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When should I visit Indonesia?

Indonesia's climate

Indonesia's tropical climate means it experiences both sunshine and showers throughout the year depending on where and when you go. In general there is a wet and a dry season, with the driest months in Java, Lombok and Bali from May to September. Further east, islands like Papua have their dry season from October to April.

When is it best to travel?

Travelling during the dry season is recommended for maximum sunshine and lower humidity but some destinations in Indonesia are great to visit at any time in the year. As the wet season draws in, the weather can become hot and steamy with regular tropical downpours punctuated by spells of sunshine.

High season for most of Indonesia, especially Bali, is July and August, while December and January also sees an influx of Australian holidaymakers. You may want to consider visiting either side of this period - in May, June, September and October - when the weather is still hot, relatively dry and less humid. Tourist areas and attractions will be less busy and you will save some money on accommodation if you travel earlier or later in the season. Wet season for Java, Bali and Lombok is generally from late October until April, but tropical downpours are often short-lived and you will still enjoy plenty of sunshine.

In the east of the Indonesian archipelago, the dry season runs from October until April, and this is the best time for diving in Papua and Maluku.

Festivals

Coinciding your trip with a local festival can add another amazing dimension to your holiday, plunging you into the heart of Indonesian culture. In Java, there are three cultural Garebeg festivals in the year that feature colourful processions, traditional dress, floats and gamelan orchestras. These are held in late January, late April and early November. March sees the huge Java Jazz Festival hosted in Jakarta, which is an absolute must for fans of the genre.

If you are visiting Lombok in February, be sure to pay a visit to the Nyale festival, a huge fishing celebration by the local Sasaks. In Sulawesi, the unusual Tana Toraja Funeral Festivals held in July and August are a unique experience for visitors.

The annual Indonesian Independence Day on 17 August sees celebrations across the country, with parades and revelry in the streets. If you happen to be in Bali in October you might like to check out the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, which celebrates literature related to the island.

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