Typically, the best time to visit Indonesia is between May and October as this is the driest time of year. An eclectic mix of beautiful islands, Indonesia is a tropical archipelago with average year-round balmy temperatures of 28°C. However, there is a distinctive difference between the wet and dry seasons here.
In Bali, the contrast between the seasons is fairly low and the island maintains a similar climate all year round, making it a perfect retreat. However, in places like Lombok seasons can become extreme, with a higher chance of flooding in the wet season and droughts during the dry. The best months to visit both of these islands, though, is April or May.
Climate and Seasons in Indonesia
Typically, the best time to visit Indonesia is between May and October as this is the driest. This also sees July and August as the busiest months, mostly due to school holidays. Temperatures during this time can peak to 34°C in the north, closer to the equator.
However, don’t be put off visiting the country during the wet season, as it generally consists of tropical afternoon downpours that tend to last for a few hours before clearing up. This is the perfect opportunity to cool off after a few hours in the morning sun. In the north, the rainiest months are from October to January, whilst in the south, this is pushed a little later from November to February. Temperatures stay at around 28-30°C during this time but with increased humidity.
Things to Do in Indonesia
Hike the Volcanoes
Indonesia is famously filled with magnificent volcanoes, making this a unique opportunity for an early morning climb up peaks like Mount Bromo and Mount Rinjani. This is one sunrise you'll never forget. June to August are popular months to go as there is less rain, but be aware that you will encounter more tourists at this time of year - that said, Indonesia's pleasant climate means there's no real bad time to go hiking here!
With more than 3000 species of marine life and huge biodiversity, Indonesia is a key destination to tick off any diver's bucket list. You can dive all year round in Komodo and Bali, although April to November generally have the best conditions. Raja Ampat, meanwhile, holds its main diving season from October to April when there's a greater chance of manta sightings, and less chance of rain and choppy seas.
Trek the Rainforest
A lush, verdant tropical rainforest, not only is Bukit lawang the perfect terrain for a jungle trek, but it is also one of the last remaining places on earth to see Orangutans living in the wild. This area is great for a visit any time of year, although you may want to avoid the rainy season - that said, rain is mainly in the evening or at night, so shouldn't interfere too much with your plans if you are going around this time.
Indonesia's sublime beaches, turquoise sea and stunning archipelago of 17000 islands make it the perfect place for some island hopping. Whether you're diving off the Banda Islands, exploring the wildlife in Moyo, snorkelling around the Gili Islands in Lombok, spotting dragons in the Komodo Islands, or relaxing on the beach paradise of Sumba, there's a wealth of fascinating island activities to get stuck into all year round.
Festivals and Events in Indonesia
Chinese New Year
As with most Southeast Asian countries, Indonesia celebrates Chinese New Year in February, which is taken as a public holiday with plenty of colourful and exciting street parades and displays.
In May or June, on the full moon of the ancient lunar month of Vesakha, Buddha’s birthday is also celebrated on a day known as Wesak (or Vesak) Day. It is considered that his birth, death and enlightenment all happened on the same day, therefore this day is held as the holiest in Buddhism. Expect to experience an extremely spiritual atmosphere with thousands of burning lanterns released into the sky, symbolising enlightenment for the entire universe.
For a slice of Indonesian history, stick around during August to celebrate Independence Day. Previously a Dutch colony, Indonesia declared its independence in 1945. To celebrate, there are parades, games and festivals held on this national holiday.
As a predominantly Muslim country, Indonesia also observes the Islamic calendar, particularly taking into account Lebaran or Idul Fitri (Eid) in July, which marks the end of the fasting period of Ramadan. These celebrations officially last two days, but often extended to four or five days, with chaos reigning in the towns and cities.