In January, you have the opportunity to get to know authentic Bali.
This island is one of the busiest mass tourism destinations in the world, so you should take advantage of the opportunity to visit as many places on the island as possible, see temples and attend local festivals in a period without crowds.
The most popular time to visit Bali is during the dry season, from April to October.
Since Bali is not overloaded with tourists at the beginning of the year, prices can be surprisingly affordable, even for luxury accommodations.
Air ticket prices also differ from those common between April and October.
For example, return tickets from European capitals to Bali in January can be found for around 500 euros.
It’s the same with airlines that fly to Bali from other continents.
If you decide to go around the island using a rent-a-car, you will be sure that the price for that service is much more favorable in January, and there is always the option of hiring an “all-day long taxi.”
The weather in Bali is very pleasant throughout the year.
For example, January temperatures range from 22°C to 31°C, and the sea temperature is 28.9°C, ideal for swimming.
In Bali, the rainy season lasts from October to April. January is an average of twenty rainy days, making it the rainiest month of the year.
On average, about 84 mm of rain falls.
The rain falls in strong short-term showers.
Regardless of this characteristic, there is still enough sun in January for swimming and being on the beach.
Bali In January: Things To Do
Balinese religion combines Hinduism, Buddhism, Shaivism, and pagan beliefs, customs, and rituals.
Bali is called the island with 1000 temples. You will come across temples at every turn, as they are found along the paths in the middle of the jungle, in hotels, and many surprising and unpredictable places.
Pura Puseh, Pura Delem, and Pura Desa are three temples in every village in Bali.
Pura Delem is a refuge for souls before cremation and is next to the cemetery.
Pura Puseh is dedicated to the spirits of the land and is used for fertility rituals.
Pura Desa is used for praying to deities.
The most sacred temple of the Balinese is Pura Agung Besakih or Besakih Temple. It is also called the “Mother Temple” on Mount Agung.
Pura Agung Besakih is the largest complex of Hindu temples in the world. Of the eighty-six temples on the sacred Mount Agung, twenty-three are ancient temples built more than 1,000 years ago.
Pura Agung Besakih is located about fifty kilometers from Ubud.
According to legend, this temple was named after the dragon that inhabits the sacred mountain Agung as a deity.
Pura Agung Besakih and five other large temples located throughout Bali are considered protectors of the island and are called Sad Khayangan Jagad.
These six large and very important temples for the Balinese are:
Pura Agung Besakih in Karangasem,
Goa Lawah temple in Klungkung,
Lempuyang temple in Karangasem,
Batukaru temple in Tabanan,
Pusering Jagat temple in Gianyar,
Uluwatu temple in Badung.
Goa Lawah temple
Goa Lawah temple is located in Klungkung in the village of Pesinggahan, about fifty kilometers from Denpasar.
This temple was built in the 11th century, and its name, in translation, means temple of the cave of bats, which describes where this temple was built.
The entrance to the temple retained a different appearance than it had at the beginning because the believers changed it over time, and especially at the beginning of the 20th century, there were many such changes.
During that period, it was customary to attach porcelain-ceramic plates to the sanctuaries and gates of the Goa Lawah Temple.
In addition to these ornaments, there are also ornaments made of gold.
Pura Goa Lawah is a religious complex with pavilions for different purposes. For example, priests meditate in one of them.
The temple is near Goah Lawah Beach on the north side of Jalan Raya Goa Lawah.
Lempuyang temple or Pura Luhur Lempuyang is located in Karangasem in Abang district.
This temple is also called the “Gate of Heaven.” The holy mountain Agung can be seen from the elevation on which it is located.
Lempuyang Temple is about thirty minutes from Amed Beach in East Bali.
The entrance fee to the temple is 7 USD per person, and it is open for visitors from 7 am to 5 pm.
Batukaru Temple, or Pura Luhur Batukaru, is located in Tabanan on the slopes of Bali’s second-largest volcano Mount Batukaru.
Forests surround the temple, so its arrival is very impressive.
The most impressive Jatiluwih rice fields are just two kilometers away and cover over 600 hectares.
Batukaru Temple is located about an hour and a half from Ubud.
The temple was built in the 11th century but was destroyed in 1604. Batukaru Temple was rebuilt in 1959.
The most important shrine is dedicated to the God of Mount Batukaru, Mahadevi.
Access to visitors who are there only for tourist reasons and not as believers are not allowed everywhere in the complex of this temple, but there are many places where visiting is allowed.
