How to Get from Denpasar to Gilimanuk (Bali to Java)

There seems to be limited information available for travelers heading from Denpasar, Bali to Gilimanuk, on their way to catch the ferry to Banyuwangi in Java.

It’s possible to take public bus transportation from Denpasar to Gilimanuk quite cheaply (between 40,000 and 80,000 rupiah per person) and make this journey in about 4 hours. From Gilimanuk, you can catch a 30-minute to 1-hour ferry to Java (which run every 20 minutes 24 hours a day) for about 6,000 to 8,000 rupiah per person.

Get from Denpasar to Gilimanuk or Banyuwangi by bus (public transportation)

First, get an early start because you have a long journey ahead of you. Buses run frequently, but even more so in the morning. It will also be more pleasant to take the bus in the morning before it gets too hot. Bring some snacks and water with you for the ride.

You should arrive at Ubung Bus Terminal in Denpasar at about 8:00 am. To get to Ubung from your hotel or hostel can be a bit of a pain. You can take a taxi (Blue Bird Taxis are the most trustworthy – just double check before you get in that the driver has credentials and a uniform, and isn’t a fake).

When you arrive at the bus station, ask the worker at the front gate where you can catch a bus to Gilimanuk or Banyuwangi. You may have to ignore some drivers around the station trying to offer you taxi rides. You also shouldn’t pay at the ticket stalls because you may end up paying a higher “tourist price.”

You’ll be shown to smaller mini buses or chicken buses that have signs that say “Gilimanuk” or “Banyuwangi” on them.

It’s been suggested that you wait to pay once you’re already on the bus and not before. Ticket seller at the gate have also been known to increase prices for tourists. The normal price to pay is supposedly 40,000 rupiah but many ticket sellers and bus drivers will try to get you to pay between 50,000 and 80,000 rupiah – the tourist price (still not bad though?) – It also may depend whether you are paying to go to Gilimanuk or all the way to Banyuwangi, which is farther.

The ride from Denpasar to Gilimanuk is usually between 3-4 hours of very bumpy road, traffic, and some treacherous swerving. It can also be very crowded as many locals are taking these buses on their commute. The views are very nice though!

There will most likely be people smoking on the bus and no air conditioner, but the windows will be open. Relax and try to enjoy the adventure. You might actually be relieved after so much “touristy-ness” in Bali to be seeing something a bit more “real.”

You’ll get glimpses of ocean, mountains, forests, and rice paddies—making you appreciate the true beauty of Bali!

Or catch a “Direct” A/C bus

There is another option—the “direct” A/C bus—which runs less frequently, but may make your trip more comfortable. It doesn’t leave until all the seats are taken so you may be waiting on the bus for a while. The journey takes the same amount of time (3-4 hours).

One traveler said that you should not sit in the back row seats of these buses as there is something hot beneath the seats that “will cook your legs” during the journey. Just a little tip!

Then take the ferry from Gillimanuk to Banyuwangi, East Java

Finally, you’ll arrive at the ferry terminal in Gillimanuk!

You can buy some food around the terminal in Gillimanuk if you’re hungry and then catch the ferry, which run every 20 minutes 24 hours a day. Once on the ferry, you can leave the bus and get some fresh air.

The crossing takes about 30-60 minutes. The extra time is due to bad weather and/or waiting in line to get on and off the ferry. There can sometimes be long lines and lots of traffic to get on the ferry.

From the terminal, continuing on to Banyuwangi is about another 30 minutes’ drive south. Some tourists stay on the same bus and others take a taxi into the center of Banyuwangi, depending on the bus you got on at Denpasar. A taxi from the ferry terminal into Banyuwangi should cost about 30,000 rupiah.

If you don’t have time, take a short 2-day trip from Denpasar to the Blue Flames at Ijen Crater

If you want, you can take some time out of your trip in Bali to do a quick trip to visit the famous Blue Flames at Ijen Crater. You could follow the same bus itinerary above and book one night at a hotel in or near Banyuwangi.

Many hotels will help you to book a hike to Ijen Crater. You start hiking to Ijen Crater starting in the very early hours of the morning and watch the sun rise! It will cost around 350,000 rupiah for the entrance fee and to hire a guide who provides a flashlight and gas mask (for the fumes in the air).

Then, you can get back to your hotel by 9:00 am, have a shower and relax—before taking the ferry and bus back to Denpasar and your Bali hotel! If you prefer, you can take a “direct bus” (the A/C bus) at the ferry terminal for about 100,000 rupiah to the Mengwi Bus Terminal, and then take a taxi to Denpasar, Kuta, or wherever your accommodation is.

You’d be back by early evening with amazing memories and photos.

*BEWARE* Book ahead during Ramadan

Check to see if you’re planning on traveling during Ramadan, and if you are, book your tickets early! During Ramadan, many Indonesians from around the country (a country of 250+ million people) are visiting their family members and ferry tickets (as well as plane, train, bus, etc. tickets!) have been known to sell out in advance.

If you realize you’ve booked your travels during Ramadan, don’t panic! Do some research of the places you’d like to explore as soon as possible. Make a list and start booking transportation and accommodation. For smaller trips, such as ferries, you may want to ask for assistance from your hotel.

READ: How Do I Travel Indonesia? Best Transport Tips from Locals

READ: 25 Essential Things to Know Before Visiting Indonesia


Brittany is a Wayfaring Human who loves to adventure with her husband and son. When she's not having adventures, she's taking pictures of them and writing about them.

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