Best Time to Visit Bali

When to visit Bali depends of course on what you are planning to do there and not too much on the weather. The weather, in general, is pretty stable in Bali, and here are some tips to find the best time to visit Bali. If you are going there for specific reasons or activities or festivals, then you might want to plan around it.

Nusa Dua Beach, Bali, Indonesia

Nusa Dua Beach, Bali. Photo by Adhi Rachdian

Weather in Bali

Bali’s has a tropical climate and it is considered to have only two seasons – dry or wet. The dry season is from April to October and the wet season from November to March.

In terms of weather, the best time to go to Bali is from July to August as the temperature is at its coolest at these times and also the driest in terms of rain. But it is also the peak season naturally, thus take note of the tourist crowds and do book in advance.

Also, note that the weather is also changing nowadays and it may differ from the usual schedule that we know about. Therefore, come to Bali with an open mind and heart and don’t let any weather changes affect your trip.

However, it is still possible to travel in the rainy season. It may still rain during the dry season and not rain for a week in the wet season, and it usually comes down in short blasts in the evening or late afternoons. Therefore if you must, traveling in Bali during the wet seasons is still possible if you do most of your sightseeing in the morning and early afternoons and rest in the evenings.

Pura Pura Tanah Lot @ Bali

Pura Tanah Lot, Bali. Photo by Kevin Poh

High/Peak and Low Season in Bali

From April to September will be the high season in Bali, as it is purportedly the dry season and also generally the summer holiday season in many parts of the world.

The quieter months are from October to March, and though it is considered the rainy seasons, most of the rains come only in the evening and leave pretty quickly. Therefore, it is still possible to enjoy Bali in this weather if you plan your days earlier and rest in the evening.

Best time to visit Bali

The best months to go to Bali in terms of weather and also the crowd are the shoulder seasons, that is either March or October. At these times, you will have a relatively dry weather yet without the tourist crowds!

Take note also of peak seasons, which are July and August during the summer vacations of the Europeans and mid-December to late January for the Australian school holidays. This is especially obvious in the famous touristy places like Bali, Lombok and Gili Islands.

Hike Volcano Mountain Batur, Bali, Indonesia

Hike Mount Batur, Bali. Photo by Kevin Poh

Festivals in Bali

If you want to visit some of the festivals in Bali, here are some of the popular and interesting festivals to visit that you might want to look out for:

February / March

Bau Nyale Festival – In February or March, hundreds of people will rush to Lombok to catch a glimpse of the first nyale (worm-like fish) at the huge fishing festival.

March / April

Bali Nyepi day – also known as the day of silence, is celebrated every year as the Hindu New Year (Saka new year). The date changes according to Balinese calendar every year but would usually fall between March and April.
Bali Spirit Festival – a gathering of world-renowned musicians, yogis and dancers from around the world for a celebration in April.

Opening Ceremony of Bali Arts Festival, Indonesia

Opening Ceremony of Bali Arts Festival. Photo by Pandu Adnyana

June / July

Bali Arts Festival – Normally around June-July, There will be performances from all remote corners of Indonesia, almost forgotten ritual and village dances, food and offerings, classical palace dance and even contemporary dances from the schools of Denpasar.
-> Check out more about Bali Art Festivals.

July / August

Bali Kite Festival – held yearly in July in Padang Galak Area, Sanur Beach, Bali. People from Denpasar villages will make their traditional giant kites and fly them in a competition.

October

Ubud Writer’s Festival – its mission is simply to create a literary event that encourages free speech among people from all walks of life, race and gender to celebrate the beauty of the written words.

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Top 10 Best Beaches in Bali

Best time to Visit Lombok – Weather

When to visit Lombok depends of course on what you are planning to do there and not too much on the weather. The weather quite stable and it is not difficult to find the best time to visit Lombok.

But if you are going there for specific reasons or activities or festivals, then you might want to plan around it.

