Bali Rainy Season
Also referred to as Monsoon Season, Bali rainy season runs from October to April each year. Although Bali’s wet season does sometimes move around a bit, so just because you’re in Bali in October it doesn’t mean it’s definitely going to rain. When you come the rain might not start till November that year.
Essentially Bali has 2 seasons, Hot season and Rainy Season (Musim Panas and Musim Hujan). Those are what the seasons are called in Indonesian but don’t take them too literally as Rainy Season is actually hotter than Hot Season, go figure.
The peak season for people visiting Bali is the same as the UK summer, early July to End of August. But that also co-ordinates with Australian Winter which makes sense since the majority of people that come to Bali are Australian. They come here to escape their Winter!
Bali Rainy Season
What to Expect in Rainy Season
First off rainy season isn’t nearly as bad as people make out. This isn’t the dark dingy miserable rain of England people are meaning when they say rain in Bali.
It’s tropical storms.
As such, even in the middle of rainy season in Bali, it could go days without raining and when it does rain it’s still hot and usually only rains for a short period of time.
It’s the type of rain where you’ll be sitting sunbathing on the beach and all of a sudden see dark rain clouds start to approach, realize rain is imminent, run for cover and then within in an hour see everyone back out on the beach having a lovely time.
It’s clouds like this coming towards you.
In general, I, therefore, don’t see rainy season as a problem. Ok so it rains but then it stops and everything is wonderful and lovely again afterwards therefore so what?!?
But there is the occasional exception to that.
Sometimes during the Bali monsoon season, there will be days where it rains for most of the day and potentially night too. When one of those storms hits, the rain is torrential. There’ll be thunder and lighting so loud it’ll feel like your house is about to explode and the streets may well flood.
It doesn’t take a lot for them to flood. Over an hour’s worth of heavy rain in a lot of areas and that’ll be enough to do it. Especially around Seminyak and Kuta, the drainage systems don’t seem to be equipped to handle a really strong downpour.
I’ve been flooded into my house before, unable to drive down the road as the water would have come halfway up the bike.
Watchouts for Rainy Season
Driving – Most people get around using scooters in Bali but that not just royally sucks when it’s raining, it hurts. Driving a scooter through heavy rain with no protection is like having someone throw little tiny rocks at you, HORRIBLE.
You can buy giant rain macs in Bali though for as little as 50,000 IDR which cover your whole person, like a tent, and remove the pain of driving through the rain.
It’s still not pleasant though and if you’re new to driving a scooter definitely I’d steer clear of it as where possible and just wait out the heaviest bits of rain as it is more dangerous.
Dengue Fever – There are mosquitos that spread dengue fever in Bali all year round but it’s more prevalent in rainy season. The mosquitos to look out for are the black and white striped ones and they’re most active around sunset and sunrise.
Dengue is dangerous but if it’s your first time getting it you’ll most likely be fine.
Symptoms to look out for are a high fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, and a rash.
The sooner you get yourself to the hospital the better as one of the main dangers of dengue it that it leaves you severely dehydrated. They may not need to keep you in hospital, unless it’s really bad, but best to go get checked to make sure you’re not in more serious danger.
Thunder and Lightning – If at any time you hear thunder or see lightning, get out of the water.
The storms in Bali during the rainy season are electrical storms and water conducts electricity. People have been struck by lightning while in the sea during a storm.
It’s not worth the risk.
Trekking – Whether planning to trek mount Batur or simply walk through the rice fields in Ubud the experience will be a little less pleasant in rainy season. The paths get muddy and slippy. Even when I went to Tegalalang rice fields in May one year they were wet and to get around them it was easiest to take off your flip flops or you’d slip in the mud. Bali weather can be temperamental so even if it’s outside of rainy season that doesn’t mean you definitely won’t get rain during your Bali travels.
10 minutes after rain in Bali!
What To Do During Rainy Season
There are plenty of good rainy day activities in Bali and even normal activities that are made better by the rain.
You know what more water means? Better waterfalls!!!
There are lots of incredible waterfalls in Bali and they only get better with more rain.
Aling-Aling waterfall in the north, for example, would be rubbish to go to during dry season as the first things you do there is slide down one of the waterfalls. There needs to have been enough rainfall for this to be flowing properly however #RainySeasonWins.
White Water Rafting
As with waterfalls, white water rafting is also so much better with decent amounts of water. I went white water rafting in Chiang Mai before in their dry season and that was a disaster. We were having to bump ourselves along down the river over jagged rocks.
Yoga or a Silent Retreat in Ubud
A lot of people come to Bali to get away from busy modern life and switch off for a bit. What better way than going on a yoga or silent retreat. There are plenty of options for both in Ubud and neither will mean you need to be outside! You could even do your Yoga Teacher Training while in Bali.
Eat All the Breakfasts
There are so many beautiful cafés in Bali with the most incredible breakfast options you can imagine. Not only are the foods delicious but their presentation and the restaurants they’re served in are also beautiful. If you want to catch up on some reading, camp out in one of the cafés while the rain passes and then you an head to the beach afterwards.
Remember it’s unlikely to be days at a time that you’ll be trapped inside due to the rain. More like enough time to eat breakfast and then get on with your day.
