From Bali you have two options. Fly to Lombok or Boat transfer.
Flying used to be slightly quicker, though now the airport is more inland it works out pretty expensive and might actually take longer all in. Various airlines fly this short hop, check out the safety ratings of the airline before booking any flight in Indonesia. Some like to miss runways, disappear or hit cows on take off…
Boat transfers can be arranged easily through any booking agent across Bali or the Islands and will usually include pick up and transfer to the port. Have a shop around and see which is the best deal from the agent you plump for, check they are a safe and reputable company.
Getting between the Islands you have the public boats (dirt cheap) or the fast transfers. Prepare for scams and lies to get you onto the faster ones, but you can check the timetables at the official huts near the piers.
If you are coming over from Lombok then at Senggigi you can grab a speed boat or head to the main port further along, this is where the cheap public ferry leaves from as well as another fast boat for a few bucks more. The slow boat leaves when it is full, but should never take too long. If you have made the boat trip from Flores then know you will arrive to a different port a long drive away.
The fast boat crossings vary in both comfort and safety. Boats have literally caught in flames or sunk whilst making the trip. Although safety has improved in recent years, be safe when checking out your options.
There have been instances of methanol poisoning in Indonesia and particularly the Gili islands from home-made spirits or even premium brands being mixed. If it looks dodgy, stick with the Bintang.
Little stingers (jellyfish) can be found in the water during the summer months. The turtles will eat them up in front of you, or they might give you a little sting.
Having scuba dived and snorkeled here multiple times, I would personally stick to the fins and mask. The diving didn’t blow me away in comparison to what you can see in the shallows, though if you are relatively new its a great place to add to your dive count or do your scuba qualification. Big Bubble, on Gili T is one company I really enjoyed diving with, my friend used to teach here so am also pretty confident in their equipment.
There have been some ongoing disputes with hostels being closed down/island arguments. Rocking up and finding a room however shouldn’t usually be a problem.
Please don’t just come to Indonesia and do only Bali and the Gili Islands – There are so many incredible places across this country.
Are these three specks of island life all the paradise they are cracked up to be? For me, yep. But if you want Indonesian paradise at its best? You have one hell of a journey to Raja Ampat.
Heading to Bali as well? Here is my breakdown of where to stay in Bali beyond shitty Kuta…