From transfers to the ferry ports, to which ferry company to pick, how long it takes and ticket prices, this guide explains how to get to the Gili Islands, Indonesia.
So you’ve decided to visit the Gili Islands in Indonesia? WELL DONE – great choice! The islands are SO beautiful, each with their own unique vibe.
There’s Gili T with its mix of luxury and backpacker spots. There’s Gili Meno – the smallest and most remote feeling of the three, great for couples wanting to enjoy a romantic break. Then there’s super chilled out Gili Air – a great island if you’re seeking zen vibes for your trip.
When I visited I went on a sunset cruise, enjoyed cocktails on the beach and went snorkelling. Oh and lazed by the pool. Lots. It’s that kind of place!
But how do you get to the Gili Islands? Well first things first, let’s figure out where they are!
Gili Islands Map
How to get to the Gili Islands by boat
Most people travel to the Gili Islands from Bali, Lombok or Nusa Lembongan. Routes are simple, prices are reasonable, and it’s a pretty easy journey to figure out. The only part I can’t vouch for is the weather. More on that below!
Most people catch the ferry to Gili T, then hop on a smaller boat to Gili Meno or Gili Air, so first things first, here’s what you need to know about getting to Gili T.
Travelling from Bali to Gili T by boat
My first piece of advice is to pay a little bit extra to travel on one of the fast boats. There are some slower options, but in general they’re a lot less desirable and the experience isn’t as comfortable. Also – if you’re prone to seasickness, definitely go for the faster boats!
If you’re travelling to Gili T from Bali, you can catch a ferry from various places including Serangan (southern edge of Bali close to Nusa Dua and Sanur), Padang Bai (more central and closer to towns including Ubud) and Amed (towards the north of Bali, more suitable for towns like Lovina). There are several fast boats, with the duration of the trip ranging from one hour, to two and a half hours.
There are different companies offering ferry services, but most routes have fixed prices. Bluewater Express is one of the most reputable companies to book with. The website is up to date, so you can check times and book tickets online, or pop into a tour office and book via them.
As a guide, these are the prices I was quoted for these journeys:
Serangan, Bali to Gili T – 1 hour 30 / 652.500 IDR
Padang Bai, Bali to Gili T – 1 hour 15 / 783.000 IDR
You could also take a look at GiliGili, another company which offers ferry services between Bali and the Gili Islands, as well as over to the port of Bangsal in Lombok.
On arrival at Gili T, the boats dock by Main Street, some stopping by a pier, others right on the beach. Once on dry land there are no motorised vehicles, so you’ll either have to walk to your accommodation, or hop on a horse and cart.
Road transfers to the ports for the Gili Islands ferry
If you pop into a tour operator or travel agent in Bali or Lombok to book your tickets, they’ll be able to organise a transfer from your hotel to the port. Often you can negotiate this as part of your ticket price too.
Can you fly to the Gili Islands?
In a word: No! There’s no airport on the Gili Islands, so your only route in is to fly to Bali or Lombok, and then transfer to a port and catch the ferry.
Gili Islands boat crossings – Weather
Sea conditions vary a lot throughout the year, and unfortunately these crossings are known for occasional swells and rough seas. I don’t want to put you off, as the islands are 100% worth visiting, but it may be worth checking whether the month you’re planning to visit is known for bad weather. As a quick guide, April – June are usually ok, as are October – December. Always travel in the morning if possible, when the sea is at its calmest.
I’ve heard a few stories from friends having quite horrific encounters with high seas and rocky boats. While the routes close in extreme bad weather, they can still run when it’s a little rough or rainy. Be prepared – load up your phone with good tunes or bring a good book to pass the time!
I hope this helps you plan your trip to the Gili Islands! Before your trip, check out my Gili T Travel Guide which is packed full of amazing things to see and do while you’re there!