If you read our article about the incredible Gili Islands, you already know you cannot miss this paradise when travelling through Indonesia. The access to the islands is extremely easy if you are at Bali or Lombok Island. So let’s go the point: How to get to the Gili Islands.
You can pay an agency
Many people prefer to make the trip through an agency, which is super easy and fast, but it’s also expensive. It will cost you up to US$100 to have someone picking you up from your hotel then putting you in the speed boat to Gili. Obviously, this option is a lot more comfortable but honestly, it is 10x more expensive than going on your own.
Or you can go on your on
If you are more on a budget or just like to be more adventurous, it is completely possible to do the route on your own.
We will presume you are in Bali, so you have to make your way to Pandang Bai. If you have not rented a motorbike, a taxi from Uluwatu will cost you about 300.000 Rupiahs (US$22). There are boats going to Lombok from Pandang Bai on an hourly rate, 24/7, for 43.000 Rupiahs (US$ 3) and the travel takes about 4h. You can cross on the ferry with you motorbike for 53.000 Rupiahs (US$ 4) (price for you + the bike).
At Lembar Port, in Lombok, you will have to take a taxi or a bemo (a minivan which serves as public transport in the region) to Mataram. It is not so simple to take a bemo, mainly because everybody will tell you that there are no public transports as they want you to take the taxi. But you can simply walk a little further to see the van which will take you to Mataram for 25.000 Rupiahs (US$ 2).
From Mataram, you will have to take two or three more bemos to Bengsal port (each one costing about 5.000 Rupiah). They do not have bus stop and it can be quite confusing to know where it is going to… you can ask for help to the local people, who even though, don’t usually speak good English, will be very helpful. The whole travel from Lembar to Bengsal shall take about 2-3h.
At Bengsal port, there will be boats from 8am until 4.30pm to the Gili Islands. They are on a first-come first-serve basis for each boat, which means no specific time. Every time it gets full, it leaves. It costs only 12.000 Rupiahs (US$ 1) but tourists may pay an extra 9.000 for taxes (though they don’t charge sometimes).
We did it on our own and it was a bit difficult, indeed, but a lot of fun too! So pick the best option for you and be prepared for the paradise 😉
To travel from one Gili to the others
Travel amongst the three islands is super easy and it can be done by public boats which departure on specific schedule. They go twice a day, one in the morning – around 10am – and one in the afternoon – around 2pm – and costs 40.000 Rupiahs (about US$3). You can also take a private boat at any time. The price varies from 200.000 Rupiahs to whenever your bargain skills goes.
*We were at the Gilis at the end of 2015, so prices should have changed. Let us know if you have updated information 😉