This depends where you are coming from. If like most people, you are coming from Bali then there are really heaps of options and fast boat choices. Most people who come from Bali are on holiday and have limited time. They have heard all the wonderful stories about the Gili Islands and want to spend a couple of days there to see what all the fuss and hype is about.
Therefore they need to get to the Gili Islands quickly and the best way to do this is via a very fast boat. There are so many people heading there; backpackers, families and couples all want to go to the Gilis.
Tourist operators being what they are and realising there was a huge market in getting day trippers and short term visitors to the Gili Islands quickly, soon figured out that they needed more than old ferry or sailing boats that took hours to get there. Fast forward to 2016 and you can get to the Gili Islands from Bali’s Padang Bai in roughly 90 minutes.
That means you can leave your hotel in Bali in the morning and be on Gili Trawangan, Meno or Air by lunchtime. This is fantastic and has really opened up the flood gates of tourism for the Gili islands. The place get busy during peak holiday periods so you really need to book all you island accommodation in advance.
There are so many tour operators that you can choose from, yet they all really offer the same deal and the same prices. I mean how different can they be. They are all leaving from essentially the same place and arriving in the exact same harbour.
These fast boats to Gili are easily booked. You can either go online and make a booking or if you are like the other 99.99% of the people that are coming from Bali all you need to do is contact your hotels front desk and they will organise it for you, even your transport to the harbour where the boat leaves from.
If your hotel cannot do this for you then all you need to do is walk down the main tourist areas and there are hundreds of tour services that will be able to help you. Remember this si Bali and they are there to make sure you spend you money with them so anything is possible, even fast boats to the Gili’s.
The main fast boat operators are:
Blue Water Express
Gili Cat Island Express
Super Scoot Fast Catamaran
Semaya One Fast Cruises
Kuda Hitma (this departs from Amed)
Take you pick. They all leave regularly from Bali and there is really not much of a difference between them. Some may stop off at other destinations on the way ( uch as Nusa Lembongan) to the Gili Islands so make sure you check the itinerary before you actually buy the ticket. You want a direct service and not one that stops at other islands on the way.
So getting to the Gili Islands is really simple. These fast boats have made it really quick and very affordable for everyone who wants to visit the Gili Islands. A day trip is good enough if you are limited for time, but ideally you should spend a couple of days there.