How to Get to Gili Islands from Bali Easily in 2024 – with Pro’s and Cons & Travel Tips

Are you dreaming of white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and unforgettable sunsets? Look no further than the Gili Islands, a tropical paradise just a short boat ride away from Bali. These three idyllic islands are a must-add to your Bali itinerary. Let this post advise you on all the options you have on how to get to Gili islands from Bali.

As an expert traveller who has lived in and explored Indonesia extensively, I’m here to provide you with all the tips and info to make your journey from Bali to the Gili Islands simply seamless.

Your Quick Gili to Bali Answers

1. Fast Boat – The Popular Choice

  • Duration: The Bali-Gili trip is about 1.5 to 2 hours
  • Pros: Fastest way to get there; offers beautiful ocean views.
  • Cons: Can be rough during bad weather; more expensive.
  • Companies: BlueWater Express, Gili Getaway, and Eka Jaya offer reliable services.
  • Cost: Approximately $20-$50, depending on the season and company.
  • Travelist Insight: Most boats depart from Padang Bai. Arrive early to secure a good seat and bring motion sickness pills if you’re prone to seasickness.

I’ll go into plenty of detail on this option later on in the post

BOOK YOUR BALI GILI ISLAND FAST BOAT TICKET ➡️

2. Public Ferry + Local Boat – The Budget-Friendly Route

  • Duration: The Gili-Bali trip via slow boat is up to 6-9 hours (includes ferry to Lombok and local boat to the Gilis)
  • Pros: Incredibly cheap; an authentic experience.
  • Cons: Much longer (extremely long); requires multiple transfers.
  • Companies: Public ferry service from Padang Bai to Lembar (Lombok), then catch a local boat from Bangsal to the Gilis.
  • Cost: The ferry to Lombok is around $4, and the local boat to the Gilis is about $1-$3.
  • Local Insight: Perfect for the adventurous and those not pressed for time. Be mindful of your belongings and possibly not getting a seat inside the boat (these get pretty full); you might have to sit outside on deck.

3. Flight to Lombok + Boat – The Comfortable Voyage

  • Duration: About 1 hour flight + 30 mins boat ride
  • Pros: Quick and easy; perfect for those who prefer to avoid longer boat trips.
  • Cons: Expensive; not as environmentally friendly.
  • Companies: Wings Air, Lion Air, and Garuda Indonesia offer flights from Denpasar to Lombok. Then take a local boat
  • Cost: Approximately $50-$100, depending on the season and airline.
  • Travelist Insight: This option is ideal for those who prefer to avoid long boat rides or easily get seasick. However, it’s not as budget-friendly compared to other options.

Must Know Bali Gili Island Trip Information

🚢 The public boat is slow, but it’s the cheapest option. If you’re on a tight budget and don’t mind spending more time travelling, this is your choice.

🚤 The fast boat departs from various ports in Bali, namely: Padang Bai, Amed and Serangan Pier

Weather conditions can affect boat schedules, especially during the rainy season. It’s always a good idea to check with your boat company before departing (we experienced this – its not uncommon to have to change from a fast boat to a slow boat option if the waves are too severe).

🎟️ You can book boats at the port but the most reliable and newer boats are always booked up first online. I recommend booking your boat online in advance, especially during peak season as boats can fill up quickly.

🧳 Be mindful of the luggage weight limit for each boat company, as they may vary.

🚲 The Gilis are car-free islands, so you’ll be exploring on foot or by bicycle. Renting a bike is an affordable and fun way to get around. Also, note if you’re bringing a larger luggage you’ll have to carry it yourself to your accommodation or hire a horse-cart at the port.

🥤 Make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks for the journey, especially if you’re taking the slow boat option.

💵 There is a Gili Islands entrance fee of IDR 20 000 (approx 1.5 USD)

How to Book a Gili Island Ferry/ Fast Boat* from Bali

*The words ‘ferry’ and ‘fast boat’ are used interchangeably on most Indonesian websites and by tour providers.

There are now a plethora of companies that offer these speedy services, with names like Wijaya Perkasa, Eka Jaya, FreeBird Express, Semaya One, Gili Getaway and Ostina standing out for their sterling safety records and reliable schedules. Typically, the voyage will set you back anywhere from 1 to 3 hours, depending on sea conditions.

As mentioned above, there are 3 main ports from which the Bali – Gili boats depart:

🚤 Padang Bai

🚤 Seramang Pier and

🚤 Amed

TRAVELIST TIP: Most fast boats will travel from Bali to Gili Trawangan and then you will take another boat to transfer to Gili Air or Gili Meno – this will be determined however by the ticket you book. But a start in Gili T is not a bad idea.

