Fly to Gili Islands and Enjoy Their Exotic Tropical Sensation

If you are looking for an alternative way to awesome tropical paradise, you may consider to fly to Gili Islands. People of Lombok refer to all small islands that lie on the periphery of their main island as Gilis, but when they mention Gilis, they actually talk about the three small islands that are located off the northwest coast of the main island: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. The three islands are so exotic and beautiful that neither photoshopping nor high-end camera are needed to capture their authentic natural loveliness in photographs. Lying on calm turquoise sea water and fringed with serene beaches with their soft white sand, the three scenic islands will remind you about some of the best island resorts in Balearic and Ko Phi Phi Le islands. The vibe is more or less the same. What makes the gilis different is their serenity and affordable accommodations—features that most tourists consider excellent.

How to Reach Gili Islands

There are two avenues to reach those gilis. First, if you already spend your time in Bali, you can board on a fast boat that goes directly to the gilis or one bound for the main island of Lombok. Second, Lombok International Airport, the island’s only operating airport that has been open since 2011 after replacing the now defunct Selaparang Airport, now welcomes airliners coming from Malaysia and Singapore, along with some domestic airports. Foreign travelers coming from and stopping by in those countries can now reach Lombok by flight without having to transit in Jakarta or Denpasar. In the future, it is expected that the airport will also welcome aircrafts flying from Australia, other Asian countries, and Europe. Lombok is ready to welcome enthusiastic tourists to find something pleasing in its paradisiac gilis.

Why Should You Fly to Gili Islands Instead of Crossing Sea?

We have mentioned the two available transportation means to Gili Islands: a fast boat and an aircraft; however, there is a good reason why you should opt for a flight instead of boarding on a boat. Given that the new airport is an international airport, you can arrive at Lombok directly without having to transit in other international airports. If you have spent your time in Bali, you can board on an aircraft from Denpasar to Lombok or a fast boat from Serangan to Gili Trawangan. It is worth mentioning, though, that the boat bound for Gili Islands from Bali is expected to be so fast that you can reach the islands in three hours or less. However, this is not always the case because if you are unlucky and take the wrong time to sail, you will end up being tormented on high seas for as long as 4 to 6 hours. This voyage service is expected to improve soon, but at the present, it is better for you to take a flight to Lombok.

Surprisingly, boarding on a plane, especially if you use low-cost flight service provided by Lion Air and Wings Air, is nearly 50% cheaper than boarding on a fast boat. When this article is written, the cost for a flight from Denpasar to Lombok is somewhere below 300,000 IDR. You mostly have to pay more if you opt for a fast boat.

Flying, nonetheless, also has its cons. The old airport, which is closer to Mataram and especially to your final destination in the Gili Islands, is no more operating now. Your flight destination now is the new international airport that is located 40 kilometers southeast of Mataram, which makes your trip to Gili Islands almost twice as far as it was when you arrived at the old airport.

This, however, doesn’t make your trip less exciting. The airport is located near Lombok’s Kuta beach, which is a growing tourism precinct that you may want to look into for either a reference for your future visit or a stopover before continuing your journey. The land trip from the airport to Bangsal harbor, from which you can ferry to the gilis, takes about 3.5 hours. You can use a shuttle bus from the airport with ticket price that ranges from 15,000 IDR to 25,000 IDR, depending on whether you stop at Mataram or Senggigi. From either terminus, you can continue your journey to Bangsal harbor using regular public transportation. What makes this land trip exciting is that you can reach the port using one of two available routes, one of which allows you to enjoy the scenery of the beach whereas the other allows you to pass through the lush and exotic monkey forest. Once you arrive at the port, you only need to pay 15,000 IDR to board on ferry that is bound for Gili Trawangan.

The Right Time to Visit Gili Islands

Just like other tropical paradises, the Gili Islands become popular destination for tourists who are looking for warm sun, fresh water, clear sky, and cool tropical breeze. The best time to visit those islands is thus during the hot season when the weather is at its best. This season usually lasts from July to August. The average temperature degree in that period is 32°C at noon and 21°C at night.

Potential Concerns

We have mentioned all great things about Gili Islands. Now you need to know some things that you may need to beware of when visiting those islands. Apart from the long distance of land trip that you have to navigate from the airport to Bangsal harbor, the first thing that you may be concerned with is the price. We have mentioned some prices above, but you can only get the right prices if you are good at haggling. Be prepared to haggle a lot because there is a big chance that you will be ripped off. You should also beware of traffic. Most roads and streets in Lombok, especially those in tourism areas, are so wild that the roaming horses and carriages (called cidomo) will easily trample you if you stand in their way.


Despite the pros and cons of visiting this island, your effort will be paid off once you arrive at the islands. They are not only like paradises on earth, but also very safe and clean because crime rate is very low, thanks to the effective operation of Island Security Office in Gili Trawangan, and because motorized vehicles are completely absent. You don’t have to hear their noisy engine and you don’t have to worry about pollution. This is a great perk that also becomes a reason why you should fly to Gili Islands and have a great time there.