Gili Islands – How to get to Gili Islands from Bali?

There are various ways of getting from Bali to Gili Islands. We have opted for an organised transfer from our hotel in Ubud by a van to Padang Bai and a fast boat to Gili Trawangan. It was the fastest, hassle-free and relatively safe way to get to Gili Islands.

Beautiful beach and crystal clear water at the Gili Trawangan, Indonesia.

Beautiful beach and crystal clear water at the Gili Trawangan, Indonesia.

Most travelers get to Gili Islands (Indonesia) either from Lombok or Bali – the closest islands with flight connections. Visiting Gili Islands was part of our 3 months travels across Asia, following our visit to Bali. We looked at various options of getting to Gili Islands from Bali: public bus + public ferry; public bus + private fast boat and organised transfer with fast boat. As we were backpacking for a few months we tried to keep our spending’s low but at the same time we didn’t want to waste all day on a public ferry. We have also heard that public ferry takes hours, very often it gets overloaded with people and supplies and there were some accidents in the past when the ferry sank and people died! That was enough information for us to cross this option off. And organising public transfer from Ubud to the ferry point in Padang Bai also seemed time consuming and not that much cheaper than an organised transport.

On the fast boat from Bali to Gili Trawangan.

On the fast boat from Bali to Gili Trawangan.

That’s how we decided to get organised transfer via our hotel in Ubud which included van transport to Padang Bai and fast boat from there to Gili Trawangan – it cots us 370,000 IDR ~ US$ 31 per person one way (after short negotiations). Before deciding we did some research just to be sure as we also read that there are many companies out there, some more reliable and safer than others. Safety (not only the cost) is definitely a factor that should be seriously taken into account when considering various options of getting to Gili Islands. Some people suggest that actually flying to Lombok and catching public boat that takes about (30 minutes only) is the safest way to get to Gili Islands.

After having our last breakfast in Ubud, we packed our stuff and set off to the biggest Gili Island – Gili Trawangan. We were very excited to move to the island without any motorised transport after hearing constantly motorbike noises in Ubud. We definitely needed some beach time and water activities away from noisy roads.

We were picked up at 11 am and met in the van very interesting German guy – solo traveler who replied that is ‘just a boring lawyer’ when asked what he does for living. At the end we exchanged contact details and said goodbye to our new friend when we reached the ferry/boat point in Padang Bai.

Our first view of Gili Islands from the boat - Gili Trawangan

Our first view of Gili Islands from the boat – Gili Trawangan

We boarded the fast boat and in just over 1 hour arrived to Senggigi, Lombok. Couple of people got out and we carried on for another 15 minutes to Gili Trawangan. We spent most of the journey by the door and on top deck, as the smell of fumes inside made us feel a bit sick. There were also more people on the top deck so it was a great opportunity to have a chat with other fellow travellers. Overall, we felt that it was right choice to get to Gilli’s by the fast boat rather than public ferry. At the end of the journey it started to rain when we were on the top deck and it was too slippery to go inside so we got soaked. However, it was actually quite pleasant and didn’t last for too long as blowing wind dried us off very quickly, before we reached our final destination.

Our first impression of Gili Trawangan was very positive and even better than what we expected. You can read more here.

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