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 22,000 per motorbike (you won't have to pay for a person if you pay a motorcycle : 2 people + 1 motorcycle = Rp 22,000. (on the 30 August 2016))
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.
Buses and demos also run to Gilimanuk from Banyuasri terminal in Singaraja, taking about two hours.
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), ☎ +62 365 61328. M-F 8AM-4PM. 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. edit
- Secret Bay, (opposite the ferry terminal). Opposite the ferry terminal is a small park with a pleasant view over the bay. edit
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.
- Hotel Sari (+62 365 61264) offers cheap fan cooled rooms (150,000 R for fan, 350,000 R for AC). About 10 minutes south of the ferry terminal. Balinese architecture.
- 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
- Get the buses that leave from south of the market to other parts of the island.
- Press on by road to the east (toward Lovina), or the south (via Negara and Medewi Beach toward Denpasar).
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