Best time to visit Bali?
Whether you decide to visit Bali in the wet or dry season, chances are you are likely going to see some rain during your vacation. After all, those lush green jungles need lots of water, so I’ve put together this article for you to ensure you will have plenty of options to enjoy yourself even if it’s raining in Bali.
When’s the best time to visit Bali?
Bali is eight degrees South of the equator and it’s mostly hot and humid, with two distinct seasons.
Dry season (May to September)
Wet season (October to April)
Attention Surfers: The western side of the peninsula has some of the best waves this time of year. Be sure to check out Canggu and Uluwatu beaches.
I would say though that my least favorite time to be in Bali is June to mid-September. Oh sure, it’s the least amount of rain, but it’s also jam-packed with tourists coming with their families and the streets are very crowded with pedestrians and the narrow one-lane roads can be backed up for miles. Traffic seems to get worse every year. If you have a scooter it’s a little easier to get around but it’s still really bad particularly in the morning and early evenings when locals are going and coming home from work.
The wet season isn’t typically rainy all day long but streets can quickly have a few inches of water surging by after a downpour. There certainly were a couple of months I recall that it was a solid month of rain. As such, I’d just throw on a plastic poncho raincoat and hopped on my scooter. “Hati Hati” is what you’ll hear all the locals tell you, which means, “Drive slowly and cautiously.” This is the best advice I could give you as well.
Cars and scooters often appear as they are coming head-on into you, but just keep your wits about you as they are passing the vehicle in front of you and always just be prepared to get out of the way. However, as you adjust you place in the lane and get over closer to the edge of the road, also pay attention for street dogs and locals who often step into the street because of the sidewalks being dilapidated.
There is a chaotic flow about driving in Bali but the beautiful thing I found was there is no road rage or car beeping. Everyone just seems to give and take, slow down or speed up to make way for everyone – often with a genuine smile and a family of four.
Well let’s dive in, shall we? Here are a few of my favorite things to do whether it’s raining or blazing hot.
1. Alchemy of Breath
If you have never taken a breathwork class, well here’s your chance to tap into an incredibly profound experience that requires no mind-altering drugs to go deep into the unknown of your unconscious mind. It’s also a fun thing to do rain or shine.
Anthony Abbagnano is the founder and designer of this program and offers live classes, workshops and even training to become a Breathwork Facilitator. This was a very profound experience. Anthony’s technique guiding you with each breathe while a crew of ‘angels’ held space for us all while we laid flat on mats and cushions in an open bungalow surrounded by lush greenery.
Soothing and sometimes dramatic jungle rhythmic sounds were played as we each carried out a specific breathing pattern over and over again almost to a point of hyperventilation bringing me surprisingly deeper and deeper.
Stuck emotions I’ve likely carried over the years as a shield of armor to protect me from getting hurt or disappointed again came bursting out of me through uncontrollable sobs followed by beautiful waves of love enveloping my entire being. It’s hard to explain, but it was like an overwhelming feeling of acceptance cradling me after our two hour journey which also continued to unfold over the next few days. A beautiful self exploration for sure.
Not in Bali? Every Sunday you can tap into one of their free live workshops online from your home regardless if your’ in Bali or not…Here is the link to register: https://alchemyofbreath.com/breathwork-webinar/
2. Get a Balinese Massage
I seriously got a massage once a week while I lived in Bali. Why the hell not?! This decadent pleasure can easily be found for just $8 – $25+ an hour. Keep in mind that a typical monthly wage for a Balinese worker is about $75 – $100 a month so please tip generously. My suggested tip is at least US $5.00 even if the massage is just $7.00.
Here are my favorite massage spots in Ubud, Bali:
2a. Nur Salon & Spa
Be sure to finish your massage with a flower bath so you can stare at this beautifully wood-carved painted Balinese angel above you.
Nur Salon: Jl Hanoman No. 28, Padangtegal, Kec. Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571
Hours 12:00PM – 8:00PM Monday – Sunday
If you want the most authentic Balinese massage experience go to Nur Salon & Spa. My favorite spa package is the deep Balinese massage, body scrub, followed by a flower bath, but there are many to choose from. The spa is located in a traditional style Balinese home. The rooms are individual little huts and you are surrounded with lots of lush plants and of course smiling Balinese masseuses. You’ll pay a little more here than say Rembulan but the atmosphere makes it totally worth it.
