The 14 hour trip and the scams – Gili Trawangan to Bali

welcome-to-gili-islandsDue to a government weather warning, no fast boat (3 hours door to door) was running from Gili Trawangan back to Bali. I had already been on Gili for 10 days and, amazing as it is, I really needed to move on. So there is a slow ferry I can take? How bad can that be?

Well, it can be very bad. Awful in fact. Let me tell you about the worst 14 hours journey of my trip to date.

Gili T map

When purchasing the ticket, which was £12, a lot for such a sort trip in Asia, we were told to meet at the shop at 740am the next morning. So 740am, fully laden with all our bags, we waited. The office attendant arrived at 810am (So why did I have to be there at 740am?). He then walked us 20 metres down the road to the harbour. We waited again for half an hour and then boarded a tiny little boat, crammed full of people, destination Lombok.

The scam

After an hour trip we arrive on Lombok. A man is shouting ‘Shuttle bus to ferry’, yes that is us. The man takes my bag off my back while I climb off the boat, I insist I can manage but he takes it off my back. He starts to carry my bag up the beach. I run after him asking where he is taking my bag and he simply replies ‘shuttle bus’. They then take us to a horse and cart.

Erm this isnt a shuttle bus this is a horse and cart!?. (Every body knows my views on this, I would much rather walk). The man explains he will take us to the shuttle bus, for a small fee as it is 2km away.

Erm no, I will walk thank you. The whole time the man who took my bag off me is screaming as me to give him money.

Erm, NO. You took my bag off me and ran off with it, at no time did I ask you to scam me. I declined to give him money so he got very aggressive and pushed me and walked off.

horse and cart Gili T

The whole time i was trying to explain to the horse and cart driver i wanted my bag off the cart so I could walk. He was shouting bus leaves in 10 mins (of course it does mate!) and he would take us the 2km for 10,000 RP each (£0.50). We reluctantly agree.

At the end of the short journey (more like 400m not 2km), the man demands 50,000 each.

Erm, NO. Another argument with the man results in us giving him 10,000 RP each as agreed and waiting at the bus station with a very sour taste in our mouths.

I hate to bad mouth a country or speak negatively about it, but Bali is the worst country for scammers I have been to so far. In the streets and shops some sellers get very pushy and aggressive if you do not buy anything. This often puts me off even looking. I have also heard Kuta area especially is bad for pick pockets and muggings. Luckily I did not experience this, but some people I know have. Be aware.

Once we are piled onto a shuttle bus we then have the joy of a 3 hour bus ride to the ferry. This was not too bad as the scenery was beautiful.

Lombok bus

We are then dropped at a shop and have to wait there for an hour until we are taken to te ferry. This happens a lot in Asia. The tour companies have a deal with the shop owners. All the products are over priced but they leave you there for so long you eventually buy something. I tried not too out of principle, but I caved and bought some crisps. I am only human after all.

Once on the ferry, we sat there for one hour being asked by 50 different sellers if we would Gilitbeach1like to buy their products (Snacks, water, clothing) for 5 times what it would cost in the shops. Yes this was pretty annoying! The ferry eventually left at 1pm for a 3.5 hour (which turned out to be 5.5 hours) ride to Bali.

Once everybody had managed to get off the ferry, we were split into groups depending on destination. We chose to go to Kuta to meet some friends so into the shuttle bus we got, 13 people as squashed in and luggage tied to the roof. Of course we waited 45 minutes while people tried to sell us stuff before we could leave.

Once in motion a few people announced they had to go to the airport as they would miss their flight, so we all agreed to go there first. Well it wasn’t that simple, was it?

  • We pass another shuttle bus driver with a flat tired so have to stop to help him. Me being a smart arse shouts ‘He has left the keys in the ignition, lets go’ So the Australian guy in the front jumps in the drivers seat and off we go. Luckily a few metres down the road the driver saw the funny side of this.
  • Luggage starts to fall off the roof so we get out to re tie it on.
  • The traffic is awful and we crawl at 2mph for half of the way.

So at 9pm we finally arrive at our hostel. They refuse to give us the price stated on the website and try and charge us double. After a discussion with the owner and a few phone calls, he eventually agrees.

Quick shower and off into Kuta for a night of dancing and debauchery.

Get me out of the tourist trap that is Kuta. On to Sanur and Ubud, time to get my Eat, Pray, Love on.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Evanne | Poplar Travels January 18, 2015 at 11:48 am

Good to know! We are headed to Bali, not sure where yet, in March. We had a similar thing happen in Krabi where they take you “directly to your hotel” as in they stop at a random tourist shop where you have to wait for the next bus for an hour even though it is sitting right in front of you…


sallymunt January 18, 2015 at 1:44 pm

Some bits of Bali are amazing, Sanur and Ubud especially. I am heading to Canggu tomorrow and that is meant to be lovely. But yes I feel like I spend a lot of my trips sitting, waiting in shops haha!


Lauren January 22, 2015 at 2:53 am

It sounds like a totally awful trip! I hope that your blog post saves some people the hassle in the future! At least the scenery was pretty…Thanks for linking up with #WeekendWanderlust!


sallymunt January 22, 2015 at 1:32 pm

It was horrid. Take the fast boat people! :)


Kimberly June 17, 2015 at 6:10 pm

Ugh I unfortunately was one of those people who did this as well, lured by the cheap ticket price…. And to make matters worse the fumes from the cars on the large ferry is enough to make you nauseous for sure… the day was so long that we ended up getting to the Gili’s way past dark and had to walk up and down the dark roads looking for a place to say… probably the most frustrating day in Bali I had. Definitely worth it to take the fast boat!!!


sallymunt sallymunt June 19, 2015 at 9:57 pm

Ah yes, the fumes are terrible! Lets put it down to experience! I am sure we learnt a life lesson that helped us grow that day haha!


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