Padang Bai Port to Gili Islands

BOOK FAST BOAT TO GILI TRAWANGAN – with a hotel transfer

BOOK FAST BOAT TO GILI TRAWANGAN – without hotel transfer

BOOK FAST BOAT TO GILI MENO – with hotel transfer

BOOK FAST BOAT TO GILI AIR

Padang Bai to Gili Trawangan Info

  • Boat Trip Travel Time: This is approximately a 1.5 to 2 hours and 15-minute boat ride, It’s the quickest way to paradise!
  • Bali Travel Time to Padang Bai: Depending on where you’re staying from South Bali (like Kuta) or from North Bali (like Ubud) the travel time is approximately 1 hour and a half hours drive to Padang Bai Port. With no traffic, it’s a smooth trip
  • Booking Your Fast Boat: I highly recommend booking these fastboats in advance but If you just missed out this is the port where you’ll most likely manage to get a last-minute booking. Perfect for spontaneous adventurers.
  • Get there Early: I would suggest being there at least 30 minutes before departure. There no assigned seating so if you want to sit in a specific spot indoors or outside in the sun, you’ll need to get there a bit early.

Serangan Pier to Gili Trawangan

BOOK FAST BOAT TO GILI ISLANDS – with hotel transfer (Blue Water Express)

BOOK FAST BOAT TO GILI ISLANDS – without hotel transfer

Serangan Pier to Gili Trawangan Info

  • Boat Trip Travel Time: The fast boat takes approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  • Bali Travel Time to Serangan Pier: Depending on where you’re staying from Kuta or Seminyak the travel time will be around 30-60 minutes.
  • Booking your Fastboat: I would highly recommend booking these fast boats in advance as it’s not a port with many fast boat companies and you might not find any last-minute deals. Perfect for planners!
  • Get there at least 30 minutes early: Same as with Padang Bai, if you want to get good seats be sure to arrive early.

Amed Port to Gili Trawangan

BOOK FAST BOAT TO GILI ISLANDS with Freebird Express ✅

Amed to Gili Trawangan Info

Boat Trip Travel Time: The fast boat takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Bali Travel Time to Amed Port: Depending on where you’re staying from Kuta or Ubud the travel time will be around 2 hours.

Freebird Express is the only company that sails to the Gilis from Amed, and you’ll need to book a ticket on their website.

Bali to Gili Trawangan Ferry Schedules

The Bali Gili island’s fast boat schedules are pretty good. Due to the number of operators, there are 3 departure options usually from 9 am to 14:30 pm (9:00, 9:30, 10:30, 13:30, 14:00 and 14:30).

The Bali to Gili Islands timetable/ ferry schedule will 100% depend on which port you are leaving from.

Bali to Gili Islands via Public Slow Boat

For those who prefer a slower pace or are travelling on a shoestring budget, the public ferry is an adventure in itself. From Padang Bai, you can catch a ferry to Lombok and then hop on a local boat to reach the Gilis.

While this option is wallet-friendly, costing a mere fraction of the fast boat services, it’s a longer trek – think a leisurely day’s travel. Ferries run with reliable frequency, though, giving you flexibility in your travel plans. Just remember, you’ll be trading time for cost savings.

It departs from Padang Bai at approximately 10 am every day. The journey takes around 6-9 hours and will cost you only IDR 22,500 (approx. $1.50 USD).

How to Get to Gili from Bali by Flight

First off, while you can’t fly directly to the Gili Islands (they’re delightfully untouched by airports), flying into Lombok International Airport is your golden ticket closer. With a quick 40-minute flight from Bali, you’re one step closer to island bliss.

There are multiple flights daily from Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) to Lombok Airport (LOP). Just remember, your adventure continues as you make your way to the port for the next leg of your journey.

BOOK FLIGHT FROM BALI TO LOMBOK

Once in Lombok, the charm of local travel awaits. If budget-friendly options sing to your soul, the public ferry from Bangsal Harbour is the way to go. Yes, it’s a bit of a scenic drive from the airport (about 1.5 hours), and yes, you might need to wait for the boat to fill up, but hey, it’s all part of the authentic experience. Plus, it’s a leisurely 30-minute ferry ride to Gili Trawangan.

BOOK FAST BOAT FROM LOMBOK TO GILI ISLANDS

For those itching to feel the sand between their toes a tad quicker, speed boats from Teluk Nare Harbour are your best bet. Just a short 5-15 minute ride across the sea, and voilà, welcome to paradise! It’s slightly pricier but worth every penny for the time saved.

TRAVELIST TIP: Book a combo land and sea transfer for a seamless transition from plane to island serenity

While this option may be more expensive than taking a ferry, it offers convenience and saves time. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy stunning aerial views of Bali and Lombok during the flight!

