some wholesales silver jewelry to see in my country as most of the time I will get it in Bangkok. Can you suggest any town or particular area I can shop for that.
    Thanks Dave !

    1. Bali Dave

      Nusa Dua will have the calmest cleanest beaches. For buying silver, look in Seminyak and Sanur – lots of silver shops, they should be able to help.

  4. Gili Islands in August

    Hi. I’m thinking of visiting the Gili Islands, mainly Trawangan, in August. Are you able to recommend the best way to book transport over to there and/or any hotels on the island. Thanks.

    1. Bali Dave

      About 10 boat companies offer “fast boats” or “speed boats” to the Gilis from Bali – mostly directly to Gili Trawangan. Prices have been fixed at about US$50 one-way by all companies for years, but there is some genuine competition these days. If price is not important, where the boat leaves and departs might be: a boat from Padangbai will mean less boat time, but involves two hours one-way in a minibus from Kuta. The best way to compare (and book online) is to check out this website.
      As for hotels, on Gili T (as it’s known) try places like Rumah Purnama or Gili Nyepi for a small, quiet and family-run budget hotel. For something more luxurious try Villa Nero or Gili Teak Resort.
      By the way, Gili T will be very busy in August – most hotels will be full (so book far ahead) and prices will double. Otherwise, try the other two islands (Gili Air and Gili Meno), which are less busy – or if you just want an “island holiday” try Nusa Lembongan (which has the added benefit of being a shorter boat trip from Bali).

  5. Best Time to Go To Bali for Surfing / Where To Surf

    Having a hard time figuring out where and when to surf on Bali. Looks like some great spots but they peak at different times of the year? Correct? But it’s based on the monsoon? I’m a mid to advanced surfer that would love to hit 3 or 4 different spots. Also have a girlfriends who’s a novice (beginner plus) and she would likely surf a day or two as well. We’re very flexible on when we can visit – really, anytime over the next year. When and where should we go? Thanks.

    1. Bali Dave

      Surfers first ‘discovered’ Bali in the 1960s and have been coming back ever since. Bali doesn’t have monsoons, but does have tropical weather. Overall, the best time to visit for all tourists is the dry season (April to September), which is, happily, also the best time for surfing. Almost all surf is along the southern coasts and affected by the Indian Ocean, so the best months to surf are generally the same.
      Many people surf in Kuta or Legian, where the waves are milder, the beaches are within walking distance of hundreds of hotels, and plenty of places offer lessons, as well as board rentals and repairs. But the more adventurous and experienced flock to spots along the southern Bukit Peninsula, such as Padang-Padang and Ulu Watu, or to Medewi along the south-western coast. To reach these places you will need your own transport or hire a taxi, but they all offer accommodation from which you can walk to the beach. Another place that offers surf, as well as other appealing attractions, is Nusa Lembongan island, with villages and mangroves to explore – but waves are 200m off-shore and accessible by chartered boat.

  6. Bali in December

    We’re planning a trip for Bali in December but are a little concerned about the weather. We plan to spend 1 week in Nusa Dua and 1 week in Ubud. Does the weather vary much from one area to the next? How much rain should we expect and do you think we’ll still have plenty of beach time? Thanks.

    1. Bali Dave

      Bali and the surrounding islands in Indonesia are tropical, which means there are two seasons: hot and dry (April to October) and hot and wet (November to March), although locals say that the wet season isn’t starting these days until late November or December.
      But Bali is not monsoonal like India, where the rains last weeks and floods are frequent; nor is Bali cyclonic, like the Philippines, where storms and cyclones often cause damage, injury and death.
      Bali is small enough that most places on the island are affected by the same weather patterns. But with several lofty volcanoes, some places along the volcanic slopes (eg Candikuning) are often cold, wet, and foggy, whereas it’s dry and sunny elsewhere. Ubud is a little cooler (especially at night) and less humid than beach regions like Nusa Dua, but the humidity along the coast can be countered by sea breezes.
      Across Bali, it may not rain for a week in the ‘wet season’ but rain for several consecutive days during the ‘dry season’. And rain often falls in short bursts and in the late afternoon and overnight. In short, the weather shouldn’t affect your decision about when to travel to Bali and it is unlikely to greatly affect your trip while there.
      However, remember that December is the peak season, when thousands of Australians visit during the school holidays and Europeans flock to escape their winter for Christmas/New Year. So, from about 15 December to 25 January hotel prices can double and bookings in advance is essential.

  7. August or September in Bali

    We’d like to visit Bali for swimming and beach time. When should we come, September or August? Is there any difference between these two months for crowds, weather, or number of hours of sun?

    1. Bali Dave

      The dry season in Bali is between April and October, although the wet season seems to start later these days. So, there is no difference between August and September with regards to the weather: it should be mostly hot, dry, and sunny every day in the beach resort areas.
      However, August can be a very busy time on Bali as many Europeans arrive for their annual holidays. In some areas, hotel prices will increase and bookings are recommended, and tourist sights can seem very crowded. If possible, come to Bali in September to avoid the crowds and higher prices, and before the Australian school holidays start in early October.

  8. Two Weeks – Where To Go?

    Looking to go to Indonesia for 14-17 days. I would love to spend at least one week on the beach, if not more. I am also interested in having access to day trips. It would be two adults and two teens. I would love clean, white sandy beaches with crystal blue water. If possible, we would prefer to be close to restaurants. Do you have any recommendations? Thank you very much for any information you would provide.

    1. Bali Dave

      Bali is compact, so much of the island can be explored on daytrips from one place. It’s easy to organise a comfortable air-conditioned 5-6 seat car with a driver for about US$50 per day (10 hours). Never drive yourself as the traffic and roads can be very difficult. An ideal base from which to take daytrips around the island is the central town of Ubud, which has many attractions itself, such as art museums, rice-field walks and temples.
      Of course, wherever there are ‘clean, white sandy beaches and crystal blue water’ there are plenty of tourists, which means no shortage of hotels and restaurants! But each beach resort area on Bali offers different things to different people, so it does pay to think about what suits you best. Even, perhaps consider basing yourself in 2-3 different areas during the 14-17 days?
      Some suggestions for beach resort areas
      (1) Kuta/Legian/Seminyak – The best shops and nightclubs, and great surf, but also plenty of crowds and noise.
      (2) Sanur – Quieter, more relaxed beach, with no surf but a lovely promenade for walking and cycling.
      (3) Jimbaran – Arguably the nicest beach resort region on Bali, with a perfect ‘white sandy beach’, but not much to do beside swim, relax, and eat.
      (4) Nusa Lembongan island – Only 30-40 minutes by fastboat from Bali, a lovely island with appealing beaches (some dangerous for swimming) and plenty to see and do for adventurous teens.
      (5) Gili Islands – Probably the best and most accessible place in Indonesia for beaches with ‘crystal blue water’, ideal for lazing and snorkelling; about 2 hours by fastboat from Bali.
      (6) Kuta Beach, Lombok – Far quieter than Kuta on Bali, this beach and others nearby offer crescents of perfect sand and water with almost no tourists; accessible by fastboat and bus from Bali.

  9. July or August in Bali

    We are a family of 3 trying to plan a trip to Bali. The big question for us is deciding between July or August for a visit. Is one month better for weather, crowds, or events? Thanks much.

    1. Bali Dave

      The dry season in Bali is between April and October, so July and August are ideal times to visit with regards to the weather: every day will be hot and sunny with (almost) no rain. Events on Bali are often based on the lunar calendar (i.e. full moon) and the unique Hindu 210-day calendar, but the Bali Arts Festival in Denpasar from mid-June to mid-July is worth visiting.
      However, July and August are very busy times in Bali. The Australian school holidays are staggered across the states from 2 to 24 July, when Aussie families flock to the island to escape the winter down under. August is also very busy as Europeans come to Bali to seek their little slice of paradise.
      In these two months, hotels in the southern resort regions such as Sanur, Kuta/Legian and Nusa Dua, as well as the Gili Islands (2 hours by fastboat from Bali), can be heavily booked and prices can rise. And, of course, beaches and tourist sights are crowded.
      If you must travel at this time, make sure you book your hotels as far in advance as possible. Otherwise, try staying in areas that don’t attract so many tourists, e.g. Lovina, on the north coast with an unappealing beach but a lovely village vibe; Candidasa, without much of a beach but good-value hotels and an ideal base to explore the east coast; or Padangbai, a lovely village with charming beaches and also a perfect base for the east coast.

  10. Christmas and New Years on Bali

    We are in the early process of planning a trip to Bali for Christmas, New Years, and the first week of January. Any advice? Is the period around Christmas and New Years a good time to visit Bali? We like visiting places that are busy and festive, will Bali have a fun and lively atmosphere during the holidays?

    1. Bali Dave

      The single busiest tourist period on Bali is between late December and early January. This is the height of the Australian school holidays, when some businesses and offices down under close for 10-15 days and families flock to the island. It is also when Europeans fly to Bali for that short period.
      So, many decent hotels and resorts in the more appealing beach regions like Kuta/Legian, Nusa Dua, and Sanur, as well as Ubud and the very popular Gili Islands (2 hours by fast boat from Bali), will be heavily booked and prices can double. In fact, you are urged to book your hotels in those areas for that period now. To avoid the crowds and high prices, however, try staying at low key resort regions to the east and north like Candidasa, Padangbai, Lovina, and Amed.
      Popular events in Bali, such as traditional ceremonies and religious festivals, are almost always based on the lunar calendar (e.g. during full moon) or use the unique Hindu 210-day Wuku calendar, so they are not linked to any tourist season or holidays. And, sadly, the two major Balinese festivals of Galungan and Kuningan fall in February and September.
      To be honest, don’t expect much in the way of Christmas festivities on the island. For most tourists this period is about surf, sea, sunsets, and shopping, and for almost all Balinese (who are not Christians) it is just another time to work hard and earn money. Other than a few token strands of tinsel in a souvenir shop or a plastic tree in the reception of a resort, there will be very few signs of Christmas anywhere across the island.

  11. 10 Days in Bali in June

    Hi Dave, My friend and I – two single women will be visiting Bali for around 10 days in June. We plan to stay for some days in Ubud, some days in Seminyak, one night in Gili Trawangan, and one or two nights in Jimbaran. From which of these places should we visit Pura Ulun Danu Bratan at Bedugul? Also, is there anything else to see in or around Bedugul? Also, we are both vegetarians. So should we opt for the sunset dinner at the Jimbaran beachfront restaurant? I believe the place is known more for seafood. Though I’d like to go for the ambience – the whole setting of having dinner by the seaside, but am a bit confused about it.
    Sonali Agarwal

