In the local dialect the word Gili means island. As such there are
many islands using the word "Gili" that are found off
the north, west, east, and south coasts of Lombok. In this exercise
we will cover the three Gili Islands off the northwest coast of
Lombok that are known as Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan.
These are the most popular of all the islands that surround Lombok
and have become tourist destinations in their own right.
As there are no natural basins for catching rain water on any of
the three islands, fresh water has to be bought in from the mainland
for cooking and drinking. Furthermore since no fresh water on the
islands swimming pools and showers use salt water - kind of sticky
the first day but everyone adjusts after a day or two. Note: a real
advantage of the salt water is that the islands are, for the most
part, mosquito-free since mosquitos do not breed in salt water.
There is no motorized transport allowed whatsoever on the islands
- Only horse drawn carts ! For more on this
see below. As well the islands can be very dark at night as
there are no street lighting, therefore we recommend that you bring
your own torch (flash light) when you go out at night and your hotel
is some distance from the restaurant.
It is advisable to bring extra supplies as some basic items are
in limited supply and prices, while not outrageous, tend to be a
bit more expensive.
to get there
You will need to take an outrigger from Bangsal Harbour. From Senggigi
Beach to Bangsal Harbour takes about 40 minutes by car. There are
many small transport companies that promote transport to all the
Gili Islands. The posted fare includes transport to take you to
Bangsal Harbour and as well as price for a public boat crossing.
At the time this was written the total cost was usually Rp. 23,000.-/person.
(Rp. 20,000-/person for the ride to Bangsal Habour and Rp. 3,000.-/person
for the public boat crossing). For small groups you may be able
to negotiate the Rp. 20,000.-/ per person price but not the Rp.
3,000.-/ for the boat which is fixed.
Unfortunately there are no public bemos going directly from Senggigi
to Bangsal. Adventurous folks may wish to take a 2.5 hours bemo
ride that passes through Ampenan, Gunung Sari and Pemenang before
eventually ending up in Bangsal.
All vehicles - cars, buses and public bemos must
stop a half kilometer from the harbour. This is an effort to spread
the benefits of tourism amongst the cidomo drivers. The "correct"
fare to ride the cidomo to the habour is Rp. 1,000.- / person. (Unfortunately
the cidomo drivers try to take advantage of the situation and charge
whatever they think you will pay). However if you don't have much
luggage you can easily walk the remaining 500 metres to the harbour.
When you arrive at the entrance to the habour you will be set upon
all manor of people trying to sell you passage to the islands. However
the habour master is located in a large building back 100 meters
to the left of the entrance. There you can find the current prices
for all boats, "scheduled" departure times and other information
as you may need.
The cost to take a public boat to any of the Gili Islands
from Bangsal is Rp. 3,000.-/person.
The maximum number of passengers on a public boat is 20. However
be prepared to scrunch in with all the other passengers, luggage
and supplies. In order to maximize his profit the "captain"
will only leave when the boat is full - as such you may have to
wait for a while...
Another option is to charter your own boat. Chartering a boat to
any of the islands is Rp.55,000.-/way/boat. You can always ask other
tourists if they're going your way and join in and charter a boat
Note: The cost to charter a boat between any two islands is always
the same - This is because boats can only pick up passengers from
the island that they are stationed on - this gives all the boat
owners a chance to make money but keeps the price higher.
Island hopping from one island to another is Rp. 7,000.- / person
but only runs 2 times a day - (if you are lucky).
On the islands - cidomos are the only source of ground transportation.
Rides cost between Rp. 10,000 - Rp. 15,000 to go to any hotel from
the harbour. If you are carrying a lot of luggage it is a good idea
to use the cidomo as walking on the sand can be difficult with luggage.
Cidomos usually stop running at about 8.00 pm If you go out to dinner
and do not want to walk back to the hotel in complete darkness it
is advisable to make prior arrangements with the cidomo driver for
your return trip.