Bali to Gili Islands Private Charter

How to get to the Gili islands with a touch of luxury or whilst travelling in a group? This is your answer! Consider hiring a private speedboat or yacht, which offers not just comfort but the freedom to plan your departure times. Though this is undoubtedly the priciest option, splitting the cost with friends can make it surprisingly accessible. Picture this: setting sail on your terms, with no crowds and the open sea before you – a truly exclusive experience.

Tips for Sailing Smoothly from Bali to Gili Islands

To ensure your voyage is as smooth as the island breeze, here are some insider tips to keep in mind:

  1. Choosing Your Vessel Wisely 🛥️

The first step to your island getaway starts with selecting the perfect mode of transport. Whether you’re a budget-savvy backpacker or someone who values comfort over cost, there’s an option tailored just for you. Fast boats offer a quick and scenic route directly to the Gilis, while the public ferry from Lombok caters to those looking to soak up the local culture (and don’t mind a longer travel time), if you’re looking for the fastest and hassle-free option, do a private boat charter. Remember, the choice you make sets the tone for your entire adventure.

  1. Packing Like a Pro 🎒

PACK LIGHT! that’s my biggest tip! This s not an island where you needs loads of clothes or will be buying tons of stuff either. I’ts likely you’re going to either use a horse cart to get your luggage to your hotel or carry it by foot. No matter how you choose to travel, just pack the essentials. Onto what to pack, Sunscreen is your best friend under the Indonesian sun, so slather generously. Stay hydrated and energized with plenty of water and snacks—perfect for those moments when you’re waiting to board or catch a magnificent sunset. And don’t forget your camera to capture the breathtaking vistas!

  1. Conquering Sea Sickness 🤮

For some, the sea voyage might bring about a wave of queasiness, but fear not! Prep with some over-the-counter sea sickness medication before you set sail. Staying on deck to gaze at the horizon can also work wonders, offering both a distraction and a way to keep equilibrium. Remember, it’s all part of the oceanic adventure.

Get to Know the Three Gili Islands

Gili Islands offer an escape into a world where the sands are white, the waters clear, and the vibe utterly relaxed. Each island has its unique charm, making them collectively irresistible yet individually distinctive. Here’s a quick guide to what each island offers:

Gili Trawangan – The Vibrant Social Hub

  • The Atmosphere: Affectionately known as ‘Gili T’, this is the largest and most popular of the three islands. It’s famed for its lively mix of nightlife, dining, and water sports, all wrapped in a beautiful island setting.
  • What to Expect: Diverse accommodations from luxury villas to cozy bungalows, beachside parties, and an array of activities like snorkelling, scuba diving, and even horse riding. Gili T is where relaxation meets adventure.

📖 RELATED READ: 5 Tips on How to Choose Which Gili Island is Best for You

Gili Meno – The Serene Escape

  • The Atmosphere: Gili Meno is the middle child, offering a much quieter and more serene environment. It’s the smallest island and the perfect retreat for couples or anyone seeking peace and tranquillity.
  • What to Expect: Stunning, untouched beaches, crystal-clear waters ideal for snorkelling, and the enchanting Meno Wall where turtles are often spotted. Accommodations are more rustic and intimate, providing a truly secluded paradise feel.

Gili Air – The Perfect Blend

  • The Atmosphere: Combining elements of its siblings, Gili Air strikes a perfect balance between the sociable vibe of Gili T and the laid-back nature of Meno. It’s loved for its friendly locals, delicious food, and idyllic beach spots.
  • What to Expect: An inviting mix of traditional village life alongside charming cafes, bars, and a variety of accommodations. Water sports are plentiful, and the coral reefs around the island make for excellent snorkelling and diving opportunities.

Best Time to Visit the Gili Islands from Bali

The Gili Islands are a year-round destination, but the best time to visit is during the dry season from May to September. The weather is warm and sunny with minimal rainfall, making it perfect for beach activities and island hopping. If you’re planning to visit between October to April, be prepared for some rain showers, but even then, the islands still retain their beauty and charm. Plus, you may get to experience the lush greenery of Bali during this time!

Conclusion

The Gili Islands beckon with their promise of untouched beauty and serene landscapes, and getting there from Bali is part of the adventure. How to get to Gili islands maybe by the exhilarating speed of a fast boat, the economic pace of the public ferry, or the exclusive convenience of a private charter, the Islands await to enchant you with their magic.

Now, I’d love to hear from you! Have you travelled to the Gili Islands from Bali? What was your experience like, and which transport did you choose? Share your stories in the comments below and help inspire fellow travellers planning their own odyssey to these heavenly islands.

Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links in the article have affiliate links, what this means is, if you click a link and make a purchase I may earn some money to buy a coffee (whoohoo!). Thanks for the support, I’d love to keep making this content freely available to all. As always opinions and thoughts remain my own.

How to Get to Gili Islands from Bali FAQ

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