Adding in the Gili Islands was an unexpected trip that came with additional travel expenses in both transportation and activities. Trying to travel on a budget is tough but you always have to weigh the cost, time and convienence. Our first thought when we decided to come to Gili Air was to take the inexpensive public boat, why would we pay 350,000 IDR for the same trip we coud get for maybe 1/5 of the price?
After doing some additional research we learned that to take the public boat would mean getting a taxi to Padang Bai, taking the public ferry 5 hours to Lombok, taking another bus from Lembar to Senggigi, and finally taking another public ferry to Gili Air. Not to mention the questionable safety of the public ferries that cross between Bali and Lombok.
Considering we wanted to maximize our time in the Gilis and not fear for our lives (more on that later) we decided to go with a fast boat and it was worth the cost.
Ocean Star Express pulling away from Bali
A fast boat is definitely the best way to get to the Gilis.
As fun as it is to sit on top the boat, I would not recommend it if the sea is at all choppy. It may be fine at the beginning and end, but once you are out in the middle there are large swells and you have the potential to get soaking wet. We rode on top on our way back to Bali and were completely drenched and bounced around quite a bit from the swells. It was really fun, but I wouldn’t recommend the top if you are carrying anything you don’t want to get wet.
You can make reservations for Ocean Star Express in Bali by calling +62 (0)812 3769 1404 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclosure: We received a discount from Ocean Star Express. The views expressed here are our own.