Boasting picturesque views, lush rainforests, beautiful beaches, and a tropical climate, Indonesia features right at the of most travelling wish lists. But what time of year is best to visit Indonesia?
Below, you’ll find all you need to know about Indonesia all year round. At Crown Currency Exchange, we’ve looked into Indonesian weather conditions throughout the year and compiled a list of monthly events, all with the aim of helping you decide when to visit Indonesia in line with what you’d like to see and do.
Are you ready? Let’s go exploring this beautiful Asian island nation!
What is the Best Time to Visit Indonesia for Weather?
As you may expect from a country made up of over 1,700 islands, the weather in Indonesia is tropical, with average temperatures remaining around 28ºC all year round. However, there is a clear six-month split between the wet season and the dry season.
From April to September, you can expect beautiful, sunny weather conditions and blue skies that are perfect for lounging on the beach or exploring the rainforests.
October to March sees the rainy season come in, although the average temperature still remains high, and the heavy downpours tend to last just a couple of hours. The heaviest rainfall comes in November, December, and January.
Cooler temperatures set in at night time, particularly in the mountainous regions like Mount Bromo, so there’s a little relief from the intense daytime heat. However, even during the night, temperatures rarely fall below 20ºC.
Visiting Indonesia During the Wet Season (October to March)
From October to December, Indonesia sees heavy rainfall, as this marks the start of the wet season. However, between January and March, Indonesia begins its first “shoulder season”, which is right before the peak tourist season begins.
This time of year also marks the start and end of the dry and wet seasons, and while you may see some rainfall, most regions will have nothing but glorious sunshine.
Key Events in the Wet Season:
- Nyepi: Marking the start of the new year in the Balinese calendar, Nyepi is a day of fasting and meditation. As such, everything in Bali will be closed for the day, but a colourful parade will take to the streets in celebration of new beginnings.
- Lampung Krakatau Festival: One highlight you’ll find in October is the Lampung Krakatau Festival, which is held to commemorate the 1883 Mount Krakatau eruption. This may seem like a strange thing to celebrate since the eruption destroyed over 70% of the island, but it is held to celebrate life on the island. A colourful parade takes place along with cultural performances, and you can also book a tour of the famous volcano.
- Sekaten: November sees Sekaten being celebrated in Indonesia, which marks the birth of the Prophet Muhammad in Java. The week-long ceremony sees traditional dancing and singing, and dishes made especially for Sekaten are offered in food stalls and restaurants throughout the country.
- Jakarta International Film Festival: During November, the Jakarta International Film Festival showcases moves from all over the world, each of which has been selected by an independent panel of judges to create two nights of amazing screening.
- Pasola: Held in Western Suman, Pasola is a jousting festival that sees men on horseback battling each other with hola (wooden spears). Don’t worry; nobody gets hurt, but it is a spectacular show and is believed to ensure a bountiful harvest in the region.
- Bau Nyale Fishing Festival: Towards the end of February, hundreds of locals and tourists flock to Lombok to take part in the Bau Nyale Fishing Festival. Nyale fish are caught in the hundreds and later eaten by roasting with banana leaves.
Visiting Indonesia During the Dry Season (April to September)
During the dry season, Indonesia has a much more tropical climate, with temperatures averaging 28º-30ºC every day, although highs of 34ºC aren’t uncommon throughout July and August. This season sees the most favourable weather conditions too, with sunshine and dry weather in most regions.
Northern regions of Indonesia see occasional tropical rainfall during June and July, but this never lasts very long, and for those trekking through the rainforest in hopes of spotting an orangutan, it just adds to the experience.
Key Events in the Dry Season
- Galungan: One of Bali’s most important Hindu festivals, Galungan takes place in April and welcomes the Gods and ancestral spirits into homes. Incantations can be heard as the parade makes its way through the streets, and firecrackers are thrown in order to drive away evil spirits.
- Eid-Ul-Fitr: Another important Muslim festival in Indonesia, Eid-Ul-Fitr takes place at the start of June and is celebrated by decorating homes in colourful adornments and cooking traditional Indonesian food, such as sambal goreng, lemang, and dodol.
