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How to Get to Gili Islands From Bali

Kicking back under a palm tree, with sandy toes by the side of turquoise waters, is the laidback island life one dreams about for any beach vacation. If you are planning your Bali itinerary, chances are you won’t want to miss the chance to visit the nearby Gili islands. So, you must be wondering how to get to the Gili Islands from Bali. Is it tricky? Is it long? Is it expensive? Don’t worry, it is none of those things.

You can start packing the flip flops, we got you covered! This guide has everything you need to know for a smooth Bali to Gili Islands journey: transportation alternatives, costs, journey time, where to book it, and more.

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The Gili Islands

The Gili Islands are a group of three small islands – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air – located off the northwest coast of Lombok. They are known for their sandy beaches, amazing diving scene, and relaxed atmosphere. However, each island has a distinct vibe that feels almost like a personality trait. Before figuring out how to get to the Gili Islands, decide which one (if not all of them) you want to visit:

Gili Trawangan: Also known as Gili T, this is the largest of the three islands. Famous as the party island, it has a vibrant nightlife and wide selection of restaurants and accommodations. Nevertheless, don’t be put off by its party reputation if that is not your vibe, as some areas of the island are extremely peaceful.

Gili Meno: The smallest and quietest island, Gili Meno is often visited on day trips. Staying here is a great alternative for those looking for a relaxing and secluded getaway, such as honeymooners.

Detail of pink flowers and sun shade on a beach seen by the port when traveling from Bali to Gili Air.
Man fishing with a net with water to its knees, seen from above. A practice to witness in any Gili Islands itinerary.

Gili Air: The island closest to Lombok and our favorite of the three. It offers a nice balance between the other two islands, it has a laid-back vibe, with stunning beaches, and a good selection of restaurants and accommodations.

This small archipelago is commonly referred to as “Gili Islands” or “The Gilis”, which is funny to the locals because “Gili” in the Sasak language (spoken by the indigenous people of Lombok) means “island”. So, saying “I am going to the Gili Islands” is the same as saying “I am going to the Island Islands.”

How to Get to Gili Islands From Bali

The distance from Bali to the Gili Islands is about 106 km (in a straight line, which no boat will do – but you get the point). The best way to get to Gili Islands is without a doubt a fast boat from Padang Bai or Sanur. Nevertheless, there are plenty of other alternatives, such as a public ferry, helicopter, or even flying to Lombok and getting a boat from there.

In a hurry? No problem! If you don’t have time to read this entire guide on how to get to Gili Islands from Bali, click here to book a Bali to Gili boat* that suits your needs, or a pickup + boat from Bali airport to Gili Islands*.

Close up of a Balinese mask with a colorful light background.

How to Get to Gili Islands by Fast Boat

The best way to get to Gili Islands is by fast boat, offering the best overall value for money and being very straightforward. You have several ports to choose from, as well as various boat companies and departure times.

Drawing of the Bali map with all the ports that connect Bali to the Gili Islands – Padang Bai, Sanur and Serangan.

You can purchase tickets at the pier for most fast boats from Bali to Gili Islands, but we strongly suggest buying them beforehand – online. The price difference is minimal to none, and it guarantees you a seat (this is especially important during the high season).

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When booking your fast boat ticket online, pay attention to whether they include a pickup service from your Bali accommodation. This usually implies a higher price, but at least you don’t have to worry about arranging any independent transfers.

Bali to Gili islands fast boat boarding pass.

Ports that Connect Bali to the Gili islands

Padang Bai – The Best Port for Those Staying in Ubud or North of Bali

Padang Bai is the port with the most options and the shortest travel time (approximately 2 hours). It is the main gateway to the Gili Islands for people staying in central and northern Bali, as well as for those who haven’t booked a ticket in advance. Aim to arrive 30 minutes prior to departure and account for traffic. Without traffic, it is around 1h to 1h30min drive from Ubud.

Tickets for the fast boat from Padang Bai start from 12€.
Click below to see the departure from Padang Bai that suits you the best:

Sanur – The Best Port for a Denpasar to Gili Islands Connection

Conveniently located if you are staying in areas such as Kuta, Seminyak, Sanur, or Canggu, or if you want to go straight from the Bali airport to Gili Islands. Average travel time is from 3h30min to 4 hours, and there are great pick-up/transfer services.

Tickets for the fast boat from Sanur start from 19€.