    1. Bali Dave

      Bali is compact so it is tempting to base yourself in several places, but perhaps with only 10 days it’s better to stay in only two places to avoid too much travelling between busy resort regions and inconvenient 10am check-outs and 2pm check-ins.
      While Gili Trawangan and the other two Gili islands are understandably popular, it may not be worth going there for just one night. The quickest and, therefore the most expensive (up to US$100 return), way to reach Gili T will take about 4 hours by bus/boat with pickups, transfers, waiting to board, the trip etc – and another 4 hours back. Perhaps, come back to Bali another time and spend some quality time exploring all three of the glorious Gilis.
      With 10 days, maybe base yourself somewhere in the countryside for landscapes, natural attractions, and culture, such as Ubud, and somewhere by the beach for relaxation, sunsets, and shopping, such as Seminyak. Ubud is oozing with culture (eg traditional dances and art museums) as well as other attractions (eg markets and the monkey forest), and an ideal base for exploration by car/driver to spectacular sights, such as the Gunung Kawi rock sculptures and Tirta Empul sacred springs and temple.
      Ubud is also a perfect location for a full daytrip to Bedugul (more properly known as Candikuning). As well as the delightful lakeside Pura Ulun Danu Bratan temple (best before 10am and after 4pm to avoid tourist crowds), Candikuning boasts the appealing Botanical Gardens; a vibrant produce and souvenir market; and the recreation area known as Bedugul, built for, and almost entirely used by, Indonesian tourists. With almost no westerner in sight, you can take a boat trip around Lake Bratan, try some watersports, hike along volcanic slopes, and have a vegetarian lunch at a lakeside café.
      Your other possible base, Seminyak, is a more classy and relaxed alternative beach resort region to the fairly crowded and noisy Kuta/Legian area. Seminyak beach is lined with cafés and bars offering genuine beachfront settings, vegetarian food, and the same renowned sunsets as Jimbaran. Late afternoon the white sands of Seminyak are strewn with beanbags on which you can relish the sunset with a cocktail and, later, enjoy live music.
      The main attraction of a sunset dinner at Jimbaran is the fresh seafood, so if you don’t eat fish then perhaps avoid Jimbaran altogether (and the traffic getting there and back). Instead, eat, drink, and revel in the glorious sunsets at Seminyak.

  12. Boutique Hotels in Bali

    Hi Dave,
    First time in Bali. Travelling Solo.
    I’m planning a trip to Bali in April. It will be my first visit and I plan to stay for about 12 days splitting my time between the beach and Ubud.
    I’d like a week in a very low key beach resort for total relaxation (no tourists, noisy clubs/bars) and reading your many responses, cannot decide between Canggu, Sanur, or Jimbaran.
    Would prefer a boutique hotel rather than a 5* Four Seasons, St. Regis for under $100 per night.
    Will do day trips, local markets, yoga (for beginners), and some horse riding if available.
    Help please,
    Thanks, Sharon

    1. Bali Dave

      Bali is a wonderful place and first-time visitors on their own should feel at ease. And it’s ideal that you’re dividing your time between the countryside at Ubud and a beach resort.
      Perhaps not surprisingly with 3-4 million visitors a year, it’s impossible to find a beach resort – however low key – with no tourists. Sanur is certainly quieter than the fairly frenetic Kuta/Legian area, and it doesn’t have surfer bars, nightclubs, and malls, but Sanur still has plenty of tourists. Canggu is north of Seminyak and where many expats have now moved in order to avoid the tourists scene in Seminyak and Kuta/Legian. The beaches along Canggu have unappealing grey volcanic sand, while the few resorts are difficult to access because there are no beachside roads. Jimbaran is a surprisingly low-key resort region with a glorious crescent of white sand, but by 4pm every day many parts of the beach become choked with tables of diners relishing the sunset and seafood (a great beach scene if you’re looking for activity, not so great if you’re looking for quiet and seclusion).
      If you really want a low key beach resort with fewer tourists, but don’t mind a couple of hours travelling by boat, chartered car/driver, or Perama shuttle bus, maybe try these three options.
      1) Lovina on the north coast is very laidback, with little nightlife and even less in the way of shopping. The beach is disappointingly scruffy, but the sea-views, breezes and sunsets are superb, and it’s an ideal base to explore Bali’s second city of Singaraja and the springs and monastery at Banjar. Recommended places to stay include Rambutan Boutique Hotel and Padmasari Resort.
      2) Gili Meno is the least visited of the three glorious droplets of golden sands and turquoise waters known as the Gili Islands, about 2 hours by boat from Bali. There is little to do but snorkel or snooze, but for many that’s just perfect. Try: Mahamaya Resort or Seri Resort.
      3) Nusa Lembongan – only 30-40 minutes by boat from Bali, this island is increasingly popular but still nowhere near as developed as the party island of Gili Trawangan. There are hikes, snorkelling, villages and mangroves, and secluded beaches like Sunset Beach and Dream Beach. Try: Indiana Kenanga Villas or Dream Beach Huts.
      The best place to organise yoga is at Ubud, while horse riding can be arranged at Gili Trawangan (10 minutes by boat from Gili Meno) and at places north of Seminyak. Recommended boutique-style hotels in Ubud include the traditional Puri Saraswati Bungalows at the back of the palace; the exquisite ARMA Resort in the museum grounds; or Ubud Art Villa for seclusion and views.

  13. Trash on Bali Beaches

    Hi Dave,
    Your site and articles are great, thanks! I’m planning a trip to Indonesia from the UK for a couple of weeks with my partner. Swaying between Bali and Lombok (we love snorkelling, diving, walking/trekking and relaxing).
    I thought I was sold on Bali, but now I’ve seen a lot of articles saying that it has a serious rubbish problem and the sea water and beaches are badly littered. Is this the case, do you know? Is it really that bad? In terms of coastal destinations, we are thinking of going to Nusa Lembongan, Amed and also Gili Meno. But if it is really that bad, I might have to consider Lombok again.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Bali Dave

      With some 3-4 million visitors a year (mostly westerners demanding bottled water and canned beer) it’s perhaps not surprising that Bali, like other resort islands such as Phuket and Fiji, has problems with litter and waste disposal. But the Balinese authorities realise that clean beaches mean happy tourists. So, armies of cleaners sweep all the main beach resort regions every day and some private beaches ‘owned’ by upmarket hotels in places such as Nusa Dua are spotless enough to eat off (well, almost). Exceptions to this are more remote resort regions like Lovina, which is a bit scruffy, admitttedly. And if there is a big storm the rough seas can litter the beaches with trash until workers can get out to clean up. But in short, don’t let this negative and unwarranted publicity dampen your enthusiasm for Bali. Lombok is less developed and the beaches more pristine, but that island still suffers from litter and waste disposal – just like every island resort region in south-east Asia.

