Best time to visit Indonesia

The best time to visit Indonesia is from May to September when the country experiences the dry season. However, if you’re looking to catch the best sets, the best time for surfing is the shoulder season from April to June before the peak season crowds arrive. Indonesia’s wet season falls from October to April, sometimes impacting travel plans as roads can flood with heavy rainfall.

Another thing to consider before planning your holiday is that there is a large Muslim population in Indonesia that celebrates Ramadan (dates vary every year). During this time, many services and activities may be closed, so the country may be quieter than at other times of the year.

When to visit

When is the best time of year to visit Bali?

The best time for a trip to Bali is typically from May to September. Just like the rest of Indonesia, Bali’s temperatures hover around the high 80s for most of the year, however, heavy rainfall will occur from November to April. For most people, Bali is the quintessential beach holiday, so it makes sense to visit for the least rainfall and the best visibility for snorkeling and diving. If you’re looking for crowded bars, brimming restaurants and lively beaches, the peak season between July and August will have high visitor numbers, especially from nearby Australia. However, if you’d prefer a quieter trip, the shoulder months between March to June and September to November will have fewer crowds due to the absence of school and Christmas vacationers.

Learn more about the best time to visit Bali
When is the best time of year to visit Lombok?

The best time to visit Lombok is usually when the surfing is at its best which occurs from November to March, especially in Kuta. This is the area’s wet season so it may not be suitable for all other activities, however, this part of the country has gained recent popularity for its vast assortment of varied day and night activities. Those looking to explore the outdoors can trek, snorkel and dive, preferably when visibility is better and paths are drier during the dry months of June to August. However, those looking to party long into the night should look to the nearby Gili Islands which are lively at most times of the year (especially for Bintang drinking).

When is the best time to visit Jakarta?

The best time to visit Jakarta is in the dry season, from June to September, when there's a smaller chance of being caught in the rain. Jakarta is the country’s hub for history and culture. You can find many great museums including the Maritime, Balai Seni Rupa (fine arts), Wayang (puppetry) and National Museums. With sunny weather, participate in walking tours through the Sunda Kelapa port and into Fatahillah Square to see the monuments and diverse cultures that blend together, creating this amazingly lively city.

An active adventure in Bali

Indonesia by month

Aerial view Banda Islands Moluccas archipelago Indonesia

Best for: fewer crowds, travels to West Papau and Maluku, Grebeg Sudiro (Chinese New Year)

Every Indonesian new year starts right in the middle of the country’s rainy season. While it won’t rain 24/7, intense rain will come and go in most regions, so bringing waterproof clothes is essential! Although the rainy season does impact most of the country, some regions in the East (the West Papua province and the Maluku Islands) won’t be as drenched. At this time the country will be much quieter, perfect for a relaxing Indonesian vacation.

A member of the Marapu Sumba Tribe gracefully rides a horse along the shoreline, Indonesia

Best for: a quieter atmosphere, Lailat al Miraj (Night of Ascension), Cap Go Meh (last day of Chinese New Year), Pasola

Indonesia might not be as picture-perfect during the rainy season, but it does come with the bonus of fewer contenders for beach space and smaller lines at hot spots. If you’re interested in a unique moment of Indonesian culture, why not visit Sumba for the ritual battles on horseback known as Pasola?

Borobudur Temple at sunrise. Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia.

Best for: beach stays and day trips, Java Jazz Festival, Nyepi (Day of Silence)

Bali holds its annual Day of Silence in March. This day, known as Nyepi, will essentially shut down the entire island for a day of internal reflection and to ward off negative energy for the start of the new year. Any visitors to Bali will also be impacted by this tradition and should take note that the date changes every year. Outside Bali, the country has a vast range of offerings perfect for May. Why not visit Candi Borobudur (the largest Buddhist structure on earth) in Yogyakarta or learn about the coffee, cocoa and palm industries in Java?

Beautiful Balinese dancer woman in traditional Sarong costume Bali island festivals.

Best for: hiking, diving and wildlife excursions, yoga retreats, Kartini’s Day, Good Friday, Bali Spirit Festival

You know what they say about the shoulder season… it’s the best time to visit anywhere! April falls right at the last stages of the rainy season and before the mid-year tourism crowds. While rain is still likely to come on and off, the change in weather can mean better conditions for outdoor fun such as hiking the mountains, diving the reefs and visits to wildlife sanctuaries. April also hosts a celebration day of the women’s rights activist Raden Ayu Kartini and the Bali Spirit Festival which combines the joys of yoga, dancing and music.

