February 14, 2016

Bali to Lombok and the 3 Gili Islands

Bali island is a paradise in itself. If you are looking for different island atmosphere, consider Lombok and the 3 Gili islands: Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, and Gili Meno.
Sunset at Senggigi Beach in Lombok
First and foremost, you can not do day trips to these islands because it takes a little bit of time to get there by sea and I assume you want to spend time there exploring the islands. There are lodgings available on both Lombok and the Gili islands.

Why Lombok and the Gili Islands?
Lombok is a not quite the same as Bali. Personally, I think Bali is way too touristy and Lombok is more laid back and has lesser crowds. It's a place for tranquility and relaxation. Sunset at Senggigi beach in Lombok is my favorite. The Gili Islands, on the other hand, the Gili Trawangan is more of a backpackers island and is more touristy than the other two islands and Lombok, but all 3 islands are not the same as Bali. It's truly worth checking them out. The good thing is, all 3 islands are close to one another so it really is just a short boat trip for an island hopping's experience. Gili Islands are known for amazing diving and snorkeling spots. Lombok is a little bit further but a day trip from there to the 3 islands is possible and highly recommended.

The 3 Gili Islands close to one another
How to Get from Bali to Lombok and the 3 Gili Islands?
Getting from Bali to Lombok and the 3 Gili Islands is very simple. Lombok is the only one that can be reached by either air or sea. Once you arrive in Lombok, then you can charter a boat to the Gili Islands.

By Air: 
There's an International airport in Lombok. It's just a short flight away from Bali to Lombok for around 25 minutes and it's cheap. Obviously, if your time is sensitive, getting from Bali to Lombok by air is better than by sea. I personally don't like airports, there are too many security checks and hassles to go through, so I opted out for the sea instead and I got to see the Indian ocean on the way to Lombok from Bali.

By Sea:
You can reach Lombok and the 3 Gili Islands by boats. I recommend fast boats, which take approximately little over 1-2 hour max depending on the boat operator you choose and stops before your destination. There are several tours company there in Bali that will help you out with this. You can also make fast boats reservations online in advance so you don't have to deal with that when you get there and you get to also learn about the boat company that you will be getting on first for safety and reliability reasons. I recommend the gilibookings.com - it's basically an online booking service, but the fast boat service providers on that site are well organized, good, and safe.
  • All boat company on the gilibookings site provides complimentary shuttle pick up and drop off from your hotels and resorts in the main towns such as Sanur, Kuta, Legian, Nusa Dua, Ubud, etc. 
  • I also want to mention that Scoot boat company takes longer (around 3 and half hours) than other boat company to reach Lombok and the Gili's because it has to stop at another island before routing to Lombok and the Gili's. Gili Cat and BlueWater Express companies are good. I have not experienced with the Gili Cat, but I have with the BlueWater Express. I'll do another article on my review of that fast boat later on. 
  • Gilibookings's cancellation policy is, you will get a full refund if you cancel more than 2 weeks from the date of arrival. No penalty for date change, but subject to availability of the new date.
  • The price on the site are in US Dollars. They also offer some special island discount vouchers on food, drinks, and activities that will save you more than 10% of the ticket price back while visiting the islands. Those discount vouchers are included in the ticket price and you select it during the online booking process.
  • E-ticket emailed instantly. 
  • From my personal experience, they have great customer service to answer any questions via email.  
  • The ocean waves and weather can be unpredictable, so bring some meds for boat sickness in case of a rough boat ride. 
We did the fast boat from Sanur to Lombok and stayed there at the Sheraton Senggigi Beach Resort. We then charter a slow boat from there to see the 3 Gili Islands as a day trip. If you are going to Lombok via fast boat, and unless your hotel is within walking distance from the port that your fast boat stops at, it's VERY IMPORTANT that you pre-arrange a pick up from your hotel or resort in Lombok because Lombok is not like Bali that is full of taxi drivers. It's more quiet and therefore lesser transportation means. In fact, when I was there, there was none! Thankfully, I arranged a pick up from the resort beforehand. Gili Islands, on the other hand, you don't have to as it's much smaller and easier to to get around. They also have horse carts going around that is the mean of public transportation there.

Transportation on Gili Islands

Complete Bali Indonesia Series

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