Indonesia only has two seasons – dry and rainy. Whereas the temperature throughout the year is pretty uniform, rainfall varies dramatically. Is the rainy season in Indonesia that bad? Not necessarily.
If you travel to Indonesia during the rainy season, chances are you will have a wonderful time, potentially even better than in the dry season. Indonesia is a year-round destination and a few drops of water in the afternoon don’t change that. Let’s take a closer look.
When is the rainy season in Indonesia?
Indonesia is a massive country spanning over 6000 km. Despite that, most of the islands experience the same rainy season duration.
Most generally, the rainy season in West Indonesia (Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Bali, Lombok, Nusa Tenggara, and Sulawesi) is between October and March with the most rainfall between December and February.
The east parts of Indonesia (Maluku, Papua) on the other hand experience a rainy season between May and August.
Check out weather and rainfall data for Indonesia here. It includes links for specific data by region.
Java Rainy Season
The rainy season in Java is between October and April with the most rainfall in January and February.
The shoulder season months are October, November, April, and May.
Central and East Java get less rain than West Java and their rainy seasons are shorter.
Bali Rainy Season
The rainy season in Bali is between November and March with the most rainfall in December, January, and February.
The shoulder season months are September, October, April, and May.
East and West Nusa Tenggara Rainy Season
The rainy season in Nusa Tenggara (both East and West) is between October and March with the most rainfall in December, January, and February.
The shoulder season months are October, November, and March.
Sumatra Rainy Season
The rainy season in Sumatra is between October and May with the most rainfall in December and March.
The shoulder season months are October and May.
Kalimantan Rainy Season
The rainy season in Kalimantan is between September and May with the most rainfall in November and December.
There’s no shoulder season on Kalimantan. As a matter of fact, even in the driest months of July and August it still rains more than during the shoulder season months on Bali!
Sulawesi Rainy Season
The rainy season in Sulawesi is between October and June with the most rainfall between December and March.
There’s no shoulder season on Kalimantan. The driest months are July, August and September.
Maluku Rainy Season
The rainy season in Maluku is an exception in Indonesia as it’s between April and September with the most rainfall in May, June, and July. The tropical storms there are quite terrible and it really does rain A LOT!
The dry months from October to March see pretty much uniform rain.
Papua Rainy Season
Papua is a really big island and experiences regional differences in climate, but generally speaking, the rainy season is between November and April with the most rainfall between January and March.
The Central regions of Papua experience way more rain than the coastal ones (like Jayapura and Merauke). Some places like Tembagapura have uniform rainy-season quantities of rain throughout the year.
How much does it actually rain during the rainy season in Indonesia?
The short answer is really not that much!
For example, in Bali during the peak of the rainy season in January, there is around 300 mm of precipitation. The dry season only experiences around 50 mm. Yes, we are talking a 6 times increase, but that’s only because the dry months of July and August are really, really dry.
In reality, during the rainy season in Indonesia, it usually rains in the afternoon, rarely in the morning. The rains are quick and it downpours an extreme amount of rain in an hour, but afterwards, the sun is back in the sky and you’re good to go out and explore.
Can you travel to Indonesia during the rainy season?
Indonesia is a year-round destination. Of course, you can travel to Indonesia during the rainy season, but a better question is “Should you“.
I’m here to argue that YES, you should travel to Indonesia during the rainy season. Here’s why:
- Rain is concentrated in time, usually in the afternoon. It doesn’t rain all the time!
- Rainy season in Bali and Java coincides with winter in Europe and the high season in Australia, so way fewer tourists come to Indonesia. It’s a lot more quiet and laid-back.
- As a result of the low season, prices are up to 50% lower.
- You can still enjoy marvelous weather and visit most attractions in Bali and Java.
What to avoid during the rainy season in Indonesia
Getting to more rural destinations and some of the natural attractions in Indonesia could prove more difficult during the rainy season.
That doesn’t mean you should skip them altogether. If you plan on hiking Mount Bromo or Kawah Ijen, I suggest you do it in the early morning to noon when the chance of rain is the lowest. It will also give the earth some time to absorb the water from last night’s rains.
What is the best season to travel to Indonesia?
The best season to travel to Indonesia is neither the dry one nor the rainy one – it’s the shoulder months!
Let me elaborate.
In the dry season, there’s almost no rain, temperatures are a little lower (2-3 degrees lower than in the wet season), humidity is 3-4% lower (but still pretty high at 85% average) but, and that’s a big BUT, the crowds are enormous and the prices the highest.
In the rainy season, the prices are of course lowest, tourists are few and far between, but it could obviously be a little annoying to carry a raincoat all the time and have a hard time reaching some of the wonderful places.
The Shoulder Season.
Yes, nobody actually calls it that, but I think there’s a distinct mix of good travel conditions exactly during the shoulder months. Less crowded, cheaper and the weather is quite good. The Shoulder Season is the jack of all trades, master of none, but overall the best time to travel to Indonesia’s most popular islands.
- Travel to Bali in September and October or April, and June;
- Travel to Java in September, October, and November, or in April, May, and June.
I’m a big fan of Java. Check out my complete backpacking guide to Indonesia’s main island.