Bali lies between latitude 08 45S and longitude 115 10E, which places it firmly in the topics. Accordingly, average year-round temperatures are a balmy 26°C to 29°C (80°F -- 85°F) varying only with altitude. The average temperatures in the central mountains are 18°C to 24°C (64°F -- 75°F). Days are generally 12 hours long year-round.
In general, Bali and Lombok have similar weather, though Lombok is dried and receives less rain than Bali. The hot and sticky rainy season lasts October to March with downpours that can obscure all visibility. The wet season brings daily rain with the worst falling between December and February. From June to August, the temperature drops slightly and there is usually a refreshing cool breeze in the air. Humidity is high during the rainy season and better in the dry season.
The popular dry season, referred to as "summer" by the locals even though it is the southern hemisphere, is cooler and much more pleasant. The best time to visit is during the dry season from April to October. This is also high season together with Christmas and New Year, when most hotels and villas will charge higher rates. December and January are characterized by sudden and short thunderstorms in the afternoon, though sometimes it can rain for days, flooding all the rivers and roads. For up-to-date information on weather in Bali go to www.accuweather.com.
Low, High & Peak Season
Low: January 9 to June 30; September 16 to December 20. Low season is a great time to negotiate deals on accommodations and find cheap hotel packages.
High: July; September 1 to September 15; Chinese New Year and Easter week. Accommodation is hard to find and almost as expensive as peak season. Roads aren't as congested as at peak, but it is still difficult to get around with ease.
Peak: August; December 20 to January 9. Although the weather in August is cooler than the rest of the year and there is very little rain, December's weather is hot and humidity is high. During peak season, Bali is bursting at the seams with tourists. The roads become heavily congested and dinner reservations are hard to get. Expect to pay almost double for accommodations; shopkeepers will drive a hard bargain.
Most of the major Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist holidays are celebrated in Bali. The government also sets a few additional days every year during the year, though Islamic holiday dates change year to year. January: 1 New Year; February: 14 Chinese New Year (2561), 26 Maulid (Birth of the Prophet); March: 16 Nyepi Balinese New Year (1932); April: 2 Good Friday, 28 Waisak Day (Buddha's birthday); May: 13 Ascension Day; August: 17 Indonesia Independence Day; September: 11 and 12 Eid-ul-Fitr Muslim festival to end Ramadan, 13 shared holiday by government decree; November: 17 Idul Adha, cattle sacrifice and hajj pilgrimage; December: 7 Islamic New Year (1432), 25 Christmas.
Major Religious Festivals
On Bali -- Festivals and religious events are important features in the social landscape of Bali, and are also permanent fixtures in Balinese daily life. Celebrations in Bali follow a lunar calendar rather than the Western calendar. Thus many major festivals fall on different dates over the years.
While the temple festivals are pretty to witness, a village festival is a rare treat. Most villages have their own annual festivals generally exclusive to their village. They can be enormous spectacles and worth a visit. Take a guide to explain the traditions and help with translations as most people who attend don't speak English. Look out for the Med-medan in Denpasar , Ngerebeg Ceremony in Tegalalang, Usaba Sambah festival, which includes the makare kare and maayunan in Tenangan.
Galungan (May 12, 2010; Dec 8, 2010; July 6, 2011), the most prestigious festival (similar to Christmas on the Western calendar), occurs every 210 days and lasts for 10 days. The festival celebrates the coming of the gods and ancestral spirits to earth to dwell again in the homes of their descendents. Festivities are characterized by offerings, dances, new clothes, plenty of feasting, and visits to family and friends. The celebrations end with Kuningan (May 22, 2010; Dec 18, 2010; July 16, 2011) where the families bid their farewells to the gods and spirits.
Every village in Bali celebrates Galungan and Kuningan by adorning the outside of their houses with a penjor, a decorative tall bamboo pole, about 8m (26 ft.) high, with palm leaves, rice stems, coconuts, and corn. At the end of each of the poles hangs a sampian, a beautiful plaited palm leaf creation. Some poles are decorated with lights similar to a Christmas tree. The poles are usually installed on the Tuesday before Galungan, they should be removed and the ornaments burned after 42 days.