- Bali Arts Festival: One of Indonesia’s longest-running festivals, the Bali Arts Festival takes place in June and celebrates the very best of Indonesian art. Here, you can visit multiple exhibits, as well as see traditional Balinese dancing, attend art lectures, and more.
- Yadnya Kasada: Celebrated in East Java by the Tenggerese community, Yadnya Kasada is held in July and sees vegetables, flowers, and money offered to Mount Bromo in order to appease the Gods. Its origin follows the tale of a childless couple who disobeyed the mountain after it gifted them with children, refusing to sacrifice their 25th child to it.
- Tomohon International Flower Festival: Every August, Sabta Pesona hosts the Tomohon International Flower Festival, where amazing, colourful floats covered with flowers move through the streets along with traditional Indonesian dancing and music.
- Rambu Solo: In South Sulawesi in September, the Toraja people hold a funeral ceremony called “Rambu Solo”, which sends the spirits of the dead into the afterlife. Tourists are welcome to observe the activities, which include a number of processions through the streets.
What is the Cheapest Month to Visit Indonesia?
The cheapest time to visit Indonesia is during the low season of October to March, as this isn’t only the rainy season but sits outside of many of Indonesia’s most popular festivals. That being said, there is still plenty to do, and the short rain showers offer a cooling, welcome relief during a trek through the rainforests or up a volcano.
You’ll also find that hotel rates are much cheaper during this time of year as well, sitting way below the high season prices. The same goes for flights, which, when booked off-season, will save you a good chunk of money.
Top tip: Whether you’re travelling during the wet season or visiting Indonesia during the dry season, it’s best to get ahead of the game and buy your Indonesian Rupiah in advance. Buy IDR here.
What is the Best Time to Visit Indonesia for Events and Festivals?
While there is less to do during the wet season, Indonesia still offers something for everyone throughout the year. From elaborate, colourful festivals to walks through some of the most beautiful places on Earth, we’ve created a list of what you can see and do every month in Indonesia.
Key Events in January
1. Bali Safari & Marine Park
Unlike the rest of the year, Indonesia doesn’t celebrate any festivals. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do, and a trip to Bali Safari & Marine Park is the ideal trip for animal and nature lovers. Located one hour away from the Ngurah Rai Airport, you’ll see tigers, warthogs, zebra, owls, and other magnificent creatures in a guided bus tour, as well as animal performances throughout the day.
2. Moluccas Islands
While not as well-known as some of Indonesia’s other islands, the Moluccas Islands are a great place to visit in January as they remain relatively dry during the wet season. Also known as the “Spice Islands”, you can take a cruise around the islands, visit their beautiful beaches, trek through the jungles, or go snorkelling in the crystal clear waters.
3. Ubud Monkey Forest
Another great choice for animal lovers, January is one of the best times of year to visit Bali and head to the Ubud Monkey Forest. There are over 700 monkeys living in over 180 different species of tree here, giving you the opportunity to explore and immerse yourself in the rainforest.
Key Events in February
1. Bau Nyale Fishing Festival
The mythological roots of the Bau Nyale Fishing Festival tell the tale of Princess Mandalika, who, in a desperate attempt to escape an arranged marriage, drowned in the waters of Lombok. She was reincarnated as a nyale fish, returning to the shores each year. During this festival, hundreds of locals head to the shores of the Lombok in order to catch and eat the nyale fish, in the belief it will make the women as beautiful as Princess Mandalika and give the men a heightened level of energy.
This spectacular event is a horseback jousting festival, which originates from local people putting on an event to bring happiness to the leader of the Waiwuang Village, who fell into a deep depression after his wife left him for a new lover. Nowadays, it sees a mock battle held with wooden spears, with the winner reigning supreme and helping ensure that a bountiful harvest is bestowed upon the Sumba people.
3. Cap Goh Meh
Indonesia has a large Chinese population, and Cap Goh Meh marks the start of the Chinese New Year. Held around the end of February each year, huge floats with dragon dancers and Chinese acrobats take to the street in celebration of new beginnings. There are also lantern parades, food stalls selling delicious local delicacies, and even palm readers to visit, who will tell you if bright things lie in your future.
