Day 16 – Travelling to Ubud from Gili Air

Yesterday we left the Gili Islands to come back to Bali and to be honest, we were ready to come back over to Bali. We enjoyed our time on the islands, but had lots of ‘downers’ on our time, such as bad travel arrangements by fast boat companies, and a few cases of Bali Belly!!

We were up bright and early after a much needed comfortable nights rest in our hotel (thank god we left the cockroach place!!). We even had breakfast included in our one night stay, so managed to fill our bellies before a long day of travelling we had ahead of us.

We were due to check in at the Ekajaya office for 10:30am, which luckily was only a short walk from our hotel – it’s awful carrying a 70l rucksack, and a 20l daysack each in 30+ degree heat with sunburnt backs! We turned early (10am), and after dealing with a grumpy front of desk member of staff we were given our boarding passes. With 1hour to wait to departure, we sat in the local cafe (Ekajaya check-in area) and tried to cool down, which was pretty difficult in a small fan cooled room with around 30+ other travellers.

Eleven came and went, in usual Balinese style it looked like the whole schedule would be running late. Then suddenly, our boat named was called and we were all pushed and rushed down the harbour as quick as we could possibly go. We arrived at the harbour to see only a couple of local slow boats moored up, everyone looked confused apart from the boat’s staff who again started pushing us all to board a knackered local boat. With everyone boarded we set off, but nobody really had a clue where we were going as we were all told that the main company boat would be picking us up from the harbour of Gili Air. It turned out that we were being taken to Bangsal Harbour, which is situated in Lombok, pretty much opposite Gili Air so it only took around fifteen minutes – even on a slow boat.

We arrived safely in Bangsal Harbour but were immediately hounded by young lads trying to ‘help’ us take our bags off the boat, which seems quite sweet but I can assure you they weren’t doing this for free, and I’m such they’d of expected more than 20k as a thank you for their help, or you wouldn’t have got your luggage back. As soon as we arrived at the harbour building we were told, or should I say Chinese whispered through all the passengers that the main boat was half an hour delayed. Well, the half an hour delay lasted much longer than that, two hours later and we were still all stood in the 30+ degree heat waiting for our boat to arrive.

Finally, several hours later the boat turned up and again we were all pushed and hurried onto the boat, which this time I can understand as we were running probably around three hours late at this time. Once boarded, we quickly realised that even though we’d been 3+ hours delayed we’d be much happier travelling with this company compared to Scoot Fast Boats. The boat was a large boat, I’m rubbish with boat names and all that kind of thing but if you visit this link you’ll be able to see the boat we travelled on.

The journey itself to Bali only took just over an hour, and we were even able to grab ourselves top deck seats so we could watch the beautiful surroundings of Indonesia pass us bye.

Arriving into Padang Bai, Bali at around 3pm. We were relaxed and pleased to be back in Bali. That relaxation didn’t last long though, as we climbed off the boat there must have been around 50+ taxi drivers shouting ‘taxi’ at us all, and trying to persuade us that our transfers we’d bought with the boat company would take 3+ hours to arrive at our location such as Ubud. Tom pushed me forward out of the crowd, Tom luckily had already understood that it was a ‘scam’ persuading you to buy a taxi with them rather than your free shuttle with the boat company. After collecting our bags and dragging them out of the chaos we made our way off the harbour pier and into the car park, we were pushed into a seven-seater minibus type thing full of passengers also going to Ubud, so our journey would be quick enough with nice comfortable aircon.

After a long day of travelling, we arrived at our new hotel in Ubud, named Puri Padma (a brilliant hotel!!), we were very tired and hungry. For the rest of the evening we popped into central Ubud for some food – but apart from that, it wasn’t much of an interesting day or evening.

As always, thanks for reading.