Important COVID-19 update: Because of the COVID pandemic, many ferry companies seized their operations. Eka Jaya has still several ferries per week departing from Bali to the Gili Islands, but schedules are not daily. Also, of December 2020, you need to show negative results of a swap test before you can enter the ferry to the Gili Islands. Check the latest regulations before you book your tickets.
Famous for its fine white sand beaches, turquoise waters and party scene, the Gili Islands are a great destination to head after you explored Bali.
Ferries from Bali to the Gili Islands typically take around 1,5-2 hours from the main harbour in Padang Bai and the cheapest tickets sell for around $20-$25 for a single trip.
BookAway and 12GoAsia both have a large offer of ferries from Bali to Gili Islands, but before you book your tickets, we recommend to read the tips below.
There are tons of different ferry companies, harbours to leave from in Bali and 3 different Gili Islands. By reading this post, you will know all you the impotant info to decide which ferry from Bali to Gili Islands is best for you.
2 essential things to know before booking your ferry
In the guide below, we share two tips that help you make a better decision when booking your ferry from Bali to the Gili Islands.
Not only can you save money with these tips, but also a lot of time.
You don’t want to arrive in the late afternoon on a beautiful beach to discover you could have taken another ferry that already arrived 2 hours earlier.
Tip #1: Decide first on which Gili Island you want to visit
Almost all ferries will first stop at Gili Trawangan and most also at Gili Air, but less stop at Gili Meno.
Booking a ferry that drops you off at your island of choice, will save you lots of time and extra costs.
You can still take a public ferry or pay a local boat driver to drop you off at one of the neighbour islands, but why would you make it more complicated than needed?
How to get from How to decide which island to visit?
The Gili Islands are a group of 3 islands off the northwest coast of Lombok.
All equally beautiful, each of the 3 islands offers a different atmosphere. From west to east, the islands are named:
Before you travel from Bali to the Gili Islands, you’ll have to decide which one you want to visit. If you haven’t decided yet which island to go, we’ll first explain the differences of the 3 Gili Islands.
– Gili Trawangan, the most liveliest
Gili Trawangan, often called Gili T, is the liveliest of the Gili Islands. Go to Gili T if you want to party at night and relax at the white sand beaches during daytime.
You are sure to find a similar soul who likes socializing and getting to know people from all walks of life.
– Gili Meno, a romantic getaway
Gili Meno is the quietest and also the most romantic. It’s probably best for honeymooners or solo travelers who want some peace of mind.
Note though that most hotel choices are on the expensive side. If you’re on a budget, check first if the few remaining budget hotels still have available rooms.
– Gili Air, laidback beach life
Gili Air is a good mix of the two other Gili islands. Partying is still an option, but more of the chill hippy kind. Mostly you can enjoy the beaches with good music and a laid-back atmosphere at Gili Air.
If you’re into yoga, there are also a few great options at Gili Air.
Tip #2: Leave from Padang Bai
Second, it’s important to check the ferry port the ferry departs from.
When taking a ferry from Bali to the Gili Islands, you can leave from three different ferry ports:
Padang Bai (close to Amed)
Serangan Port (close to Sanur)
Sanur Beach Port (only 1 ferry p/day)
We recommend to take a ferry from Padang Bai, regardless of the island you want to stay.
From Padang Bai, the distance to the Gili Islands is the shortest, with ferry rides only taking about 1.5-2 hours. The ocean between Bali and the Gili Islands can sometimes be quite rough and that’s why it’s better to choose for the shortest distance over water.
PRO-TIP: If you are prone to motion sickness, don’t forget to bring your motion sickness pills.
To compare, the ferry from Padang Bai takes 1.5-2hrs, while ferries from Sanur and Serangan take 3-4.5 hours.
Another reason to leave from Padang Bai is that there are more ferry companies operating from Padang Bai to the Gili Islands. This means more competition and therefore lower priced ferry tickets.
Ferry schedule from Padang Bai to the Gili Islands
Note that ferry normally first stops at Gili Trawangan, then Gili Meno, sometimes Lombok (very closeby) and Gili Air as last destination.
The indicated arrival time is based on Trawangan, so if you stay at Gili Air, expect to arrive about 30 minutes later. Prices are the same for all three Gili islands.
What is the best ferry company to book with?
Most ferries from Bali to the Gili Islands drop off passengers at Trawangan and most also at Gili Air. Still, there are many differences between the ferry companies operating between Bali and the Gili Islands.
The most popular ferry companies are Eka Jaya, Wahan Gili Ocean, Scoot Fast Cruises, Semaya One and Ostina.
Smaller ferries from Bali to the Gili Islands
If you can handle boat rides quite well and normally enjoy the rides, you can buy ferry tickets with one of the smaller boats like Semaya One, Wahana, Ostina and Putri Island.
Ferries that already include pick-up service will save you the hassle and money from organizing your own transport.
However, it’s not so straightforward that it’s always better to book with pick-up service.
Advantages of booking with pick-up
#1 Saving money
If you are travelling alone or only with one more friend or partner, you can save quite some money by booking a ferry with pick-up.
As an example, a taxi from Canggu to Padang Bai will costs at least 350,000 IDR ($25).
#2 No responsibility
The other advantage is that you don’t have to organize your own transportation. The ferry company will organize a shuttle and with this, they also take the responsibility to be on time.
If the shuttle is too late or gets stuck in traffic jam, the responsibility is with the ferry company to make sure you still reach the Gili Islands.
When you booked your own transport, it will be another story when you arrive too late at the port…
Advantages of organizing your own transport to the harbour
If you are travelling with a large group, it can be cheap to split the costs of the van ride to the port.