Flower gardens and staircases bordered by statues lead to them.
In the temple’s main courtyard, there is a spring whose holy water is used for prayers and ceremonies.
Pusering Jagat temple
Pusering Jagat temple is located in Gianyar, in Pejeng Village, about an hour from Denpasar.
Pura Pusering Jagat means the center of the world and represents the abode of Shiva. It is important to the Balinese because it maintains the spiritual balance of the entire island.
This temple also worships Batara Amangkurata, a deity who influences those in power by reminding them that leaders must always do good to their people.
There are several Meru towers in Pura Pusering Jagat.
The Pelinggih or Meru Tower is the main sanctuary of every Balinese temple. This tower looks like a pagoda.
It has a brick foundation, a wooden building, and multi-layered thatched roofs. The number of roofs reflects the status of the deity and is always odd.
The Meru towers of the highest deities have eleven levels, and the lowest has three.
Pelinggih is usually dedicated to the highest Hindu gods or the local highest deities.
Similar structures are called shikaris in North India, and in South India, vimanas.
Uluwatu temple or Pura Luhur Uluwatu is located in Badung. The location of this temple has contributed to its great popularity among tourists.
Pura Luhur Uluwatu is located on a cliff seventy meters above the sea, and a winding path leads to it.
Visitors can enter the temple from the south and north.
The fun Balinese Kecak dance is performed every evening in the amphitheater near the Uluwatu temple. In addition to this dance, the group of fun Balinese dances also includes Legong Kraton, Joged Bumbung, and Barong Ket.
Balinese sacred and semi-sacred dances are performed as part of religious ceremonies.
Rejang, Sanghyang Dedari, and Baris Upacara are three sacred dances. Girls dance Rejang and Sanghyang Dedari, and men perform the Baris Upacara dance.
Topeng Sidhakarya Pajegan, Gambuh, and Wayang Wong are semi-sacred dances.
Gambuh is performed by large groups of up to forty performers, and masked men dance Topeng Sidhakarya Pajegan.
Ceremonies and rituals
The Balinese use water from the volcanic lakes of the sacred Mount Agung for ritual purposes.
Because of this custom, Balinese Hinduism is called the “religion of holy water.”
Rituals and religious processions are the main Balinese characteristics besides numerous temples.
Siwa Ratri, or the Night of Shiva, is a ritual where the Balinese turn to the God Shiva with prayers and meditations.
They ask him for the forgiveness of sins, support, and strength to rise to their higher selves. Siwa Ratri is also known as the “longest night” because during this ritual, one fast and refrains from sleeping and talking.
Abstinence from food and drink is called Upavasa and lasts for twenty-four hours.
Monabrata is refraining from speaking. This ritual requires twelve hours of complete silence.
It is assumed that in this way, one can learn not to speak impulsively but to choose kind and sincere words. It is also assumed that silence teaches you to listen more carefully and not to speak evil or lie.
Abstaining from sleep is called Mejagra, and one should stay awake for thirty-six hours.
And during the day that precedes the longest night, there is a series of rituals. For example, the Siwa Ratri ritual begins with a morning prayer.
Siwa Ratri is celebrated during the new moon of the 7th month of the Balinese calendar, and in 2024, it will be held on January 9.
Gulungan is a ten-day religious holiday celebrating the victory of good over evil.
During this holiday, it is believed that the spirits of ancestors visit their former homes. The last day of this religious holiday is Cunningham, when the spirits return to heaven.
During Gulungan, Balinese people leave offerings around their homes and welcome them with prayers as a sign of hospitality towards their deceased relatives.
Bamboo poles with offerings suspended at the end are called penjor. It is customary to place them on both sides of the roads during the festival.
The Balinese perceive connection with deceased relatives as a connection with God. Therefore, on those festive days, they wear traditional clothes and visit temples as a family, but they also live with relatives and friends.
During the ceremony on the decorated streets, you will feel the true spirit of Bali.
Three days before Gulungan, preparations for the big holiday begin. That day is called Penniekeban, and bananas are cooked for the offerings during the holiday.
The next day, colorful cakes are made from fried rice dough to be eaten at Gulungan. That day is called Peniyaan.
The meat used during Gulungan is prepared and blessed the day before the holiday. That day is called Penampahan.
On the first day of Gulungan, all the local temples are decorated and crowded. Balinese return to their homeland for this holiday and celebrate with their relatives. Through stories and reminders of the lineage of their ancestors, they strengthen mutual ties.
