The 0.5°×0.5° grid dataset issued by the China National Meteorological Administration was used to study the spatio-temporal process of the two severe droughts in 1963 and 2009 for the Pearl River Basin. Two effective drought indexes named Joint Drought Index (JDI) and Standardized Weighted Average Precipitation (SWAP) were used as indicators for quantitative description of drought. Better considering the spatial property of drought, the results derived from the JDI and SWAP calculated by the grid dataset can reflect the whole process of drought occurrence, development, peak and recession. The monitoring results of JDI represent the average state of drought in a month, which can directly reflect the overall drought process, while the results of SWAP provide a more clear picture for drought monitoring on a short time scale, especially in detecting the beginning, peak and termination time of drought. Both the results of JDI and SWAP are consistent with the actual droughts recorded in history. Therefore, JDI and SWAP can be used together as ideal indicators for drought monitoring in the Pearl River Basin.