Ubud to Gili T, Indonesia

Gili T was one of the first parts of the trip that we planned from our cosy living room in England. We decided which dates we wanted to get there, and I looked at some different routes. It seemed fairly straight forward, it wasn’t. 

We wanted to travel from Ubud. The easiest and cheapest option was without doubt the fast boat. You travel by car to Padang Bai Harbour, which takes approximately one hour, and then you hop on the boat which takes a further hour and 30 minutes.

In Ubud, there’s lots of little travel stalls where you can book tickets for transport and exciting excursions, this is where we planned to buy our tickets to Gili T. Luckily, we decided to stop by a kiosk a few days before we were leaving, just to inquire about prices. That’s when our plans were shattered. The boats had been stopped, the waves were too high. 

Now, it’s definitely better to be safe – but at the time it caused major panic. Our hotel in Gili T was booked, we had a scuba diving course scheduled in and absolutely no clue how we were going to get there. Nightmare!

After a few deep breaths and a little talk to myself, I quickly realised that it wasn’t the end of the world and there would definitely be alternative routes, which there were.

Fast Boat Alternatives 

The Slow Ferry

One alternative to the fast boat is the slow ferry; we found out it really is called that for a reason. Like the fast boats, they also depart from Padang Bai, and they sail through high waves when the fast boats aren’t allowed to. The total trip can take over 9 hours though. 

If you aren’t in a rush to get to your destination, this could be the option for you. Although maybe not if you’re impatient like moi. 


After speaking to my friend who lives on the Gili islands, I found out it’s a fairly common occurrence for the fast boats to be cancelled – much to his frustration. It’s not great for business when customers can’t make it to the island. 

He suggested making our way back to Seminkyak and flying from Denpasar airport to Lombok, getting a taxi across the island and then a speedboat to Gili T. 

That’s what we decided to do. 

It ended up taking a fairly long time, and it wasn’t cheap either. But it guaranteed that we made it on time which is all we cared about at that moment. Plus, it was an experience. I’d never flown on a propeller plane before this. 

Lessons Learnt 

I always considered myself to be a fairly spontaneous person, but for some reason I wasn’t when it came to trips abroad. I liked to have a plan in place and know where I was going to be on particular dates. I’ve realised that’s not the best way of doing things when it comes to travelling. 

In my opinion, and based on my experiences, it’s easier to plan as you go! By keeping things flexible, it becomes possible to go and explore new places, work around transport delays and extend a stay at a particularly amazing location. And, it’s so easy. Maybe I was always a little scared of ‘winging it’, but I really had no reason to be. 

For the second part of our trip in Indonesia, we had no idea where we were going next, where we were staying or how we were getting there but it couldn’t have worked out more perfectly. We ended up visiting places based on recommendations from locals, and people that we’d met along the way. They were all amazing, and I don’t think they would have been on our radar had we planned our trip in advance.

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