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.
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!
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.
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.