Click below to see the departure from Sanur that suits you the best:

Serangan – An Alternative to Sanur for Those Staying in the Bukit Peninsula

This port is the closest Bali to Gili Islands connection for those staying in areas such as Nusa Dua and Jimbaran. The average journey time is between 3 hours and 4h30min. This is not the most popular option due to the limited number of boat operators that depart from here and the higher prices compared to Sanur.

Tickets for the fast boat from Serangan start from 32€.

Click below to see the departure from Serangan that suits you the best:

There used to be a boat company that connected Amed to Gili islands, but in March 2023, the Amed pier was closed due to safety issues, and there is no confirmed reopening date. If you are staying in the north of Bali, getting to Gili Islands via fast boat means going down to Padang Bai.

Fast Boat Bali to Gili: Important Information

  • Most of the boats are quite comfortable, but the sea is often rough, so take a seasickness pill beforehand to be safe.

  • Some boats have a weight limit on luggage. Usually, backpackers don’t have to worry about this, but if you have a large wheeled piece of luggage, you might consider a smaller bag, or expect to pay extra fees.

  • There are several boat companies to choose from, with Wahana Virendra, BlueWater Express, and Eka Jaya being among the most reputable.

  • Some boats stop at the Gili Trawangan ferry port, where passengers going to Gili Air or Gili Meno are transferred to smaller boats.

  • Expect delays! More frequently than not, public transportation doesn’t leave on time. Don’t risk scheduling a flight anywhere close to the expected time of arrival for your Gili to Bali connection.

  • There is a tourist fee that needs to be paid in cash at the port during check-in. Have IDR 10,000-20,000 ready for that purpose.

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Gili Air seen from above. Part beach, part land.

How to Get to Gili Islands by Ferry

The most affordable way to get from Bali to the Gili Islands is by public ferry. That being said, in our opinion, what you save in money doesn’t compensate for the time and effort dedicated to this journey. Let us break down the journey for you so you understand what we mean: first, catch a public ferry in Padang Bai to Lembar Harbour in Lombok, then catch a taxi or shuttle to Bangsal Port, where you will catch a boat to the Gili Island of your choice.

The total cost of both boat tickets is around 6€ per person, which is great. However, you need to add whatever you pay for the taxi/shuttle, which will depend on demand and the number of people you are splitting the cost with. This trip can take up to 9 hours, and the ticket from Padang Bai to Lembar can only be purchased at the port.

How to Get to Gili Islands by Helicopter

The most expensive way to get from Bali to the Gili Islands is by helicopter. Probably this is not the transportation you would expect when searching “how to get to Gili Trawangan from Bali”, but it is without a doubt a unique and unforgettable experience. Oh, and you don’t risk getting seasick!

A Gili Islands tour seen from above. The three islands from a bird's eye view at sunset.

The flight time is about 30-40 minutes, during which you can enjoy stunning aerial views of Bali and Lombok. The companies that offer this service are Fly Bali and Air Bali, with rates available per person or group. Expect to pay around 600$ per person, and be mindful of luggage restrictions.

Bali to the Gili Islands FAQ

Ready to pack but still with some questions about the Gili Islands? We have put together a list of the questions people ask us most often to help ensure you have the time of your life while at this amazing slice of heaven.

How to get to Gili Islands?

How to get from Ubud to Gili Islands: The fastest way to get from Ubud to Gili Islands is by driving to the Padang Bai port and catching a fast boat from there. Book a boat ticket here that includes transfer from your accommodation in Ubud to make it even easier. Prices start from 19€ p.p.*

How to get from Bali airport to Gili Islands: Getting from the Bali airport to Gili Islands is very simple. The harbor where you can catch the fast boat from is just a 1 hour drive away from the airport. Taxis at the airport can be quite expensive, so we strongly suggest booking a pickup + fast boat ticket in advance. Click here to find the option that suits your needs. Prices start from €22 p.p.*

How to get from Amed to Gili Islands: There used to be boat service from Amed to Gili Islands, but the Amed port has been closed since March 2023, with no reopening date in sight. The closest alternative to travel from Amed to Gili Islands is via the Padang Bai port.

People in Padang Bai waiting to embark a boat that takes them from Bali to Gili islands.

How to get from Nusa Penida to Gili Islands: The trip from Nusa Penida to Gili Islands is very straightforward, with a simple 2h30min speedboat ride and prices start from 14€ p.p, and you can click here to get the best rates online and see all the available departures*.

