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So confused about Gilli islands! Help me plan my trip please

Gold Coast
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So confused about Gilli islands! Help me plan my trip please

Hey all,

We will be heading back to Bali in march for our fifth trip to celebrate my 30th birthday. We want to spend probably three nights on Gilli T.

I know Bali pretty well but I am totally confused about getting to the gillis. I know that the fast boats and ferries can be rough. What is it like in late march usually? The Gilli cat seems like the fastest and quickest way but I don't want to be chucking my guts up the whole way.

If we do decide to fly instead can we leave it until we arrive in Bali before we book it? Or do they book out / get really expensive on such short notice? Also if we fly to Lombok I understand we have to get a cab and then a boat to Gilli T. How long is the drive across Lombok?

Also once we finally get to Gilli T where should we stay? I will be turning 30 on the island so will probably want to celebrate with a few drinks. We wll probably be looking for middle of the range accommodation close to restaurants and bars but not too close so its too noisy! I was looking at scallywags but I have no idea where it is located in comparison to everything else. So any suggestions on nice accommodation up to about $100 a night are welcome!

Please help because it all seems a little overwhelming and so much harder than planning a Bali holiday but I think / hope it will be worth all the fuss once we get there!

Lombok, Indonesia
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1. Re: So confused about Gilli islands! Help me plan my trip please

I wish that I could meet you in Bali and escort you over to Lombok (by whichever form of transport you choose), to show you just how easy it can be! First, you should maintain a sense of adventure during the whole trip, some things will go according to plan, some things wont, this is normal and can lead us to discover things that others will never experience (some good, some bad). I read that you have already been to Bali 4

times,depending on how you dealt with Bali and this small part of Indonesia, your accumulated experience should give you a heads up as to what to expect on your journey to Lombok/Gili Islands. (just remember, Lombok is not Bali, you are heading some place else, exciting huh? )

So, how to get here? A quick note: All forms of transport over have their good and bad points.

The first way that I came here many years ago, was by public ferry from Padang Bai in Bali ( and I have used them travelling with my bike/car many times since). The boats are large ( they put trucks on them) and are relatively stable. Downside, is that it takes a very long time to get here ( sometimes up to 6 hours or more), upside, its cheap and it can be like travelling on a floating village, you could see some fantastic things on this trip and you have time to slow down and watch it all going on, or join in! ( an adventure within an adventure) The ferry arrives at Lembar Harbour in south west Lombok and from there you arrange transport ( if you haven't already) to Bangsal via Senggigi on the west coast, about 2 to 2.5 hours depending on traffic ( can be longer if the shuttle goes via Mataram)). From Bangsal you take a small local boat over to the Gili of your choice ( around 30 mins or so).

The next way to get here is by Fastboat ( of which there are many), they leave from 3 main destinations in Bali, Benoa Harbour (not so far from Kuta Bali), Padang Bai ( near Candidasa on the south east coast, about 1.5 hours from Kuta Bali) or Amed in the far east of Bali. Most of the boats that you book with will arrange pick up from wherever you are staying in Bali and take you to the closest point of departure. Downside, can be expensive (comparatively), can be busy, hectic, rough, take longer than expected, there have been breakdowns/sinking's at sea and some operators have serious issues with safety. Upside, direct to Gili Islands ( usually 1 stop to pick up/drop off passengers on Lombok, only 15mins or so), can be beautiful, calm, fun, quick, no changing transport/double/triple handling luggage. Some have all the safety gear and have had no incidents or mishaps, if you don't mind sea travel and Neptune is happy, it can be an easy trip over.

The next way is flying over from Ngurah Rai domestic airport in Bali ( Turn right as you leave arrivals and it's walking distance from the international terminal where you arrived from Australia) There are many airlines to choose from, some, you can book online to be sure of securing a seat or depending on what time you arrive from Australia, you can buy tickets from the airline windows outside the domestic departure entrance, or from booking agents in Bali ( expect to pay a commission from an agent), cost for example: to book online, one way with Lion Air costs around 280,000 rupiah per person incl. taxes ( I just booked one) plus departure tax, you pay at the domestic airport on your way to check in 40.000 rupiah. Flight takes less than 30mins and you arrive at the new airport in southern Lombok ( opened October last year) close to Praya. From here you arrange transport or get it at the airport to Bangsal (again around 2 hours, traffic, Allah permitting) and catch the local boats over to Gili Islands. Downside, can involve lengthy delays ( I have been stuck in Bali for 6 hours once), free allowable luggage limits (there are luggage lockers at Ngurah Rai Airport, if you want to leave some things behind), turbulence, small planes, sometimes chaotic, long drive to Gili Islands. Upside, quick, cheap, convenient and you get to see Lombok from the air.

Couldn't be easier, eh?

