PATAGONIA XPRESS: YOUR BOAT TO GILI ISLANDS
Once little known, the Gili Islands, which lie just off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia are fast becoming one of the hottest holiday hotspots in the archipelago. The three islands – Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno – all have their own unique character and all offer the perfect tropical island getaway experience.
Many travelers head to the Gili Islands from Bali, and the best way to do this is by fast boat. The Patagonia Xpress is a new fast boat plying the route from Benoa Harbor in Bali to Bangsal in Lombok, stopping at Padangbai (Bali), Gili Trawangan and Gili Air.
The Patagonia Xpress measures almost 34 meters in length and 6 meters in width with a capacity to transport a maximum of 174 passengers. This graceful vessel cruises at a maximum speed of 30 knots. Constructed at the Pt Citra Shipyard in Northern Indonesia, the fast boat’s body consists of lightweight aluminum and runs on twin engines that pack 1400 hp each and can rise to 2100 rpm.
The Patagonia Xpress mean you can travel safely, quickly and in comfort. Options for your voyage include the air conditioned saloon deck accommodates travelers and an upper deck if you want to soak up the sun. The saloon has lavishly comfortable leather seats and clear windows for stunning views. It also has topnotch air conditioning to keep you cool throughout the crossing. If you need to communicate, it also has fast and free Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the journey. In addition, you can watch movies on the 32-inch flat screen TVs. The open-air top deck is for those who prefer to enjoy the scenic views as the fast boat travels to its destination, basking in the sun and soaking in the sea views.
The Patagonia Xpress is equipped with safety equipment to ensure the protection of travelers, including GPS tracking technology for accurate navigation. Wide access entrance doors mean it is easy to move around the boat and there are life jackets for all passengers and crew, coupled with eight lifeboats, each with a capacity of 25 passengers, enabling a total evacuation if there is an emergency. To handle all these resources are an experienced captain and crew who are always on hand to make sure your trip is both safe and enjoyable.
Online booking serves as the most convenient way to reserve a place on the Patagonia Xpress. The booking section of the website is easy to use with a secure on line payment portal. After payment, you get a voucher that enables you to board and travel. Check out the website for the latest prices, including special offers for booking directly on line. Children under the age of 3 of travel free of charge and prices remain the same from any point embarkation/ disembarkation, providing you with the most flexibility. The Patagonia Xpress departs from Benoa Harbour at 8.30am every morning, and full details of the schedule may be found on the website. This schedule is sometimes subject to change at short notice because of sea and weather conditions. Complimentary transfers fto and from the main tourist areas in Bali, including Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Ubud are included in the price – just make sure you make a note of wher you would like to be picked up from when you book your ticket.
The Patagonia Xpress permits you to carry a maximum of 25 kilograms in luggage, which they tag and store for the duration of the trip. You should confirm return tickets at least 1 day before departure time (whichever direction you will be travelling). The professional and helpful Patagonia Xpress staff are available both on deck and at all stops in case you need help during the voyage.
The Gili islands unfold before you like a slice of heaven on earth once you arrive. They have a native allure, the result of unblemished nature and a clean environment. Apart from their natural beauty that in itself is more than enough reason to visit, the island also have a range of leisure activities for you to partake in and enjoy.
The Gili Islands first became popular with backpackers in the 1980s, and there is still a great fun back packer vibe on the islands, especially Gili Travawangan, which with its range of bars is a great place to party as well as relax on the beach. As the islands have grown in popularity though they now attract a wide range of tourists, including families and those looking for luxury. Not only will you still find great value accommodation if you are backpacking, you’ll also fine some fantastic luxury options.
A wide range of restaurants, cafes, bars and beach clubs off great drinks and tempting food, including Indonesian cuisine, seafood and familiar Western fare. Leisure activities include scuba diving, yoga, nature walks, guided tours and many more. The laws in the Gili isles do not permit vehicular transport. To move around you have to walk, ride a bicycle or use a horse drawn carriage known as ‘cidomo’. This all adds to the appeal of the islands, and really does help you to feel that you are getting away from it all.
With a permanent population of about 800 people, Gili Trawangan is the biggest of the three islands. It has a well-developed hospitality sector and offers the widest range of accommodation of the the three islands. The ‘harbour’ which is is actually just the stretch of beach on which the boats land is in front of the main village where you’ll find most of the budget options for accommodation. Head north or south from here and things will start to get a little quitter and you’ll find beach front hotels and villas alongside beach clubs and bars with chilled beats and cool cocktails. Gili Meno is the smallest, lying between the other two isles. A trip on foot around the entire island takes no more than 1 hour. It’s the perfect place for a romantic get away – anyone looking for the perfect honeymoon destination? This could very well be it! Gili Air offers a balance – a great range of restaurants and beach bars as well accommodation options to suite all budgets. There’s more to do here then Gili Meno, but it’s a little quieter than Gili Trawangan. Gili Air really is a watersports paradise – be that simply swimming from the beach, snorkeling or scuba diving.
Paradise on earth exists in a heavenly corner of Indonesia and for you to get there, why not take the best transport available: The Patagonia Xpress.