Bali, 8 degrees south of the equator, is blessed with a tropical climate that’s divided into two seasons. The dry season runs from April to September and most visit during this period although climate varies across the island. The length of this season is the reason why Bali has no malarial swamps. The rainy season, from October to April, generally sees a rain-shower every day. It can be humid, especially in the hottest months of January and February, but the rain doesn’t tend to last very long and the ground steams dry as soon as the sun peeps out again.
Temperature varies across the island – the northern and eastern lowlands can be hot at about 33 Celsius (and it doesn’t seem to get much cooler when the sun goes down), while the southern beaches tend to hover around a more digestible 26 degrees. In Ubud in the centre, the temperature is moderated by its proximity to the central mountains and it can feel quite cool in the shade at 22 Celsius. The highland interior, which experiences year-round showers, is a good ten degrees lower than the coastal regions, and it can get to a cooler 18 degrees.
FROM THE AIRPORT: Taxis are readily available at the airport.
BY BEMO: After walking, the best (and cheapest) way to get around Bali is by bemo, which can be anything from a minibus to a truck with seats tacked on the back.
BY KIJANG: In the resorts and Ubud, you will also be propositioned by Kijang drivers, who’ll happily volunteer to take you anywhere in their frequently tatty 4-wheeled drive vehicles. The price is negotiable (your starting point should be roughly half of what’s initially asked) and, once you’ve found a driver and car you like, it’s worth making a regular arrangement with him: that way, you can fend off the other transport touts.
BY BOAT: Ferries ply between Bali and the major islands in Indonesia, including the Gilis, Java, Lombok and Komodo.
BY COACH: Incredibly long journeys but if you're tempted ask for a 'Lorena Bus' when you book your ticket; these are air conditioned with a toilet on board.
HIRING CARS / MOTORBIKES: You can hire both motorbikes and rental cars while you’re in Bali, but the traffic around the airport and Denpasar is a nightmare. Driving in Bali is also difficult because roads are not always clearly signposted.
There’s a 30-day visa-on-entry fee, payable in US banknotes at the airport by visitors from certain countries including all of Europe, Australia and North America.
There’s also a departure tax to pay when you leave the country; make sure you have enough money left for it!