Flights to Lombok
Flights from Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) to the new Lombok International Airport or ‘Bandara Internasional Lombok’ (LOP) normally take half an hour. Current flights are serviced by major international airlines like Garuda Indonesia and Lion Air.
After landing at the airport in Central Lombok, you'll need an overland transfer northwest to Bangsal Harbour. Taxis and charter transfers are available from Lombok International Airport, with reputable Blue Bird Taxis that can take you up to Bangsal. Roads on the Lombok mainland are fairly quiet, making your overland transfers swift and comfortable. From Bangsal, a half-hour boat ride will then get you to the Gilis.
Fast boats from Bali
Another popular way to get to the Gilis quickly and easily from Bali is by motorboat. For the majority of visitors staying in southern Bali, departures from the marina at Serangan Island is the best option, while those staying in East Bali, within the resort area of Candidasa in particular, can go straight to the Padangbai harbour, the main ferry seaport to Lombok and eastern Indonesia.
Ferries from Padangbai reach Bangsal in 5 hours, and you must take another boat trip to reach the Gilis. The convenient fast motorboat services that depart from Serangan Island can take only 2.5 hours to reach the first stop at Gili Trawangan.
Getting between the Gilis by island-hopping boats
A local, official island-hopping boat service operates between the Gilis, with schedules that you must check at the harbours beforehand if you’re keen on experiencing all of 3 islands over the course of your visit. This is highly important, as you must also take into consideration your return fast boat pickup schedule.
Tickets are available for purchase right at the boat service’s booths - easy to spot at each of the island’s harbours. Schedules vary but mostly depart at 8.30am, with up to 20 minutes of waiting time. Afternoon services depart around 3pm or 4pm. Boats back to Lombok’s Bangsal harbour are also available. Tickets are non-refundable.
Getting between the Gilis by charter boats
For an island-hopping experience that’s flexible and ready at your own convenience, you can charter motorized boats operated by locals that you can easily find around the docks. You can also easily arrange for one at your hotel’s front desk. Obviously, these services cost higher than the official island-hopping boat services – it’s still a viable option if you’re sharing your Gili trip as a large group.
The locally operated boats are the long wooden type with a roof covering the length of its hull. No lifejackets are provided for passengers, good advice is to only go out to sea when waves are calm and weather conditions are permissible. Incidents have occurred in the past.
Getting around the Gilis by foot
All of the Gilis feature a combination of sandy and paved paths that line the coastal fringes of the islands. Gili Trawangan has the longest and well laid-out paths, ending at the quietest beaches on its northwest.
You can easily go for a leisurely walk around the whole circumference of Gili Trawangan, the largest of the 3 Gili Islands, within just an hour. By far, walking is the cheapest and often the most enjoyable way to enjoy the Gillis.
Getting around the Gilis by bicycle
If you’re looking for a faster means of getting around the Gili Islands, bicycles are the way to go. Bike rentals are super easy to find, as the locals have found them good business. A Wim Cycle ‘Fatman’ beach cycle model with oversized tyres will let you cruise over sandy paths, easier than the cycles with conventional-sized tyres.
Those with front baskets are convenient to hold your drink bottles or a small bag. Daily rentals start from under 5 dollars a bike, usually requiring you to return the bike at the rental around the same time within 24 hours. Electric bikes are also a new trend, although a bit higher than (usually double) the rent of conventional bikes.
Cidomo horse-driven carts
Currently, the effort-free way of travelling on the Gilis is by cidomo, a traditional Lombok icon that features a roofed wooden cart with car wheels, pulled by a single horse. Concerns from animal-loving visitors in the past who became distressed about the harsh treatment of the horses have led to their much-improved conditions.
Fixed prices have been agreed upon by the local authorities to avoid over-charging visitors, and a large announcement board lists the hotel or destination with fares for a maximum of 2 passengers ranging from Rp 65,000 to Rp 80,000. Round island rides are available at only double that price.