Among a few other factors to consider when traveling to Bali is what you will actually be doing there. If you're into beach bumming, surfing, or any other beachside activity, there are two key factors to consider before booking your trip: what season is it and do you have the right beach for you needs?
Bali has two seasons: Rainy & Dry
When people picture the perfect trip to Bali, rain isn't usually part of the plan. This is important to consider because well, a good half of the year is actually considered the "rainy season." Remember winter, spring, summer, and fall? Not a thing in Bali.
Rainy season typically lasts from October to April, leaving May to September dry and hot.
We arrived in Bali during the final month of the wet reason, staying 25 days in total. Although when we arrived on March 1st the skies were clear and bright, just two days later we found it nearly impossible to leave our villa! When it rains in Bali, it rains hard. Large solid drops of warm water come shooting from the sky, soaking through anything in their path.
Keep in mind, this also means that not every day will be super sunny. We experiences a series of days where we'd wake up to a bright hot day, only to get soaked through on the way back from our late lunch.
Just because it's raining doesn't mean it's any cooler. No matter what season it is you can always rely on the island's position near the equator to warm things up somewhere between 80º F (27ºC) to 90º F (32ºC), though you must consider the 75-80% humidity of the atmosphere as well. The wet air can easily make those 90º F feel a lot worse.
Whatever season you decide is right for you, keep in mind that sunscreen is not an option, it's a necessity. As we said, Bali is located extremely close to the equator (about 8 degrees below) where the sun burns its hottest. If you really want to get down to the science of it all, the sun burns quicker because it needs to travel through less atmosphere in order to reach destinations around the equator. Make sure to always have a trusty sunscreen of no less than 40 SPF on hand (I recommend 50 or more for your face!), regardless of season.
Not every beach is picture perfect
This is another one of the huge misconceptions about Bali. Much like Hawaii, people believe that every beach on the island is sprinkled with white sand and clear turquoise waters with colorful fish just five meters deep. If that's what you believe about Bali (or any other island on earth for that matter), you'd better wake up and smell the corals.
Bali does has beautiful beaches. It also has dirty beaches. There are famous surfing beaches as well as secluded swimming or lounging beaches that are wonderful to visit and enjoy, but you need to make sure to do your research first! We didn't do too much searching and landed on a pretty nasty surprise.
On the Seminyak/Kuta border we experienced a truly surprising phenomenon: a beach that was quite pretty in the day, but covered in filth by sunset. The view of the water was lovely, but the moment you looked at the sand everything changed. Filthy beaches covered in garbage and locals that come to offer massages, souvenirs, and hot beer every two minutes.
After talking to a few locals about this shocking experience we were told that the cleanest beaches are in Nusa Dua and the surfing areas in the Western part of South Kuta. Most other beaches have a problem with washes up trash from the island of Java.