Find out all the options on how to get from Bali to Gili Islands, including the prices & times of fast boats & slow boats from Sanur to Gili Air in Indonesia.
Despite most people never leaving the comforts of Bali, Lombok & the Gili Islands are just a short ferry ride away.
* Don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before any trip to Indonesia. We’ve been using World Nomads for over 10 years. It’s the best-value provider we’ve found but there are other important things to consider. Check out our post and find out which of our claims were successful or denied.
The most popular destination is the Gili Islands. You can get from Bali to the Gili Islands by fast boats from numerous locations such as:
- Sanur – 650,000 IDR / $47.25
- Nusa Lembongan – 600,000 IDR / $43.60
- Padang Bai – 650,000 IDR /
- Amed – 550,000 IDR / $40.00
The longest door-to-door transit time by speed boat from Bali to the Gili Islands will be 4 hours, but budget conscious travelers can experience more of Indonesia and save a bunch of money in the process by taking public transportation.
The downside is this way of how to get to the Gili Islands takes the better part of two days.
We also recommend Lonely Planet’s Bali & Lombok Travel Guide to help you plan your trip.
How to Get to Gili Islands: Sanur to Gili Air
Let’s explore the costs and sights along the way if you’re looking at getting the slow boat from Bali to the Gili Islands.
We travelled from the town on Sanur in Bali to Gili Air, the middle of the islands.
Otherwise, you can attempt your luck with bemos that are both time consuming and frustrating.
My general rule for shorter Bali trips is that Perama charges twice what it may cost if you get local bemo prices.
Sanur to Padang Bai by bemo
Our post on how to get from Bali to the Gili Islands starts in Sanur.
Here is what you could expect if you tried to go from Sanur to Padang Bai by bemo.
The first bemo would take you to Kereneng Terminal (10,000 IDR / $0.75) in Denpasar. You would then have to transfer to Batubulan Terminal (10,000 IDR).
From there you can expect to pay 20,000 IDR / $1.50 to get to the Padang Bai Junction. It is either a 4 km walk, or another 10,000 IDR to Padang Bai proper. All this is assuming there are other passengers and you refuse to partake in the drivers’ extortion tactics.
A short bus ride can quickly turn into an all-day affair with little savings. We know all to well:
Once in Padang Bai you can grab lunch before heading to Blue Lagoon to enjoy the beach and snorkeling assuming you have a friend watching your bags while swimming.
The safest way to reach the coral is along the left side where there is a canal that leads you out. Around sunset, head back to the main strip and grab dinner and drinks.
Padang Bai to Bangsal Harbor
The ferry across to Lembar Harbor takes 4-5 hours (44,000 IDR / $3.20) and runs 24 hours a day. If you take the midnight ferry you will arrive around sunrise, and save a night’s accommodation costs. Upon first arrival in Lombok you will notice a drastic difference. Say goodbye to Hindu and hello to Muslim culture.
Assuming you timed the ferry correctly you should start hearing the morning call to prayer. Bemos to Mataram (15,000 IDR / $1.10) load on the main road outside the harbor. While waiting, you may see several horse carts that are not found on Bali.
From the Mataram bus station the bus to Pemenang costs 25,000 IDR / $1.80. It is then a short 1 km walk to Bangsal Harbor, or you can ride the horse cart for no more than 10,000 IDR / $0.75 if you have always wanted to:
Bangsal Harbor to the Gili Islands
Boats from Bali to the Gili Islands depart from Bangsal Harbor.
After crossing into the ferry terminal, tickets to Gili Trawangan can be purchased in the building to the left and Gili Air tickets (19,500 IDR / $1.40) are bought from a stand to the far right.
The most important thing is to arrive as early as possible as they require 30 passengers to depart and your odds get slimmer each hour that passes:
Only the most frugal or seasoned backpackers take this route from Bali to the Gili Islands. The main requirement is that you see the journey as half the fun in order to enjoy the experience.
Here is a recap of the costs per person to travel on how to get to the Gili Islands from Sanur to Gili Air, so you can make an easy comparison:
- Speedboat: 650,000 IDR / $47.25
- Public transport: 178,500 IDR / $13.00
Multiply the savings by everyone in your party, and plan a special treat on Gili!
For more information on what to see & do in the Gili’s, check out our posts:
*** The Final Word: Getting from Bali to the Gili Islands is all part of the adventure! ***
How did you get to the Gili Islands?
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Visited in October 2015