When is the best time and season to come to Bali? Bali is truly a magical place! You can come to Bali any month of the year. It feels like summer 365 days of the year! Both air and water temperature don’t change much during the year. Air temperature on average is consistently between 25-33 degrees Celsius, equivalent to 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Water temperature averages around 28 degrees Celsius, or 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Not bad right?
Perfect for surfers looking to escape from constricting rubber suits and enjoy the freedom. You can surf without a wet suit year around. Some people may still get chilly and find the need to wear a spring suit, or a thick rash guard during the months of July-August. Water temperature dips slightly cooler during these months. Even so, majority of the people feel comfortable bare backing it throughout the year. Bali consistently has tourists all year long. There is a slight difference in visitors during August (considered to be peak season), compared to January, with the least amount of tourists. July and August tend to attract the highest volume of visitors. The weather is extremely pleasant during these months. Not too hot, not too humid, just the perfect temperature to entice people to Bali.
From December to March, the west monsoon can bring heavy showers and high humidity. But can still remain sunny with sporadic rain passing through quickly, mostly in the late afternoon, or evening. From June to September, low humidity tends to cool down in the evenings. This is the time of year when you will see minimal rain fall in Bali.
Rainy season in Bali
The rainy season in Bali is not bad compared to other Southeast Asian countries. Short spurts of tropical rains are always followed by sunshine. Most of the rain occur during the nights, although some days could bring bad luck and potentially rain non-stop throughout the day. The worst months for rain are usually January and February. Unless you absolutely love rain, try to avoid coming to Bali during these months. Despite having gloomy weather, there are good things about the rainy season. This is the time that it gets really warm. The water stays consistently warm even in the early morning. The air temperature stays the same both mornings and nights requiring no additional clothing. You can comfortably wear nothing but shorts, t-shirt, and sandals.
Dry season in Bali
Dry season begins around April, when the rains dissipate and humidity levels drop. Evenings become refreshingly cool. Some people may feel the need to wear a sweatshirt when driving a motorbike. The peak of the dry season in Bali is in July and August. So if you like dryer weather, we recommend coming to Bali in July or August.
Surfing seasons in Bali
You can actually surf year around in Bali. You just need to pay attention to which spots work during what time of the season. You may want to search for surf elsewhere during the rainy season (from November to April). Any surf spot southwest of Bali (Berawa Beach, Canggu, Pererenan, Balian, Medewi) will most likely not be ideal during the wet season. Avoid Kuta beach break as well, especially in January and February when the beach gets rather dirty. Some spots are best in the rainy season. Especially on the East side of the island, starting from Nusa Dua, Greenbowl and further north at Serangan, Keramas , Padang Galak , Lembeng and others. Dry season from May through Octover is the best time for surfing around the Bukit peninsula like Jimbaran, Balangan, Dreamland, Padang-Padang, and Uluwatu to name a few. Don’t forget to also check for surf in the Southwest region of Bali around Canggu.
Weather statistics in Bali
Month Average temperature & Humidity
- January 28 C / 82 F 75%
- February 28 C / 82 F 75%
- March 28 C / 82 F 70%
- April 28 C / 82 F 65%
- May 27 C / 80 F 65%
- June 27 C / 80 F 60%
- July 26 C / 78 F 55%
- August 26 C / 78 F 55%
- September 26 C / 78 F 60%
- October 27 C / 80 F 65%
- November 28 C / 82 F 65%
- December 28 C / 82 F 70%
The goal of this article is to help readers get a better understanding of everything you need to know about learning to surf in Bali. This might also be useful for all those novice surfers willing to improve. Bali is one of thousands of islands in Indonesia that offers world class breaks and is considered to be one of the best surfing areas on this planet. What makes Bali so unique other than warm waters, is that it offers waves year around in a variety of different breaks for all skill levels. From reef breaks, to beach, there are ample opportunities for surfers to progress rapidly. You can choose from several surf schools, camps, and private coaches if you feel the need for formal training. It is good to learn the basics as well safety and etiquette. Talk to a few locals to get some ideas on which surf school to choose from.