Suwat Water Festival is held every year in Suwat village in Gianyar.
The festival begins with traditional dances and ends with the “water war.” This fun war, called Siat, represents the fight between good and evil.
Expecting the water to cleanse and purify everything bad, the Balinese try in this way to make goodness fill the future so bad things don’t happen again. The ritual in which water is used to approach the deities is called Melukat.
According to Balinese belief, the soul is purified through the Melikat ritual, and this act is called the tirtha yatra.
In Bali, melukat rituals are performed at Pura Tirta Empul, Pura Kampuhan Vindhu Segara, and Pura Goa Giri Putri.
Water for the festival is taken from a source with healing properties due to its purity.
Not far from the village of Suvat, there is a waterfall of the same name, which a well-maintained road can easily reach.
Tumpek Uduh is a traditional ceremony in honor of plants. In Balinese Hinduism, numerous ceremonies are held that are not exclusively in honor of deities but can be dedicated to holy teachers, animals, or plants.
Tumpek Uduh is also known as Tumpek Wariga, Tumpek Pengatag, or Tumpek Bubuh.
This ceremony is held every six months on a Saturday, exactly twenty-five days before Galungan Day.
Balinese was named Tumpek Bubuh because rice flour with coconut milk porridge called bubuh sumsun was eaten that day.
Tumpek Pengatag is the name that arose because the ceremonial worship of the plants is followed by a ngatag procession and tapping on the stems of the plants that are thus blessed.
The Tumpek Uduh ceremony was born from Hindu philosophical teachings about the three causes of well-being: harmony with God, harmony among people, and harmony with nature.
The ceremony is performed in untouched nature, courtyards, and plantations.
Odalan is a ceremony held on the anniversary of the temple’s consecration. An Odalan ceremony that takes place every year usually lasts three days, and there are Odalan ceremonies that take place every five, ten, or 100 years, and they can last as long as eleven days.
By celebrating the day of the temple’s consecration, the Balinese pay homage to the temple’s deity. In this way, invite that deity to briefly leave the sacred Agung lake to participate in the ceremony.
For this ceremony, the temple is decorated with colorful golden fabrics. In addition, the ritual uses umbrellas and bamboo decorated with young coconut leaves, flags, and pennants of various sizes.
Although January is the rainiest month of the year in Bali, it should be noted that the rain falls in short showers and that there is enough sun for swimming and being on the beach.
January temperatures that reach up to 31°C and the sea temperature of 28.9°C are ideal for swimming.
These are just some of the beaches in Bali that you can visit. A January downpour might add to Bali’s magical impression on visitors year-round.
Nusa Dua is considered by many to be the resort with the best deals in Bali. It is located on the Bukit Peninsula, about forty kilometers from Denpasar. The entire settlement is surrounded by white sandy beaches.
There used to be mangrove forests on the coast. In the complex of Nusa Dua, there are international luxury hotels, exclusive golf courses, shopping centers, restaurants, and deluxe spas.
Nusa Dua means two islands in translation. This name is due to the two small islands just off the coast. One of them is the Pura Nusa Dua Dharma temple. On this charming islet, you can walk or meditate with the chirping of birds and the soothing sound of waves lapping the shore.
Dua Nusa can be reached from Kuta in about thirty minutes and Jimbaran in about fifteen minutes.
We will mention only some of the seventeen luxury hotels in Nusa Dua.
Amarterra is a hotel that has thirty-nine villas. Each villa has a separate swimming pool, and another larger one is within the hotel.
The Mulia is a resort with luxury apartments on the coast. There are a total of one hundred and eleven apartments. Each of them has a private balcony and jacuzzi. The hotel also has the longest infinity pool in Bali, “Oasis,” which offers a perfect view of the Indian Ocean.
Ayodya Resort is located in a landscaped garden that covers an area of 11.5 hectares. The entire resort is modeled after Balinese water palaces, and the stone statues, carved reliefs, and fountains are fully in the spirit of Balinese art, spirituality, and culture. The motifs are from the great story of the Ramayana.
This resort has five hundred and thirty-seven rooms and suites, seven restaurants, a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a spa center.
Separated from the resort is the Ayodya Palace, which with eighty-one rooms, is a refuge within the resort because it is located in an isolated, quiet corner of the garden.
Right next to the Ayodya Resort is the eighteen-hole Bali Golf and Country Club course.
Palm trees surround Aman Villas, and aromatic frangipani trees bloom around the pool. Its idyllic appearance is reminiscent of an authentic Balinese village, and has a luxurious range of services. Each villa has a swimming pool and a private chef.