2b. Rembulan Spa
Rembulan Spa address: Banjar Padang Tegal, Ubud, Kec. Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
+62 361 976694 (best to call in advance and make a reservation)
Hours 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM Monday – Sunday
If you are on a budget but still want a quality massage, Rembulan is one of my favorite weekly spots to go to. It’s clean and once you find your favorite masseuse you’ll be back for sure! An hour deep tissue is about $8, please consider tipping generously as well! I recommend at least $5.00 for a one hour massage. The average wages for a Balinese worker is about $100 a month so your tips go a long way for these hard working ladies.
2c. Tjampuhan Spa
Entrance of Tjampuhan Spa
Lilly pond at Tjampuhan
Tjampuhan hotel address: 18, Jl. Raya Campuan, Sayan, Kec. Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
+62 361 975368
Spa packages are available https://www.tjampuhan-bali.com/spa.html
I’ll confess I discovered this spa by a total fluke. Are you ready to hear this? Ok Ok… I was craving a good glass of red wine during a monsoon rainstorm and thought this hotel might have a decent glass of red wine to indulge in. I was hoping to relax and watch the rain. Being from California I was spoiled with countless options of delicious red wines to choose from all under $15 a bottle, but due to the high 40% alcohol tax and perhaps the heat, I struggled to get a decadent glass of wine that melted on my palate. Oh sure, you could go to Bambu Indah or Four Seasons and pay $15- $25+ and get a great glass of wine, however, if your a wine lover like me, finding a decent glass of wine is a challenge.
OK forgive me for digressing. As I was meandering through the Tjampuhan hotel grounds I passed the lobby and discovered a large lily pond where I stopped and admired the landscape. As I kept weaving around in each direction I stumbled upon a beautiful swimming pool nestled in the rocks overlooking an unspoiled jungle view.
If you keep going you will find a path that will take you to the jungle floor where you can sit and meditate and listen to the sounds of the water rushing over the rocks. This is seriously a hidden gem in Bali. Don’t miss it!
And it is on the river’s edge you will find the spa area with the most unique outside jacuzzi and cold plunge embedded within magnificent stone carvings giving you a feel as though you just entered ancient carved caves. It is man-made but very unique and worth seeing. Or for a half day spa 110,000 IDR / US $7.65 you can enjoy a stroll down to the river valley and dip in the hot and cold whirlpool baths, sauna and steam rooms.
Some of my other favorite massage spots you may also want to check out are:
Incredible infinity pool – perfect for laying out all day having lunch AND a massage!
Authentic Balinese experience in the middle of the rice fields. They also sell wonderful organic products. Beautiful view for a pedicure too!
The Taksu space is more on the upscale side and more pricy but you might also like this experience as well…
For a basic, modern and very clean atmosphere at an extremely affordable price, this newly built spa always has consistently great masseuses and I love their massage finale – ginger tea and potato cubes sprinkled with coconut shavings.
3. Dragonfly Sauna
Riding on my moped along the rice fields and locals transporting sacks of rice. The road is narrow so don’t attempt this unless you are a confident driver.
Beautiful walk to Dragon Fly
Dragon Sauna address: Jalan Subak Sok Wayah, Ubud, Kec. Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
Mon – closed
Tue – closed
WhatsApp from 7am to 9pm : +62 813-3897-0997
For a more rustic feel, one of my favorite things to do is walk down the super narrow path or ride my scooter through the rice fields away from the touristy shops of Ubud and spend a couple of hours at Dragonfly sauna. There is a small clay almost Mexican pueblo style steam room which fits less than 10 people. Here you’ll meet fellow travelers from around the globe and enjoy a good detoxing sweat…
When it gets too hot you can sit by the fire (if it’s not raining) and enjoy a hot cup of tea and then jump in their salt pool between sauna sessions. Also, check out their vegetarian and vegan cafe which has panoramic rice field views.
4. Gaya Ceramic And Design – Pottery class
Gaya: Jl. Raya Sayan No.105, Sayan, Kec. Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
+62 361 976220
Marcello and Michela a lovely couple moved to Bali from Italy in 2001 and created a beautiful space to create pottery. Check out their ceramic classes Thursdays 9am-noon. https://www.gayaceramic.com/continuous-classes
400Rp plus firing fees based on the weight of the piece.
