Bali is arguably the most visited island in Southeast Asia. This comes as no surprise as this Indonesian Island is also incredibly well-known, drawing in millions of visitors yearly from all around Southeast Asia, Australia, and as far as the United States.
Some believe that Bali is all about sand and surf, but that’s not true; Bali also offers incredible experiences in the realm of culture, nature, and nightlife.
Wondering when is the best time to visit Bali? Here are a few tips on choosing your travel dates.
Best time to visit Bali for all kinds of trips
Pick a drier month for a road trip or a surfing holiday
Generally, the weather in Bali is pretty constant all year round, so you don’t have to worry about one period being significantly wetter. However, the months of April to June and September to October are generally drier, with less rain and more sunny days.
These conditions make it perfect for long road trips to the interior of the island, where you can find attractions like Mount Batur and the Tegalalang rice terraces. Having your own rented car in Bali is undoubtedly a convenient way to explore Bali independently.
If you’re a surfer, the drier period between April to June and September to October will be the best time to visit Bali. During these months, the waves are better and stronger which will help your surfing be smoother and much more rewarding. This is because the dry season brings stronger winds that whip up the waves for your pleasure!
The beaches around Kuta, Legian and Seminyak are surfer hotspots, and they’re full of surf instructors who are on hand to guide you if you’re a beginner. These young men will also rent you surf boards, so you can save on having to bring over your own.
For culture lovers, come for the Bali Arts Festival
Bali has a rich cultural heritage not found anywhere outside the island. These include their traditional dances like the Barong dance, Kecak dance and Legong dance. If you’re a cultural lover, the best time to visit Bali is when you can experience all these at the annual Bali Arts Festival that takes place in mid-June to mid-July every year.
For 2019, the festival will take place from June 16 to July 14. It’s organised by the Taman Werdhi Budaya Arts Centre in Denpasar. The highlight is a parade held in conjunction with the start of the festival, featuring dancers in ornate costumes and musicians playing traditional instruments.
You can get updates on the exact performance and activity schedules (as well as ticket prices) by checking out the Taman Werdhi Budaya Arts Centre about two weeks before the festival begins.Find cheap flights to Bali
For EDM party lovers, there’s Ultra Beach Bali
In addition to offering traditional festivals, Bali is also known to have a vibrant nightlife and party scene.
One of the biggest EDM festivals on the island is Ultra Bali and it takes place at the Potato Head Beach Club in Seminyak. Previous editions of this music festival, which is held in mid-September, featured some of the biggest names in the EDM music scene: Deadmau5, Skrillex, Afrojack and Dubfire.
For updates on the dates, lineup and ticket prices, you can bookmark the official Ultra Bali website.Find cheap flights to Bali
For cool(er) weather, visit Bedugul
Some people come to Bali for the sun, sea and sand. If you have had enough of this at home (yes, sunbathing just isn’t a Malaysian thing), you’ll be glad to know that Bali has a highland resort too. It’s called Bedugul and it’s about a 1.5-hour drive from the airport, on the road from Denpasar to Singaraja.
Bedugul’s weather is about 2-3°C cooler than the city. Small as the digits may seem, travellers will certainly feel the difference. The best months to visit Bedugul in Bali are August and September when the coolest temperatures are recorded. Apart from visiting the scenic Beratan Lake, you can drop by the local market for some of the freshest fruits and vegetables you’ll ever see.
Bonus tip: Months to avoid
Bali tends to get crowded in the middle of the year, in July and August as well as at the end of the year, from mid-December to early January. These periods coincide with the summer holidays and the Christmas or year-end seasons. These are also the weeks when schools are off and families go on vacations together, causing the demand for flights and hotels to skyrocket.
During the peak period, hotel rates could be as much as 50% higher compared to the low season, so plan your trip early and try to work around these dates as much as possible. Needless to say, visiting Bali during the off-peak seasons also allows you to avoid the crowds at the touristy attractions.
November is usually is the wettest month of the year. As mentioned, the wet weather season in Bali is not extreme, but if you are averse to rain, you’re better off avoiding a trip to Bali during this month.
Also, take note that the Hindu festival of Nyepi falls in early March. This festival unique to the island of Bali features a day of silence for reflection and meditation. No vehicles are allowed on the roads and tourists have to stay indoors. No check-in or check-out from any hotel in Bali will be allowed on Nyepi. Loud sounds of any kind are also prohibited, so unless you specifically want to experience Nyepi for yourself, the days around it wouldn’t be ideal for travel.
No matter your reason for visiting Bali, remember that you can always find the cheapest travel deals on Skyscanner. If you need some more inspiration on what to do in Bali, check out our Bali budget itinerary guide.