Gilimanuk is a port town in West Bali. It is pretty subdued and has a growing Muslim presence from migrating Javanese, including new mosques under construction.
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 19,000 per motorbike (you won't have to pay for a person if you pay a motorcycle : 2 people + 1 motorcycle = Rp 19,000. (on the 30 August 2013))
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.
Gilimanuk is very small, and you would never have a reason to do anything other than walk.
Catch the ferry to Java.
Organise a boat trip around Gilimanuk Bay with a guide from the West Bali National Park office.
Walk around the alleys west of the market area to see some beautiful Balinese homes. If you walk right to the water, you can see Java, and local kids often swim here in the ocean.
Watch some local cock-fighting.
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 spinach).
This unique dish will certainly please foodies and even the most jaded of traveller will appreciate the truly delicious flavours.
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.
Stay elsewhere if you can. There are only basic guesthouses here, mostly used by truck drivers. They are spaced along the main road, some are labelled 'home stay', others 'hotel'. They get better as you slightly past the southern (ie. out of town) end of the market area, and the last one on the left run by a woman was the cleanest/best value we found in late October 2012.
The hotel with a sign at the northern end of the market area is quiet and down a side-street (turn right at the first side-street and keep going) but is a rip-off at 250k.