The Gili islands are absolutely magical, and anyone planning a trip to Indonesia has likely heard of them; and if you haven’t then you really should consider checking them out as they are a small slice of paradise!Getting to the islands is easy, you can get the ferry from either Bali or Lombok, and because I was in Lombok I traveled directly to the Gili’s from there.To get to the islands from Bali head to Padang Bai ferry terminal and grab a boat from there; you’ve got the choice of the speedboat or the cheaper public boats that all the locals tend to take, I never took either but there are a number of websites that you can book online or just head to the ferry port and book them there!If you’re traveling from Lombok head to Bangsal port, and either jump in a taxi from Sengiggi which will be about 100,000 IDR or you can get a Bemo (jeep type transport used throughout Indonesia) for about 10,000 IDR per person, just hail the Bemo as it drives past on the main road through Sengiggi. From Kuta in the south you’ll need to get a bus, which takes a few hours so make sure you have plenty of time!Once at Bangsal you’ve got two options: the speedboat, or the public boat. Here you’ve got to balance whether you want speed or cost, the speedboat is 85,000 IDR whereas the public boat is 15,000 IDR, the speedboat takes 10 mins, the public boat nearly 1 hour! Personally I’d recommend the public boat, it’s less than a quarter of the price, doesn’t take too long and you get to enjoy the beautiful island scenery as you approach one of the three Gili Islands.Watch out when you arrive at Bangsal as you will be corralled towards the speedboat and we were told there was no public boat, people will use all sorts of tricks to convince you to spend more money! Hold fast and head to the right as you are facing the jetty, past a couple of large buildings to a small shack where you can buy the ticket for the public boat.Public boats run every 30 minutes to an hour from 9am until about 4pm, so try and catch them in the morning so you have the afternoon to relax on the beach in the Gili’s!Once you’ve bought the ticket you will wait on the beach and will eventually board the correct boat going to the island you want to go to (There are three Gili islands, so make sure you check out my guide on them here). They pack people on the public boat so don’t be surprised by the sheer volume of people that can fit on one of these boats! A short boat ride later and you’ll arrive on the peaceful, scenic Gilis!
Watch my video below on my experience getting to the Gili Islands: