Indonesia Weather, climate and geography

Weather & climate

Best time to visit

Indonesia has a tropical climate which is highly variable from area to area. The eastern monsoon brings the driest weather (June to September), while the western monsoon brings the main rains (December to March). Rainstorms occur all year. Higher regions are cooler. Temperatures average between 23°C (73°F) and 28°C (82°F) all year, but this tends to be humid heat, with humidity varying from 70% to 90%. Peak time for tourists to travel is in June, July and August, although prices will be higher; those travelling in the shoulder seasons of May and September could get lucky with both weather and prices.

Muddy roads can be a deterrent to travel in the wet season. Keep in mind that during local holidays public transport can be clogged, accommodation hard to find in holiday areas and businesses close.

Required clothing

Bring lightweight clothing with rainwear; cottons and silks will be most appropriate. Warmer clothes are needed for cool evenings and upland areas, thicker cottons and woollen garments may work best. Smart clothes such as jackets are required for formal occasions, and it is regarded inappropriate to wear brief clothes anywhere other than the beach or at sports facilities. Women should observe the dress code in Muslim areas that requires shoulders and legs to be kept covered.

Geography

Indonesia lies between the mainland of South East Asia and Australia in the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is the world's largest archipelago state. Indonesia is made up of five main islands - Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Kalimantan (part of the island of Borneo) and Irian Jaya (the western half of New Guinea) - and 30 smaller archipelagos.

In total, the Indonesian archipelago consists of about 17,508 islands; 6,000 of these are inhabited and stretch over 4,828km (3,000 miles), most lying in a volcanic belt with more than 300 volcanoes, the great majority of which are extinct. The landscape varies from island to island, ranging from high mountains and plateaux to coastal lowlands and alluvial belts.

The high incidence of volcanoes in Indonesia is due to its location along a stretch of the Pacific Ring of Fire. The collision of various tectonic plates mean that around 90% of the world’s earthquakes occur within this area, with Indonesia suffering from frequent earthquakes and volcano eruptions.

Edited by Jane Duru
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