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There is no motorised transport on Gili Trawangan; bikes, walking and horse carts are the main means of transport.
Walk or use bicycles when you can, since the horses seem to labour under extreme conditions (little fresh water, sand and salt, etc.).
The Gili Eco Trust and other groups are investigating the situation and trying to put forward solutions so that the island can remain pollution-free and the horses enjoy a more comfortable existence.
There're several ways to get to Gili Trawangan.
The airport is around 2 hours by car from the beach departure point at Bangsal or Teluk Nare/Teluk Kodek.
1.Public boat from Bangsal on the west coast of Lombok. These are small wooden hulled ferries that operate from the beach at Bangsal on the mid north west coast of Lombok. It is a short water crossing to the islands, Gili Air is the closest to shore and Gili Trawangan is the furthest away.
Fares are Gili Trawangan Rp10,000, Gili Meno Rp9,000, Gili Air Rp8,000.
2.Speedboat charter from Teluk Nare and Teluk Kodek on the west coast of Lombok (slightly south of Bangsal). This is a more expensive option and some operators (such as Dream Divers) have packaged a range of transfer options using a speedboat for the last leg to the islands. You can also just take a taxi or private car to the area and seek a transfer, avoid doing this after late afternoon as night time crossings are ill-advised for reasons of navigational safety.
3.Transfer Shuttle bus from the Lombok International Airport or Senggigi/Mangsit and then either the Public boat or a Speedboat as above. These are private services and should be organised prior to your arrival on Lombok.
4.Private car and driver hire from anywhere on the island to Bangsal or Teluk Nare/Teluk Kodek.
5.Taxi, they are metered and all are airconditioned. (A taxi service fee of Rp17,500 must be paid at the airport).
6.Public Airport Bus provided by DAMRI, this goes as far as Senggigi on the west coast. Taxi, shuttle bus, car or boat charter provides the last leg onto the islands or to Telok Nare/Telok Kodek. Cost is Rp25,000 per person from the Airport to Senggigi or Rp10,000 from the Mandalika bus terminal on the eastern outskirts of the city to Senggigi.
You can also take the Vehicular/Passenger ferry. These are small ships that depart from Padang Bai on the east coat of Bali every hour 24hours 7days a week.
These rolll on roll off vehicle ferries carry the majority of the islands road freight. They also carry a large number of passengers, Fares are quite inexpensive and they only stop running in very inclement weather. If the Ferries stop running due to the prevailing weather conditions then the Fastboat services have certainly closed down, and Air services may also be effected, if not by the weather then by the extra loading arising from diverted Fastboat and Ferry passengers.
Facilities are basic, safety standards may alarm some travellers and the trip is slow (4-6 hours).
The harbour at both ends is problematic for travel touts and annoying baggage porters who often pester passengers relentlessly. It is best to book a point to point service unless up to dealing with the large number of pestering individuals that may be encountered. After arrival at Lembar continue to Bangsal using land transport. After that you can board a Public boat to Gili Trawangan or use one of the other options outlined above.
Some providers such as Perama tours offer services from a range of pick up points on Bali through to multiple destinations on Lombok, including the Gili islands.
Vehicle/passenger ferries also operate from Sumbawa to the east coast of Lombok. Transport options from there to Gili Trawangan require some advance planning. Public transport options are available but may be difficult to understand.
You may also access the Gili Islands and Lombok by Fastboat services running across the Lombok strait from several departure points on the islands of Bali and Nusa Lembongan.
It should be understood the Fastboats are only small craft with thin hull skins, powered by outboard petrol fueled engines and operating at high speeds when the weather permits.
These boats are not suitable for other than perfect weather conditions and there are issues concerning the operational and safety standards, some operators are worse than others in that regard.
Several of the better known Fastboats include Gili Cat, BlueWater Express, Eka Jaya, Marina Srikandi and Gili-Gili and also others. They leave everyday from Bali to Gili Islands at a their respective schedule. Fast boat travel time is around 2 hours+ depending upon weather conditions.
Depending upon your departure location on Bali a long road trip may be required to get to the Fastboat departure point. If in the north look at options from Amed.
If in the southern areas of Bali an air trip may be more expedient.
BlueWater Express departs from Serangan harbour in South Bali and Padang Bai harbour. Gili Cat, Eka Jaya, Marina Srikandi depart from Padang Bai harbour. Gili-Gili departs from Benoa, Nusa Dua.