It wasn’t really in my plan to go to Lombok. I had heard of the Gili Islands and how amazing they were. I looked at photos and thought WOW, then looked at the prices to get there and said OW! Fast boats were being advertised online from 600,000 Rupiahs one way. There was a slow (public boat), which was significantly cheaper, but took 8-12 hours, and the thought of that already made me feel sea sick.
So I parked the idea, and decided to stay in Bali. I then heard of the tour company called Perama, who I had already got my shuttle bus to Ubud with, and their prices were 400,000 (possibly each way), so the idea was possibility going to be reconsidered. I then got to my guesthouse in Ubud, who, like a lot of accommodations offer tours, and arrange transport. They had a special offer in that week, which offered an open return ticket to the Gili Islands for 450,000. SOLD!
I was in, and bought a ticket. Two days later, I was off. I had heard stories about the fast boat to the Gili Islands, mostly about how unsafe people felt and how sea sick they got. I still wasn’t deterred, and off I went. The shuttle collected me from my accommodation early in Ubud, and we headed to the harbour town to Padang Bai, on the East Coast of Bali.
As soon as we were off the bus, porters grabbed our bags, chucked them on a trolley and drove off with them. I then said ‘now hold on a second .. you’ve taken my bag, to where, and how do you know which Island I am going to?’ (Paranoid much?) They told me all on our bus were going to Gili Trawangan. I later saw my rucksack get loaded on to the boat I boarded, felt happier.
The boat wasn’t due to depart for half an hour, so after checking in, I sat down in the sun at the beach. No sooner had I done that, and customary to Bali, you guessed it … a hawker appeared “want to buy food ma’am? Something for the boat … a bracelet, pretty bracelet … sunglasses.” No thanks I said pointing to the sunglasses on my already sweaty face. There are many ferry companies to the Gili Islands, the one I was booked on was Wanhana.
We boarded and I took my place by the fans at the back. The crossing took under 2 hours, stopping off at Gili Air and Gili Meno, before docking at Gili Tarwangan The crossing was smooth, and I barely felt time passing as I listened to an audio book. I didn’t feel sea sick or unsafe in any way.
The journey back to Bali was the same, on time, efficient and a smooth sailing. We were given a free bottle of water on the way back also. If you’re in Bali, and don’t want to fork out for a flight to Lombok, and have some time of your hands, try and get to the Gili Islands, they are beautiful, and there is plenty to do. Check out offers with your accommodation on the fast boat, or book directly with Perama.