Located off the coast of Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia is the beautiful island of Gili Trawangan. A short boat ride away from Bali, Gili Trawangan is part of the Gili Islands which is composed of three atolls nestled in the Bali Sea. With its powdery white sand and a seemingly endless horizon of crystal clear turquoise sea water, adventurous travelers are now opting to enjoy a stay at this pocket of paradise island.
Tourists usually make their start off point to Gili Trawangan from Bali. The answer to “How to travel from Bali to Gili Trawangan?” may seem complicated to unseasoned travelers: but it is not. Getting to Gili Trawangan from Bali is really quite a breeze!
Traveling to Gili Trawangan by Boat
There are two ways to get to Gili Trawangan by boat – fast boat and slow boat. “Fast boat” pertains to sleek private catamarans and speedboats, while slow boat refers to public ferry boats.
- Fast Boat
Fast boats from Padang Bai are available daily. There are several fast boats that depart from the port of Padang Bai between 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Since the port is not actually a stone throw away from north of Bali, the usual practice is to spend the night at Kuta, secure boat ticket from an accredited source, then take the bus shuttle to Padang Bai the next morning. An option is to spend the night at Padang Bai for a more restful night sans the nightlife of Kuta. Boat ride to Gili Trawangan through this route is about 1.5 hours.
Twenty minutes away from the south Bali area is Serangan harbor. There are fast boats operating in this area, and this route is the quickest way to get to Gili islands. There is no need to pass by the congested roads of Padang Bai, thus saving time. Operators usually pick up hotel guests en route to the islands in time for the 8:00 a.m. departure.
Another option is to take the 45-minute fast boat ride from Amed. This ride is cheaper than the ones from Padang Bai, and the only operator picks up hotel guests in time for the 8:30 a.m. departure.
Booking online for fast boat tickets is also possible. Most of the fast boat operators have websites for such transactions. However, it is always cheaper to get tickets from accredited sources such as tour guides. Note that most of the fast boats stop at the three Gili islands. There are no pickups or drop-offs at the island as motorized vehicles are not allowed.
- Public Ferry Boat
There is no straight ferry boat ride from Padang Bai to Gili Trawangan. The route is an 8-hour boat ride from Padang Bai to Lombok, then Lombok to Gili Trawangan. It takes five hours to get to Lombok, and another 3 hours or so (plus waiting time) from Lombok to Gili island. The upside is that this route is way less expensive than the fast boat route – IDR 40,000 for ferry boat ticket and at least IDR 600,000 for a fast boat ticket.
- Chartered Boat
There are available private speedboats and even traditional wooden boats to Gili Trawangan from Bali. Speedboat charter is more expensive, and this is so because the boat is practically rented for one full day, with options for the client to go snorkeling, scuba diving, and fishing. The rate includes return and transfer to hotel to the harbor.
- Private Helicopter
One can always arrive in style at Gili Trawangan by chartering a helicopter. From North East Bali, the flight over Mount Agung, Nusa Lembongan Island and Mount Rinjani to Gil Trawangan will take about 45 minutes. Minimum passenger per flight is 4, at about IDR 15,000,000 ($1,088) each. Air transfers are available during the day only, with each flight dependent on the number of passengers, weather and air traffic.