Tawur Kesanga or Ogoh-Ogoh day, occurs the day before Nyepi . Villagers hold a large exorcism-celebration at the main village crossroad. Throughout the month of March, you will see villages making large ogoh-ogohs, fantastic 4 1/2m to 6m (15 ft. -- 20 ft.) papier-mâché effigies. Neighboring villages compete to build the scariest and largest ogoh-ogohs imaginable. After sunset, the villages carry their ogoh-ogohs on a bamboo platform through the streets to the sound of gamelan. When they arrive at the crossroad, the ogoh-ogohs are held aloft to a crescendo of noise from drums, gongs, cymbals, and voices. In order to start the new year with a clean slate, tradition demands that evil spirits are woken up and driven away from the island by loud clashing noise. The carnival ends with the ogoh-ogohs being lead to the beach where they are burned, but more recently, given the cost of manufacture, they have been sold on to collectors.
Nyepi (March 16, 2010; April 4, 2011), the day following the dark moon of the spring equinox, opens a new year of the Saka calendar. It is the Balinese equivalent to New Year's Eve in the Western calendar. It is celebrated by "a day of silence," fasting, and meditation, which begins at 6am and ends the following day at 6am. During the day, people respect strict rules set centuries ago: no working, no entertainment (even love making), no traveling, no talking, no TV and radio, no eating, and no lights -- most banjars cut off power to the area, though they will give electricity to families who have babies or young children. People are not allowed to leave their houses and security guards, called pecaleng, patrol the streets to ensure no one disobeys the rules. The airport is closed and no flights are allowed to land or take off during the day. Hotels are allowed electricity to feed their guests but are not allowed to let their guests leave the property. The traditional "fear" is that evil spirits may still have not left the island and any sound will draw them to your house. By being silent, the evil spirits will leave in search of noise.
Saraswati, the fifth day of the Indian month Magh (Jan -- Feb), is a day devoted to the goddess of knowledge, arts, and literature, Dewi Saraswati. To mark the occasion, offerings are placed on books and shrines. Students and teachers attend special ceremonies in schools and universities.
On Lombok -- The main religious event on Lombok is the Bau Nyale Festival (Feb or Mar). The Lingsar Temple is the site of a mock war in October for Perang Topat.
For an exhaustive list of events beyond those listed here check http://events.frommers.com, where you'll find a searchable, up-to-the-minute roster of what's happening in cities all over the world.
Bali Spirit Festival (www.balispiritfestival.com): A yoga festival based in Ubud over a week in March or April.
Bali Arts Festival (www.baliartsfestival.com; Taman Werdhi Budaya Arts Center, Jl. Nusa Indah, Denpasar; tel. 0361/227176; www.artifoundation.org): A month-long (typically June -- July) festival in Denpasar. Dancers from all over Bali gather for the opening grand parade. Events include traditional dances, music, and night markets. Special foreign groups are also invited to perform.
Senggigi Festival: A week-long cultural festival in July in Lombok's tourism central.
Sanur Kite Festival: Typically held over 3 days during July or August depending on the wind in Kesiman, near Sanur. Daily competitions are attended by thousands of locals and teams from overseas keen to win a prize.
Negara Bull Races (Bali Tourism Board in Denpasar tel. 0361/223602): Traditional bull races occur every other Sunday from July through October in Parancak.
Nusa Dua Festival: A week-long festival in August offering an insight into Balinese culture and customs with art, cultural, and sporting events.
Sanur Village Festival (www.gotosanur.com): A weekend festival in August that celebrates Sanur with music and dance.
Kuta Karnival (www.kutakarnival.com): A week in September of surfing competitions, games, music, and food in Kuta.
Ubud Writers Festival (www.ubudwritersfestival.com): A festival to exchange ideas and celebrate writing in Bali and the world; 1 week in October.
Odalan Ceremonies & Festivals
An odalan is the anniversary of a temple's founding and is the best time to visit. These festivals can last a day or more. Temples are beautifully decorated with flowers, palm leaves, flags, and penjor. Offerings of food, flowers, and prayer are made and music is performed. Some of the smaller temple anniversaries aren't as spectacular but will be less crowded. Below is a list of odalan celebrations throughout Bali by temple. Dates are fixed year to year. Pura means "temple."
2: Pura Puseh and Pura Desa, Gianyar; Pura Luhur Dalem Segening, Tabanan.
6: Pura Dalem Tarukan Linggih Pajenengan Ida Dalem Tarukan, Gianyar; Pura Penataran Dalem Ketut, Gianyar; Pura Puseh Manikaji Desa Peninjoan, Bangli.
13: Pura Srijong, Tabanan; Pura Rambutsiwi, Jembrana.
27: Pura Dalem Puri, Besakih.
6: Pura Maspait, Jembrana.
10: Pura Penataran Agung, Karangasem; Pura Penataran Peet, Klungkung.
1: Pura Jati, Jembrana.
3: Pura Kehen, Bangli; Pura Yogan Agung, Badung.
23: Pura Masceti, Gianyar.
27: Pura Beratan, Klungkung.
13: Pura Lempuyang Luhur, Karangasem; Pura Batukaru, Tabanan; Pura Kentel Gumi, Klungkung.
14: Pura Ulunsari, Badung.
15: Pura Segara, Badung.
17: Pura Dasar, Klungkung.
22: Pura Pekendungan, Tabanan; Pura Bukit Jati, Bangli; Pura Sadha, Badung; Pura Sakenan, Badung; Pura Taman Pule, Gianyar; Pura Samuan Tiga, Gianyar.
26: Pura Tanah Lot, Tabanan.
1: Pura Andakasa, Karangasem; Pura Goa Lawah, Klungkung; Pura Uluwatu, Badung.
2: Pura Gede Perancak, Jembrana.
16: Pura Silayukti, Karangasem; Pura Air Jeruk, Gianyar.
26: Pura Pasek Gelgel, Buleleng; Pura Dalem Pemuteran, Klungkung; Pura Pedharman Bhujangga, Besakih; Pura Taman Sari, Tabanan; Pura Dalem Tarukan, Bangli; Pura Benua Kangin, Besakih; Pura Merajan Kanginan (Ida Betara Empu Berabah), Besakih.
27: Pura Parangan Tengah, Nusa Penida.
30: Pura Petitenget, Badung; Pura Kereb Langit, Badung.
30: Pura Bendesa Mas Kepisah, South Denpasar; Pura Natih, Batubulan; Pura Puseh, Kerobokan; Pura Desa Silakarang, Singapadu; Pura Dalem Petitenget, Kerobokan; Pura Dalem Pulasari, Gianyar; Pura Kubayan, Pedungan; Pura Pasek Gelgel, Tabanan; Pura Pibon, Denpasar; Pura Pasek Lumintang, Denpasar; Pura Panti Penyarikan Medahan, Tampak Siring; Pura Pasah Agung, Kediri.
6: Pura Dalem Puri, Gianyar; Pura Dalem Kediri, Singapadu; Pura Dalem Desa, Sukawati; Pura Dalem Desa Singakerta, Ubud; Pura Dalem, Sukawati; Pura Paibon Pasek Tangkas, Ubud; Pura Puseh Ngukuhin, Gianyar; Pura Pemerajan Agung Ki Telabah, Tabanan; Pura Karang Buncing, Gianyar; Pura Dalem Desa Bubunan, Buleleng; Pura Luhur Pedengenan, Tabanan; Pura Pucak Payongan, Ubud; Pura Tanah Kilap Griya Anyar Suwung Kauh, Denpasar; Pura Selukat, Gianyar.
7: Pura Sari, Kapal.
21: Pura Puseh, Desa Sukawati; Pura Pasek Gelgel, Buleleng; Pura Maospahit, Denpasar; Pura Bendesa Manik Mas, Tegalalang; Pura Panti Pasek Gaduh, Denpasar.
31: Pura Puseh and Pura Desa, Gianyar; Pura Luhur Dalem Segening, Tabanan.
4: Pura Dalem Tarukan Linggih Pajenengan Ida Dalem Tarukan, Gianyar, Pura Penataran Dalem Ketut, Gianyar; Pura Puseh Manikaji, Bangli.
11: Pura Srijong, Tabanan; Pura Rambutsiwi, Jembrana.
4: Pura Maspait, Jembrana.
8: Pura Penataran Agung, Karangasem; Pura Penataran Peet, Klungkung.
27: Pura Jati, Jembrana.
29: Pura Kehen, Bangli; Pura Yogan Agung, Gianyar.
19: Pura Masceti, Gianyar.
23: Pura Beratan, Klungkung.
9: Pura Lempuyang Luhur, Karangasem; Pura Batukaru, Tabanan; Pura Kentel Gumi, Klungkung.
10: Pura Ulunsari, Badung.
11: Pura Segara, Badung.
13: Pura Dasar, Klungkung.
18: Pura Pekendungan, Tabanan; Pura Bukit Jati, Bangli; Pura Sadha, Badung; Pura Sakenan, Badung; Pura Taman Pule, Gianyar; Pura Samuan Tiga, Gianyar.
22: Pura Tanah Lot, Tabanan.
28: Pura Andakasa, Karangasem; Pura Goa Lawah, Klungkung; Pura Uluwatu, Badung; Pura Taman Ayun, Badung.
29: Pura Gede Perancak, Jembrana.
Bali Sports Online
To find out what is happening in the sports world of Bali at any time check out the Sanur-based Bali sports online magazine at www.stiffchilli.com.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.