The easiest and the most effective way to go to Gili islands in Lombok from Bali is by fastboat. It is not hard to find fastboat to go to the beautiful islands because many boat operators offer daily transfer from your hotel or the airport to the beach harbor on Gili and Lombok mainland. Most fastboat services give complete services, including pick- up from hotel in Bali, providing shuttle bus to the harbor in Padang Bai or Tanjung Benoa and of course the boat crossing.
You will spend about 1 hour 20 minutes from Bali to Lombok harbor with fastboat and if you want to go to the Gili islands, you will need to spend another 10 up to 20 minutes. The time you spend is also depending on the weather and the waves.
It is easy to find and choose fastboat operators in Bali and Lombok. However, we suggest you to choose only reputable companies which bring the highest standard of comfort and safety. You can also choose the cheapest package but you need to be aware with the service and the quality of service. Do not bring yourself into something dangerous only for some cash. You can book the fastboat by online because today, most operators of fastboat have operating their own websites. Some of them also cooperate with tour and travel agents in both Bali and Lombok. If you prefer to fly, you can combine boat with flights from Ngurah Rai in Bali to the Lombok Airport. The flight spend about 40 minutes and then you can continue the journey by taxi to the fastboat harbor where you can choose the boat you will use to Gili islands.
If you are including budget conscious travelers, you can choose “slow boat” instead of fastboat operators from Bali mainland to Lombok and then on to Gili islands. You do not have to worry because the journey includes a shuttle pick up from your hotel in Bali and transport to Tanjung Benoa or Padang Bai Harbor. In the harbor, you will be taken to a public ferry, which is a big, slow ship which will take you to Lombok mainland with 4 to 6 hours.
The ferry will reach Lembar harbor in Lombok and you have to continue the trip with taxi or bemo to Bangsal. Take a small public boat to Gili islands from there. The crossing spends about 30 minutes. You will spend about 8 to 10 hours in total. It means you will be tired enough. Because of that reason, we recommend you to use fastboat operators because of the effectiveness. Though the price you have to spend is little bit higher, but you do not have to spend too much time in the water.
Many tour operators in Bali and Lombok offer one price for the entire trip to Gili islands. It means, you can save much time and money to buy ticket for the journey. If you take it, you do not have to buy ticket at each section.