Best Time To Visit Indonesia

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What is the best time to visit Indonesia?

The best time to visit Indonesia is during its dry season from mid-April to September. The weather in this tropical country can be split into two seasons - dry and wet. Indonesia experiences its wet season in the remaining months from October to mid-April. The dry season has warm, sunny and dry days that offer the perfect conditions for trekking, sightseeing or other water-related activities. May, June and September are the ideal months to visit Indonesia if you wish to combine the excellent weather of the dry season with the lack of tourist crowds.

In regions like Kalimantan and Bali, the difference between the dry and wet season is not as extreme. The central Molucca islands experience contrastingly different weather conditions and make for a suitable destination if planning a trip in January. Temperatures throughout Indonesia are relatively consistent and hover around 28 degrees Celsius, irrespective of the time of the year. A surge in tourists is witnessed from mid-June to mid-September, whereas the wet season sees a drastic drop in tourist activity.

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Seasons of Indonesia

Peak Season
Indonesia experiences its peak tourist season from mid-June to mid-September and then again during Christmas and New Year’s. It is advised to make bookings well in advance if planning a trip during the peak season. The fares are at their peak during these months. Muslim festivals like Ramadan and Eid experience a surge in domestic tourism. The resorts are all completely booked and public transportation gets chaotic. Moreover, you will face increased fares for flights as well as accommodation.

Shoulder Season
May, June and September constitute the shoulder season for tourism in Indonesia. It is a splendid time to plan a trip as the weather conditions are dry and sunny in most parts with the added advantage of fewer crowds and cheaper fares.

Low Season
The wet season from October to April form the low season for tourism in Indonesia. One exception is the central islands of Molucca which experience warm, sunny weather during these months. You can expect to find good deals on accommodation and can also travel without any advance bookings.

Regions of Indonesia

The dry season in Bali is from April to September. Expect bright, blue skies and plenty of sunshine. Within the dry season, the best months to visit Bali would be May, June and September. The crowd isn’t at its peak; the weather conditions are blissful. Bali experiences its wet season between October and March. The rainfall is usually brief, so you don’t have to worry about heavy downpours. The temperatures in Bali are consistent throughout the year, ranging between 26 to 29 degrees Celsius. The central regions of Bali and the mountains tend to experience colder temperatures and higher rainfall when compared to the coastal areas.

The best time to visit Java is during its dry season that starts in May and goes on till September. The days are dry, hot and sunny with daily temperatures around 28 to 30 degrees Celsius. The mountain regions such as Mt Bromo experience much colder temperatures, owing to the altitude. Java experiences its rainy season from November to March. The eastern parts of Java receive less rainfall than the western parts of Java. Expect frequent and intense showers that are bound to last for a couple of hours.

Sumatra is a large island that is split by the equator. North Sumatra and Medan experience a somewhat tropical climate with chances of rainfall throughout the year. The most torrential rain in these regions is experienced between October and January. On the other hand, South Sumatra and Palembang have distinct wet and dry seasons. The dry season lasts from April to October and the wet season from November to March. The average temperatures range in between 27 to 28 degrees Celsius with some days reaching 34 degrees Celsius during the summer months.

The Moluccas
The best time to visit the Molucca islands is in the period from October to May. The central Molucca islands of Ambon and Seram experience entirely different weather patterns in comparison to the rest of Indonesia. These islands experience rainfall between June and September. The weather conditions in the remaining Molucca islands (Kei, Aru, Tidore and others) are similar to the rest of Indonesia and are best visited between May and September.

Kalimantan Island
The Kalimantan island experiences a light rainy season between March and May, a more substantial rainy season from November to January and the dry season from June to September. The southern parts of the island are relatively drier than the rainforest-covered northern regions.
The islands of Nusa Tenggara that include Lombok and the Gilis, Sumba and Flores experience their dry season from April to September and the wet season between October and March.

Dry Season in Indonesia (mid-April to September)

April marks the beginning of the dry season in Indonesia. The overcast skies are replaced by warm, sunny days in most regions. There might be occasional showers in the afternoon but you are bound to get plenty of sunshine with cool nights. The dry season offers favourable weather conditions for varied activities such as trekking and diving. You can expect to see the flora in full bloom at the start of the dry season.

April is a good month for spotting orangutans in the Kalimantan rainforests and the Sumatran jungles. The dry season goes into full swing in May, which is a popular month to travel to  Bali and Java. May also kickstarts the rainy season in the central Molucca islands. June offers perfect conditions for diving activities across all Indonesian islands. You can expect warm, clear waters with plenty of marine life, especially around the Gili Islands. It is also the start of the peak tourist season in Indonesia. Dry days with abundant sunshine continue to be the norm throughout July and August as well. The number of tourists peaks from mid-June to the end of August. They start receding as September rolls in.

Key Events
  • Bali Nyepi Day is celebrated as the Hindu New Year in March/April every year. The exact date depends on the Balinese calendar.
  • Waisak is observed on a full moon day in either May or June. The enlightenment and death of Buddha are widely celebrated by thousands of pilgrims and monks.  
  • The Yogyakarta Festival takes place around June. The events include plenty of exhibitions and shows.
  • The Bali Arts Festival occurs around June or July. Artists from all remote corners of the country gather here to take part in an evening of classical and contemporary dances.
  • The Jalan Jaksa Festival takes place in Jakarta. It is celebrated around July and includes food stalls, street artists, craft workshops and musicians.
  • The Bali Kite Festival is an annual event that takes place on Sanur Beach in Bali. Locals make traditional giant kites and fly them in an annual competition.

Wet Season in Indonesia (October to mid-April)

Rainfall starts gradually over the course of October, while most regions still enjoy predominantly sunny days. December tends to be the wettest month of the year. It is characterised by thunderstorms and extremely heavy rainfall. The city of Jakarta is even subjected to a risk of flooding. The whole of Indonesia experiences heavy downpours while the central Molucca islands start to see dry and sunny days.

January is, in fact, an excellent month to visit the Molucca islands. Regions in North Sumatra begin to experience much lesser rainfall from February onwards. Kalimantan and Sumatra see improving weather with the advent of March. Travellers are advised to avoid trekking and climbing activities during the wet season. The climbing conditions would be too dangerous during the rains.

Key Events
  • The Bau Nyale festival is celebrated around February or March. It is a huge fishing festival and most locals rush to Lombok hoping to catch a glimpse of the first nyale.
  • The Toraja Funeral Ceremony is an ancient funeral rite that aims to enable the passage of the spirit of the dead into the afterlife.
  • The Baliem Valley Festival is unique to the locals of Papua. It is a mock war among all the local tribes.
  • The Kesodo ceremony sees thousands of Tenggerese gathering at the popular Mount Bromo to pray for another year without any eruptions.
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