Pink Beach of Lombok., Indonesia
Pink Beach of Lombok. Photo by Schristia

Lombok Weather

Lombok, in West Nusa Tenggara of Indonesia, share the major tropical climate of two seasons – the dry season and the wet season. It is also one of the drier places to enjoy in comparison to Bali or the other nearby counterparts with temperatures averaging around 30 C and are mostly humid.

Therefore mostly you may enjoy your time here with the good amount of sun if you can ignore the humidity, and during wet season with some bouts of rains in the day but it should not be much of a deterrence in your holiday.

The dry season is from May to October, where it is also the peak season where most tourists flock to Lombok, though this is also the best time to go here. The wet season is from October to March, with rain less than an hour a day, therefore can be your alternative choice to escape the crowd.

In terms of weather, the best time to go to Bali is from July to August as the temperature is at its coolest at these times and also the driest in terms of rain. But it is also the peak season naturally, thus take note of the tourist crowds and do book in advance.

However, it is still possible to travel in the rainy season. It may still rain during the dry season and not rain for a week in the wet season, and it usually comes down big but quick in the evening or late afternoons. Therefore if you must, traveling in Lombok during the wet seasons is still possible if you do most of your sightseeing in the morning and early afternoons and rest in the evenings.

Mount (Gunung) Rinjani, Lombok, Indonesia

Mount (Gunung) Rinjani, Lombok. Photo by NeilsPhotography

High/Peak and Low Season in Bali

From April to September will be the high season in Lombok, as it is purportedly the dry season and also generally the summer holiday season in many parts of the world.

The quieter months are from October to March, and though it is considered the rainy seasons, most of the rains come only in the evening and leave pretty quickly. Therefore, it is still possible to enjoy Bali in this weather if you plan your days earlier and rest in the evening.

Best time to visit Bali

The best months to go to Lombok in terms of weather and also the crowd are the shoulder seasons, that is either March or October. At these times, you will have a relatively dry weather yet without the tourist crowds!

Bau Nyale Fishing Festival in Lombok, Indonesia

Bau Nyale Fishing Festival in Lombok, Indonesia. Photo by kenken31

Lombok Festivals

If you want to visit some of the festivals in Indonesia, the most interesting one in Lombok is the Bau Nyale Festival, normally in either February or March. Hundreds of people will rush to Lombok to catch a glimpse of the first nyale (worm-like fish) at this huge fishing festival.

Related articles:
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When is the Best Time to Visit Indonesia

When to visit Indonesia depends of course on what you are planning to go there and not too much on the weather. The weather, in general, is pretty stable in Indonesia, hence most times would be a good time for you to visit Indonesia.

But if you are going there for specific reasons or activities or festivals, then you might want to plan around it. As Indonesia is also large and widespread, weathers may differ from region to region.

Nusa Dua Beach, Bali, Indonesia

Nusa Dua Beach, Bali. Photo by Adhi Rachdian

Weather in Indonesia

Indonesia’s weather is of tropical climate and it is considered to only have two seasons which is the dry season or the wet season. Being a wide country it may vary in the different regions, like between weather in Jakarta in comparison to weather in Bali, but generally, most of the country’s dry season is from April to October and the wet season from November to March. For highland temperatures, it is naturally cooler, with some peaks in Papua covered with snow. It is also cool in the mountains in Sulawesi.

In terms of weather, the best time to go to Indonesia is from July to August as the temperature is at its coolest at these times and also the driest in terms of rain. But it is also the peak season naturally, thus take note of the tourist crowds and do book in advance.

However, it is still possible to travel in the rainy season. It may still rain during the dry season and not rain for a week in the wet season, and it usually comes down in short blasts in the evening or late afternoons. Therefore if you must, traveling in Indonesia during the wet seasons is still possible if you do most of your sightseeing in the morning and early afternoons and rest in the evenings.

Also, note that the weather is also changing nowadays and it may differ from the usual schedule that we know about. Therefore, I would say, come to Indonesia with an open-mind and try not to let any weather changes impede your trip!

Komodo National Park, Indonesia

Komodo National Park. Photo by leafbug

High/Peak and Low Season in Indonesia

From April to September will be the high season in Bali, as it is purportedly the dry season and also generally the summer holiday season in many parts of the world.

