There is more than 1 fast boat to Gili Islands! Getting from beautiful Bali and over to the island paradise that is the Gilis is super simple. Let me break down for you the best ways to get from Bali on the fast boat to Gili.
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1 Fast Boat from Amed to Gili Islands
Amed (click for map) is the closest Bali port to the Gili Islands and as such is the quickest sea crossing. Bear in mind that the water in the Lombok Strait is super deep and can get rough at times, no matter which port you depart from.
- Duration: 1 hour
- Cost: 500,000 IDR one way
Be sure to purchase your tickets for the Freebird Express more than a couple of days in advance unless you want to get stuck in Amed. (Not that getting stuck in Amed is a terrible thing.)
Buy your tickets on the Freebird Express website. Or arrange it with your hotel in Amed reception.
The Freebird Express has a scheduled departure of 9.30 am from Amed, and will stop at Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, Gili Air and then Lombok.
Which Gili Island will you stay at?
Freebird will pick you up from your Amed accommodation on the morning of departure, this service is included in your ticket booking. You board from the beach at Jemeluk Bay and your luggage is placed inside a fenced area and kept dry inside the boat.
The boat is airconditioned, and you sit inside on aeroplane style seating. You can’t really see outside through the grimy windows, unfortunately. A small bottle of water is provided.
The best thing about the Freebird, apart from the short trip, is that you get to hang out in Amed first. Also the staff on the boat are so lovely and are always looking after your safety.
2 Padang Bai to Gili Islands
Padang Bai is about an hour’s drive north of Denpasar airport. See the location on Google Maps. Getting here will be best by a private driver and the price varies depending on your negotiation skills.
There are many different operators to choose from if you are catching the boat from Padang Bai on Bali’s mid-east coast. But beware that the cheapest isn’t always the best. Speedboats depart from 9 am with scheduled departures continuing throughout the morning until around 1.30 pm. Prices range from 253K IDR to 451K IDR for the 1.5 to 2-hour journey. This is thanks to the high level of competition between the ferry companies.
- Cost: 253,000 IDR to 451,000 IDR
- Duration: 1.5 hours to 2 hours
Booking online in advance is recommended as this route is a popular one. If you use a site such as 12GoAsia you can compare costs and timetables of all the different boats.
We recommend the 1.5-hour ride on the Ekajaya Fast Boat as you can actually sit outside on the roof which makes the trip more pleasant IMO. Golden Queen boats also offer rooftop seating but is a slower trip taking 2 hours and 15 minutes to Gili T. If the ride is bumpy, you will be advised to be seated inside.
3 Serangan to Gili Islands by Fast Boat
Serangan (click for map) is located a mere 20 minutes from Denpasar airport making it the most convenient departure point, but also the longest ferry ride up to the Gilis.
- Cost: 413,000 IDR to 600,000 IDR
- Duration: 2.5 hours to 3.5 hours
Boats depart at 8 am or 9 am every day. It is recommended to book in advance, especially in peak season. Booking a return ticket is also a great idea and can save you a few rupees.
4 From Lombok to Gili Islands
The Gili Islands are located just a hop skip and jump from Lombok. A ferry from Lombok only takes 30 minutes and will set you back 220K IDR. There is a cheaper local type boat which has frequent cheap departures from Lombok, but these looked a little sketchy to me.
Scoot Fast Cruises departs Lombok at midday daily. Book Here.
Kids Tickets on Gili Islands Ferries
The Fast boat to Gili Islands often has a child’s ticket available at 75% of the adult price. Kids 2 and under are usually free.
Catching a Fast Boat to Gili Islands
The Gili Islands are absolute paradise and you will never want to leave. Getting there can be half the fun! And with so many options, you really are spoilt for choice. Crossing the Lombok Strait can be lumpy at times due to the immense amount of water running through this deep channel. If you are prone to seasickness, please take your prophylaxis.
We spend months in Bali at a time. And with our family, have especially enjoyed travelling to new and interesting parts of the island recently. Check out some of our articles below if you are looking for different places to stay on your next trip to Bali.
Before your trip to Bali, read this: