With its distinct culture, lush flora and fauna, grandiose temples, bustling beachside clubs, and myriad market stalls, Bali makes for a tropical getaway that ticks most boxes.
Bali’s busiest season runs from May to September and boasts warm, sun-drenched days. In comparison, the island’s rainy season, which runs from October to April, is the time of year when the island slows down, empties out, and cools off. While this may sound discouraging to some, Bali’s rainy season has its own set of advantages, like cheap airfare, discounted accommodation, and an absence of tourists. If you know what to expect, where to spend your time, and what to do, traveling to Bali at this time can ultimately be a clever choice.
Weather During the Rainy Season
When you hear the term “rainy season,” you might think torrential rain and thunderstorms — right? We’ll let you in on a secret: this isn’t necessarily the case. While rain levels do increase over this time period, Bali’s tropical climate means that temperatures remain relatively warm all year round. In fact, the rainy season has a reputation for producing a surprising cocktail of seasons, all in a single day.
Generally, it rains for a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the afternoon. This usually leaves you with enough of the day to absorb some of that vitamin D. You may find yourself glancing up to a swirling mass of gray clouds mid-morning, but don’t be surprised if they’ve completely disappeared and been replaced with clear, blue skies by lunchtime. On the other hand, those treasured rays of sun can make a swift and sudden exit and be exchanged for booming claps of late-afternoon thunder and a massive downpour. Despite the weather forecast you may studiously check, you won’t really know what the sky is planning until you’re out and about.
In short, the weather during the rainy season is pretty unpredictable. Preparing yourself (and packing accordingly) for muggy drizzle, heavy showers, and sunny days will set you on the right path.
Bugs and Trash in the Rainy Season
Bali’s bugs — in particular, mosquitos — are the next thing to keep in the back of your mind. Bali plays host to mosquitos all year round, but the rainy season’s humidity brings an influx of the little insects.
Many of the island’s villas are built with flowing indoor–outdoor living areas. This means there might not be walls separating you from the outside world and all of its pesky inhabitants. Being prepared with mosquito repellent and/or loose, long-sleeved clothing is a must to ensure you aren’t covered with bites come nightfall.
Unfortunately, Bali’s rubbish problem also becomes more prevalent during the rainy season. After a couple of months of rain and altered tides, rubbish inevitably ends up along the coast. This can affect snorkeling, diving, or general beach trips, but remembering to pick up rubbish where you can helps not only you but everyone on the island — even if it is in just a small way.
What to Do During the Rainy Season
When Bali enters its rainy season, tourist numbers dwindle, making the island’s winding, and sometimes chaotic, roads far less busy. Whether you rent a scooter or hire a private driver (both are remarkably affordable), you’ll want to get out and explore the sights around the island — in quicker time than the busier months of the year, no doubt.
In addition to road-traffic, foot-traffic is noticeably lower during the rainy season. Of course, Bali’s main cities will not be desolate, by any means — they’ll just feel empty in comparison to heaving crowds found in the height of the busy season. That said, the lack of crowds makes it easier to enjoy the best that Bali has to offer.
Monkey forests, temples, and natural attractions all become far less busy, allowing for leisurely visits and a more immersive experience. Temples return to a more quiet state, allowing silent contemplation among wisps of incense smoke, while cafés and restaurants are not only quieter, but more affordable, as they often run promotions and deals to entice you in.
If you’d like to take an even more peaceful excursion, why not go one step further and venture to the Buleleng regency in the northern reaches of the island The area is a lot less classically touristy than others, so quiet roads and sleepy villages await you there. If you’re a placid, less-is-more type of traveler, it’s just the place for you.
Although you can expect at least a few bursts of warm sunshine during your trip, Bali offers a plethora of indoor activities if you do happen to come across a day of drizzling rain. Between cooking classes, yoga retreats, and spa treatments, you’re bound to be happy, whatever the weather. Just keep a few ideas up your sleeve!
Along with your list of things to do during the rainy season, there are a few activities you might want to avoid during these wetter months. Water sports are usually not as great during this time period, due to higher levels of water and wind. Similarly, popular volcano and mountain hikes should be traversed with care, as the rainfall creates slopes that are muddier and far more slippery than usual.
Why Travel During the Rainy Season
Finally, and arguably most importantly, choosing to travel to Bali during the rainy season will make your wallet happy. Airfare and accommodation prices drastically drop during the rainy season, tending to be anywhere from 30 to 50 percent cheaper. Nabbing yourself some cheap flights and a greatly discounted hotel, Airbnb, or private villa might just be that final push you need to make the decision to venture to this beautiful island outside of the peak season.
Bali has the potential to make a truly magical getaway any time of year — it’s simply up to you to take the plunge. Enjoy!
Need more help planning your journey to Bali? Check our travel guide for everything you need to know about this island paradise!