Why You Should Visit Bali in January [2023]

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Swimming pool at Anantara Bali Resort Uluwatu. Photo Credit: Anantara Hotels.

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Is January a good time to visit Bali? Except for the first few days, Bali tends to be rather quiet during the first month of the year. So you will practically have the Island of the Gods to yourself. Not only is this the slow season. Also, it is the rainy season. Fortunately, it doesn’t usually rain all day. On the plus side, there are three festivals in January 2023, which should enhance your stay if you are a culture vulture!

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Bali January Weather

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Waterfalls are at there most spectacular during rainy season. Photo Credit: Nick Wehrli.

How is the weather in Bali in January? First of all, Bali has two seasons: wet and dry. The wet season runs from October to April. And the dry season runs from May to September.

Because Bali is near the Equator, there is little variation in temperature from month to month. However, there is more chance of rain during wet season. And the humidity tends to be higher, as well.

In fact, the weather in Bali in January is wet. Because January falls in the middle of the rainy season. On average it rains most days in January. However, keep in mind that is doesn’t usually rain all day.

The average maximum temperature in January is in the low 30s degrees Celsius, or mid-80s Fahrenheit. And the average low is in the mid 20s Celsius, or low to mid-70s Fahrenheit.

While you might not be able to spend a lot of  time by the pool or at the beach in January, you can discover some of Bali’s other attractions. For example you can visit museums and temples. In addition, you can shop till you drop. Bali has some great shopping!

  Ave. High Ave. Low Ave. Rainfall Rainy Days
Canggu 33 C / 91 F 24 C / 75 F 13 inches 19 days
Denpasar 33 C / 91 F 24 C / 75 F 13 inches 19 days
Kuta 33 C / 91 F 24 C / 75 F 13 inches 19 days
Sanur 33 C / 91 F 24 C / 75 F 13 inches 19 days
Seminyak 33 C / 91 F 24 C / 75 F 13 inches 19 days
Ubud 30 C /86 F 22 C / 71 F 14 inches 19 days
Based on averages according to Google.

Visiting Bali in January

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Balinese temple during rainy season. Photo Credit: Alesia Kozik.

The first five or so days of January can be busy. And that is because many travelers spending Christmas in Bali stay behind to ring in the New Year. However, generally speaking, January is one of the slowest months in terms of tourism.

If you want to avoid crowds – and don’t mind a little rain – January could prove a cost-effective time to visit Bali. In addition, you might be able to get special deals at hotels, resorts, and guest houses.

However, an exception would be if Chinese New Year’s falls in January. Bali can be very popular with Chinese tourists, who take advantage of the long holiday to visit the Island of the Gods.

Chinese New Year

  • 2023 – 21 to 27 January
  • 2024 – 9 to 15 February
  • 2025 – 28 January to 3 February

What to Do in Bali in January

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Rock Bar at the Ayana Resort and Spa Bali overlooks the ocean. And loud sound tracks are played after dark. Photo Credit. Photo Credit: Simon Sees.

Bali has a vibrant club scene. And because of its tropical climate, many of the best clubs are outdoors. Not only that, some of them are located overlooking the ocean! For example, check out the Rock Bar at the Ayana Resort and Spa!

And I am speaking from personal experience – Rock Bar rocks!

In the same vein, clubs with outdoor swimming pools are not uncommon. So the parties often get started long before the sun goes down. Day clubs are highly popular! And some of them don’t charge admission! In fact, you only pay for what you consume!

Again, I am speaking from personal experience! A hotel I was staying at didn’t have its own swimming pool. So they sent me to a day club by van. And I spent the afternoon doing laps in its swimming pool overlooking the sea – gratis! I only paid for the drink!

Most traditional festivals and celebrations follow the Balinese calendar, which has 210 days. Therefore, the date of events varies from year to year. In addition, many of the festivals are purely local in nature. So it is impossible to list them all.

Siwa Ratri – 1 January 2023

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Built in 1663, Pura ratan is dedicated to the water. Photo Credit: Konstantinos- Trovasi.