Surfing season in Bali
As mentioned previously, Bali has no surf season since its good year around. There are no issues with shortages of waves and you can always find good surf if you explore. Waves can sometimes be big and if you are a beginner, choosing the right surf school would be beneficial. They have the skill and knowledge to take you to the right spots suited to your level. Speaking of seasons, there is one thing that you should consider before planning your ultimate surf trip to Bali.
During the months of June, July, and August are the peak season where waves will be the biggest and at their best. This draws crowded line-ups, competitive, and aggressive surfers from all over the world. This is also the most expensive time to come to Bali as the prices for everything goes up, including airfares and hotel accommodations. Around the holidays in the months of November through February is what we call the wet season. It rains constantly and you will need to travel to the other side of the island to find better surf. I suggest coming April, May, September, and October. Its the best months in terms of weather, waves and crowds, best for beginner surfers. Weather in Bali is consistent all year, with an average temperature of 30 C / 80 F. Water temperature is always warm almost the same as the air temperature year round.
Where to surf
Bali’s main beginners surf spot is located in Kuta. Kuta is a beach break and offers perfect conditions for beginners. The waves break close to shore so that means less paddling and no worries about getting shredded on a reef when you fall. Kuta is well known as a beginners spot so it’s okay to make mistakes while learning without being yelled at by other surfers. Unfortunately it can get extremely crowded with kooks (Kook: term used by surfers to describe those who are reckless and dangerous to the safety of other surfers) and have a higher probability of getting a ding on your board or yourself.
So be mindful of safety and watch out! Other spots considered to be for beginners are Seminyak and Jimbaran, which are beach breaks. Padang Padang and Old Man’s are both reef breaks. The last two mentioned can be considered more intermediate because of the longer paddle and reef. Consider hiring a surf guide if you feel uncomfortable so they can show you the channels and where to lineup properly. During the wet season (December-February), you can consider spots like Nusa Dua (beach break), or Serangan (reef break).
Choosing surf school
There are plenty of surf schools in Bali. Most of them are located in Kuta, Seminyak, Canggu and few in Padang-Padang. Most surfers gravitate towards Kuta for all its post surf activities. Saturated with bars, restaurants, and clubs on every corner. You might find it hard to get motivated to surf the next day after an all night extravaganza. Canggu and Padang-Padang is the opposite, with less distractions and more laid back. For those who want a peaceful and tranquil surf adventure, taking surf lessons in this area is recommended.
Bali surf conditions can be very tricky and no two surf spots are alike. Going to a surf school or hiring a guide is a must, so save yourself time and frustration trying to figure out when exactly is the best time for you to surf. When choosing a school, I suggest an international, well established surf school. They are well experienced surf instructors who know how to teach. Avoid local beach boys walking around offering private lessons right on the spot. It might seem like a cheaper option but, in the end, it will take more time to learn because those guys usually don’t know how to teach. You don’t need to book a school in advance. Just show up one day early before you want to start your lessons and sign up. The more lessons you book, the cheaper each lesson becomes. An average cost per lesson are around 35-40$ if you book 5-10 lessons in advance. If you are not sure how many lessons you want, I suggest do 3 lessons first.
When planning your lessons, consider the following: One lesson usually lasts about 3 hours. Depending on your physical shape, be ready to surf around 5 days a week, with a break every 3 days. Before making a choice about which surf school to choose, ask how many students they will have and the number of instructors for each group? Some surf schools will try to offer cheaper lessons but end up with 15 students in a group with one instructor.
Another reason for choosing an international surf school is to teach you about ocean safety, surfing etiquette and wave knowledge. Besides surf schools there are several surf camps and retreats to choose from. The difference between just taking lessons at a school vs. surf camp, is they offer a full package including surf lessons, accommodation and meals. Consider doing a surf camp if you want your itinerary laid out for you and surfing is your main goal while in Bali. Some surf camps are located in Padang Padang (Bukit), or Canggu area. Space is limited so booking a surf camp in advance is suggested.
What you might need for surfing
If you are a beginner, you won’t need to bring anything with you. In fact, you shouldn’t bring a surfboard to avoid any airline odd size baggage fees. You can rent surfboards when you arrive at any surf shop. Some surf schools provide beginner boards for you to use which is included in package cost. The good schools will even provide you with a rash guard and board shorts. The only thing I suggest bringing is sun screen. It can get very expensive here in Bali.
