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There are lots of options when it comes to getting from Bali to the Gili Islands, which is fortunate as it’s an extremely popular route for travellers. The islands are home to beautiful white sand beaches, so they’re a great addition to any Bali itinerary if you’re looking for some sun, sea and sand. Thankfully, getting from Bali to the Gili Islands is both affordable and easy, with ferries running from a number of ports on Bali. Apart from the occasional cancellation due to bad weather, ferries run all year round so you can make the journey whatever time of year you visit! Find out the different options for getting from Bali to the Gili Islands below!
Wondering what to pack for your trip? Find out what you need with our packing guide for Bali!
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Bali to Gili Islands Transport Options
Fast boat from Padang Bai to Gili Islands
The best ferry to get from Bali to the Gili Islands is the fast ferry from Padang Bai. It’s one of the quickest ways from the area to the Gili Islands, with the journey generally taking around 1½-2 hours. The journey can sometimes take a little longer depending on the weather and how calm the sea is.
There are a few different departure times for the fast ferries, as well as multiple operators serving the route. The ferry timetable from Padang Bai to the Gili Islands varies slightly between operators, but generally the first ferry is around 9am and the last ferry is around 1pm, with a ferry also available around 10.30am.
We recommend taking the 9am ferry for the best crossing, as the sea is normally at its calmest in the morning. This means the journey should be quicker and you also will have less chance of getting seasick.
Before you book tickets you need to decide which Gili Island you intend to visit. If you’re going from Padang Bai to Gili Trawangan or Gili Air then almost all ferries stop at both islands so you shouldn’t have an issue.
Alternatively, if you want to go from Padang Bai to Gili Meno then only a few of the ferries make this journey, so make sure to book the right one! The other option is to take a ferry to either Gili Trawangan or Gili Air and then take a smaller boat to Gili Meno from there.
The easiest way to buy tickets for ferries from Padang Bai in Bali to the Gili Islands is online. It’s best to buy your tickets in advance as ferries regularly sell out, especially during the peak summer months. Thankfully it’s easy to buy tickets on the 12Go Asia website, with prices starting at around 250,000 Rupiah one-way.
One of the issues with taking the ferry from Bali to the Gili Islands is that the boats aren’t always in the best condition. Fortunately, if you book through the link above you can see an average rating of each operator. This should give you an indication of how good the boat is and the quality of service provided. In our opinion, it’s worth paying a little more for an operator with better reviews.
If you book your ticket online you need to make your own way to Padang Bai to catch the ferry. Taxis should cost around 250,000 Rupiah one-way from Ubud or about 300,000 Rupiah from Kuta, but prices will vary depending on exactly where in Bali you’re coming from.
If you don’t want to have to rush to Padang Bai on the day of your ferry then we recommend getting there the night before. That way you can have a relaxed morning and simply head to the pier before catching your boat. There are plenty of great accommodation options available on Booking.com, so staying in the area is extremely convenient for getting to the Gili Islands.
Another option is to buy a ferry ticket to the Gili Islands in one of the popular tourist destinations such as Ubud, Kuta or Seminyak. There are travel agents in most tourist towns in Bali that are able to sell ferry tickets.
When you buy a ticket from one of these agents they normally include a shuttle van to the ferry as part of the price. This is quite convenient as it means you don’t need to arrange your own transport from wherever you are to Padang Bai.
The only disadvantage of this is that the shuttles have multiple people to pick up and someone is always bound to be running a bit late, so you probably won’t leave exactly on time. Either way, you should still arrive in plenty of time for the ferry to the Gili Islands.
Public ferry from Padang Bai to Gili Islands
If you’re travelling in a group and want to find a cheap way from Bali to Gili Trawangan (or any of the other Gili Islands) then you should take the public ferry from Padang Bai to Lembar in Lombok. This ferry should only cost around 40,000 Rupiah per person, and it takes around 4-5 hours to get to Lombok. There is no set timetable, but ferries normally run every 60-90 minutes.
Once you have reached the Lembar ferry terminal in Lombok you need to get to Bangsal harbour, which is around a 1 and a half hour drive away. Lombok is generally cheaper than Bali so a taxi shouldn’t be expensive.
You should be able to get a taxi to take you to Bangsal harbour for around 200,000-250,000 Rupiah depending on your negotiation skills. Alternatively, make sure to have an Indonesian SIM card and book a Grab.
The cost of the public ferry from Bangsal to the Gili Islands varies slightly depending on which island you’re going to. It should cost 22,500 Rupiah from Bangsal to Gili Trawangan, 21,500 Rupiah to Gili Meno and 19,500 Rupiah to Gili Air.
Public boats to the Gili Islands only depart when full, and usually run from around 8am-5pm. If you don’t get to Bangsal in time then you will need to stay nearby to the harbour and take a boat the next day.
The public boats are mainly used by locals, which is why they’re substantially cheaper than the alternative fast boats. If you do decide to travel by the public ferries then it will take around 8-10 hours to get to the Gili Islands.
We recommend paying the extra money for a fast boat directly from Bali to the Gili Islands as it’s quicker and a lot safer. When Natalia took the public ferry between the Gili Islands and Lombok there were large waves crashing into the boat and she felt very unsafe.
This route only really works out cheaper if you’re travelling in a group as you have to pay for the taxi to Bangsal. Considering how much time and effort you have to put in to saving just a bit of money it really isn’t worth it in our opinion.