      Nusa Lembongan is a lovely, tranquil island with zero shops and even less nightlife, so it suits many but bores the pants off some others. Amed is a strip of remote coastline that stretches some 10kms with a few budget homestays and family-run cafes dotted along the rugged coastline. Transport there is limited to the Perama shuttle bus and transport around is by rented or chartered motorbike. Amed is really only suitable for those who really, really want to get away from the touristy resort regions and love diving/snorkelling. Gili Meno is the sleepy sister of the three Gili Islands, with nothing much to offer except snorkelling, snoozing, strolling and sunbathing – but for many that sounds just about perfect!

  14. Honeymoon on Bali

    Hi, I am planning for my honeymoon trip in Bali, in the beginning of November this year. Planning for a 5 to 6 days stay. I prefer a calm place to stay and enjoy my time around sandy beaches. Looking to do cycling, snorkeling, and Scuba diving. Please recommend some nice places so that we can have a memorable visit. Thanks in advance.

    1. Bali Dave

      Bali is an ideal choice for your honeymoon.
      If you want somewhere ‘calm’ that rules out the Kuta/Legian/Seminyak stretch, which is anything but peaceful and not really romantic – though it does have fun nightlife, which might be appealing. With your interests in cycling, snorkelling, diving and sandy beaches, you may consider these options:
      1) Nusa Dua – a very tranquil complex of 4-5 star resorts, with plenty of space, green lawns and perfect beaches. Almost all resorts have Honeymoon Suites, and would offer Honeymoon Packages that include champagne on arrival, romantic beach-side dinner etc. There is also a cycling path that stretches about 7km along Nusa Dua and adjoining Tanjung Benoa, but for snorkelling and diving you would need to go on day-trips to places like Padangbai or Candidasa about 2 hours away
      2) the Gili Islands – these three droplets of bleached-white beaches surrounded by turquoise waters are off the coast of Lombok but easily accessible by speedboat from Bali. None of the islands have vehicles so the only way around is on foot, by bicycle or the rather romantic horse and cart. And, best of all, the snorkelling and scuba diving is world class and virtually outside the front door of your resort. The middle island, Gili Meno, is the most romantic and tranquil of the three, and at times you may have a beach to yourself all day.
      3) Nusa Lembongan – often ignored by those who rush to the Gilis, this island is quicker and cheaper to reach than the Gilis. Again, there are no vehicles (only motorbikes) so it’s ideal for cycling, including some challenging hilly areas, and the underwater delights are as impressive as the Gilis. The best beach for swimming is Mushroom Bay, where there are several 2-3 star resorts, while Dream Beach and Sunset Beach are romantic places to stay but dangerous for swimming.

  15. Bali in October

    I am planning for a trip to bali in last week of October.
    Can you help me that is it fine to go that in that month?
    As I am hearing that it might not be a good choice to go in that month.
    Roma Laiwala

    1. Bali Dave

      October is one of the best months to visit Bali. Good weather and not terribly busy so good deals on hotels.

  16. Bali for Travelers in Late Twenties

    Hi Dave,
    I’m on overload with how many questions I have! My friends and I (8 guys and gals all between 25 and 29 years old) are going to Bali for the last week and a half or so of October this year. We want this trip to be the stuff of movies with equal parts partying, immersion into Indonesian food, and culture and adventure (outdoor activities). What areas do you recommend we stay in based on the time of the year we’re going, our age, and what we’re looking to do?

    1. Bali Dave

      You’re travelling in a big group so it pays to find a base that suits everyone, and to book ahead for accommodation. And if booking 3 or more rooms for several days it is certainly worth booking directly with the hotel and asking for a substantial discount rather than booking through a hotel booking site – especially as you’re going there in the off-season.
      Your description certainly excludes the more family-orientated areas of Nusa Dua and Sanur and the quieter resort regions along the east or north coast, which leaves the following places:
      1) Kuta/Legian/Seminyak (maybe 6 nights) – this stretch of beach is certainly Party Central, although Seminyak is quieter and more classier. From any of these places, it’s easy enough to charter a car and driver through your hotel and explore the countryside during the day and party at night. And with literally hundreds (if not thousands?) of restaurants to choose from, you’ll find excellent Indonesian food – although it can often be blandly modified for western tastes.
      2) Ubud (maybe 4 nights) – this is the renowned spiritual and cultural heart of the island. It is an ideal base from which to explore the island, soak up the culture, and binge out on real Indonesian food, including Balinese food, such as ‘babi guling’ (roast pig). Ubud also has a surprisingly vibrant nightlife, with 6-7 bars and cafés all close by offering live music nightly. Quite tame compared to Kuta, which is more about DJs, while Ubud has pretty decent live bands. Ubud is also the best place to arrange, and reach, a multitude of outdoor activities like cycling down the volcano slopes, river rafting, elephants rides, hiking etc

  17. Best Month for Rice Paddies

    Hi Dave,
    I would like to visit for photography of rice paddies.
    Which is the best month when rice fields are at their greenest?
    Dinesh Pancholi

    1. Bali Dave

      Rice fields are planted by rotation and there is no “best time” for seeing the rice fields. Any time of year you’ll be able to see beautiful rice fields.

  18. May in Bali for Family of 4

    What is the weather like in May and is there much to do activities-wise for a family of 4 with 2 young children staying in Nusa Dua?