I hate cooking and so one of the wonderful things for me is that there are cheap eats everywhere in Bali, meaning I don’t ever need to cook for myself! However, if you love cooking, what better way to learn about Balinese and Indonesia culture than getting to know how they make their food and all the thought and care that goes into it.
You’ll probably pick up some Indonesia along the way too which will help when ordering in more local restaurants.
While we’re on that note though, why not take some language lessons and learn some Indonesian if it’s looking like a bit of a rainy week? The Indonesia language might sound very different from what you’re used to and therefore appear complicated but it’s actually one of the most simple languages I’ve learned before as it has no conjugation of verbs.
That means instead of saying anything like “Yesterday there were”, “Today there are” “Tomorrow there will be”, it would all be “Yesterday there are”, “Today there are”, “Tomorrow there are”. Time markers are used to indicate when things are happening rather than having to change verbs.
Saves months of learning and even a week’s worth of classes would give you enough of the language to totally transform your experience of being in Bali. How locals react to you will be so different even if all you can say is “Hi, how are you”, “yes, I’m great” and count to 10!!!
Check out Cinta Bahasa for schools around Bali.
Get Your Bounce On
In Canggu, well technically it’s Berawa, is Bounce. It’s a room filled with trampolines and a foam pit where you can pass an hour or two bouncing around and pretending to be a child! Can’t recommend it enough.
Silvery Jewellery Making Class
See a Film at the Cinemas in Kuta
The cinema’s in Bali are ah-ma-zing. There are a few around the Kuta area in:
I’d recommend going to one of the first two unless you’re looking for a particular film and it’s only on at the last one. Reason being the first two have premier screen options. Only one movie at a time will be on at them but for 100,000 IDR rather than 50,000 IDR (on weekdays) that means you get a seat that reclines almost all the way back and is squishy and comfy, a blanket and your cinema snacks brought straight to your seat.
Sometimes I go there just to eat popcorn, with the wonderful air con in the comfy chairs.
Go for a Night Out
There’s no reason not to go for a night out just because it’s raining. Don’t go to La Plancha or Cocoon if it’s raining but all these places for nights out in Seminyak still work otherwise as do all the ones for nights out in Canggu, expect for Pretty Poison. No need to let the rain stop you having a good time.
So When’s the Best Time to Go to Bali
It depends what’s most important to you. Bali is busiest in July and August. You’ve got the least chance of encountering rain then but the most chance of packed beaches filled with drunk and noisy tourists. It’s also when the island is the most expensive.
And, something that people always seem to forget about the Bali weather in July and August, since it’s not as warm as rainy season the sea is very cold at times (especially around sunset) and you’ll need a jumper to keep you warm if driving a scooter at night.
If you go to Bali in Rainy season, however, since it’s low season, they’ll been far fewer people around so you’ll get much better deals on everything from the Bali hotels to deck chairs to surfboard rentals. It will also be a much nicer experience as they’ll be fewer people everywhere you go.
Plus your flights out will be cheaper too, no matter where you’re coming from.
Another option is to try to miss the worst of rainy season, December and January, and head for around it or even just outside of peak season in September or May for example.
If going to Bali in September though there’s no guarantee the wet season might not have started early and therefore you’ll end up with rain and not having saved as much as you could have done if you waited till later.
The fireworks in Bali for New Year are one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen however and getting to witness that is worth the rain in my eyes.
Can You Still Surf in Rainy Season?
During the wet season. the change in tides and winds means most of the west coast is no longer good for surfing during it. That rules out some of the most popular surfing spots such as Echo Beach, Batu Bolong, Double Six in Seminyak and even the beginners’ favorite Kuta.
DON’T GO TO BALIAN IF IT HAS BEEN RAINING. THIS IS WHEN THE SHARKS COME TO PLAY.
The other problem with the surf on the West Coast during Bali’s monsoon season is that with the tide changes the rubbish from all the other islands around gets washed in.
The sea and beaches become covered in waste. At more popular beaches like Seminyak, they come along with diggers to scoop up the unsightly rubbish but it’s still all floating around in the sea.
There are plenty of places you can still surf on the East Coast though and down right in the South of Bali.
Nusa Dua is the best spot to head to if you’re just learning and is perfect if you’re traveling with people of mixed surfing abilities since there’s a variety of waves there. The beach is be-a-utiful too.
Best Accommodation for Rainy Season
As mentioned above the west coast has a lot of trash wash up on the beach in the wet season which doesn’t exactly make for the most relaxing holiday/travel experience. Yes, they clean it up in some areas but it’s still all in the sea.
Given that it’s much better to stay on the East Coast of Bali during rainy season if you’re going to want to hang out on the beach and/or surf. The East Coast has some of the most beautiful Bali beaches, in Nusa Dua and Sanur as well as less touristy areas up near Keramas too. Unlike Canggu where all year round the beach isn’t that pretty, in Nusa Dua the sand is bright white and the water crystal clear turquoise.
I still think the rainy season in Bali is great. The reputation of it is far worse than the reality, a lot like Kuta actually, and you will still have a great trip but for a fraction of the price.
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