Fast boat from Serangan to Gili Islands
If you’re staying in the Denpasar or Kuta area of Bali then the easiest option is to take a ferry from Serangan to the Gili Islands. Ferries depart from Serangan every day at 8am and 9am, and take around 3 hours to reach the Gili Islands.
Tickets from Serangan to Gili Trawangan start from just over 400,000 Rupiah per person, but the more reliable operators charge around 600,000+ Rupiah per person. If you take the cheaper option then expect your journey time to be much longer, regardless of what you’re told, as some people say it takes around 6 hours – around double the journey time advertised!
Make sure to book your tickets in advance, especially if you want to book with one of the more reliable operators. Two of the best operators running from this part of Bali to the Gili Islands are Gili Getaway and Blue Water Express.
Taxis to Serangan from Kuta should cost around 100,000-150,000 Rupiah, or around 200,000 Rupiah from Ubud.
Fast boat from Sanur to Gili Islands
Depending on where you’re staying in Bali it may be more convenient to get the boat from Sanur to the Gili Islands. Currently there is only one operator serving the route, but they conveniently offer free hotel pick up from a number of nearby places such as Ubud.
There is only one ferry a day, which departs at 9.30am and takes around 4 hours to reach the Gilis. Tickets from Sanur to the Gili Islands cost around 750,000 Rupiah per person.
Fast boat from Amed to Gili islands
The quickest way to get from Bali to the Gili Islands is by taking the fast boat from Amed. As Amed is located in East Bali, it’s only really worth taking the boat from there if you’re staying nearby. In most instances it makes more sense to take the boat from Padang Bai, Serangan or Sanur.
Boats depart from Amed daily at 9.30am and it only takes around one hour to reach the Gili Islands. Tickets cost 500,000 Rupiah one-way or 900,000 Rupiah for a round trip from October to June, with prices going up to 650,000 Rupiah one-way or 1,200,000 Rupiah return during the peak months of July to September.
Tickets can be booked online in advance via the Freebird Express website.
Fast boat from the Nusa Islands to Gili islands
It’s also possible to get direct ferries from Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan to the Gili Islands. These ferries leave between 9am and 10am in the morning, with two departures from each island.
If you plan to visit Nusa Lembongan and/or Nusa Penida then it makes sense to travel straight to the Gilis from there. That way you don’t have to take a ferry back to Bali before catching another boat to the Gili Islands!
Tickets from the Nusa Islands to the Gili Islands cost between 410,000 Rupiah and 550,000 Rupiah depending on the operator and the departure time. It’s easy to buy tickets online, so we recommend buying them in advance as soon as you know your dates to guarantee your place on the boat!
Planning to visit Nusa Penida? Read our guide on how to get from Bali to Nusa Penida!
Helicopter from Bali to Gili Islands
If money is no object, then the quickest way from Bali to the Gili Islands is by helicopter. The flight only lasts approximately 45 minutes, but it’s a great chance to see some of the beautiful scenery from above.
Prices for a helicopter transfer between Bali and the Gili Islands start from 15,000,000 Rupiah per person, and can be booked on the Air Bali website.
Flight from Bali to Gili Islands
It’s not possible to fly by plane directly to the Gili Islands from Bali as none of the islands have their own airport. If you want to take a plane then you have to fly from Bali to Lombok and then take a ferry to the Gili Islands.
Realistically this isn’t worthwhile doing, as it’s bad for the environment and time consuming. It’s especially not worth it when you consider you will have to travel by boat anyway, and in almost every instance it’s quicker to just take the boat from Bali.
Although the flight to Lombok is short, it will still take time to get to Bali airport, check in, wait for your flight to depart and then get a taxi to the pier once you land. There are much better options listed above for getting from Bali to the Gili Islands, but we wanted to include this as it is still technically a possibility – but not one that we would personally recommend.
Where to stay on the Gili Islands
Kaleydo Villas is one of the nicest places to stay on Gili T, largely thanks to the wonderful swimming pool located just outside the rooms. All the staff at the property are extremely friendly and will help to arrange any tours or snorkelling trips for you during your stay. Rooms start from around $100 USD (1,520,000 Rupiah) per night.
Click here to take a look at Kaleydo Villas on Booking.com or if you prefer to use Agoda then click here to see the property on their website!
Hotel Ombak Paradise
Hotel Ombak Paradise is a great place to stay on Gili Air if you want to escape the busier island of Gili Trawangan. The hotel has a huge swimming pool with a poolside bar, so it’s a great place to spend a relaxing few days.
There are plenty of restaurants nearby, and staff at the property are friendly and helpful too! Rooms start from around $61 USD (930,000 Rupiah) per night.
If you want a peaceful stay on Gili Meno then the Mahamaya Resort is the perfect property. Staying on Gili Meno is recommended if you want to get away from the crowds on Gili T.
The Mahamaya Resort has a lovely pool so you can alternate between soaking up the sun and taking a refreshing dip. Staff at the resort are very helpful and the rooms are some of the nicest available on any of the Gili Islands.
Rooms start from around $144 USD (2,194,000 Rupiah) during the peak summer months, but at other times of year you may find cheaper rates!
Click here to see the latest price at Mahamaya Resort on Booking.com or if you prefer to book via Agoda then click here to see the resort on their website!
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