As one of the most important festivals on the Balinese calendar, Siwa Ratri is a time to meditate, look inward, and pray for forgiveness.

Rituals include staying awake for 36 hours, fasting for 24 hours, and keeping silent for 12 hours.

Following 36 hours of abstinence, many people head to the beach and take part in purification rituals.

Ceremonies are held at temples across the island.

Galungan (and Kuningan) – 4 to 14 January 2023

Devotees exiting a temple at the conclusion of Galungan, a 10-day festival celebrating the creation of the universe and the victory of good over evil. Galungan also marks the beginning of the new year, according to the Pawukon calendar. Interestingly enough, Bali traditionally had two calendars. So the new year is celebrated twice.  Photo Credit: Spencer Weart.

Galungan celebrates the creation of the universe. In addition, it commemorates the victory of good over evil. Moreover, Galungan marks the beginning of the new year according to the Pawukon calendar. Finally, the festival lasts 10 days, culminating with Kuningan on the final day.

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Penjor lining a road in Bali during Galungan. Photo Credit: Daviddelit.

Because the Balinese traditionally used two calendars, you should not confuse Galungan with Nyepi, a.k.a. Silent Day.

While Galungan marks the beginning of the new year according to the Pawukon calendar, Nyepi marks the beginning of the new year according to the Saka calendar.

The festivities always begin on a Wednesday. And they continue for 10 days. Furthermore, they take place in family compounds. And in Bali, family compounds double as temp[es.

According to tradition, gods come down to earth during this period. In addition, the souls of ancestors pay visits to their families.

If the festivities begin on a Wednesday, the preparations begin two days earlier. On Monday, cakes were prepared. And they will be used as offerings on the following Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the men slaughter pigs to make pork kebabs and blood sausage. Furthermore, men also make “penjor’. To clarify, penjor are beautifully decorated bamboo trunks. They are  mounted on the sides of the roads and in front of houses.

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Making offerings at a temple in Bali during the Galungan Festival. Photo Credit: Sweart1.
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Balinese children watching the Lion Dance during Kuningan. Photo Credit: Spencer Weart.
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Balinese women getting ready to leave a temple following Kuningan. Photo Credit: Spencer Weart.

The festivities end 10 days later with Kuningan. This is a celebration of purification. Traditionally, the Balinese believed that their ancestors souls left their family compounds on this day.

Because the Pawukon calendar has only 210 days, Galungan will take place again in 210 days, with Kuningan following in 10 days.

  • 2 August – 10 August 2023
  • 28 February – 9 March 2024

Tumpek Kuningan – 14 January 2023

Tumpek Kuningan is one of the six auspicious days on the Balinese calendar. These days occur when the fifth day of the five- day Balinese week falls on a Saturday. And this happens very 35 days. In fact, it takes 210 days to complete the cycle.

Tumpek Kuningan is the third day in the Tumpek cycle. And it comes on the Saturday following Galungan, representing the end of this holiday, which is devoted to ancestor worship. On this day the Balinese make offerings of rice.

If You Are Visiting Bali

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2 Replies to “Why You Should Visit Bali in January [2023]”

  1. Hi. I’m enjoying your write-up on Bali since I’m almost ready to commit to going in January (despite the rain). The link to “Balinese New Year Demystified..” does not work. I’d like to now which Balinese New Year it is so I can decide whether to stay for it or not. Thank you!

    1. Thank you very much for your comment and notifying me that the link to the Balinese New Year doesn’t work. Hopefully, this one will work
      https://accidentaltravelwriter.com/travelogue-balinese-new-year-dr-mystified-or-why-im-extending-my-stay/

      BTW, the Balinese New Year (or Silent Day) will fall on 23 March in 2023. I totally enjoyed the experience, but keep in mind that you will be confined to your hotel for 24 hours. The hotels usually organize special activities such as movies and yoga or meditation classes, and you are allowed to go outside so long as you remain within the hotel compound. But all exterior lighting must be turned off. I thought it was magical!

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