In August, the weather in Indonesia is at its best. Temperatures are warm but not scorching or unpleasant. Islands such as Java and Sumatra average daytime highs of about 87 to 93°F while the evenings drop, but only modestly, to about 73°F to 77°F. Bali is slightly cooler with averages around 82°F to 84°F during the day. With the exception of outliers like North Sulawesi, West Papua, and the Raja Ampat islands, there's almost no rain at all, offering tourists a vacation that's practically guaranteed to be sunny.
Crowds and Costs:
Indonesia is spectacular in August, though it comes at a price: huge crowds. It's one of the busiest months of the year, particularly in places like Bali and Java, so you'll want to prepare for crowded beaches and full tour buses. The ocean will be jam-packed with people swimming and it can sometimes be hard to find lounge chairs at the hotel pools.
Along the same lines, costs will be higher, too. Hotels charge high-season rates this time of year and often these prices can be double the low-season rates. Although food, entertainment, and transportation remain fairly consistent, you'll also find increased airline prices. If you're planning an August trip, you'll want to get your plane ticket well ahead of time.
Where to Go
For the most part, it doesn't really matter where you go in Indonesia in August—it's amazing everywhere.
Bali is one of the most ideal destinations, although you'll definitely contend with bigger crowds there. But the southern beaches are idyllic and the blue water is warm and inviting. Farther north in places like Ubud, there are tons of activities going on in August with plenty of things to do.
Java is another excellent choice. Unlike earlier in the year when the volcanic peaks get drenched with rain, it's a great time to hike up any of the many mountains and soak up breathtaking views from the top. Java also has a lot of cultural wonders to explore in August including several sacred temple complexes.
Another option is to head to Sumatra. With its geography split by the equator, it has different weather patterns in the north and south portions of the island. During August, the southern region (which gets a lot of rain during the offseason) is dry and sunny, making towns like Palembang (aka the “Venice of the East”) ideal for a visit. Islands like Sumba, Nusa Tenggara, and Flores are also great in August.
The only places to potentially avoid are North Sulawesi (which gets some rain in the north), along with West Papua and the Raja Ampat islands. The latter two can be susceptible not only to precipitation but heavy winds as well that can make boat travel challenging. You can still incorporate these places into your itinerary, just be aware of the weather possibilities and don't forget to pack a good rain jacket.
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What to Do
In Bali, check out the famous Kuta beach where you can surf, snorkel, scuba dive, or simply lie on the beach soaking up the sunshine. In addition to premier beaches and water activities, Kuta offers exceptional nightlife, particularly for those interested in the party scene (which goes all night there). Another option is to head to Tanah Lot just up the coastline to check out the stunning water temple.
Head to Java to climb Mt. Bromo or Mt. Ijen, both of which will be perfect this time of year. The island also boasts intriguing temples including the sacred Candi Prambanan temple complex near Borobudur and the Borobudur Temple outside Yogyakarta. In the city of Surabaya (the second largest in Indonesia), check out the colorful food scene that's packed with delicious restaurants and vibrant nightlife.
In Sumatra, head to Medan in the north where you can view the beautiful Mesjid Raya Al Mashun mosque or stroll through the Istana Maimun, a royal palace that used to belong to the Sultanate of Deli. Check out the Tjong A Fie Mansion or wander the Merdeka Walk. If you make it to the southern area, drop by Palembang where you can observe the Great Mosque of Palembang and the Kuto Besak Fort palace.
Events in August
Muharram (Islamic New Year): This major pubic holiday, during which schools, businesses, and government institutions typically close down, occurs in late August or early September every year. The large-scale celebration marks the time when the prophet Muhammad migrated from Mecca to Medina and the subsequent founding of Islam. There are huge festivals and celebrations on nearly every island that involve food, music, parades, and dancing.
Traveling to Indonesia in August? Check out this great itinerary
Temples and Trekking from East Java to Bali: This fun-filled itinerary, which combines incredible temples with stunning outdoor hikes, brings you all over the islands of Bali and Java—two of the country's most popular destinations. It includes several adventurous hikes up three different volcanos, along with snorkeling around Menjangan Island and a trip to the temples at Borobudur and Candi Prambanan.