The remainder of local customs and living culture is complemented by carved furniture and rattan ceilings that wonderfully fit into the luxurious interior.
Courtyard by Marriott is located about fifteen minutes easy walk from the beach. The resort has five restaurants, Momo Cafe, and a poolside bar.
The resort also has a part of its private beach, where the hotel’s Bech Club is located with a bar, a massage parlor, and sunbeds.
If you want to avoid walking to the beach, you can use the transportation provided by Courtyard by Marriott. This transport takes three minutes to reach the beach.
A golf course is also near the resort, five hundred meters away.
The Grand Hyatt resort is modeled after Balinese water palaces. Thirty-six rooms are available, grouped in four villages on a forty-hectare area in the middle of lush, well-maintained tropical greenery.
The Grand Hyatt resort is surrounded by waterfalls and streams flowing through landscaped gardens and offers a 50-foot private sandy beach.
The resort has five swimming pools, twenty-four luxury spa villas, five restaurants, and three bars.
The Bali Collection shopping center is next to the resort, and the Bali National Golf Course is five minutes away. So it takes about ten minutes to walk to the party in Waterblow.
Sanur Beach Sunrise has an approximately seven-kilometer-long coastline paved along its entire length. This promenade is great for walking or cycling, especially early morning.
The sunrise on this beach is spectacular, especially if you add Mount Agung, visible in the distance.
Hotel gardens and restaurants open directly onto the beach.
Entrance to Sanur beach is free; for two USD, you can rent deckchairs or bicycles for the whole day.
There are several beach clubs. Among the best are Birdhouse Beach Club and Artotel Beach Club.
There are several attractive rice fields near Sanur that you can even reach by bicycle.
One of the attractions in Sanur is the small night market. Here you can buy fresh vegetables, fruits, and local traditional dishes such as Nasi Goreng, Satai, and Nasi Campur at very reasonable prices.
Local fishermen on Sanur beach offer rides in traditional “yakung” boats. These tours can also include fishing.
If Sanur is recognizable for something, it is for its numerous massage parlors. Approximately every third building in Sanur offers these services.
You can buy the best souvenirs at the best prices on Tamblingan Street or Sanur Beach.
The Bali Zoo and the Bali Bird Park are only thirty minutes from Sanur. You can see tropical birds in both gardens, but in Bali Bird Park, there are many more of them. Over a thousand species of exotic birds are housed in this park.
In southern Sanur is the Hindu temple of Pura Blanjong.
The main starting point for a tour of the three Nusa Islands is Sanur. These islands can be reached in about forty-five minutes.
The island of Nusa Penida, in addition to fantastic landscapes, can also offer excellent beaches. Furthermore, there are many restaurants and places to stay on the island.
Jimbaran Beach is about four kilometers long. It is located on the Bukit Peninsula in a bay protected by a coral reef.
On the same coast, next to this beach, there are also Kenonganan Beach and Kelan Beach Bali.
Jimbaran Beach is only fifteen minutes from Ngurah Rai Airport and about twenty minutes from Kuta Beach.
Several restaurants on this beach offer grilled seafood specialties.
Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay is a beachfront resort.
It is modeled after a Balinese village. One hundred and forty-seven villas and swimming pools are on a gentle slope in the middle of a landscaped tropical garden.
Ayana Resort and Spa is located on a cliff above Jimbaran Bay. This top-class resort is spread over approximately ninety hectares of land, with twelve swimming pools, a golf course, and nineteen restaurants and bars.
Jimbaran Bay Beach Resort and Spa are in the center of Jalan Pantai Kedonganan, a few steps from Kedonganan Beach.
This resort has 117 apartments that are classified into eleven categories. It is a very popular bar with a unique art deco furniture design on the roof. This bar offers a three-hundred-and-sixty-degree view of Jimbaran Bay.
Melasti Beach is located on the Bukit Peninsula in Ungasan. This beach is almost two kilometers long and is connected to the private beach of Karma.
There are many beach clubs along Melasti Beach. Some of the most stylish ones are Palmilla, Cattamaran, and Minoo.
The sand on this beach is sparkling white, and at the very entrance to the beach, there is a gate in the style of Balinese temples so that it can be used as a good photo opportunity.
Karma Beach is reached by a road carved into the cliff, but there is no barrier between it and Melasti, so you can easily reach Karma Beach Club.
More destinations to discover: