April is a mixed month as far as rainfall goes. The archipelago definitely gets precipitation, particularly on the central islands of Nusa Tenggara, Lombok, and Flores. However, it's not as strong or disruptive as it can be in February and March. Typically, the rains come in for a few hours in short, intense bursts, and then retreat, allowing the sun to come back out and the beaches to dry off. If you decide to come in April, plan to bring a good rain jacket but know that you probably won't need it every day.
Temperatures are hot just about everywhere this time of year. Bali averages temperatures of 87°F to 90°F (dropping to about 70°F to 75° in the evenings) while East Java sees even hotter numbers that hover between 95°F and 97°F (coming down to 68°F to 70° in the evenings). Sumatra is considerably cooler—daytime highs on that island only hit 78°F to 80°F and evenings cool off to a brisk 59°F to 62°F.
Crowds and Costs
Although tourists begin arriving in scattered numbers in April, it's still a low-traffic month and thus an excellent time to enjoy the country's many beaches, jungles, and cultural attractions without masses of people. Bali is busier than other islands, as it tends to get visitors year-round; however, it's negligible compared to other times of the year. The others have far fewer people and you're likely to have some places mostly to yourself.
Cost-wise, it's similar. Prices begin creeping up, especially toward the end of the month, but they're nothing like they are in July and August. Hotels will be cheaper and airfare will be considerably more affordable.
Where to Go
Bali makes an excellent April destination—it's an island that has things to offer all year long and the fact that it gets a bit of rain during this time means it's much less crowded (yet still pleasant enough weather-wise to enjoy).
Another great thing about choosing Bali as part of an April itinerary is that it has better roads and infrastructure so if heavy rains do occur, they'll be less likely to flood the streets or take out the power. Businesses here are also more accustomed to tourists and have lots of rainy day activities and contingency plans in order.
Another decent choice is to head to Java, particularly the eastern portion of the island which gets less rain than the west. It will still be too muddy and wet to enjoy mountain climbs like Mt. Bromo but destinations like Surabaya and Lumpur have plenty of culture, art, food, and other forms of entertainment (much of which takes place indoors and out of the rain).
If you feel like entertaining your adventurous side, the Moluccas Islands (sometimes referred to as the "Spice Islands") offer excellent hiking, bird-watching, and beach-going activities, Best of all, their wet season is different than other islands so you won't have to deal with rainy weather. Just be prepared that these islands—which include Seram, Halmahera, Ternate, and others—are more remote and won't have as many modern amenities. Wifi tends to be spotty and there are fewer restaurants, bars, and tourist activities.
Sumatra, Nusa Tenggara, Lombok, and Flores are still wet this time of year and best avoided, if possible. If you decide to head to Sumatra, the northern region near Medan is drier than the south.
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What to Do
Head to Bali and check out its many natural and cultural wonders. If it's sunny, try surfing, shopping, or dining out in the super popular beach town of Kuta. Or, check out the Tanah Lot water temple farther up north. Ubud is another a popular tourist town known for its yoga retreats and mindfulness centers, as well as a robust nightlife and party scene. Take a class at the Yoga Barn or visit traditional silversmiths in the Celuk village nearby. The rice paddies that surround town will be lush and green in April, making it a perfect time to wander the trails or ride a bike through the countryside.
Ubud is also home to the famous Monkey Forest (Mandala Suci Wenara Wana) where you can interact with Balinese long-tailed monkeys that roam the park freely. In Bedugul farther north, get your adrenaline fix at the Bali Treetop Adventure Park or stop by the Bali Botanic Garden for a dose of tranquility.
In Java, the mountains will still be too rainy to climb any of the peaks. However, April is an excellent time to visit the many sacred temple complexes. In East Java, for example, where it rains less, the Borobudur Temple complex offers a beautiful site near Yogyakarta while the Candi Prambanan complex sits near Borobudur. Additionally, the city of Surabaya offers excellent shopping, dining, and nightlife opportunities.
If you decide to explore the Moluccas, head to Seram Island where you can learn more about regional culture at the Sangar Budaya Seram Museum, or trek through the beautiful Manusela National Park which is known for it many species of birds. Halmahera Island and Ternate Island both offer additional hiking opportunities while Tidore boasts a gorgeous beach resort.
Events in April
Nyepi / New Year's Day: This unique Hindu celebration, which is celebrated in Bali, falls between late March and early April every year. Also called the "Day of Silence," Nyepi is a public holiday during which local Hindus fast, meditate, and remain silent. The next day, which is called Ngembak Geni ("Relighting the Fire"), people celebrate New Year's Day and normal life resumes. Keep in mind that if you travel to Bali during Nyepi, almost everything, including the airport, will be closed.
Traveling to Indonesia in April? Check out this great itinerary
Highlights of Bali - 8 Days: This is a great April itinerary because it leaves out rainy islands like Sumatra, Lombok, and Flores, focusing instead on Bali which tends to be drier in April, and more full of activities. The 8-day tour starts out with a visit to the Tanah Lot water temple and a trip to Canggu surf village where you can stroll by the cafes or take lessons at Batu Balong beach.