The Gili islands are perhaps Indonesia’s best worst kept secret. There are three tropical islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno, nestled next to Lombok in the Bali sea. Each island has its own micro-culture, vibe and reputation; Gili Trawangan is the biggest and most commercial of the islands; Gili Air is a backpacker paradise with a well-established and buzzing social scene whilst Gili Meno is the more chicly exclusive and cool spot for relaxed honeymooners.

The Gili archipelago is a famous and much-loved destination for every type of traveler who flock to the white sand beaches. Like most good things though, you really have to work for the promise of the Gili paradise as the islands are small and have no airport. The nearest airport is Lombok, followed by Bali. Follow this guide to help you get there.

 

Flying To Gili

 

As we’ve already mentioned, there are no direct flights to the Gilis and you are going to have to disembark and travel by boat at some point. Find out how to get to Gili islands if you are honeymooners or holidaymakers with limited time and who want to minimise their travelling time:

Fly into Kuala Lumpar International (Malaysia), or Singapore if travelling from London.

Standard coach flights won’t make your eyes water and can cost anywhere between £400 and £650. Upgrading your flights will obviously cost you more, but when you’re heading to paradise, you might as well travel in style. We recommend checking out prices at flight comparison websites for the best offers.

From these airports, you can get direct flights into Lombok for approximately £150.

Alternatively, how to get to Gili Islands is totally up to you. You might decide to make more of a tour out of it, flights to Jakarta are shorter and around the same price point. You can then travel over land and sea, stopping off to experience more of Indonesia’s delights on your way.

 

Direct flights from Singapore to Lombok are 2 hours 45 minutes.

Direct flights from Kuala Lumpar to Lombok are 3 hours.

 

 

How To Get From Lombok To Gili Islands

 

Lombok is slightly inland but a cheap taxi (check out BlueBird taxi) will be available from the airport. Public transport will also be available but will take much much longer and eat up that precious Gili time!

Head to Teluk Kodek, Teluk Nare or Bangsal. The Teluks can accommodate private speed boats or ‘fast boats’ that will whizz you off the Gili of your choice.

When investigating how to get to Gili Islands, you should note that the ‘fast boat’ industry is on the rise and the prices are increasing. It’s almost impossible to provide an average cost because they fluctuate so much. There is a high risk of being ripped off, but if luxury is what you want this is the route for you. It also depends on how much of a conscious traveller you are; the fast boats consume a lot of fuel and are polluting the beautiful waters of the Bali sea. Opting for a more communal option will save you money and preserve this gem!

Ferry’s cost as little as £1 (but can go up to around £20) and only take 30 minutes. They leave hourly from Bangsal harbour.

 

How To Get From Jakarta To Gili Islands

 

If you’ve decided to take the scenic route and explore more of Indonesia, you might find yourself in Jakarta. If you’re on the backpacking route with nowhere in particular to be, just slowly make your way east on local busses and ferries, heading towards East Bali.

You can get from East Bali to Lombok via local ferry that runs 24 hours a day. It is the authentic and local-experience but won’t be in-keeping with a luxury break. It will cost the equivalent of £3 but can take up to eight hours to cross. From here you can grab another ferry from Bangsal harbor onto any one of the Gili Islands, as above.

The ferry from East Bali will come into Bangsal and you should allow about 1.5 hours for negotiating luggage and finding the next ferry.

If you do have a reservation or are desperate to reach the Gilis, you can get a bus from Jakarta to East Bali. It’s still cheap and will cost around the £40 mark, travelling over 1000 kilometres. The cheaper busses are hard to book online, and you should just head to the main bus station in Jakarta for the best deal. The journey will take around 40 hours (£1 per hour is good value though!).

Alternatively, you can fly from Jakarta to Ngurah Rai which will cost more but will save you precious time (flights take 3 hours 45 minutes). Prices do vary a lot. From here you will have to choose your ferry options as above.

 

How To Get To Gili Islands: The Breakdown

 

Best Direct Route

London (flight) – Singapore (flight) – Lombok (taxi) – Bangsal (ferry) – Gilis

Total Price: £530 +

Total Time: 16 hours*

*Not including layovers or airport wait times.

Best ‘Backpacker’ Route

Jakarta (overland/bus) – East Bali (ferry) – Bangsal (ferry) – Gilis

Total Price: £44*

*Does not include travel to Jakarta.

Total Time: 49 – 56 hours.

 

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