It is quite a long way to the Gili Islands but it is perfectly possible to go there and back in one day, and this would even allow you to spend about 8 hours actual time sarting on Trawangan island.
Plenty of time to snorkell, have lunch, take a horse and cart around the island, or rent a bicycle, even jump on a glassbottom boat and see the islands of Gili Meno and Gili Air, relax by a pool, go to the bird park, visit the turtle sanctuary, meet the locals and experience a piece of paradise all in one day.
In order to have the best experience we reccomend travelling by fast boat early in the morning, this starts with a pick up from your Bali hotel at 06.30am.
Followed by a 2 hour boat journey with views of the stunning Mount Agung and the east coast of Bali with possible dolphin sightings on the way as well.
For the return via Lombok we will arrange a private speed boat to take you the 15 minutes ride to Teluk Kodek, a small and private protected bay with pearl farming, and then our private car and driver will take you the 40 minutes ride along the spectacular coast road past traditional fishing villages, through Sengigi (With the opportunity to stop for drinks and food) to Mataram airport. Where at 20.00pm you will enjoy another specacular 25 minutes journey with views from the skies with Garuda Indonesia airlines.
Here is some more detailed information for you:
The fast boat runs daily schedules from Bali to Gili Trawangan and leaves from Benoa harbour in south Bali, only 20 minutes from most hotels, alternatively for visitors in Ubud we use Padang bai harbour.
Islands get away schedule are:
Outbound – Bali to Gili
Pick up from hotel at 6.30 - 7.00am
Boarding time at 7.30am (Benoa Harbour/ Padang Bai Harbour)
Departure from the Harbour at 8.00am
Arrives on Gili Trawangan at around 10.00am
8 hours Free time to enjoy the paradise beaches of the Gili Islands.....
Return – Gili to Bali
An airport transfer from Gili Trawangan to Mataram Airport at 18.00pm with private speedboat, car and personal driver service.
They take an hour from the island to the airport and check in time is one hour before.
Flight schedule: Mataram to Denpasar at 20.05pm with Garuda Indonesia Airlines – Boeing 737 – 500 aeroplane.