If you don’t already have rash guards, board shorts, or other surf apparel,there are plenty of surf shops in Kuta to choose from. All the top name brands have established shops throughout the island. From Billabong, Quicksilver, Roxy, Ripcurl, and many others to choose from. Don’t expect the pricing to be cheaper because you are in Bali. You will find that most things are priced the same as the surf shops at home. Surfboard rental is cheap. In Kuta, surf shops rent boards on average of 5$ a day, or 60$ a month
If you feel the need to own a board while you stay, be ready to fork up about 300-350$ for a used board. You can buy it from someone you may have just run into, or a surf shop. Don’t forget that you can always bargain to get the best possible deal. If you happen to ding your board, repair is inexpensive depending upon the severity of the damage. The worst case scenario of snapping your board in two will cost around 60$. Small minor dings shouldn’t be anymore than 10$, which can be negotiable. The best surf shop & repair in Kuta is Naruki on Benesari Street. Water temperature is always warm, so a wetsuit is not necessary. In the months of July and August, you may feel the need to wear a 2mm jacket, or spring suit. Most people wear rash guards to avoid long exposure to sun.
If you’re tired of Tabasco and are looking for some fire to spice up your meals, look no further. Indonesia’s sambal sauce – packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – is guaranteed to give you a healthy glow. Find out how sambal became the nation’s hottest sauce, and try some of Indoneo’s favourite recipes that will give you a taste to remember.
Whether you’re sitting in a five-star restaurant or relaxing at a street-side food-stall, you’re never far from sambal in Indonesia.
Sambal for your average Indonesian is like tomato ketchup to an American: it goes with everything. Rice or a stir-fry, beef or fish, on an omelette or in a soup – this all-purpose fiery, tangy relish comes in several hundred flavours. Add some shrimp paste and you get sambal terasi; throw in some peanuts and you’ve got sambal kacang. Like it sweet? Mix in some mango or pineapple. Smelly? Sambal durian. Make a baseline sambal chili paste sauce, and – if you can stand the heat – it’s time to get creative in the kitchen.
Where Does Sambal Come From?
It’s hard to imagine an Indonesian person without thinking of hot sambal sauce and sweaty mealtimes. But it wasn’t always so.
Everyone knows that the islands of Maluku were known as the ‘Spice Islands’. And while cloves and nutmeg were already key ingredients in local dishes, it wasn’t until Portuguese traders landed in 16th century Indonesia that chilis finally came face-to-face with their most devoted fans. Add some black pepper, turmeric, shallots, lemongrass and tamarind from India – or the ginger, garlic and soy sauce brought by Chinese sailors – and you begin to get a real taste of where sambal sauce comes from. Actually, it’s from a bit of everywhere.
But sambal isn’t just an Indonesian thing. Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Holland have all developed their own twists on tradition – but the word sambel (‘sambal’) is from Java. In Indonesia, you’ll often hear the basic sambal recipe referred to as sambal oelek or sambal ulek – ‘sambal’ describing the raw chili-paste mix, and ‘oelek’ referring to the stone pestle, or Javanese ulek, that the paste is ground up in.
A Chili a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
In Indonesia, the humble chili finds itself into most daily dishes – and is, unsurprisingly, the central ingredient in everyone’s favourite sauce: sambal oelek. Chili peppers have your health at heart. Boasting zero cholesterol, they’re also packed with Vitamin C – which fights off free radicals and prevents scurvy – as well as the important antioxidant Vitamin A. On the mineral front, they’re loaded with manganese, iron and magnesium – and the potassium in chilis will help control your heart-rate and blood pressure. Add a dash of Vitamin B-complex including niacin, riboflavin and thiamine to keep you cool-headed and relaxed – and you’ll find that ‘Sambal with everything’ is a smart health choice.
Different Types of Indonesian Sambal
Just as sambal’s ingredients are as varied as the traders who sailed across to Indonesia, so are the basic recipes that stretch from one end of the volcanic archipelago to the other.
If you like it a little bit sour, try a sambal asam – a terasi prawn-paste with some Indian tamarind concentrate thrown into the mix.
Fishy? It’s got to be Lombok’s sambal plecing with the island’s very own lengkare shrimp paste.
