Your guide on how to get to the Gili islands

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Are you planning to visit the Gili Islands? Than this short guide might come in handy.

Here we will try to explain the most important things you need to know to make your trip to the Gili Islands an awesome experience.

We will cover topics on 'how to get to the islands', 'which boats to use', 'how the free hotel pickup shuttle works' and talk about some great things you can do on the Gili islands. We hope this helps you. 

The Gili’s

The Gili islands exist of three small islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno. The islands are part of Lombok, Indonesia and are situated on the North West coast off Lombok. The islands are famous for their beautiful coral reefs, beaches and sea turtles. 

Fun fact: Did you know that there are no cars on any of the three islands? 

How to get to the Gili Islands

Getting to any of the three islands is easy, travel time is depending on where you travel from. Most of the people who visit the islands travel from Bali by fast boat. You do need to keep in mind that you are always dependent on weather conditions as you have to travel by sea. Currently there are so many different boat operators all offering fast ferry transfers from Bali to Gili and Lombok’s mainland to Gili making it easy to get lost in all the offers and confusion.

From Bali to Gili

Most of the fast boats depart each morning from Padang Bai harbor, which is located on the East coast of Bali, usually there are two departures per day, one in the morning between 9 and 10 am and another one between 12 and 2 pm.

There are also a few different departure ports than the above, which are Serangan harbor (South Bali) and Amed’s beach. Most established fast boat operators offer both departures from Serangan and Padangbai. Serangan harbor is more closely to the main tourist area’s such as Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Canggu. One might think that this would be the best port to depart from but most of the operators will sail from Serangan to Padangbai first before continuing their trip to the Gili’s, resulting in a longer boat trip, which sometimes can be very rolling and wet, depending on the sea conditions. One might enjoy this but we always suggest to depart from Padangbai so you will spend less time on the fast boat and as a bonus enjoy some sightseeing on the way to the harbor.

In case you are staying in the area of Lovina (North Bali), Tulamben or Amed (North-East Bali) we always advise to depart from Amed’s beach as this connection has the fastest travel times from Bali to Gili. We suggest to book your ticket with Freebird Express operating from Amed.

Which fast boats to use

The answer to this questions depends a lot on from which location you are traveling to the Gili islands and your travel budget. In this case we will assume you will be traveling from Bali to Gili Trawangan or to any of the other two Gili islands. If your hotel is located in the Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Canggu, Sanur, Jimbaran, Nusa Dua, Uluwatu or Ubud area we suggest to travel from Padang Bai harbor with either Eka Jaya Fast Boat or Wahana Gili Ocean. Eka Jaya is a well-established, trusted and safe fast boat operator departing three times daily from Padang Bai to the Gili islands. Prices start from $ 30 usd one way.

In case you are looking for a more affordable option we suggest to book with Wahana Gili Ocean, also departing two times daily from Padang Bai harbor. Prices start from $ 27 usd one way. The main difference between the two is that Eka Jaya uses bigger vessels and offers more routes and destinations. There are of course other good fast boat operators, you can check different time schedules and prices by using the searchbox at the top of this page.

Are you staying in the area of Lovina, Tulamben or Amed? Than booking your fast boat ticket with Freebird Express is a great option and price value ($30 usd) and as a bonus it is one the fastest routes from Bali to the Gili’s. Freebird Express departs every morning from Amed’s beach.


The general rule is that you can bring approx. 25kg per person.
Special baggage such as surfboards, surf ski’s and canoes can have a surcharge depending on the policy of the operator. If you are unsure, please feel free to contact us.

How does the free hotel shuttle service works

This can be confusing and it's no secret that we get tons of questions about this. We will try to explain this as good as possible on how this exactly works. To avoid confusion, the free pickup and drop shuttle service is a service offered by the fast boat operator, We from do not operate any shuttle service. 

To start off, there is no pickup or drop service on the Gili Islands as cars are not allowed on the islands. The free pickup and drop service is only available on Bali’s mainland, when departing or when returning to Bali. With Nusa Penida and Lembongan island it’s a different story, but we will not get into that in this article.

When making your online fast boat booking on our website you will have the option to fill out a pickup / drop request, this will only be shown if it’s available. Here you can fill in the address details of your accommodation from where you would like to be collected or dropped off.

The free pickup and drop service is only available in some areas, which vary from operator to operator. While filling out your pickup request you will find a link above it which will take you to the individual operator’s page with more details about which areas are included for the free pickup and drop service. Please make sure you read this. In case you are not sure, please feel free to contact us by WhatsApp so we can assist you by doubling checking this for you with your operator of choice.

Extra charge

For some area’s which are outside of the free zone there might be a central collection point or the operator will have an extra charge for the pickup / drop service. In case there is an extra charge they will inform you about the extra charge in the reconfirmation email you will receive from the boat operator after completing your online booking. The extra charge is always paid directly to the operator / driver on day of travel. Please note that this can take a few hours, so please be patience. In case you feel the extra charge is too high you are always free to arrange your own transportation.

Important note: The pickup service is a service by the operator you booked with and is subject to availability.

 We hope this article helps to make your trip to the Gili islands more easy. In case you have any questions please do feel free to contact us with any questions you might have. We are always happy to assist you.