Going from Bali to Gili Islands by fast boat has been recommended by many experienced travelers. While travelling by plane will give you comfort, fast boats offer quick transfer from Bali hence it becomes favorite. Travelers who take busses or cars will eventually end up on sitting in a ferry boat, though, as Bali and Nusa Tenggara are separated by a strait.
To reach Gili Islands, you can depart from Padang Bai or Benoa Harbor. Please consider where you are going to be on your last day in Bali. Departing from South Bali area, which includes Kuta, Sanur, Nusa Dua, you shall make Benoa Harbor your choice. Alternatively, you can also leave from Serangan Port that is also located in South Bali. However, Padang Bai will be more suitable for those leaving from Central or East Bali area (such as Candidasa and Ubud).
Direct transfer from Bali to Gili Islands by fast boat takes about two hours via Serangan and about one hour and fifteen minutes from Padang Bai. If you want to spend less time on the boat, you may take your time to drive to Padang Bai—regardless the last site you visit in Bali. However, on your way to Padang Bai, there is a great chance that you will be trapped in the traffic jam—since it is the main harbor that is commonly used to transport industrial goods to Lombok.
In a word, go for Serangan if you would like to spend less time on the road and more time on the boat. On the other hand, choose to depart from Padang Bai for lesser time on a boat, with a risk of driving in the hectic traffic.
Despite the distance of the port and length of sailing time, you must also take into account some other factors such as weather. This issue particularly affects sea travel that even if you go from nearer harbor, bad weather will cause delay.
Getting an expert’s advice on travelling from Bali to Gili Islands by fast boat will be a tremendous help. Consult the plan with a trusted private tour agency such that you know which way is better.