If you want it superhot (or don’t like your guests) then sambal setan – ‘devil’s sambal’ made with Madame Jeanette chilis and popular in Surabaya – should be at the top of your list.
If you’re visiting Palembang in South Sumatra and like it sweet, you might be served up with a sambal buah – literally a ‘fruit sambal’ – which is your basic terasi with a kemang mango and pineapple twist.
Passing through Sundanese territory in Bandung might see you sweating over some sambal jengkol made with the mildly poisonous jengkol bean – too much of this slightly stinky vegetable can give you gout and kidney failure. Perhaps give this one a miss.
Cooking up a storm on your barbecue? It’s got to be sambal kecap, the sweet-and-hot blend of kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), red chili, tomatoes, shallots and a squeeze of lime. But be sure to keep some cold Bintang beers on hand.
In Bali’s Ubud, Ibu Oka (next to Ubud Palace) will serve you up one of the tastiest takes on Balinese sambal that accompanies her world-famous roast pork.
International Sambal Sauce Variations
In multicultural Singapore, food hawkers cater to all tastes by combining sambal’s standard ingredients with some English mustard and Indian curry leaves to make the perfectly hot chicken sambal.
In Malaysia, a basic prawn-based sambal terasi will have you searching for sambal belacan recipes in your cookbook. Ditto for a nasi lemak sambal recipe: it’s Malaysia’s national dish. Some Malaysians might prefer the sweet-and-sour sambal tempoyak with fermented durian and anchovies – although that sounds like a recipe for bad breath.
On the other side of the Indian Ocean, you’ll find that shrimp paste is substituted with crumbled Maldive fish – ending up as sini sambal, pol sambal or lunu miris in Sri Lanka.
When in Thailand, ask for a sriracha – and in China, la jaio. Your waiter won’t know what ‘sambal’ is.
Where to Buy Sambal
Whether you’re in Indonesia or abroad, there’s no excuse for not making your own homemade sambal. But if you’re already in Indonesia and feeling lazy, there are plenty of ready-made sambals and shrimp-pastes for sale at all major Indonesian supermarkets from Jakarta to Jogya. And they’re tasty. Take a walk around Bintang, Hardy’s, Delta Dewata or Carrefour for the widest choices.
In the United States, Europe or Australia, you’ll need to pay a visit to your nearest Asian greengrocers if you’re making your own and are looking for some of the more exotic ingredients. You can, of course, just buy your sambal online. In the US, try the Indo Food Store for a good range of Indonesian food products. The Australian-based Indo-Asian Grocery Store also has a wide choice of ready-to-eat sambals – or try the UK-based Melbury and Appleton for a sambal oelek substitute that can be delivered across Europe.
Where to Eat a Killer Sambal in Indonesia
OK, so you’re on holiday in Indonesia and you don’t want to make your own. Why not pop into one of Pondok Cabe’s budget restaurants while you’re in Yogyakarta for an eye-watering array of Mum’s Own sambal. Or in Bali’s Ubud, Ibu Oka (next to Ubud Palace) will serve you up one of the tastiest takes on Balinese sambal that accompanies her world-famous roast pork. And while you’re in Ubud, why not get your hands dirty in a cooking class and learn from an expert?
Preparing a Basic Sambal Sauce
You don’t need to be a masterchef to prepare your first baseline sambal sauce. If you’ve never made one before, the trick is to keep it simple – you can always get more imaginative later. For a traditional ‘Mothership’ recipe that goes well with rice, noodles, fried foods and, well, anything – it’s easy and quick.
To make your first cup of sambal, you’ll need the following:
- 1 cup of your favourite red or green Indonesian chilis, chopped.
- ½ a cup of chopped garlic.
- 3 tablespoons of canola oil – virgin olive oil also works.
- 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.
- Heat the oil in a pan, stir in the chopped chilis and garlic, and sauté until the chilis are soft.
- Transfer the chili-garlic mix to a mortar-and-pestle or a blender, taking care to leave as much of the oil as possible behind in the pan.
- Add a pinch of salt, and grind (or blend) the chilis and garlic until you have a smooth but slightly chunky consistency. You’ll find you have more control over the consistency if you grind by hand.