    1. Bali Dave

      The dry season in Bali lasts from April to October, although there is no guarantee that it won’t rain during your time there – but any rain would be in short bursts. As well as great weather, May is an ideal time to visit because it’s not in the Australian school holidays and is before the European ‘invasion’ of July and August. Nusa Dua has many resorts that offer amazing facilities for children, such as Club Med, Nusa Beach Hotel, Westin and Grand Hyatt. They all offer supervised and secure Kids’ Clubs, with all sorts of wonderful activities, as well as water slides, playgrounds and kids’ pools. In fact, your children may not want to leave the grounds of your hotel during your entire holiday! Otherwise, there are a few things to see and do in Nusa Dua: the long beachside pathway is ideal for walking and cycling; a free shuttle bus links all resorts to the delightful Bali Collection outdoor mall, with plenty of shops and cafés; and the two headlands offer space, grass and views of crashing waves from lookouts. And within a 5-10 minute taxi ride is Tanjung Benoa, which is the main centre for all sorts of water sports.

  19. Surfing in Bali in November

    Hello Dave,
    I am planning on visiting Bali with my girlfriend mid November. I would like to do some surfing whilst there but restricted to probably two days (I have surfed a lot in the past but have not in the last 3 years, so will need a relative easy place no more than 1 meter waves or so). Now I read that the winds change in November and make the east side of the south better as it will be offshore. But most of the ‘interesting/happening’ things are on the west coast.
    Will the beaches on the west be bad in November, or will there be some surf to be had in the mornings before wind picks up?
    Also, is it doable to stay in, lets say, Seminyak and go for surf on the east side (time/effort wise) if the surf is bad on the west side?
    Additionally, how would you compare Seminyak to Jimbaran? We would like to be in a nice place but not be excluded from nice restaurants and bars. Kuta sounds too much party to us, but we also do not like to be too secluded (if that makes any sense). Any suggestions?
    thanks so much for steering me in the right direction.

    1. Bali Dave

      The best place to surf does change from one coast to another according to the seasons, but Bali is compact and distances around the southern surfing regions are small, so it’s easy enough to stay overnight on one coast (eg Nusa Dua) while surfing at another during the day (eg Kuta). However, traffic can be diabolical around these regions and you could waste valuable time (and money) travelling between hotel and surf.
      The surf around most places on the Bukit Peninsula (eg Padang-Padang) is quite rough and more suitable for experienced surfers. Other popular places like Nusa Lembongan would involve several hours of travel, which is not ideal if you only have two days of surfing available, while places like Medewi are remote surfer hang outs, probably of minimal interest to your non-surfing girlfriend.
      If your major reason for visiting Bali is not surfing, then perhaps you should base yourself in Seminyak and surf there or at Kuta/Legian nearby for several reasons: (1) there is plenty of surf from the beach all year around in Seminyak/Legian/Kuta and the waves are easily accessible and mild; (2) you can rent a board from stalls along the beach (and even get lessons) at Kuta/Legian; (3) you could walk to the beach from your hotel in Seminyak or be in Kuta/Legian from Seminyak in minutes by taxi; (4) you can surf early or late and still have time to do other things during the day; and (5) your girlfriend wouldn’t get bored with all the shopping available in Seminyak!
      As you suggest, Kuta is ‘party central’ for many, and Seminyak is a quieter and more classy alternative, still within 10 minutes by taxi from Kuta. Jimbaran is less developed than Seminyak and surprisingly quiet in places, although there are plenty of shops and cafes. Jimbaran boasts a gorgeous beach, more appealingly white than Seminyak, and the seafood dinners on the beach at sunset would be a highlight of your visit. But Jimbaran is easy to reach by taxi from Seminyak.
      In short, you should base yourself entirely in Seminyak, which offers excellent surf, shopping, eating/drinking, as well as live music, in a comparatively quiet region, but close to the airport and the waves and malls of Kuta.

  20. Joey

    May I know if November is a good month to visit Bali?
    Suitable for water activity?

    1. Bali Dave

      The rainy season is just starting in November but there’s still lots of sun (usually after an afternoon downpour) and water is good for swimming (though there are always dangerous spots so enquire or pay attention to red flags). November is one of the cheapest months to visit for good hotel deals.

  21. Weather and Nightlife in Bali in November

    Hi Dave,
    Can you help me with the weather in Bali in mid-November. Is it usually rainy on all days or is there a fair chance of getting some sun. How is the night life in Kuta during that period. Is it very quiet and dull during that period in Kuta/Legian/Seminyak or can we hope to get some good crowds? Thanks

    1. Bali Dave

      November is on the edge of the dry season and wet season. You’ll likely get some clear sunny weather with maybe a big rain once or twice every day (but they dry up quickly). As long as you’re not expecting perfect weather I think you’ll have a great time. Nightlife in November is quieter but still plenty going on and you can find some big parties if you go looking.

  22. Bali in mid November

    Hi Dave,
    We are considering a trip to Bali middle of January. We are very nervous about the rainy season. We will have a three year old with us and we are considering Nusa Dua? Any advise?

    1. Bali Dave

      Bali has a dry season (April to October) and wet season (November to March). The island is tropical, but not monsoonal (like India), when sheets of rain can fall for weeks; nor does Bali suffer cyclones (like the Philippines). But it can rain for a few days straight in the ‘dry’ and not rain for a week or more in the ‘wet’. When it rains in the wet season, it is often only for an hour or two in the late afternoon; and there’s a 50% chance rain will fall between 7pm and 7am anyway. The volcanic landscape ensures that rain can be localized: eg it can be bucketing down in Ubud, while cloudless in Sanur, only 45 minutes away by car.
      In short, don’t let the chance of rain in the wet season affect your decision to travel to Bali. What you should consider is the peak season, when crowds in some places can be substantial. This includes from about 15 December to 25 January, so if you can travel later in January or in February, crowds will be significantly smaller and prices considerably lower.
      Most hotels in Nusa Dua have a kids’ club offering a wonderful selection of activities, as well as a children’s pool, waterslides, playground, kids’ menus etc – which is ideal if the weather isn’t that great for the beach or daytrips. Particularly good for families in Nusa Dua are the Novotel, Westin, Laguna and Grand Hyatt, but make sure they accept three year olds – some kids’ clubs cater only for 4-15 year olds.

