Gilimanuk is a port town in West Bali. It sits on a small peninsula at the far western tip of Bali, less than 3 km from East Java, from which it is separated by the Bali Strait. The town is usually seen as a stopover to Java and few visitors linger here for long.
For most people, there is only one reason to come to Gilimanuk: it is the port for ferries to and from Banyuwangi (Ketapang) in Java. Ferries run every 20 minutes, 24 hours a day and take about half an hour to make the crossing, although loading and unloading can take much longer. Since the onset of terrorist problems in Bali, security is much, much tighter at Gilimanuk than it used to be and you should be prepared for some long queues. The fares are Rp 6,000 per person, Rp 95,000 per car and Rp 31,000 per motorbike, and can be purchased online through Ferizy or on the spot.
Buses and bemos run to Gilimanuk from Ubung terminal in Denpasar, taking about 3 hours and costing Rp 30,000-50,000 depending on the quality of the vehicle. If late in the day, buses will be irregular. Locals may offer to take tourists from the ferry to Denpasar in their private car for around Rp 100,000 per passenger. The bus terminal is opposite the ferry terminal.
Gilimanuk is very small, and you would never have a reason to do anything other than walk.
- Museum Situs Purbakala, Jl (about 500 m east of the ferry terminal), ☏ . M-F 08:00-16:00. Architectural excavations in the Gilimanuk area have revealed the earliest evidence of human habitation in Bali. This small museum houses a collection of skeletons and artifacts found near Cekik, which are thought to be 3,000-4,000 years old. Worth a visit if you have an hour to kill before jumping on a ferry. Rp 6,000.
Catch the ferry to Java.
Organise a boat trip around Gilimanuk Bay with a guide from the West Bali National Park office.
A key pleasure (many would say the only pleasure) when staying in Gilimanuk is the unique local dish of Ayam Betutu (hot and spicy chicken). Chicken is boiled in a broth of local spices for up to 3 hours and wood-smoked (Betutu means smoked). It is normally served with steamed rice and plecing kangkung (hot and spicy water spinach). The recipe was apparently invented by the late Mrs. Tempeh and the warung bearing her name is the most popular venue for this dish: Warung Men Tempeh in the old bus terminal.
There are only basic guesthouses here, mostly used by truck drivers. Stay elsewhere if you can.
- Hotel Sari (+62 365 61264) offers cheap fan cooled rooms. About 10 minutes south of the ferry terminal.
- Pondok Wisata Lestari (+62 365 61504) is basic but probably the best of the options available. About 2 km south of the ferry terminal. This guest house is sometimes used by budget travellers who are visiting West Bali National Park as well as those making the crossing to Java.
- Catch the ferry to Banyuwangi in East Java and move onward to stunning volcanic scenery at Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park