Bornean Orangutan baby Central Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia

Best for: snorkeling and diving, beach-going, National Awakening Day (celebrates Indonesian identity), Budda’s birthday, Ascension Day

Put away the umbrellas and pull out the sunhats, the dry season is here. With the reduced rainfall, temperatures will sit around the low 80s and improve visibility, especially while snorkeling or orangutan spotting. The dry season is recommended for most travelers due to the good weather, but if you'd prefer it slightly quieter, venture to the country in May before the school holiday crowds arrive. There are also some important dates in the Indonesian calendar this month, including National Awakening Day, Buddha’s birthday and Ascension Day.

Rice paddies in Bali Indonesia

Best for: rice paddy exploration, temple visiting and pool dipping, animal spotting, Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice)

Whether you want to calm your senses or up your pulse on a hike, June has exactly what you need. This time of year will be great for meandering through rice paddies in Ubud, reflecting at temples or alternatively, diving with the whale sharks off West Papua. But if the jungle is more your calling, look out for some of Indonesia's famous native flora including the Sumatran tiger, orangutan, sun bear and tree kangaroos. Maybe you'll spot the varied bird life and their impressive reptile species (see Komodo dragon) within the greenery or just hanging around the islands too.

Painting watercolor on the fabric to make Batik, Indonesia

Best for: beaches, monument sighting, market shopping, Solo Batik Carnival in Java, Islamic New Year, Festivals of Flower and Fruit

July is bustling in Indonesia. The lively roster of events, particularly the Festivals of Flower and Fruit, Solo Batik Carnival (Java) and Islamic New Year will fill the streets with celebrators, while the perfect weather invites international travelers to the beaches and landmark sites. Split your time between laying under the warm Indonesian sun and venturing out to lively traditional markets (open day and night), learning about local produce or ticking off stunning natural locations –such as the Munduk waterfall and Gili Islands – from your must-see list.

Mount Bromo with smoke, Mount Batok at front, Mt Kursi and Mt Gunung Semeru at back, Indonesia

Best for: hiking, sunny beaches, boating outings, Galungan dan Kuningan, Independence Day, The Balinese holiday Galungan dan Kuningan

No matter if you prefer the jungle to the mountains or the city to the beach, the climate in August makes it a perfect time to travel to your style. Hiking trails are dry and the beaches are bustling, so if you’d prefer to stay out of the rain but don’t mind crowds, this month is your best bet for a good time. Hop on a boat tour for a different view of the islands or get up with the sun to see spectacular sights from the top of Mt Bromo. Bars are likely to be busy at this time of year and there's plenty on offer for family days out, too.

professional surfer riding waves in Bali, Indonesia.

Best for: bike tours, surfing, Lake Toba Festival, Erau biennial cultural festival

Surf the days away in sunny September. Or, for those more land-based, why not bike through Bali or combine the two on an active adventure through three of Indonesia’s hot spots? This month’s weather is great for all things action, relaxation and exploration. You’ll also be able to watch the 5-day Lake Toba Festival in Northern Sumatra, which is a unique celebration of the year’s blessings complete with sport, dancing and art.

beautiful Balinese women in traditional costumes Batik and Kebaya ,Indonesia

Best for: cultural activities, animal encounters, Batik Day, Ubud Writers & Readers Festival

October marks one of the last dry months in the calendar year. Often during this time, farmers around Sumatra and Kalimantan will begin burning fields which can cause air pollution due to the smoke and haze. The weather can also be a little touch-and-go due to the incoming wet season, so try to reach the orangutan and wildlife sanctuaries before the animals hide away from the rain. There are also some great festivities in October such as the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival or the celebration of batik, a traditional cloth originating in Java.

Fashion Show, Catwalk Runway Event, Indonesia

Best for: gallery hopping, museum visits, Jakarta Fashion Week

If crowds aren’t your style and you’re interested in both indoor and outdoor offerings of Indonesia, November may be the way to go. While the weather is perfect for exploring temples, museums and markets, you’ll still be able to lounge by the pool or beach – just maybe sit near an umbrella as it is very close to the rainy season. Jakarta also hosts their Fashion Week in November (the largest in Southeast Asia), so it's a great time for appreciating the artisans and creators of the country in the many galleries and museums.

Yoga in Bali, Indonesia

Best for: holiday fun, cooking classes, yoga, spa days, Djakarta Warehouse Project

Okay, now the wet season has officially started. You can enjoy the peace of Indonesia with fewer visitors for most of the month. However, the country does see an influx of visitors for Christmas, New Year’s and the Djakarta Warehouse Project dance festival. While the wet season can put a damper on things (pun intended), the rain usually comes in sudden heavy showers, so it may not be the best time for hiking. If the weather doesn't allow outdoor expeditions, why not partake in a cooking class, yoga session or a wind-down at one of Indonesia’s many spas?

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