“You Don’t Choose Bali, Bali Chooses You.” That’s what people say and with beautiful beaches, stunning sunsets, jungle waterfalls, rice paddies, volcanic mountain backdrops, friendly locals, great weather, and fresh food what’s not to love?!
TripAdvisor voted Bali as the best travel destination on earth in 2017 but with 17,508 islands that make up Indonesia what is it that gives Bali the edge, you might wonder. It’s got to be the vibe - Bali is an island of inspiration that manages to soothe the soul at the same time.
Once a destination purely for hippies and surfers, Bali is now a hotspot for digital nomads. Visitors from Europe and Northern America can enjoy a lifestyle that simply isn’t on offer back at home, certainly not at such a low price. The island is filled with an entrepreneurial vibe as well as a healthy-living atmosphere - Yoga studios are everywhere, it’s a surfers paradise and there’s culture and nature all around, Bali truly is a dream come true for those who seek a better life. The island has fast internet, numerous dedicated co-working spaces that hold lunchtime or evening conferences, a superb expat/nomad community, and cafes that don’t just let you work in them, they expect it and offer up free WiFi with ample power supply and enough tasty food to keep you going all day.
The food scene is buzzing, foodies who like to eat well are in for a treat! Health food is the key trend with numerous high quality raw and vegan restaurants and cafes, avocado toast being on just about every menu but you can also find traditional Indonesian food, Georgian cuisine, Indian cuisine, even Brazilian barbecue along with sushi, burgers, and sizzling steaks - You’ll never go hungry and it’s so cheap that most people eat at least 2 of their daily meals out. The nightlife is equally as good, especially in the South of the island in the areas of Kuta Beach, Seminayak, and Legian. Beach bars and beach clubs are huge in Bali, but the traditional indoor versions also exist to ensure a great night out whether you seek a chic wine bar or an all night rave!
Best time to travel to Bali
Bali enjoys a tropical climate with two main seasons, a hot and humid wet season lasting from November until April which is generally classed as the off-season and a dry season lasting from May until October. If you seek good weather but without the crowds the shoulder seasons of April, May or September are ideal, otherwise visit in the height of the season, July or August, to experience the full-on Bali Summer vibe!
Dry Season: May-October
The dry season is the most popular time to visit Bali due to the sunshine and lower humidity. A pleasant sea breeze makes for a less sticky stay in the coastal resorts but crowds can become a problem, especially in the peak Summer seasons of July and August. Despite it being called the dry season, infrequent showers can still occur, August generally being the driest month of this season and October the hottest with a dry wind blowing in from Australia.
There’s plenty happening during the dry season - The rice harvest comes to an end with local festivals taking place between May 1st and June 30th and between July and October the colorful Negara Bull Races (water buffalo chariot races) take place at locations around the island. The Kite Festival in late June or early July kicks off the windy season and the month long Art Festival can be enjoyed from mid June until mid July. July is also the time when Galungan is celebrated, an important religious festival for Balinese families with dancing at temples and plenty of family gatherings with lots of food. The dry season comes to an end with the Kuta Beach Carnival in October with beach sculptures, surf competitions, kites, and sea turtle releases all taking place.
Wet Season: November-April
Temperatures are higher and there’s more humidity in the wet season with torrential rainfall that can last a couple of hours or a couple of days. The rain brings the mosquitoes which increase the risk of dengue fever and also washes trash (and sometimes sewage) downriver onto the beaches making the coastal resorts less desirable during this season though clean-up operations are becoming more frequent.
The Pager Wesi festival in November is an interesting one for travelers to witness, it’s a celebration of Sing Yang (the universe) and the Balinese make offerings to God to protect their soul and spirit. December and January are the busiest times of the wet season due to visitors from the West escaping the cold to enjoy a warm if wet Christmas and New Year. Visitors who arrive in early December can enjoy the Bali Jazz Festival whilst those who are visiting just for the holidays can experience the huge New Year’s Eve celebrations when the island comes alive with fireworks, music, and dancing, an event enjoyed by the expats and locals. In late March or early April Ubud hosts the popular 5 day Bali Spirit Festival with yoga workshops, healing workshops, musicians and dance events taking place around the city and during April/May the week long Folk Art Festival of Buleleng takes place in Northern Bali showcasing traditional dance and music in a celebration of local culture.