Can you fly to the Gili Islands? No, you can’t. Unfortunately you won’t find any Gili Islands flights, as the closest airports are Lombok International Airport, and I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport (Bali).

How to get to Gili Islands from Lombok: To get to the Gili Islands from Lombok you need to head to Bangsal Harbour, where you can catch a boat to the Gili Islands. The trip takes about 15 minutes by speedboat or 45 minutes by public boat. Click here to see departure times and book your ticket*.

The total journey will depend on your location in Lombok. For your reference, a private transfer from Lombok Airport can get you to your chosen island in less than 2 hours. Click here to view fares and book*.

If you are in Bali, we do not recommend flying to Lombok to reach the Gili Islands. It will likely take more time and incur fluctuating costs, as you will need a taxi to the pier whose price may vary with demand. Additionally, although the boat trip is shorter, you won’t get away from getting into a boat.

A small boat by the beach shore, which is how to travel between Gili Islands.

Is booking a pickup/transfer from Bali to Gili Islands worth it?

Booking a boat ticket that includes pickup from your accommodation in Bali is without a doubt a great decision. Usually the price difference is not much compared to taking a Grab to the port plus the boat ticket, and it allows you to not stress about getting there on time.

Now, booking a pickup service from one of the mentioned ports when traveling from the Gili to Bali is something we highly recommend. Insist on it, even! A small taxi mafia has emerged at all these piers, and arriving without a pickup means you will have to bargain and could end up paying about three times more than you should. Grab drivers are afraid to pick up passengers at these ports, so chances are you won’t get one.

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Is the Bali to Gili Islands boat safe?

Both the fast boat and ferry from Bali to Gili Islands are generally considered safe. The boat ride can be a bit bumpy, so we suggest taking a seasickness pill beforehand. When possible, sit inside to avoid sunburn and ensure your safety and that of your belongings. Always follow the crew's safety instructions.

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Man sitting on top of one of the boats that connect Gili T to Gili Air.

How to travel between Gili Islands?

If you are moving accommodation from one island to another, you can easily purchase a boat ticket at the pier between the Gili Islands. However, we have had our fair share of sold-out boats while trying to save a couple of euros, so we always suggest booking in advance. For example, if you are looking for how to get to Gili Air from Gili Trawangan, you can book here for as low as 7€ p.p.*

That being said, if what you are looking for is a nice day trip, consider joining a Gili Islands tour. This is a great way to spend a full day exploring a neighboring island or snorkeling, everything included, except things to worry about. Here are some of the top rated Gili Islands tours:

Snorkeling and Sunset Gili islands tour.
Tour boat from Gili T to Gili Air with snorkeling stops.
Private snorkeling Gili Islands tour.

What are the best places to stay in Gili?

All three islands have great accommodation alternatives for different budgets and travel styles, so picking the best places to stay in Gili is a tricky task. Nevertheless, after visiting them all, these are our favorite accommodations in each one of them:

One of the best places to stay in Gili Trawangan, the Gili Teak Beach Front Resort.
One of the best accommodations in Gili Air, the Hani Hideaway.
One of the best hotels in Gili Meno, The Gili Meno Escape.

What is the best time to visit the Gili Islands?

The weather in the Gili Islands is enjoyable year-round, but the best time to visit is during the dry season (April to October). During these months, you have a better chance of clear, sunny days – perfect for outdoor activities such as snorkeling, exploring, or simply relaxing on the beach. However, keep in mind that this is the high season, so book your accommodation and transportation in advance.

During the rainy season (November to March), the sea tends to get quite rough, leading to increased boat cancellations and making that seasickness pill mandatory. We recommend booking an early boat, as the sea conditions are typically calmer in the morning.

A seat and table on the beach, with people at the distance arriving by boat from Gili Meno to Gili Air.

How long is the boat from Bali to Gili Islands?

The fast boat from Bali to Gili Islands usually takes 2-6 hours, depending on several factors like the port from which you depart, delays, sea conditions, and stops on other islands.

How much does it cost to get to Gili islands from Bali?

The cost of a fast boat ticket from Bali to Gili Islands varies depending on the boat company, the port of departure, the season, and the type of boat. The average cost is typically somewhere between 12€ and 40€ for a one way ticket, per person.

Planning Time

If you are ready to start planning your next trip, here you have all the usefull links you need to make it happen! By using them you are supporting our work as we might get a small fee from it. But hey! You pay the same (or might even get a discount), so is a win-win situation!

This applies to all the links in this website marked with a *

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