Key Events in March
One of the most important dates in the Indonesian calendar, Nyepi marks the start of the Balinese New Year. Ceremonies and parades are held throughout Bali, and you’ll see locals praying, cleaning statues of the Gods, and performing traditional rituals. It is worth noting that everything is closed on Nyepi, but it’s an amazing day to spend in Bali.
2. Holi Hindu Festival
Also known as the “Festival of Colours” or the “Festival of Love”, the Holi Hindu Festival sees rituals and prayers being carried out in front of a huge bonfire, followed by a parade the next day. A celebration called “Rangwali Holi” also takes place during the parade and involves participants using water guns and water balloons to cover each other in paint. There are food stalls, music, and loads of other spectacular activities to enjoy, as well.
3. Ascension of the Prophet Muhammad
Held on the 27th day of Rajab, which is the seventh month of the Islamic calendar, this public holiday sees parades and ceremonies take to the streets in celebration of the Prophet Muhammad’s ascension. Most businesses are closed, but it is one of the most spectacular events you’ll see in Indonesia.
Key Events in April
1. Komodo National Park
At the start of April, when the dry season starts to kick in, the Komodo National Park becomes one of Indonesia’s most popular tourist destinations. Here, you’ll find incredible views of the ocean, lush rainforest to explore, and, of course, the chance to spot the majestic Komodo dragon in its natural habitat.
2. Teluk Kandari Festival
Held at Kendari Bay in Sulawesi, the Teluk Kandari Festival is a truly amazing event, with dragon boats racing each other through the bay, accompanied by a music festival. Food stalls, performing arts, and traditional dancing take the festival into the night, all in aid of celebrating joy.
3. Mappanretasi Festival
Celebrated for three weeks in April, the Mappanretasi Festival sees local fishermen make offerings to the Gods and to the sea, including vegetables, fruits, rice, and chicken. This festival is held in the Kalimantan Selatan province, and the tiny boats holding the offerings are decorated beautifully, making for a colourful sight!
Key Events in May
1. Waisak Day
In early May, the Buddhist Waisak Day celebrations take place to commemorate the birth, enlightenment, and death of Gautama Buddha. Temples are adorned with colourful decorations, and paper lanterns fill the sky as people journey from Mendut Temple to central Java, carrying holy fire and holy water with them along the way. Blessings can be received at the Borobudur Temple from the gurus after you have circled it three times.
2. Tanjung Puting National Park
Located in Southwest Kalimantan, the Tanjung Puting National Park is one of the best places to visit in May. Here, you can take a guided tour through the river to spot orangutans, crocodiles, exotic birdlife, several other primate species, and more. You’ll also find the Camp Leakey Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in the centre of the park, where you can learn more about Dr Galdikas’ work with rescued and orphaned orangutans.
Key Events in June
Eid is one of Indonesia’s most important festivals and sees the country’s Muslim population decorate their houses as they come to the breaking of their fast. As you might imagine from such as festival, food is plentiful and traditional dishes and cookies are on offer in food stalls, stores, and restaurants.
2. Bali Arts Festival
Ideal if you’re looking to immerse yourself in Indonesia’s cultural scene, the Bali Arts Festival starts in the middle of June and runs for a month. Here, you’ll find work by Indonesian artists, along with international works of art, as well as dance, song, and other performing arts.
Key Events in July
1. Bali Kite Festival
At the start of July, when the winds are strong across Padang Galik, the skies fill with colour as the Bali Kite Festival commences. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to join in, with stalls selling kites in the surrounding area. There are competitive events too, with prices for categories including longest flight and best launch.
This is also a historical festival and started as a way of thanking the Hindu Gods for a bountiful harvest, providing the people of Bali with everything they need to survive.
2. Yadnya Kasada
This is another event with mythological roots and tells the story of a childless couple who prayed to the Gods at Mount Bromo for children. The Gods agreed and bestowed 24 children on them, with the condition that the 25th child be sacrificed to Mount Bromo. On the birth of the 25th child, the couple refused the sacrifice, resulting in the volcano erupting, taking the child with it.
To mark this tale, locals and tourists alike journey to Mount Bromo to make offerings of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and money, all in order to appease the Gods and bring good luck.
