Getting over to the Gili Islands Bali is pretty simple. The boats leave from 5 different locations on the island of Bali: Amed, Benoa Harbour, Padang Bai, Sanur and Serangan and ticket prices vary depending on the location of your departure.
If you are travelling to and from Padang Bai, your ticket will be cheaper. You will however need to arrange transport to/from your hotel wherever you are staying on Bali. Sanur is the most popular port as it is close to Seminyak, Kuta and Ubud therefore it is also the most expensive.
Don’t book your boat tickets in advance! I spoke to many people who had been fooled online and bought their tickets for around 100 AUD before arriving to Bali. They then found out that the ticket prices were actually 350,000 IDR return which is about $33 AUD!
Once you arrive at the port you will be given a handful of stickers with the name of your final destination. Place them on both your t-shirt and on your luggage and don’t lose them. The crew handle your baggage and put them in a pile based on where you are heading. We used Eka jaya fast boat which took around 2.5 hours to Gili Trawangan.
Gili Islands Bali
The Gili Islands Bali are a fantastic place for snorkelling, relaxing on the beach and of course, partying. We went on a snorkel trip lasting 5 hours which took us over to Gili Air and Gili Meno. It cost 90.000 IDR which is around 10AUD, bargain! We were provided with a snorkel and mask so you don’t need to buy your own. We stopped on Gili Air for an hour for lunch which you pay for yourself. The tour guides direct you to a restaurant they have a contract with, but we ditched the crowd and went to another one down the street. We didn’t fancy waiting around for all 40 people on our boat to order their lunch.
Most tour companies offer the same deal for around a similar price.
Snorkelling around the Gili Islands Bali is beautiful and there are many turtles living in the warm water. The only thing that spoils it are the amount of people crammed on to the tours. Most people who sell you the tickets tell you that it is for a small tour of 6 people.
However, when we arrived on the day there were actually 40 of us. Every boat out in the water was full of people, which does spoil the experience a little. We tried to do our own thing and not follow the crowds, but you can’t stray too far from your boat or you’ll end up being left behind with all the other tourists in the water.
Gili Islands Bali
The beaches on Gili Trawangan are beautiful and the water is very warm. There are two main beaches, one where all the tours and boats arrive/leave from, and at the other side of the island is where the famous Gili Swings are. The Gili swings are very popular on a night time, especially around sunset. There are a number of chill out bars along the beaches with sofas and bean bags facing towards the sea.
Gili Trawagan is a great spot for snorkelling, beach days, party nights and chill out bars. No matter where you stay on the island, you will have a fab time. If you like the party scene, stay on the side of the island where the boats come in. If relaxing and sunbathing is more your thing, stay on the other side of the island.
TIP! The one sad thing about the island is that there are no taxis or scooters and the only form of transport is horse and cart. You may think this sounds cool but these animals are not being looked after. They are dehydrated, hot and tired and the locals do not provide them with the correct amount of food or water. If you can book a hotel nearby that means you don’t need to use this form of transport, the better!
Try not to use the horses for unnecessary trips. If you have tons of luggage and your hotel is 2km, fair enough. But, don’t use these guys just to get to the beach. Don’t be lazy & save the horses the stress 🙁
If you like fun and adventure, check out my post about climbing Mount Batur Bali