If you're seeing Gili Bedil anyway, why not?
Published/Last edited or updated: 19th April, 2016
Bedil is by far our favourite, but if you’ve got the time and have chartered the boat anyway, then you may as well swing by here as well. It is a far, far larger island than Bedil -- you will not be able to walk around it! The interior is given over the cash crops like corn and the seaward face of the island is mangroves (or so we were told -- we didn’t boat around to check).
On the coastal (beach) side there is a small "government tourism initiative", which was supposed to be a walkway around the island. In fact it stretched about 100 metres and is now overgrown; the pier has half-collapsed and the salas are pretty much beaten up. Ask your boatman about it and the eyes will roll ... and roll. You can walk along the beach in either direction and, as with Bedil, the snorkelling is better offshore than straight off the beach. Overall we found Bedil far more charming and evocative.
Gili Keramat is about 30 minutes by boat from the boat landing at Labuhan Pade. To charter a boat just to Gili Keramat costs 250,000 rupiah, or it’s 350,000 rupiah if you want to go to Gili Bedil as well. We’d recommend chartering over joining with others as then you can stop wherever you want. If you want to go in with others to save money, weekends and especially Sunday are your best bet -- on weekdays you may well be the only person there.
To get to Gili Keramat, as with Gili Bedil, you first need to get to Labuan Pade, which is about five kilometres down a turn-off from the main Sumbawa Besar-Poto Tano road. This splits off the main road about 1.5-2 kilometres of the town of Utan. Any bus to Poto Tano will take you past the turn-off. Ojeks wait under a group of trees by the turn-off who can speed you to Labuan Pade, where there is a recreational area (they’ll know where you are going) where you can organise a boat and buy a limited range of snacks and drinks. When you are finished, ojek back to the main road and jump on another bus.
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.