Key Events in August
1. Indonesian Independence Day
Celebrated on August 17th each year, Indonesian Independence Day marks the country’s declaration of independence from the Netherlands in 1945. The day is marked by red and white bunting being hung from buildings all over the country, the Indonesian flag flying high, and ceremonies taking place.
There are also games to enjoy, the most popular of which is called Panjat Pinang, which involves a large, greased-up pole being climbed by children in the hopes of winning a prize.
2. Bidar Boat Race
Often celebrated in accordance with Independence Day, the Bidar Boat Race sees brightly painted boats up to 30 metres long racing down the Sungau Musi in the Palembang region. Each boat holds up to 70 rowers, each working hard to be the first past the finish line.
3. Baliem Valley Festival
Held around the end of August each year, the Baliem Valley Festival brings different tribes together to act out a mock war. Each tribe wears its own traditional dress, and the fake fighting that ensues marks out the most fertile and prosperous tribe.
Key Events in September
1. Rambu Solo Ceremony
Celebrated throughout Indonesia by the Toraja people, the Rambu Solo Ceremony is a funeral parade that marks the ascension of the dead into the spirit world. Tourists are invited to observe but must act with dignity and respect at all times.
This one is for the music lovers! Soundrenaline is considered to be Indonesia’s top music festival, with a mixture of local talent and international artists. It takes place at the start of September and is held at Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park in Bali.
3. Maybank Bali Marathon
Are you looking to test out your fitness levels? The Maybank Bali Marathon takes place every September and is renowned for being one of the most remarkable races in the world, with incredible scenic views along the route. You need to register by March, and if you aren’t up for doing the whole 42km stretch, you can still join in with a half marathon or 10km distance.
Key Events in October
1. Lampung Krakatau Festival
While this festival runs for a five-month stretch, starting in June, most tourists find October the best time to visit Indonesia’s Lampung Krakatau Festival. This commemorative festival celebrates life on the island following the devastating eruption of Mount Krakatau, which destroyed over 70% of the island in 1883.
Key Events in November
Marking the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, Sekaten is a week-long traditional festival celebrated at the end of November each year. An amazing parade takes to the streets, accompanied by music, and you’ll also be invited to join in prayer sessions in order to learn more about Islam.
2. Jakarta International Film Festival
A two-day event with screenings from domestic and international filmmakers, the Jakarta International Film Festival (JIFF) takes place every September in Indonesia’s busiest city. This is one of Indonesia’s most sought-after events, so you’ll need to act quickly if you hope to bag a ticket.
Key Events in December
1. Tanah Lot Temple
Festivals and events come to a bit of a standstill in December, but there are still some interesting things to see. One of the most popular tourist attractions at this time of year is the Tanah Lot Temple, which was built in the 16th century. Tours of the temple and garden are available, and there is a gift shop where you can purchase a commemorative souvenir of your trip to one of Indonesia’s most iconic landmarks.
2. Ubud Art Market
Have you forgotten to buy your loved one some gifts from your travels? Head to Ubud Market, and you’ll find a plethora of amazing things to purchase, including prints, straw hats, sarongs, and more.
How Many Days Do You Need to See Indonesia?
Keeping in mind that you’ll need to do a fair bit of island hopping to see all that Indonesia has to offer, it’s a good idea to spend between 10-14 days in the country. This will afford you enough time to travel between islands, spend entire days at festivals or hiking through the rainforests, visit volcanoes and mountains, and still have some relaxing time on the beach.
A seven-day stretch is doable if you don’t have that much time to spare, but you’d be best to stay in an area like Bali, where you’ll have plenty of activities on offer without having to worry about travelling between islands.
With reliably consistent daily temperatures, there isn’t a bad time to visit Indonesia in terms of the weather. There is the rainy season to consider, but this is often something that draws people to the country, as it offers a truly exotic rainforest experience. One thing to keep in mind when visiting Indonesia, however, is that outside of the high season, there aren’t that many festivals or events taking place. There’s always something to do, no matter what time of year you visit, but you’ll have more choice between May and October.
Once you’ve decided the best time to visit Indonesia, head over to one of Crown Currency Exchange’s 60 locations to get the best rates on your Indonesian Rupiah.