#1 No need to pick up other passengers
The main advantage of booking your own transport is that you don’t need to pick up other passengers. The van/taxi will drive straight to the port and you can ask to make a stop whenever you want.
Pick-up services might pick up passengers in multiple destinations in Bali and therefore the trip to the harbour can take longer.
Own experience: When I travelled back from the Gili Islands to Bali, our van went from Padang Bai to Sanur, Kuta and the Canggu (where I was staying). In total, the journey lasted a bit over 2 hours, instead of just a little over 1 hour on the way to the port. For me, it wasn’t a big issue, but if you don’t feel like picking up other passengers, better book your own transport.
#2 More space
If you book your own transport you don’t have the share the van or taxi with other passengers and if your group is not too big, you will likely have more space. Of course, you need to make sure you book the right size van/taxi.
How to get to Padang Bai?
If you booked a ferry without pick-up, you’ll need to take a taxi or travel by mini-van from Kuta to the ferry ports.
This also includes an estimation of the costs and duration from the most popular locations.
From Kuta, Seminyak or Canggu to Padang Bai
When traveling from Kuta, Seminyak or Canggu to Padang Bai, you have 2 options: You can take a direct 2-2.5 hour taxi ride to Padang Bai for around $30 or you can take a minibus for $6.
Note that the minibus departs from Kuta, so you might need an additional taxi transfer when coming from Canggu or Seminyak.
The 1st option is to take a taxi direct to Padang Bai for at least 350,000 IDR ($25). The journey takes about 2-2.5 hours. We recommend to book one via Grab as they often offer the cheapest rates. If Grab is not available, you can also use Bali’s other reliable taxi booking app, Gojek.
If you want to save a few dollars, an alternative option is to take a minibus for 85,000 IDR ($6). The minibus departs from the Perama Tour Office at No. 39 Jalan Legian Road in Kuta city center. It’s only a short walking distance or taxi ride from Seminyak. If coming from Canggu, you might need to take a 45-min taxi ride to Kuta for about 141,000 IDR ($10).
Keep in mind that the travel time with the minibus is a bit erratic and can take between 1.5 to 3 hours, depending on the schedule you book. See the table below for more details.
From Uluwatu, Padang Bai Port is at least 2 hours away by taxi. The journey costs about 674,000 IDR ($45).
An alternate option is to take a combined taxi and minivan ride from Kuta. First, take a 1 hour taxi to Kuta for 225,000 IDR ($15). Then transfer to a minibus bound for Padang Bai for 85,000 ($6). You can refer to the table above for schedules.
From Ubud to Padang Bai
The cheapest way to reach Padang Bai from Ubud is via minibus. A ticket costs 85,000 IDR ($6) and the journey takes around 1.5-2 hours. The minibus departs from the Perama Ubud Office at Pengosekan Street and you can book a ticket through the link below.
If none of the above schedules fit your itinerary, you can also take a taxi to Padang Bai which will cost about 345,000 IDR ($23).
From Sanur and Serangan to the Gili Islands
When you’re staying in Sanur, some travelers will consider to take a ferry from Serangan or Sanur Beach Port.
Obviously, the advantage of taking a ferry from Sanur Beach Port is that you won’t have to take the extra van ride.
However, we would like to inform you that the total journey to the Gili Island will probably take the same time or even longer when taking a ferry from Sanur Beach compared to taking a ferry from Padang Bai.
To illustrate, the ferry leaving from Sanur will take about 3.5-4 hours, while the ferry from Padang Bai only takes 1.5-2 hours. Even when you add the 1.5 van ride from Sanur to Padang Bai, you will likely reach the Gili’s at the same time or even earlier.
Ferry from Sanur Beach Port
If you want to leave from Sanur Beach port, you only have one option if you want to take a ferry from Sanur beach port.
This is the ferry operated by Scoot cruises leaving at 9:30am from Sanur and arriving around 1:30pm at the Gili Islands.
Tickets for this ferry costs $38 an can be booked at 12GoAsia.
Serangan Port is only 20mins by taxi when coming from Kuta. The journey costs at least 113,000 IDR ($8).
From Canggu or Seminyak, you can reach Serangan Port in about 1 hour. Rates start at 212,000 IDR ($15).
From Uluwatu to Serangan Port
When traveling from Ulu Watu, over the east coast up North, you will first pass Serangan Port. If you take a taxi, you can reach the harbour in about 1 hour, depending on where you are staying in Ulu Watu. The journey costs about 300,000 IDR ($20).
From Ubud to Serangan Port
You can reach Serangan Port from Ubud in just a little over an hour if you take the taxi. The journey costs about 345,000 IDR ($23).
Public ferry from Bali to the Gili Islands (not recomended)
We don’t recommend traveling to the Gili Islands by public ferry, because the journey will take almost an entire day (8+ hours).
First, you’ll need to take a ferry to Senggigi (Lombok mainland) and then transfer to another ferry to reach the Gili Islands.
Thereby, it is really hard to beat the cheap price of Wahana Gili Ocean if you add the costs of the transport to the ferry port.
For these reasons, we decided to only focus on the fast boat/ferry to the Gili Islands.
Alternative way to get from Bali to Gili Meno
When you are staying at Gili Meno your options will be more limited. Luckily Eka Jaya also stops at Gili Meno, but if you booked with another company we still have a solution for you.
Fast ferry to Gili Trawangan, then public ferry to Gili Meno
An easier option is to book with a ferry company including pick-up that drops you off at Gili Trawangan and then continue with the public ferry to Gili Meno.
The public ferry is a small boat that fits 20-30 people and leaves almost every hour. Tickets costs about 25.000 IDR and the ride only takes 10-15 minutes.