Then when you get to Gili T, you should try and book some accommodation before you come, even if its just your first night ( it can get very busy and the high season seems to be all year round now) If your worried, don't be, just get there and have a cocktail, relax and everything will be fine. If you really are worried, just try to book any of the usual recommended spots, Beach House, Scallywags (as you suggested) Villa Ombak all are fine, in good locations and have everything that you could expect from middle to high end accommodation that you would find in Bali (check out The Lombok Guide online for other Gili Trawangan hotel suggestions, maps etc) www.thelombokguide.com/index.html#download

Can I wish you a very safe and happy trip over, however you get here, keep an open mind, enjoy the ride and I leave you with this thought to look forward to, Lombok has Bali but Bali doesn't have Lombok.

Hati hati dan Selamat Jalan

Perth, Australia
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2. Re: So confused about Gilli islands! Help me plan my trip please

Pak M's advice is spot on but to make it really easy, Minniebrad, if you've only got 3 nights just catch a fast boat to Gili T.

Gili Cat and Blue Water Express both have good reputations and it is the fastest way to get from Bali to Gili T.

Book a return trip and arrange for them to pick you up at your hotel in Bali to make everything easy.

Your choice of Scallywags is good. Great location, easy walking to all the best restaurants and bars, well run, clean and comfortable. The Beach House is another safe choice.

Getting to Lombok shouldn't be overwhelming... it's so close to Bali and, once you've done it, you'll wonder why you haven't done it before!

Sunshine Coast...
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3. Re: So confused about Gilli islands! Help me plan my trip please

Hi we are heading over in 5 short weeks to Lombok then on to stay at both Gili Air & T.

We have booked flights for approx $25 each from Bali to Lombok, they were a little cheaper a few weeks ago however we still feel its quite reasonable cost as we pay 1 000,000 for our boat trips from Sanur to Lembongan.

We have not booked accom YET however we have a few places at the top of our list

Scallywags, Danima resort, Ko Ko Mo Villas

not sure where we will end up as we are not booking this part of our trip.

I will be posting a JBR when we get back on this forum and the Bali forum.

I am going to check out accomm for another forum member so if you would like a place checked out let me know as I will no doubt get around the island and have a look in at places that look good for future trips.

Gold Coast
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807 posts
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4. Re: So confused about Gilli islands! Help me plan my trip please

Thanks for your help everyone!!! It has reassured me that's it's not actually that hard and it will be all part of the adventure!!!

Really liking the sound of scallywags and I have emailed them... It would be 900000rp a night. Is there anything else in that price range that would better??

Miranda, Sydney
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5. Re: So confused about Gilli islands! Help me plan my trip please

Minniebrad - Hubby & I will be at Scallywags on GiliT next month - but as it is high season, we are paying alot more for our accommodation. My daughter stayed there in March and thought it was the best place to stay on GiliT, so here's hoping her recommendation is right.

Will let you know how it is, and our thoughts on GiliT. We are back on Lombok next March as well (our flights with Garuda were $15 each) staying at Qunci Villas for 4 nights after Nyepi Day, so if we like GiliT we will continue the rest of our holiday in or around the Gilis.

Cheers,

Sandy

Lombok, Indonesia
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6. Re: So confused about Gilli islands! Help me plan my trip please

There are a lot of myths about the difficulties in getting to Lombok, and visiting the Gili islands.

Most of the concerns will evaporate once the task is tackled, especially if these forum discussions have been explored prior to setting out.

It is one of those situations where a little bit of information can save a lot of time and worry, more information can virtually dispel it and you can just get on with the task of having a nice holiday.

It is a very laid back island.

Common sense and some basic research takes care of most challenges quite adequately.

If you have found your way here you are probably already in pretty good shape.

Gold Coast
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7. Re: So confused about Gilli islands! Help me plan my trip please

Thanks guys I have booked in at scallywags. Will wait to will get there to organise either boat transfers if the weather is good or flights.

Thanks for your helpe everyone. Sandy and sunshine Please let me know how you go over there once you get back!

Perth, Australia
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8. Re: So confused about Gilli islands! Help me plan my trip please

I just got back from Gili T and found the fastboat ok. The trip over was perfect, hardly any swell at all. The ride back was not quite as smooth but we went in the afternoon which I have been told is alot rougher than the morning. Still no-one on the boat was sick, so wasn't too bad. We went with Blue Water Express which we found quite professional and it took about 2 & 1/4 hours going over and about 3 coming back to Benoa Harbour.

Lombok, Indonesia
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9. Re: So confused about Gilli islands! Help me plan my trip please

Yes the swell seems to have settled a bit.

Conditions are subject to change though, just to underline that a big wind blew through just as I was typing this :)

The weather is really nice though, it only raises questions in regard to true open water crossings as can be experienced out in the middle of the Lombok straits, in the protected coastal waters closer to the shores of Bali and Lombok it is generally OK unless there is some extreme weather about.

Fleursie is correct, generally a morning crossing is preferable.

Sunshine Coast...
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10. Re: So confused about Gilli islands! Help me plan my trip please

Minniebrad we will be overseas from the 9th Oct thru to 24th I will be posting when I get back plus I will write some reviews.

I am looking forward to hearing all about Sandy's up coming trip as she will be there this month.

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