The Best Time to Visit Bali

Updated: January 29, 2017

When is the best time to go to Bali?
The best time to visit Bali for most visitors is between April and October when there is little rain, low humidity, and lots of sun. If you want to save money the best months are May, June, and October. Surfing is possible year-round but the best months are from April to September.

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When is the best time of the year to visit Bali?

  • Best Time for Good Weather on Bali: Bali has good weather during the dry season of April to October. This is when the island has the least rain, the most sun, and the lowest humidity. However, Bali is a good destination any time of year. There is more rainfall from November to March but rain is often followed by sunny clear skies.
  • Best Time for Beaches, Swimming, and Suntanning: April to October are the sunniest driest months with lots of sun. But you can get good beach weather any month of the year.
  • Best Time for Sightseeing and Outdoor Activities: May to September offers the driest weather when the interior of the island is easiest to explore.
  • Best Time for Diving: April to June (good), September to November (best).
  • Best Time for Saving Money: The best time for deals and discounts on hotels is February to early June and late September to early December when there are fewer tourists on the island. The price of food and transportation doesn’t change much in low season.
  • High Season (July, August, late December, early January): The busiest time of year. Book hotels months in advance.
  • Shoulder Season (February, June, September, October, November, early December): Great deals to be found on hotels if book early. The island is slower than the peak season but there’s still plenty of life if you’re looking for nightlife and busy restaurants.
  • Low Season (March, April, May): The quietest months on the island and when you’ll find the cheapest rates on hotels.
  • Best Time for Surfing on Bali: The best time to surf on Bali is during the dry season which usually runs from April to September. This is when the waves at the western beaches are at their best. During the wet season of November to March the winds switch direction and the best breaks are at the less impressive eastern beaches.
When To Surf Bali Beaches:
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 Weather by Month

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 and lasts for 5 to 30 minutes. The sun often returns shortly after. (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Rainfall: 340mm. Days with Rain: 16)
  • 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: 15)
  • March Weather in Bali: Still wet but typically plenty of sunshine for hitting the beach. (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Rainfall: 210mm. Days with Rain: 14)
  • April Weather in Bali: Definitely drier than the previous months and humidity has decreased too. (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. (Average Max Temperature: 29°C. Average Rainfall: 80mm. Days with Rain: 9)
  • June Weather in Bali: Great beach weather with lots of sun. (Average Max Temperature: 29°C. Average Rainfall: 70mm. Days with Rain: 5)
  • July Weather in Bali: Great beach weather with lots of sun. (Average Max Temperature: 28°C. Average Rainfall: 60mm. Days with Rain: 4)
  • August Weather in Bali: Great beach weather with lots of sun. (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: 29°C. Average Rainfall: 40mm. Days with Rain: 4)
  • October Weather in Bali: Great beach weather with lots of sun though the odd downpour becomes more common. (Average Max Temperature: 29°C. Average Rainfall: 60mm. Days with Rain: 8)
  • November Weather in Bali: Getting rainier but still lots of sun for hitting the beach and sitting by the pool. (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Rainfall: 110mm. Days with Rain: 11)
  • December Weather in Bali: One of the rainier months but rain storms are usually short lived and most day will still see lots of sun. (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Rainfall: 250mm. Days with Rain: 13)

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56 questions and comments

  1. 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?
    Melanie

    1. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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.

  2. 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.

    Thanks!
    Vicki

    1. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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. And young ones also love the sea walking at Sanur

      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.

  3. 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
    Temeka

    1. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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.

  4. 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. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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.

  5. 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?

    Sonali

    1. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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 and The Happy Mango Tree in Ubud.

  6. 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?

    Thanks!
    Victoria

    1. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      Sanur.

  7. 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?
    Jade

    1. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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. And 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 almost intolerable. 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.

  8. 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
    Jay

    1. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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.

  9. Joey

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

    1. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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.

  10. 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.

    Paul

    1. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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.

  11. 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?

    Nicky

    1. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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.

  12. 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. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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.

  13. 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?

    -Jess

    1. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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

  14. Bali in October

    Hello,

    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. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

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

  15. 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.

    Dineshbabu

    1. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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.

  16. 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.

    Thanks
    Judy

    1. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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!

  17. Canggu, Sanur, or Jimbaran?

    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 etc.) 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 etc. 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. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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.

  18. 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. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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.

  19. 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?

    Patrick

    1. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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 in 2016.

      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.

  20. 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. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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.

  21. 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.

    Vanessa

    1. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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.

  22. 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. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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.

  23. 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.
    Lafayette

    1. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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.

  24. 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.
    Brent

    1. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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.

      The best site to check for up-to-date independent advice is http://www.baliwaves.com

  25. 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.

    Leigh

    1. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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).

      Here’s a good YouTube channel with videos on the Gili islands – Overview, Beaches, and Villages.

  26. 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 !

    Cheers
    Gwen

    1. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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.

  27. 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. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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).

  28. 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 2016.

    1. hotelsdave Expert Hotel Reviews

      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.

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