- Be sure to email beforehand to make a reservation. https://www.gayaceramic.com/gaya-cac-contact-us
Or Intensive 2 week Workshops https://www.gayaceramic.com/workshops
$2,200 includes all materials, glazes and firing, lunches and more! They can also help arrange with bookings to nearby hotels, bungalows or homestay. (Additional cost for accommodations).
5. Bali Dacha – sauna
Bali Dacha address: Bedulu, Blahbatuh, Bedulu, Kec. Blahbatuh, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80515, Indonesia
If you don’t mind a bit of drive (about 30 min from Ubud center), this is a tropical oasis in the middle of the jungle that shouldn’t be skipped. If you time it right you’ll be listening to the beats of some funky DJ music as well as enjoy two hot saunas, pool, and a blazing fire.
The garden area is also quite magical. A deck extended into the jungle canopy where you can sit on cushions and enjoy some tea and bite from their cafe.
The owner is Russian and must market to Russians because that has always seemed to be the dominant accent in the pools!
What to bring?
Bring your nontoxic mosquito spray, towel and a change of lounging clothes or consider staying at their Eco-Boutique Hotel Bali Dacha. Their location is just 40 km from Ngurah Rai International Airport and coming here for your first two days of your trip would be a great choice to unwind from a long flight.
Offerings (canang sari) are found all throughout Bali as part of the Hindu praise and prayers.
6. Paradisio – watch a movie on futons and enjoy a delicious vegan meal or dessert
One of my favorite things to do on a rainy day in Ubud is to catch a movie at Paradisio. They usually have a couple movies playing every day. It’s a small theatre with about twenty futon couches and pillows so it’s super comfy. It seats about 150 people with a high definition projector and Dolby surround sound.
With your entrance fee of 50,000 IDR / US $3.49 you can use that towards your meal at Earth Cafe, an organic plant based cafe. Here’s the menu. My favorite was their pumpkin soup which was the same cost of the entrance ticket. So basically for $3.49 you get to see a movie and enjoy some yummy soup.
7. Yoga Barn – It’s not just yoga!
Yoga Barn address: Jl. Hanoman, Pengosekan, Kec. Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
Hours 7:00 AM -9:00 PM
*Download “The Yoga Barn” app to see the class schedule
Phone App to easily view the daily class schedule: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-yoga-barn-bali/id1300222907?mt=8
One of my favorite yoga studios in Bali is the Yoga Barn for the sheer fact that any time of the day there are a plethora of classes you can take from 7AM to 9PM: yoga, tibetan bowl meditation, ecstatic dance and MORE. They also have three studios nestled into the jungle, a great healthy cafe and if you’re still feeling a little shitty you can get a hydro colonic to renew yourself! Ha!
Other Yoga spots you should also check out include:
My second favorite yoga spot is Radiantly Alive. They’ve recently remodeled the space and it’s a much needed upgrade. They also have a new cafe as well!
I love going to Penestanan once in a while and popping in a yoga class, although I never found an instructor or class I loved, however, it’s nice to change it up once in every so often. There is a little cafe called Yellow Flower next to it that you can check out or you can never go wrong with going to Alchemy for a smoothie bowl or breakfast.
8. Visit a dog shelter in Bali – Barc4dogs
One of our favorite things to do on a rainy day (oh hell, who am I kidding?) any day is a great day) to volunteer at Barc4dogs, a no-kill dog shelter. Stop by there anytime to snuggle, walk, bathe, get your ears nibbled on! Puppies and dogs, cats and kittens, they have it all.
If you are staying in Bali for awhile inquire about whether you are a good fit to foster a dog as well. Barc4dogs has helped so many animals and last I heard they had over 300 animals at their locations that really need some love and attention. Consider making a donation regardless!
We have so many wonderful and heartfelt memories working with the dogs in Bali.
We’ve also helped countless dogs suffering from worms, skin infections, broken limbs, seizures, mange, etc and Barc4dogs always helped. I did typically have to make a donation before they would consider taking the animal in. But its a very worthwhile donation.
Being a companion for these animals is so very rewarding! I highly recommend this as one of your top 10 things to do in Bali in the rain!
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