  23. Beach Town with Quiet Safe Beaches close to Rice Terraces

    Hi Dave,
    I’m a solo female traveller looking to take a last minute trip to Bali in late November. I’m looking for somewhere with nice, safe resorts, with quiet beaches, but that is also near accessible rice terraces and cultural spots.
    Where would you recommend?

    1. Bali Dave


  24. A Bit of Everything in Bali

    Hi Dave,
    I am planning my first solo trip which is to Bali in the last week of November. Does it rain a lot? will the weather be favourable for scuba diving?
    I am a traveller at heart and would like to include a little bit of all the varied aspects that Bali has to offer from scuba diving to mountain to partying one night. Can you recommend which areas should I visit? I have about 10-14 days….Are the hostels in Bali safe? Which is a good area to live in Bali where I can meet other travellers?

    1. Bali Dave

      The rainy season more or less stretches from late October to March, but seems to be starting later and later in recent years. It may not rain in the ‘wet’ for a week or may pour down in the dry season (April to September). And if it does rain, downpours are often short and in the evenings/nighttime. In short, don’t let the weather affect your decision about when to travel to Bali.
      The rain won’t affect your diving much, if at all, but the winds may. The best time for scuba diving is the transition period between the two seasons, so October/November is an ideal time to relish the wonders underwater.
      Most solo young travelers, base themselves in two main areas:
      1) Kuta/Legian – the place for nightclubs and shopping, and close to the airport, but the traffic and crowds can be overwhelming for first-time visitors. But November will be a quieter time to visit.
      2) Ubud – an understandably popular base to experience Bali’s unique culture and to daytrip to extraordinary temples and landscapes, such as Tirta Empul, Gunung Kawi and Goa Gajah
      To avoid the crowds, and for world-class diving, some head out to Amed along the remote east coast. It’s a laidback, chill-out area, but the beaches are poor and getting around can be difficult. For mountains and hiking, stay at Candikuning, home to a crater lake with water sports (but most travelers bypass this lovely area); or Toya Bungkah, on another crater lake (but, again, there will be very few other travelers in this remarkable place).
      So, with 10 days on a first visit, perhaps base yourself in (1) Legian (a quieter and less crowded version of Kuta, only 2kms north of Kuta), from where you can organize a scuba-diving day-trip; and (2) Ubud, from where you can join a hiking or bicycle tour down the volcanic slopes. If staying 14 days, perhaps also add in a few days in Amed – perfect for diving and meeting other young travelers.
      Accommodation is cheap in Bali: even in Kuta, a modest double room with pool, Wi-Fi, air-con, hot water, and cable TV can cost less than US$20 per night and rates are even cheaper in Ubud. So, there are almost no hostels in Bali. But a few basic hotels cater for backpackers, such as Captain Goose in Kuta.

  25. Best Beach on Bali for Young Child

    Hi, I am going to Bali in December 16-19 for three days with my family including an infant aged 1.9 year old. Can you please suggest what is the best beach during these short three days? All I want is clean blue water not going to surf, no diving! Just swimming and enjoying time around the beach.

    1. Bali Dave

      The Balinese people utterly adore all children, believing they are gifts from the gods, so your infant will be cuddled and stroked lovingly and constantly.
      If you don’t want surf, diving, or – presumably – nightclubs, then the two areas you should stay are Sanur or Nusa Dua. Both offer calm and shallow waters (protected by breakwaters and distant reefs), are close to the airport, and have considerably less noise, traffic and general hassles than resort regions like Kuta, Legian or Seminyak.
      Sanur has a wide range of accommodation for all budgets and a lovely pathway for walking and cycling that hugs the beach for more than 5km. Most hotels are away from the main road and there are no nightclubs blaring at night.
      Nusa Dua offers better beaches – all are wide and sandy – but in some places the ambience can be ruined sometimes with nearby jet-skis. But there is far more greenery and space than anywhere else in Bali. All hotels are in the 4 to 5-star range, with nothing more affordable, but almost all cater better than Sanur for families with a toddler’s pool, children’s menus and kid’s club (although most only cater for children at least 4-5 years old). And all offer child-minding services.
      As you may know, your visit coincides with the start of the Australian school holidays, so you should book your accommodation immediately.

  26. Bali and Lembongan in December

    Hi Dave
    I am taking my 2 kids to Bali 11-19 December. I was thinking of taking them to Lembongan for 2 nights but wondering how rough the seas will be as it is generally the rainy season? I have been to Bali many times but never in December and to Lembongan also but again never in December. Can you let me know by chance if you think it would be a better idea to avoid travelling over there at this time of the year as the kids want to go snorkeling with the Manta rays and an island snorkeling tour like I have done previously, in the dryer months?
    Thank you

