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Indonesia - Climate and Weather
Indonesia has two seasons each year: the rainy windy seasons and the hot dry seasons. The dry seasons affect the entire country from the month of June to September. The wet season, on the other hand, runs from December through March. Interestingly, the weather begins to follow an irregular pattern as you begin to move to the interior parts of Indonesia away from the sea.
Just like rainfall, temperatures in Indonesia are also affected by how high or close to the coastal monsoons you are. Temperatures at the coast normally fall around 28 degrees celsius. The highlands would have a lower temperature of 23°C as you rise above sea level. The rest of the landlocked regions experience a standard temperature of 26°C. The monsoon winds that blow into the inlands from Asia and the Pacific are some of the major factors that control temperature in Indonesia.
The climate and weather in different Indonesian cities
Bali is a major tourist town in Indonesia with over 4.2 million foreign tourists visiting every year. The best time to travel to Bali on holiday is from April to September when the dry season starts. At this time, the roads to the inlands are dry and accessible, thus moving around will not be a problem. The sun will normally rise around 9am and shines for longer compared to other months of the year.
The monsoon rains last from October to March, turning the highlands to a lush green. However, the jungles grow thicker with vegetation and paths through the forests become muddy and impassable. Fortunately, the seaside is warmer during this time with temperatures of 29°C. Therefore, it makes more sense to tour the coastline as opposed to the interior during the monsoon season.
Bali and Kalimantan are the only two Indonesian islands that maintain a constant temperature throughout the year.
Tourist activities in Sumatra increase around August when the dry season begins. Sumatra also happens to be located directly below the equator thus it gets hot around summer. Tourists visiting the town prefer venturing to the highlands where it is relatively cooler.
The wet season in Sumatra begins in September and lasts until March. However, unlike the dry season, the rainy weather can be quite unpredictable in most parts of the town. For example, the northern side of Sumatra will receive rain from October to January while the southern part experiences precipitation from November through February. Northern Sumatra differs from all because of its irregular rainy and dry weather patterns. The west coast of Sumatra receives the highest rainfall that reaches 400mm annually.
Kalimantan and Papua
Kalimantan and Papua are two Indonesian regions that experience extreme weather conditions. The dry seasons in Kalimantan are the hottest in Indonesia while the region’s heavy downpours rival that of the Sumatran coastline. Kalimantan is rarely affected by the general climate of Indonesia. The island maintains a hot and rainy climate throughout the year with sometimes unpredictable weather patterns. Papua, on the other hand, is locked out of the monsoon cycle causing it to experience drier seasons.
May and October are said to be the driest months in Kalimantan and Papua. However, this will not stop sudden downpours in mid-summer. The climate around the coastline of Papua is a little kinder and experiences more rainfall than the inlands. The southern side of the Papuan coast receives its rain around April through October, while the north coast of Papua precipitates around November through March. Rainfall in Kalimantan and Papua averages around 200mm each year.
The island of Java has a constant warm temperature throughout the year. The dry season spans from May to September. This is the best time to visit the island and explore Java’s attractions like the volcanic mountains of Bromo and Ijen. Summer temperatures range between 28°C and 30°C although it gets cooler when you move towards higher altitudes.
The rains begin in November and end in March with the western part of Java receiving more rain than the eastern side. The rainfalls tend to be heavy and can go on for hours.
Lombok, Flores, and Komodo
The islands of Lombok, Flores, and Komodo are on the easterly side of Indonesia where the climate is either extremely hot or marked with heavy rainfall. Lombok experiences its dry season from November until March. The dry season in Flores begins early in May and ends in November. Komodo also experiences its dry seasons during the same months as Flores, from May to November.
Eventually, Lombok picks up the rainy season from November to March. The rains in Komodo and Flores start from December to April. The only difference between Komodo and Flores, in terms of rainfall, is that Flores receives relatively less rainfall. Statistics show that rainfall never goes beyond 200mm in Flores.
Fortunately, Indonesia is far from the typhoon belt that affects countries like Japan and Vietnam. However, the Island of Timor is located just at the brim of the cyclone belt but it still never gets affected by any cyclones.
How to dress for the weather in Indonesia
Despite the variation of climatic zones within the Indonesian Islands, the overall weather is warm and humid throughout the year. It is advisable to carry light clothes if you are going to be visiting the inlands of Indonesia. The highlands and mountains may witness cold spells once in a while, thus it makes sense to have a few warm clothes with you. Lastly, carry a small umbrella with you in case it rains abruptly in the middle of summer.
Weather and climate in Indonesia is dictated by the altitude of the region and how the region receives the monsoon winds. Generally, the Indonesian climate remains warm and humid throughout the year. Always dress lightly and carry a few warm clothes if you will travel to higher regions like Mt. Bromo.
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