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Sunday, 28 June 2015

Bali Wet Season: What are the pros and cons and should you go

Tegal Alang rice fields - still great in the wet season!
Another really common question I get asked is about the best time to come to Bali. I thought it would be useful to talk about first of all the wet season and the pros and cons , because it seems that it's got a bit of a bad reputation and people don't really want to come to Bali in that time.  

I'm just going to run through some of the pros and cons so you can make up your mind for yourselves. Let's just say the wet season runs from late September right through to mid-April. These can vary. This isn't a set time obviously and year on year there can be differences, but it's about six or so months.


Let me dive into the cons first of all, providing some of the things that you might not have thought of. First of all, because of the rain and because most of you will be driving on scooters or motorcycles, it is worth pointing out that it is that much more hazardous on the roads. As the roads and drainage systems don't deal with heavy rains very well, it often leads to floods and streams of water across the roads. On a motorbike, as you can imagine or as you may well know, this type of water can be extremely dangerous, especially when you combine it with things like potholes that can fill up and hide the real depth, which are extremely hazardous. Combine this with the crowded Bali roads and lack of general regulation on them and you get an overall added edge to driving. Driving is certainly more hazardous in the wet season; that's not to say it can't be done, it's just that much more caution is needed. 

Obviously the wet season means it is wetter than the dry season, but also the temperature is a little bit higher and also the humidity goes up quite substantially. Not only does it rain a bit more, but it does become that much more humid, which I certainly found quite difficult to deal with  when I first arrived in Bali, . Obviously, it depends on what you're used to and if you come from a humid place, this might not be such an issue for you. 

I have also found that the mosquitoes seem to be more prevalent in the wet season. They thrive in wet, humid conditions, and I certainly found that I was getting bitten quite a bit more than in the dry season. 

Also I found sleeping that much harder because the humidity doesn't let up overnight. It is right through the night and it's actually that much harder to sleep, so you may find your quality of sleep is less than it would be in the dry season. If you’re like me and struggle to sleep with air-con, you’ll need to find somewhere with a powerful fan.

The next point is particularly relevant if you're going to be using the beaches a lot, which I imagine means most of you. The rain does is it brings a lot of pollution in rivers after a long dry season straight out into the sea. This is particularly noticeable in months like October or November, after the dry season where the drains and sewers have been blocked or may not have had much water running through them and people tend to throw their rubbish in them and they're polluted. The rainwater goes untreated into the sea and bring a lot of this pollution and contamination with it. I know I got an ear infection in the wet season. It was after heavy rain. It may have just been bad luck, but it is certainly noticeable that you do see more litter floating about in the sea.

If you're going to be surfing, and I know quite a lot of you do, there are less options for surf because the swell isn't quite as consistent and therefore places like the Bukit 04:26, it's much rarer to get to. Some of the biggest spots on the Bukit like Uluwatu or Padang Padang are certainly not going to be working, or they won't be working at least in the same way. 

Another point about surfing, or another two actually, is that along with the less swells there are more unpredictable winds. The winds are not Trade Winds like you would get in the dry season, and so therefore you have to get up early. Otherwise, it generally does blow a bit onshore after 9:30 or 10:00am. 

I should also add that, although maybe there are less people in the surf in the wet season, because of the fewer options available it's not noticeably less crowded in the water because people go to fewer spots, whereas in the dry season it would be more spread out. Don't come thinking that you're going to have less crowded waves, because unfortunately that is not the case.


Now I've been through most of the cons but it's time to have just a quick look at some of the pros, which there are certainly. I don't want you to think the wet season is a write off because it's definitely not. I've had some great times in the wet season. One thing I certainly noticed when I was living in Bali was that during the wet season there was noticeably fewer tourists. 

What this meant was that people coming over could find more competitively priced accommodation, because the prices do seem to fluctuate. If you're more inclined to have a backpacking type holiday or do a bit less planning, it'll be much easier in the wet season because there's so many more vacant rooms. That also gives you a bit more bargaining power. You can have more choice of accommodation and also hopefully barter and get a better price.

If you are looking for a night out, there's still a good atmosphere on any given night in south Bali area of mainly Kuta and Seminyak. As such, nightlife is not noticeably any different in the wet season . If you're worried about it being quieter with fewer tourists, that's not a concern as far as nights out go because any night of the year you can go to Kuta and you will find throngs of people and plenty of people out looking for a good time. I certainly wouldn't worry about there being any less atmosphere, because that is not the case. 

I also mentioned a point for surfers, or one of the pros certainly for surfers is that the water is at its warmest. It can get up to twenty-six degrees, I would say about that mark, in the height of the wet season, so you never actually feel the cold in the water even with strong winds or rain. It is very warm all times and you don't want to come with anything more than really a very thin vest or tee shirt, if that, and a pair of board shorts, even early morning when it's still fine. There are still a lot of pros to the wet season for surfers as well. 

I suppose one last general point is that I certainly found when recommending friends what time to visit that the cheapest flights were in the months of November and February respectively. I believe this is because the wet season is slightly less desirable so they drop their prices. Also, in November the run up to Christmas, so it's not Christmas but it's an in between period, as with February. Western people perhaps have less money after Christmas and so on and the holidays there. Those months were also the quietest times so they are cheaper and with less tourists.

All in all, that's my pros and cons of the wet season. I'd be interested to hear if you have any. If so, you can email me and we can have a chat. Otherwise, you can comment below

Alternatively, the wet season post I've written here and add your comments. I hope that's been helpful and enjoy. Let me know how you get on.

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