    1. Bali Dave

      December is at the start of the wet season, but generally, the winds and waves are no worse in the wet season than the dry. What makes the waves so high between the Bali mainland and Nusa Lembongan island (as well as the Gili Islands) are the currents and the swells caused by the extreme depth of the ocean.
      So, waves can be – and often are – high any time of the year. As you may know, boat trips can be quite unpleasant, with seasickness common, although the trip is only 30-45 minutes one-way. And there is no jetty at Sanur on Bali, from where most boats leave, and no jetty at all on Lembongan island, so passengers have to wade through waves (sometimes waist-high on adults) to get on/off the boat. An alternative is a day-trip from Bali to Lembongan on Bali Hai Cruises, a massive boat that won’t be affected by waves, that offers fabulous trips for the family, including snorkeling.
      Manta Rays are best seen around Nusa Penida, the larger island next to Nusa Lembongan. Penida is surprisingly undeveloped, with limited accommodation, and accessible by boat (again uncomfortable at times) from Sanur. Companies like Blue Season Bali offer trips to Nusa Penida, but they can’t control the waves!
      Otherwise, try snorkeling at places on the Bali mainland anytime of the year: Amed (a quiet place with excellent snorkeling within swimming distance of the beach); Tulamben (even quieter, with a WWII wreck to explore just off-shore); or Pemuteran (remote but world-class snorkeling in a pristine national marine park).
      Don’t let the weather affect your decision to travel to Bali – it can be dry all week in the wet season and rain for two days in the ‘dry’. Rain anytime during the year is often in short spells, and there’s more than a 50% chance rain will fall between 7pm and 7am anyway. But remember: 11-19 December is the start of the Australian school holidays so some parts of Bali will be busy.

  27. Quiet Beach Holiday on Bali with Kids

    Hi Dave!
    I am planning on taking my two children (aged 12 and 8) to Bali next February (booking early to save money on flights!). Where would you recommend staying for a majority quiet, beach holiday, but that is also in a good location to arrange a diving trip with my eldest, and to explore some interesting, child friendly sights and culture.

    1. Bali Dave

      Of the many resort regions across Bali, your best options would be Padangbai, along the east coast; Nusa Lembongan island; or Gili Air, which is actually part of neighboring Lombok but easily accessible from Bali. If you intend to go scuba-diving, you probably know that the minimum age among Bali diving agencies is 10 years, but the island offers some amazing snorkeling, often just off-shore, which can be enjoyed by anyone of any age.
      Padangbai is about two hours from the airport, but a world away from the hustle and bustle of regions like Kuta. It’s a charming, compact village with enough cafés, but minimal shops and nightclubs – which suits many. Scuba diving is easy to arrange and snorkeling gear can be hired for underwater exploration at the Crusoe-esque Blue Lagoon beach. It’s also a wonderful base to visit nearby attractions such as the ancient pre-Hindu village of Tenganan; arguably Bali’s best beach at Pasir Putih; and the eerie bat cave temple of Goa Lawah. (Many boats to Nusa Lembongan and Gili Air leave from and arrive at Padangbai.)
      Nusa Lembongan is only 30-45 minutes by speedboat from Bali. With no vehicles (only motorbikes), it’s tranquil and easy to explore mangroves, empty beaches and the village on foot or by pushbike. There are a couple of diving agencies, and the snorkeling is superb at Mushroom Bay and Mangrove Beach.
      Gili Air is one of the renowned triplet of Gili Islands, about 90 minutes by speedboat from Bali. It is quiet, with a likeable genuine village. Several agencies can arrange scuba-diving trips, while most also allow others to join and snorkel close to the boat as others plunge deeper.
      But please note: getting on and off speedboats to these islands usually involves wading through the water – ie there are often no jetties. And the waves and swell can make the trip uncomfortable at times.

  28. Bali in Early November

    Hi Dave,
    I just bought a pair of tickets to Bali yesterday. Traveling on the first week of November. Stumbled upon an article that says November is a bad time to Bali due to the rainy season and beaches are most likely to be dirty. Is that true?
    It’s an anniversary trip. We want to spend time on the beaches and dinner by the beach at night. Should I consider to change location?

    1. Bali Dave

      The rains do pick up in November (often late November) but even when they do they’re usually short bursts of downpour followed by a quick clearing and beautiful blue skies (with a few puddles on the ground). If you want a 100% guarantee on great weather then yes, change your trip, but personally I’d be very comfortable booking a November visit.

  29. Where To Go in September

    Hi Dave!
    My Fiance and I have looked all over the world for the perfect place to honeymoon, and we are stuck between southern Portugal, Greece, and Bali. We would be traveling at the beginning of September.
    We are leaning toward Bali, and would be traveling 30+ hours from the USA. We are looking to stay half of the trip inland, and half on the beach. We have found a large number of resorts, but aren’t sure which to pick. We are looking for beautiful beaches and wonderful seafood. Can you suggest any particular beaches and/or resorts?
    Much appreciated! Thanks!

    1. Bali Dave

      All of those destinations are awesome in September. Not peak season but still great weather. If it’s Bali, I’d recommend Ubud for an inland base, and Jimbaran for great seafood and a top notch beach (and Kuta/Seminyak are a short drive away for nightlife and shopping).

  30. Nusa Lembongan vs Gilis for Diving

    I’m going to Bali at the end of January/beginning of February for a week and wondered if you thought Nusa L was better/worse for diving than the Gilis (recognising that better isn’t defined!). I went to Bali a few years ago and went to the Gilis but think it might be a bit intense (I’m traveling alone this time) and is more of a trek to get to…
    What do you think of Jimbaran/Canggu for a few days, Ubud for a few days and Nusa L for the remaining? Do you think Jimbaran or Canggu would be better (again I know!) or do you have any other suggestions for combinations? I’m a keen diver and would also like to do a day hike/bike (either organised or just pootling) and looking to stay in places that are relaxing but possibly sociable too (tho not necessarily aggressively backpackery in terms of drinking!)
    Any tips very gratefully received!

