When you’ve paid over £1,000 for a flight to Indonesia (the reality of visiting Bali for New Years Eve last December) it’s pretty heartbreaking to open up the weather app the week before you board your flight, to find nothing but grey skies and rain predicted for the entirety of your trip to a supposed tropical paradise. The rainy (or wet) season takes place in Bali between October and April every year. Considering these six months cover the depressing English winter period when everyone wants to escape the UK for more tropical climates, as well as the only time in the year when we have three bank holidays in close proximity that can be used to easily extend your annual leave allowance, it can be pretty difficult to avoid visiting Indonesia in this “low season” period.
I will always associate a trip to Bali with beautiful white beaches, days spent soaking in the sunshine, palm trees, waterfalls and a cocktail at a beach club. And I have to admit the words “rainy season” don’t fit nicely into this picture – who wants to sip a cocktail in their bikini when it’s pouring with rain?
However, I’m here to tell you that you’re still going to have the best time visiting Bali in rainy season. The temperatures are still in the high twenties, the sun shines on the majority of days and you’ll still come home with a tan.
It’s important to remember that tropical rain is nothing like the rain in the UK. Firstly it’s still warm, meaning that if you do get caught in the middle of a shower, you’ll dry off within 10 minutes of the rain stopping. It’s more of an occasional (and dramatic) downpour than constant showers and drizzle – the rain is often over as quickly as it started. You can be woken up to the sound of heavy rain on the thatched roof of your villa, to emerge outside in the glorious sunshine by the time you’re out of the shower and dressed just twenty minute later. You don’t need to bring your wellies, rain coat or umbrella. I lived in summer dresses and shorts for the entirety of our trip last December.
There’s plenty of positives to visiting Bali in rainy season – fewer crowds (and with this comes quieter attractions and beaches and far fewer crazy traffic jams), cheaper accommodation, and even cheaper flights (unless your visiting during the festive period.) And I can promise you, exploring the island is much more manageable than in dry season when humidity can reach 85-90%, and you’re drenched in sweat less than thirty seconds after stepping outside of the air conditioned villa.
On our day trip to Ubud (a trip which I have now planned three times), the weather in late December was perfect for exploring the waterfalls and lush green landscapes. The rice paddies surrounding Ubud were green, green and more green, making for a beautiful sight for a stroll to Sari Organic Cafe. You can swim in Tegenungan waterfall, which we weren’t allowed to do back in May, and the hike down the many steps to the waterfall is much more manageable on an overcast day than in the burning sunshine.
Having visited Bali twice last year (yes, I hate me too), once during dry season and once during rainy seasons, I have to say that both trips were good for their own reason but neither stood out as an amazingly preferable time to visit. We had just as good a time in December/January as our trip in May (at the start of the dry season) even if there’s not gorgeous blue skies in all of my photos.
What to do on a Rainy Day in Bali:
Snorkelling/Scuba Diving Trip – where better to spend a rainy day than in more water. We hired a boat for a day with Pulau Group luxury charters, to take us to the coast surrounding Nusa Penida island and had the best day jumping off the boat, chucking on snorkels and flippers and exploring below the sea. And when the rain did get a little too much, we sheltered inside with a book and a pack of cards.
Waterfall Hunting – see above.
Balinese Cooking Class – if you’re going to be stuck inside the villa on a rainy morning, what better way to spend it than learning a new skill. We signed up for a half day private cooking class at Karma Resorts and learnt how to make Beef Rendang, Banana leaf wrapped snapper and so many more local cuisines.
Spa Day – Bali is famous for it’s spas, and with prices starting from as little as £10 for an hour massage, you might as well make the most of the opportunity to hide from the rain and have the ultimate pamper when the weather isn’t up to scratch.
Cafe Hopping – Bali is renowned for it’s cafe culture and foodie scene, make the most of the low season and get yourself reservations for the most popular places to eat, drink and chill. Spend the day sipping coffee and trying local delights with a friend (or a book). Delicious food, cosy interiors and a lazy morning = the perfect “me time”.
My top tips for visiting Bali during rainy season:
Ignore the Weather App on your phone
I know this is hard to do, especially when planning your itinerary and which outfits to pack. In the weeks leading up to our trip, every single day showed the rain and thunder storms icon and pretty much every hour had over a 70% chance of rain.
In reality, we had just one morning of heavy rain which lasted for about an hour and a half on our second to last day in Bali. On two days we also had a brief ten minute rain shower, that was over almost as quickly as it started. Rain on just three days out of our eight day trip was much much better than the weather predictions in the weeks leading up to the trip.
Make sure you apply lots of sunscreen
It turns out you can still get sunburnt through the clouds as I found out on our boat trip to Nusa Pendia. Factor 30 cream is your best friend, and a good face sun cream is a must have to start the day, if you don’t want to end up looking like a rather sad Rudolph.
Have a couple of “rainy day” activities (just in cases…)
As I mentioned earlier, the weather can be unpredictable and you cannot rely on the predictions made by the weather apps, meaning you may wake up to an unexpected absolute downpour after three days of sunshine. Having a list of last minute activities that you can do, means you won’t find yourself stranded in the villa feeling sorry for yourself.
Remember that tropical rain is nothing like rain in the UK
You may even find out that you’re a pluviophile.
Make the most of a beautiful cloudy sunset
If Bali sunsets are on your bucket list, you certainly won’t be disappointed by these views during rainy season. The overcast skies and sun streaming through the clouds add a moody vibe, and you really cannot beat these colours.
Have you visited Bali during Rainy Season? And if so, would you go back again? Let me know in the comments. Natalie x