The quieter months are from October to March, and though it is considered the rainy seasons, most of the rains come only in the evening and leave pretty quickly. Therefore, it is still possible to enjoy Bali in this weather if you plan your days earlier and rest in the evening.

Best time to visit Indonesia

The best months to go to Indonesia in terms of weather and also the crowd are the shoulder seasons, that is either March or October. At these times, you will have a relatively dry weather yet without the tourist crowds!

Generally, most people visit during the dry season from April to October so that they can get the best out of their time without having rain dampening their activities.

Take note also of peak seasons, which are July and August during the summer vacations of the Europeans and mid-December to late January for the Australian school holidays. This is especially obvious in the famous touristy places like Bali, Lombok and Gili Islands.

People and Festival @ Bali, Indonesia

People and Festival at Bali, Indonesia. Photo by The Wandering Angel

Indonesia Festivals

If you want to visit some of the festivals in Indonesia, here are some of the popular and interesting festivals to visit that you might want to look out for:

February / March

Bau Nyale Festival – In February or March, hundreds of people will rush to Lombok to catch a glimpse of the first nyale (worm-like fish) at the huge fishing festival.

March / April

Bali Nyepi day – also known as the day of silence, is celebrated every year as the Hindu New Year (Saka new year). The date changes according to Balinese calendar every year but would usually fall between March and April.

May / June

Waisak – In commemoration of the birth, enlightenment and death of the Gautama Buddha, the Indonesian Buddhist will usually observe this special day sometime during the full moon of May / June. During Waisak in Borobudur, the largest Buddhist monument in the world, the day will be grandly celebrated by thousands of monks and pilgrims.

June / July

Yogyakarta Festival – In June to July, you will find shows and exhibitions here.
Bali Arts Festival – Normally around June-July, There will be performances from all remote corners of Indonesia, almost forgotten ritual and village dances, food and offerings, classical palace dance and even contemporary dances from the schools of Denpasar.
-> Check out more about Bali Festivals.

July / August

Jalan Jaksa Festival in Jakarta – takes place in July / August, where you can find the street closed to all traffic and replaced with food stalls, craft workshops, street artists and musicians.
Bali Kite Festival – held yearly in July in Padang Galak Area, Sanur Beach, Bali. People from Denpasar villages will make their traditional giant kites and fly them in a competition.

August / September

Toraja Funeral Ceremony – usually between July to September, this is ancient and fascinating funeral rite is to send the spirit of the dead to the after-world in order to prevent misfortune on the deceased family.
-> Read our Tana Toraja Travel Guide
Baliem Valley Festival – unique only to the Papua people and celebrated in August, the main event is the mock-war between the local tribes, with more than 20 different tribes, each with 30-50 people, clad in traditional clothing and fighting gears.
Kesodo Ceremony– Hundreds of thousands of Tenggerese will gather at the famous Mount Bromo in August to ask for blessings and another year free of eruptions.

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Indonesian Visa on Arrival, Extension and Long Term: Free or Fee?

So AFTER booking my ticket to Indonesia, like every irresponsible backpacker, I wondered to myself, “HMMMM.. do I need a visa?” Unlike my other trips to Indonesia which were short and sweet thanks to the *generous* 10-day vacation policy in the US, I figured I’d stay longer than 30 days, which is what is allotted on a visa free visit.

Luckily for most people, entry into Indonesia is pretty hassle free, if you’re planning to stay for less than a month. Indonesia allows nationals from over 168 countries to remain in the country Visa Free for a maximum of 30 days.


Gili Trawangan Island, Indonesia


Gili Trawangan, a paradise I can easily stay for more than 30 days

Indonesia Visa Free vs Visa on Arrival

Since I wanted a chance to explore this culturally, biologically and ethnically diverse archipelago made up of 17,000 islands and stretches 5,120 kilometers (just saying… there’s a lot to see!) AND also visit family, I was left with two options: paying for a visa on arrival (VOA) or doing a visa run because you cannot extend the length of your stay if you enter visa free. There is also the option of applying for a social/cultural visa if you’re the type of person who plans ahead (more information at the end of the article!)


Family and friends, Indonesia


Family and friends during my last visit to Indonesia

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of a visa run, it’s when you hop across the border to another country and then re-enter the country, which you left in order to restart the number of days you’re allowed to stay. While a visa run may tow the line of questionable practices, I hadn’t heard of people running into issues, so I figured it was a viable option. Since I’m currently ballin’ on a budget, I tallied up the cost and decided the cheaper option would be to purchase a VOA at the airport.


Getting Visa on Arrival in Indonesia aiport

Follow these signs in Indonesia aiport to get your Visa on Arrival… easy enough (NOT!)

Getting the visa on arrival seemed pretty easy; I thought all I needed was a valid passport, $35, and a smile to enter (okay, maybe not a smile, but you should do it anyway because you’re in INDONESIA!) However, I found out later that the extension process was a lot more tedious and needed to be done at least two weeks in advance.

Indonesia Visa extension

Two weeks? Why? Well, apparently, I needed to visit three times: once to complete the forms, another time to pay and take my photos and fingerprints, and finally to pick up my passport with the visa extension. On top of that, there are a limited number of offices that you can process the visa extension, including three in Bali, which are almost, always full of people.

Visa, Indonesia


I finally got my Indonesian Visa!

Another option I discovered was that I could get some immigration agent to handle the visa process for about $50. I would still need to start the process about 10-15 days before the visa expired, but I could leave my passport with the agent, enjoy gallivanting and soaking up some sun rays in the other islands, and come back to the office where everything would be completed. And since time is money, it didn’t seem like such a terrible idea. I was left debating whether it would be cheaper to do a visa run OR to pay an agency, and decided to go back in time, and channel my former agency role by making an excel sheet for my budget.



Options to extend my Indonesian Visa: Agent vs Flying in and Out


Options to extend my Indonesian Visa: Hiring an Agent vs Flying in and Out

The best option became pretty obvious; it was cheaper for me to fly from Lombok to KL then to Medan, in order to restart the 30 days. I was a little upset for spending the initial $35 for a VOA (that equals to 10 Bintangs!!!) but I had no one to blame but myself for only doing half the research. But hey, you win some and you lose some, and now I’m on my way to Lombok and Flores before heading to Sumatra. Can’t wait to share more stories with you!



Post visa woes: 
Babe on bikes, exploring Bali

Post visa woes: 
Babe on bikes, exploring Bali on scooters….the easiest and most adventurous ways to get around

Indonesia Long Term Stays Visa

If you are planning ahead (good for you!), below are the two types of most common visas for non-professional longer term stays. You should note that the date of arrival in Indonesia is counted as day one of the permitted stay and the date of departure is also counted as a full day even if the flight leaves just after midnight.

Visa on Arrival

As the name states, this is a visa you can purchase when you arrive in Indonesia at designated entry points by paying US$35 (as of 2016).
Single entry visa
Good for up to 30 days
Can be extended ONLY ONCE for an additional 30 days for another US$35 (as of 2016)
You can also apply for this visa at your respective country’s Indonesian embassy or consulate

Social Cultural Visit Visa

This visa requires a letter of sponsorship from an Indonesian citizen
Good for up to 60 days
Can be extended up to four more times, for a maximum of 180 days total
You must apply for this visa outside of Indonesia
Valid up to three months from date of issue
If you want to extend this visa, you must apply for the extension in the same district stated by your sponsor’s identity card
Here’s more information on Social Cultural Visit Visa

If you do happen to overstay your visa, you will be fined Rp 200,000/day for every day, then deported once you have paid the fine. The maximum fine for overstaying a visa is Rp 25 million and 5 years in jail, so just don’t do it!

Related articles:
Indonesia Tourist Visa Requirement
Indonesia Travel Tips and Information
Do I need a Travel Insurance for Indonesia?