- Return the chili-garlic-salt mix to the pan, add the vinegar, and stir on a medium heat for 1-2 minutes – or until the sambal has thickened.
- And there you have it. Your first Mothership Sambal is ready to accompany your favourite Asian dish. If you have some left over, store it in a sealed glass jar with a lid as a base for tomorrow’s more adventurous sambal recipe. It’ll stay fresh in your fridge for a week.
Pro-Tips When Preparing Sambal
- Wear disposable gloves when you’re cutting and handling chili peppers – and make sure that you take the gloves off before you rub your eye.
- Using a blender might seem easier than using a pestle-and-mortar – but the strong chili taste will contaminate other foods unless you pour water and coffee-grounds into the blender afterwards to get rid of the unwanted smell.
- When including shrimp paste in a sambal, first wrap it in some tin foil or a banana leaf and bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 180C – it’ll take the edge off the strong taste, and release its flavours.
Some Like it Hot
They say you can spot an Indonesian on holiday by the large jar of sambal in his hotel room. To your average Indonesian person, a meal isn’t a meal without rice – and without sambal, it isn’t worth eating. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert – a spicy sambal sauce will put fire in your belly and give your body a healthy boost. But remember one important thing: if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
‘Sunday Brunches’ have become trendy amongst the high-end international hotels over the past few years all around the world. With buffets and all you can eat style dinning cascading with oysters, sashimi, premium meats, decadent desserts, accompanied with free flow champagne if you choose, it’s no surprise the trend has caught on here in Bali. Here we have the best of Bali’s Sunday Brunches from gastronomic and extravagant, sophisticated and polished to child friendly.
Soleil at The Mulia Nusa Dua
An extravagant brunch serving Mediterranean and Pan-Asian cuisine. Everything about the Mulia says luxury and the Brunch is infamous for its decadence.
Cut Catch Cucina at Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort
A huge selection of the best local seafood, premium meat cuts and modern Italian dishes. Cut Catch Cocina is a sophisticated dinning experience and has a very good reputation amongst the island’s brunches. Also open for a Saturday sitting.
Nikki Beach Nusa Dua
The brunch at Nikki beach is the place to be seen, with Brunches turning into all day pool parties. Enjoy a large variety of food before heading to the lounges for some sun and cocktails.
Starfish Bloo The W Petitenget
An island favourite, Starfish Bloo specialises in Pan-Asian cuisine and seafood platters in a casual but elegant seaside Brunch setting.
Benkay Japanese Restaurant at Grand Nikko Bali
Japanese specialties such as sushi, sashimi, tempura, udon and other favorites are available from an extensive buffet accompanied by free flow green tea. A stunning resort and the Sunday Brunch is a refreshing change from other Sunday Brunches.
Sheraton Sunday Market Brunch Kuta
This Sunday Brunch really highlights fresh produce and ingredients from the island. Known to be very unpretentious, the Sheraton Sunday Market Brunch is also great for kids.
Lobster Brunch Fairmont Sanur Beach
Featuring a unique lobster-centric a la carte menu and a wide selection of savory and sweet buffet dishes, including oysters, cold meats, cheeses and delicious seafood dishes.
Uma Cucina at Uma by Como Ubud
With all you can eat à la cart service, Uma by Como insures a quality dinning experience. Choose from a variety of anti-pasto dishes to seafood and of course dessert.
Glow at Como Shambhala Estate Ubud
Come Shambhala Estate offers a ‘health retreat’ style stay. The Sunday Brunch at Glow is à la cart style with a focus on lighter dishes.
The Astor Diamond Champagne Sunday Brunch at Kayuputih St Regis Nusa Dua
Expect decadence and gastronomic indulgence with beverage packages including premium champagne and wine. Use of the Children’s learning centre complimentary during Brunch hours.
Boneka Sunday Bruch St Regis Nusa Dua
Only a little bit more low key than Kayuputih also as St Regis, Boneka does an Avruga pearls and oyster station and lobster omelette. Use of the Children’s learning centre complimentary during Brunch hours.
Pregos Westin Nusa Dua
The family friendliest Brunch on the island, Pregos serves an Italian style all you can eat brunch with many child friendly options. Beverage packages available for adults.