There are many reasons to visit Bali in the low season. As repeat visitors to this beautiful island, Nate & I have traveled to Bali during various times of the year and they have all been quite different experiences.
In this article, I’ll go over all the perks of why visiting Bali in the low season has its advantages.
When is the Low Season in Bali?
Bali’s low season is April through October and it’s also known as the “green season” because everything turns vivid green. This time of year is indeed wetter than any of the other months, but the abundance of rain allows this magical island to be wonderfully rich with nature. The dry months (or high season) is May through September and this time of year has pristine sunny weather which is great if you want to hike up a mountain or hit the beaches.
So what’s wrong with a little bit of rain? Apparently nothing. On my very first visit to Bali, Nate & I showed up during the low season when it was raining everyday. At first I was afraid that it would ruin all our plans to see the island and it’s many villages, but that wasn’t the case at all.
The rain wasn’t consistently pouring down every minute of the day and we found that as long as we were flexible with our itinerary, we could do everything we wanted. We bought some cheap ponchos and we were fine motorbiking during the rain. We also found that wearing sandals was the best way to handle the rainy season because your feet are bound to get wet, but since it’s always hot…your feet will dry within a couple minutes in the sun if you’re wearing sandals. I also signed up for an unlimited class pass at Radiantly Alive yoga studio and whenever it wasn’t raining, I would head to class.
I’ll be honest, when it does rain IT POURS! And I mean it comes down heavy and you’ll probably not want to be outside. This type of heavy down pour occurs for 15 minutes up to 45 minutes and then stops for a couple hours so there is always a guaranteed intermission between the next rainfall.
The take away is that as long as you’re flexible with your schedule, you can enjoy the sights of Bali.
#1 Less People Around Equals Idyllic Temples
If the idea of experiencing a temple in which you’re the only person around and you can pretend like you’re in an Indian Jones movie sounds appealing, then the low season is probably for you. Nate & I detest hanging out in long lines waiting to get into an attraction. During the high season in Bali, the temples become overrun with tourists and it becomes more difficult to enjoy a site without feeling like you’re moving elbow to elbow in a mild-mannered mosh pit.
In the low season, the tourist population becomes sparse. The crowds are nowhere to be seen. There are indeed tourists around, but it’s not overwhelming. Suddenly, the rice terraces become empty and the temples are serene and quiet. You can take photos anywhere you want and you don’t have to wait for people to get out of your shot!
Tegalalang Rice Terrace is one of the most popular tourist sites in Ubud and visiting can be quite a majestical experience during the wet season when the rice paddies are at their greenest. You can listen to the sounds of wind chimes or enjoy a cup of tea at a cafe and take in the view. However, during the high season this area turns into a complete nightmare with no parking available, no space to walk, and touts harassing you on practically every corner.
The only downside to having less people around in the off season is that the bars can tend to be a little dead. Our favorite music venue, Bali Bohemia tends to be a bit vacant during the wet season so Nate & I usually opt to just enjoy a glass of wine at home and enjoy our view of the rice paddies.
#2 Hurray for No Traffic
Getting a motorbike in some of the towns in Bali is essential for getting around. It allows you to zip past a line of cars and get to where you need to be quickly and cheaply. During the high season, the popular towns becomes one giant traffic jam. Even motorbikes (who are normally able to zip their way through stationary cars) become no match for the congestion.
Dealing with traffic is one of the cons when visiting in the high season. Sure, the weather is perfect but you might not be able to enjoy it if you’re stuck in a car on the way to the beach.
Alternatively, Bali transforms back to a peaceful island during the low season. Cars and motorbikes move freely and flow neatly down the narrow streets without any major traffic jams. Getting around town on a motorbike is also incredibly fun! You can rent a motorbike for as cheap as $1.50 per day and the cost of petrol is only $2 for a full tank.
#3 Score Cheap Accommodation
If you’re a budget traveler like us, you’ll be happy to know that finding a cheap place to stay in Ubud Bali is incredibly easy during the low season. Since there aren’t too many tourists visiting during the rainy season, hotels, resorts and even home-stays lower their prices in the hopes to appeal to budget travelers. Typically, the longer you plan to stay, the cheaper the price gets! Negotiating a lower price on accommodation is not only acceptable, but expected in the Balinese culture.
Nate & I actually found our accommodations using Airbnb. We were initially planning to fly to Ubud with only a two night rental at a hotel and then hunt for a cheap house once we arrived. However, we ended up finding a really amazing deal on Airbnb that we couldn’t turn away. We simply entered our destination, desired dates of when we wanted to travel, and then cranked the “price” all the way down towards the zero mark. There were only a couple places that popped up on our results lists and after contacting all of them, we ended up booking with a man name Wayan for $300 per month.
We are currently living in what is considered a Balinese homestay. It’s not a private room inside someone’s house, but rather a house situated on someone’s compound. In Bali, the many generations of families live together in one household under many roofs. Nate and I live in a little house that has it’s own stairway, kitchen, outdoor living room, giant bathroom (with a spa tub) and a gorgeous master bedroom overlooking the rice paddies. For the price, it can’t be beat. However, the owner has recently raised his price to double the amount (big bummer).
If you’re looking for a place to live in Ubud during the rainy season, make sure to not get a “joglo.” Joglos are a traditional style Balinese house in which they are essentially an open air hut. They let in insects and other critters which can be not only a nuisance to deal with (think of lizards crapping practically everywhere) but also quite dangerous (due to the threat of mosquitos carrying the potentially fatal virus Dengue). If you are searching for a place to stay, make sure to ask the owner if it is a joglo or if it has air conditioning. If the place has air conditioning, then the room has to be sealed and you should be okay.
#4 You can get your Durian On
All hail the mighty durian. Unequivocally my favorite fruit, Durian is one of the most hated fruits in the world. Ask anyone in Asia if they’ve tried Durian before, and they’ll tell you passionately about their love or hatred for the divisive fruit. It seems there is no middle ground when it comes to this spiky treat.
Grown in the wild, Durian can be found everywhere in Bali. During the rainy season, you’ll see locals selling these spiky green giants on the side of the road. Don’t worry, you don’t have to look hard to find durian, just follow your nose as the scent can waft for a good distance.
We think durian is incredibly delicious. It tastes like a buttery custard drizzled with honey. Luckily for us, Durian is not only readily available but it’s also quite cheap compared to Thailand or Vietnam. For around $1-2 you can get a decent sized durian big enough to feed 2-4 people.
If you haven’t tried this fruit before, I definitely recommend giving it a try. Even if you end up hating it, you’ll at least have a great story to tell afterwards.
As you can tell, Nate & I are big advocates for visiting Bali during the low season. Not only can we find every exotic fruit at the market, but we have also saved quite a bit on accommodation. With the money we saved on our house rental, we are able to spend that money elsewhere to splurge on delicious food or on excursions around the island.
With a bit of fine tuning, visiting Bali during the rainy time of year has been a really positive experience for us. Getting a little wet is not a big deal because the climate is warm year-round so we can always dry off quickly and get on with our day. We have learned that as long as we keep an open mind and are okay with spending a couple of hours inside a cafe reading a book, we’ll have a great time in Bali. The rain not only keeps the hoards of tourists away, but it’s also a constant reminder to slow down. Instead of constantly being on-the-go, we find ourselves taking time to enjoy nature and soak in all the sights.