This post's overview:
- 1 I had too high expectations of Bali…
- 2 Pros and cons of Bali: what to expect from Bali? Is it worth the hype?
- 2.1 Problems of Bali: why I didn’t enjoy Bali to the fullest
- 2.1.1 Number 1. The weather in Bali in December
- 2.1.2 Number 2. Bali doesn’t have really good beaches / or they are really hard to reach
- 2.1.3 Problem Number 3 in Bali. Traffic jams, ugh
- 2.1.4 Number 4. People are pushy and often try to scam you
- 2.1.5 Number 5. You NEED your own transport to see anything in Bali
- 2.2 Ta-dam, it's time for the pros. Why is Bali worth visiting?
- 2.1 Problems of Bali: why I didn’t enjoy Bali to the fullest
- 3 Things to do in Bali when it rains aka in December and January
- 4 Summary of Bali in December: things to do in Bali when it rains
What comes to your mind when someone says “Bali”? Magical retreats, infinity pool, instagrammable swings and birds nests. Is Bali really like that? Is Bali really worth the hype? Read this post to find out more plus to find out whether it’s worth to go to Bali in December and what to do if you’re stuck with a week of rain and no intention to sit in the hotel!
I wrote this post in 2016, however, as I always do with my posts, I updated it in 2019 to make it more relevant for you!
I had too high expectations of Bali…
Imagine being one week in Bali in winter (our winter and their summer, as Bali is in the Southern Hemisphere)? What comes to your mind? White sandy beaches and honeymoon paradise? Then look up for some photos in Google… What do you see? Amazing jungle, paradise beaches, infinity pools, Instagram paraside! Yes, exactly, my expectations before the trip were very high.
But… when we actually got to Bali, I got slightly disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I first went to Bali in 2013 and Instagram wasn’t so popular yet. Blogs weren’t popular. There wasn’t that much information about Bali at all and I thought Bali was all about swimming in the amazing ocean. I thought Bali was the same as the Maldives. While it’s definitely NOT the same and below I will tell you WHY. Read this post about my experience in the Maldives.
While I did enjoy many things in Bali, there were also quite a few things that I didn’t like and didn’t enjoy, so, ladies and gentlemen, here’s what to expect from Bali.
Pros and cons of Bali: what to expect from Bali? Is it worth the hype?
Let’s start with the cons first.
Problems of Bali: why I didn’t enjoy Bali to the fullest
Number 1. The weather in Bali in December
As I mentioned a couple of times, I went to Bali in December. It’s one of the highest seasons in Bali because of the Christmas holidays, school vacations and because of the fact that it’s cold in most parts of Europe and North America, so people tend to escape the cold and head South to enjoy the sunshine.
Chances are, you won’t enjoy sunshine in Bali in December. You won’t even see it. Of course, it’s never certain with the tropical destinations, but Bali is usually pretty rainy in winter (our winter) – December and January are the months with a lot of rainfall in Bali and it’s not just rain that lasts 15 minutes, no, it will be raining days and nights!
Well, to be completely honest with you, I did see the sun once or twice during a full week in Bali, but there was only one day without any rain whatsoever.
Though honestly, Bali, doesn’t lose much because of the rain, it still looked beautiful and unique because it’s not a white-sandy-beach paradise. Bali is all about visiting thousands of temples, coffee, and rice plantations and jungles, practicing yoga, visiting spas and retreats.
The problem is, I wanted a holiday on the beach: you know, a typical beautiful resort on the beach, but I picked a wrong destination.
17 thoughts on “Bali in December: things to do in Bali when it rains”
Thanks for this refreshing review, Liza! I too seem to hear people gushing about Bali all the time and it’s nice to hear a different, more honest perspective.
Thanks a lot for your comment, Claire 🙂
I was in Bali in December, 1993. I had all my money stolen the night I arrived. I stayed in a little hut on the beach on Nusa Lembongan for $6 per night (including breakfast!) and a cyclone ripped the roof off the hut on xmas night. It was one of the most amazing travel experiences I’ve had. I loved it!! And I’ll be writing a post about it (eventually!) But the real Bali disappeared long ago, sadly.
I am currently in Bali (in Ubud, but I also explored a little bit of the southern beach-y areas). I guess I got lucky because it hasn’t rained very much while I’ve been here! Only one day was completely rained out, but mostly it rains for a few hours or overnight or something. Good for you for doing all of those activities despite the rain! Sorry you didn’t find Bali to be more enjoyable! You’re right about the traffic, it’s not super easy to get from place to place. I went to a very nice beach in Canggu, though!
That is such a shame. I hope you get another chance to enjoy Bali better and advice taken. No Bali in December
You know weather is hard to predict 🙂 For example now – sometimes rains here but not heavy and then the sun is shining again 🙂 As well in different parts of Bali the weather condition is different during December 🙂 I think it’s hard to say “don’t go” – better “go, but be prepared for some rain” but at the same time you can save more money rather coming on dry season 🙂 And to experience rainy season in tropical island as well can be good experience 🙂
First of all if you are going to Bali for the beautiful beaches you do not go to Sanur! Sanur has a reef off it so there is very little wave action. Also, most of the boats going out to the islands leave from Sanur Beach. Then as you said it is the rainy season. It is called that because it rains a lot during that time so to go there and not expect it to rain doesn’t make sense. There are beautiful beaches, people, temples, and culture to be enjoyed. You just need to do more research before you go to be sure you go at the best time for the weather and the best places for beach time. I lived in Indonesia for 14 years. There is everything beautiful in Bali for you to enjoy.
Thanks for your comment. At that moment, when I was looking forward to do this trip in 2013, there were not many resources available about Bali (if I knew it would be just like it was, I would never go there in December and wouldn’t have expected nice beaches and paradise location (like Riviera Maya in Mexico, for example). There was information, that Sanur is great for swimming, but no, it wasn’t. The other beaches we have visited were also dirty and crowded. I think the culture is the main point of Bali – these wonderful temples they have, but I wouldn’t call is a great location for relaxing and swimming. I think this information is pretty important, cuz I also have a couple of friends, who went to Bali expecting something else and were really disappointed (because their main aim wasn’t culture, it was swimming in a blue ocean)
Nice and honest opinion. I’ve been living in Bali since 2007 and yes, December (and July) is peak season. Streets are crowded by buses, rental cars and of course motorbikes. I am as a local also annoyed when peak season comes but Bali makes money from these seasons. So, yes…dont come in December and July. I personally usually dont travel on high season as there will be to many tourists.
Beaches – go to south. less tourists and white sand. lots of hidden beaches in south area, but you have to be lil more adventurous as not many people know. talking to surfers who stay in south area like Pecatu, Ungasan, Balangan, Bingin area would help to find the hidden beaches. Sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your Bali trip.
Nice and honest opinion. I’ve been living in Bali since 2007 and yes, December (and July) is peak season. Streets are crowded by buses, rental cars and of course motorbikes. I am as a local also annoyed when peak season comes but Bali makes money from these seasons. …my travel site is
Thanks for an honest opinion. Others are filled with magical paradise. I am planning for my honeymoon. I have to make a list of itinerary for rains too in case if it rains too much.
So sorry you didnt enJOy your experience in bali, i went alone as a woman in 2017 and had a blast. i went in february, stayed in seminyak and loved every single thing.
Getting around is very hard. i should have rented a motorbike. I walked alot which sounds crazy because of the heat but otherwise a total blast.
so much so i am going back for my honeymoon.