    1. Bali Dave

      Although Bali is compact, and distances seem small, travelling around the island can be time-consuming, so don’t be tempted to stay in more than two (or possibly three) places if only visiting for a week. An ideal combination would be Jimbaran (for the beach); Ubud (for the landscape and outdoor activities); and Nusa Lembongan (for diving).
      One option is even staying the entire week in Sanur, a quieter beach area, with plenty of shops and cafés, but no malls and surf attracting the crowds, including backpackers. This gives you the obvious advantage of not wasting time moving hotels and possibly waiting for your room to become vacant.
      From Sanur, it’s easy to:
      1) daytrip to Ubud, 45-60 minutes away by shuttle bus or chartered car, or join an organized cycling or hiking tour of the central mountains;
      2) take a boat trip to Nusa Lembongan (30-45 minutes) for diving, exploring or relaxing
      3) visit any other beach region in the south (eg Jimbaran or Tanjung Benoa for all types of water-sports) in 20-30 minute by taxi.
      The quality of diving on the GIlis and Nusa Lembongan is world class, but facilities are better and more extensive on the Gilis, particularly on Gili Trawangan, because these islands are far more popular. But there are 3 good reasons to consider diving this time at Nusa Lembongan:
      1) travel by speedboat is quicker (and cheaper), so you would spend less of your precious time on boats and hanging around boat terminals/jetties
      2) the Gilis is far busier, especially in January
      3) you have been to the Gilis before. And Nusa Lembongan is delightfully laidback and virtually-traffic free, and there are other things to do, eg hiking, cycling and exploring the village, which can’t be done on the Gilis
      Canggu is a collective term for a vast area of land and beach between Seminyak and Tanah Lot. The beaches, such as Seseh and Berewa are scruffy, grey and, often, rocky – considerably more suitable for, and popular with, surfers than swimmers. And your accommodation in Canggu may be 10-15 minutes walk from any worthwhile cafés or shops, and taxis are uncommon.
      It would be far better to stay in Jimbaran, a gorgeous curved bay of golden sands and calm waters, and so much quieter than the frenetic Kuta/Legian region, which is only 10-15 minutes away by frequent taxi. And a highlight of any trip to Bali will be dinner at a café on Jimbaran beach during sunset, with fresh seafood, wandering musicians and fireworks. Jimbaran is also a genuine village with an ancient temple, sprawling produce market and an incredible fish market.
      The Australian school holidays are the busiest time on Bali and the Gilis. These end by 31 January, so you may wish to plan your trip accordingly.

  31. Early or Late September and October

    Hi Dave
    By far your comments on the best time to visit Bali have been conclusive and concise as compared to other sites. However, i would like to know in terms of price, which is better, Early September Vs. Late September OR early October vs. Late October?
    I’m planning a trip for my husband and i and we would prefer to go when it’s cheaper.

    1. Bali Dave

      I’m pretty sure the later you visit in the fall (whether that’s September or October) will be cheaper (or the same). Of course, it’s easy to confirm by visiting a half-dozen hotels on and comparing prices for the different dates.

  32. Bali Honeymoon in October

    Hi Dave,
    I’m planning my honeymoon for the second half of October. Many people told me that it would be wet season then and that there will be lots of rain and that it wouldn’t be the best time to go to Bali then. Need your recommendations on that please if it’s still going to be doable to go on my honeymoon there.

    1. Bali Dave

      I’ve had good luck visiting in October and do not consider it rainy season. Every year is different though and the second half of October will get more rain than the first half. If it was me, I’d feel fine booking an October visit and expect good weather. But absolute certainty, of course, is not possible.

  33. Bali in September

    Hi Dave
    We are planning to travel to Bali in the first week of September. Please let us know if that is the correct time to visit Bali.

    1. Bali Dave

      September is probably the single best month to visit Bali. Great weather but a little quieter than the peak tourist months.

  34. Bali Weather in Early October

    We are planning to visit 1st or 2nd week of October. Please suggest whether it’s a good time to visit Bali.

    1. Bali Dave

      Early October typically has great weather, fewer visitors, and good hotel rates.

  35. Snorkelling in Bali

    Hi Dave,
    We’re a couple in our 60’s who are planning a trip from the UK for a couple of weeks or so based mainly around snorkelling. We haven’t yet decided whether to have a ‘two center’ stay or just plonk ourselves down in one place for the duration. We’re looking for advice on the best offshore sites with walk in access without having to arrange boat trips. Our wish list also includes being in walking distance of bars and some casual eateries for veggie food. We’re thinking about November but wondering about underwater visibility. Can you advise us please?
    Many thanks

    1. Bali Dave

      Snorkeling is one of many attractions of visiting Bali, although swimming, scuba-diving, and surfing are also popular. Much of the coastline is not so appealing for snorkeling, because of ocean currents, which make places like Kuta more suitable for surfing than swimming, and certainly no good for snorkeling. Other major bases, such as Sanur and Nusa Dua, also offer nothing worthwhile underwater and within swimming distance.
      These places do offer decent snorkeling, and have the added advantages of being accessible by tourist shuttle bus and are developed enough to offer bars and restaurants with vegetarian options:
      1) Padangbai – a likeable town with a genuine village vibe along the east coast. Easy to rent equipment and snorkel within a few metres offshore, particularly at the Blue Lagoon Beach.
      2) Candidasa – further past Padangbai on the east coast. Not as easy to rent gear, but there are several snorkeling spots just offshore, or take a chartered boat. But the beaches are not nearly as pleasant as Padangbai.
      3) Amed – even further along the east coast, but quite remote and with limited facilities and almost no beaches. Terrific snorkeling, but probably best to bring your own gear.
      4) Nusa Lembongan – an island about 30 minutes off the coast of Sanur, with plenty of character and almost no traffic. Wonderful snorkeling at Mushroom Bay and Mangrove Beach.
      Normally, we would heartily recommend staying at the Gili Islands, a 90-minute trip from Bali, but all three have been seriously affected by recent earthquakes. Many hotels have been damaged, some beyond repair, and many facilities, such as shops and cafés, have probably closed. However by November, the tourist industry on the islands would probably be functioning to an acceptable degree (as long as there are no more earthquakes) and, certainly, you will get excellent rates on accommodation at that time.
      November is the start of the wet season, so some of your holiday plans on land may suffer from rain, but the weather won’t affect snorkeling just offshore.