Before I came, I wondered how big a difference there would be between the wet & dry season in Bali. After having seen out several years of the wet and dry season in Bali , I thought I would weigh up the pros & cons of each to let you figure out which would be better for you as, depending on what you are looking for and are used to, it may differ quite a lot from person to person. I should note that the wet
First, the wet season;
Cons of the Wet Season in Bali
- The wet season is extremely humid, combined with daily temperatures of 30C + daily, it can feel more like 35-40deg some days. I found it very difficult to sleep without air-con in Bali.
- Constant rain makes driving that little bit more hazardous. It also means you will want to purchase a poncho for days out on the bike as, when it rains & you are on a bike, you get soaked to the skin in a matter of minutes!! Driving in Bali is an experience in itself, so be prepared!
- If you come to Bali as a surfer in the wet season, looking to surf the waves of Uluwatu & the Bukit Peninsula, think again; they are strictly dry season territory. The Bukit had good waves only a handful of times during this recent wet season, compared to on an almost daily basis in the dry season.
- Again, for surfers, although the amount of people visiting is not as high as during the dry season, do not think you will score uncrowded waves during the wet season; you will not. I put this down to the fact that, as there is less swell in the wet season, there are fewer options and, despite smaller numbers of visiting surfers, almost everyone ends up at the same few spots that are good on a small swell. You might seriously want to think about another destination for surf travel in the wet season as you may well end up sharing waves with half of the surf schools on the island on a small day!
- I am not sure if this is proven scientifically, but I found mosquitoes to be more of a problem during the wet season as they thrive in wet, humid conditions and yes, they are everywhere!
- For beachgoers in general and especially surfers, heavy rains in the wet season wash out all kinds of rubbish and junk from rivermouths straight into the sea. Not good, especially when you see just how polluted most of Bali’s main waterways are. After heavy rains, stay away from rivermouths as you will be putting yourself at risk.
- The wet season is plagued by unpredictable and often onshore winds at most spots after 10.30am. This can be frustrating as it makes most of the day a no-go for surf trips.
Wet season rains sometimes leave the beach strewn with litter & polluted water runs into the sea.
Pros of the Wet Season in Bali
- Fewer tourists mean that it is much easier to find accommodation. This also means that you can be a bit more relaxed about finding a good hotel or hostel to stay as there are many more vacancies. Combined with this are the lower rates to entice travellers which means you will save a few quid!
- Even though there aren’t so many people around, there is still good atmosphere on a night out on almost any night of the week and so, if you are coming to Bali for the party scene and to hit the clubs, you will not find it difficult to have a good time.
- For surfers, the water is at its warmest from November to April and you will never get cold. This means you can stay out for hours without a chill in just shorts.
Dry season juice (filmed late May, 2010)
View this video at Hurley.com
Now, for the dry season,
Pros Cons of the Dry Season in Bali
- Fresher air and more bearable temperatures make it much more pleasant for tourists. I find it pleasant sleeping with just a fan at night, very different to the sticky wet season.
- For anyone coming to Bali for surfing, the dry season is the time to come. Consistent, powerful swells hammer the coast meaning that it is unlikely you will go a day without surfing. It also means less ‘surfaris’ hunting down spots as there are so many to choose from. Also, the world-class waves of the Bukit are combed by daily offshore trade-winds which blow almost like clockwork, something which has to be seen to be believed!
Me @ Canggu, mid-June 2010. Enjoying the dry season!
Photo Etto Saka (http://www.facebook.com/erasmussaka)
Cons of the Dry Season in Bali
- Prices in the dry season in Bali can go up a fair bit, and by this I mean flights, hotels, hostels, guided tours – the lot! The difference is not substantial but would be more of a concern if you are travelling with a family and have to foot the bill!
- Also, July & August are peak season here in Bali so, on top of the increase in prices, you will find it more difficult to find accommodation. It is highly advisable to book in advance as there are substantially fewer vacancies. This means you can’t be quite as relaxed about your planning and have to shop around a bit if you don’t come with everything already booked, but that is not to say there is nothing out there – there is – it’s just that good hotels and the like are harder to come by!
- As for the surf, the dry season in Bali can be quite a lot more crowded as the whole surfing world seems to stop by (just see the video above for an idea!) However, the pro surfers come here in their droves for good reason – amazing waves on a daily basis!
- The water temperature drops a few degrees and you might want to bring a wetsuit top or even a shorty as mornings and evenings can have a bit of a chill to them. Added to this is the fact that the Bukit Peninsula generally has cooler water than on the rest of Bali and, as this is where you will do most of your surfing, is something to think about. However, you will be in boardies the whole time and it is not really anywhere that most of us would call ‘cold’!