Eating, Restaurants & Accommodations
Senggigi is the most expensive place to eat in Lombok because of the high taxes. Of course, eating on the Gilis islands is also expensive.....but that is sort of expected.
Establishments in Senggigi are charged a tax rate of 21% which is far higher than anywhere else in Lombok. Even in Mataram, businesses are charged only 10%.
If you are strapped for money, avoid staying in Senggigi altogether and stay in Mataram where the food and accommodation is cheaper.
We had a simple seafood dinner in Mataram costing us only 45,000 while a seafood dinner in Senggigi (for about the same thing) cost about 80,000R. Hence weighing the cost, we chose to eat in Mataram whenever possible.
Diving in Lombok-The dream come true! Day 3
Okay all, I finally get around to doing the last tip for day 3. A couple of people have actually emailed me about fast tracking their OWD and which dive. Well....let's put it this way: How fast you can complete OWD pretty much depends how much you can pick up. I have met friends who have completed OWD in 2 days.
Day 3- The Gilis!
Woke up in the morning to Great Sunshine and fantastic air, most people who have been to Lombok say that aside from the farm smells that waft over rarely, Lombok has really fresh air and nice sunny weather.
Had breakfast and was soon picked up by a mini bus for a trip to the Gilis! Took a large outrigger for a smooth and sunny ride to the Gilis.
Travel info: The Gilis (Gili Island) are a group of little islands located at the northern part of Lombok. It primarily consists of three islands:
Gili Trawangan Gili Meno Gili Air
You can get a ride there from either Tanyung or Bangsal. (for those who just want to go there for a look see or a day trip. just contact any of the dive centres for a taxi ride over there) They are normally cheaper and don't try to rip you off coz you're a tourist. The best part is that you have the assurance that you will always have a trip back if you decide the Gilis are not for you. ;-)
Okay, back on track.... got to the dive centre and got our gear ready for a shore dive in the morning. They took the equipment and loaded it onto the horse drawn buggy to the spot.
Okay! Okay! It's not your eyes playing tricks on you. The gilis have restricted all forms of motor transportation and have regressed to leg powered or horse powered transport.
While it does give you a pollution index of 0, it's basically quite terrible on the legs and back
as you have to lug your gear all over the place either on your back or in a horsie buggy. I personally think it a small price to pay for the cleanliness of the air.
To be continued..........
But how long will it take?
Unless you leave Kuta Bali really early,
you will not make the last boat to the islands.
Perama for instance is too late
(although they sometimes run an afternoon boat from Senggigi) –
but Senggigi is a nice place to spend the night
with plenty of restaurants, lots of accommodations
of all standards and some nightlife.
Eitherwise, taking the ferry from Bali to Lombok
and then on to Gili,
will take up most of your day.
11 hours to go and another 11 to come back.
So unless you want to spent your day traveling by boat,
then consider flying to Lombok and
then taking the boat.
You can charter a ferry to Gili Trawangan, the farthest island
There is also a fast ferry from Padang Bai to Lembar
called the “Lombok Express”, taking one hour for $6.
Some of the transport companies link their shuttle buses
to this ferry and usually you can get right thru in one day.
Another fast ferry is the luxurious“Bounty”
Bali Bounty Group
which runs 3 times a week from Benoa harbour near Kuta
in Bali onto a platform a km or so from Gili Meno
(their jetty at Bounty hotel on Meno is currently storm damaged),
from where you are shuttled across to the islands.
However it has been seen recent info saying
Bounty has not run this high season.
This little hotel was next door to the Holiday Resort where we were staying, so we walked up there one night for dinner.
The food was OK, nothing fancy, but cheaper than our hotel and it was more local (not all ponced-up like it was next door!). The staff was friendly and welcoming and they were the proud owners of one of the biggest geckos I've ever seen (slightly worrying when he's running about on the ceiling right above your soup!)
I'd recommend it if you're staying up that way and want a change of scene from the Holiday Resort and I'm sure the owners would be pleased to see you (as there was only one other group dining there when we went).
Meet the monkeys at Pusuk Pass
In the early seventies you could still meet them along main roads on Java, e.g. in the teak forests near Weleri and near Ngawi: monkeys begging for food. However, with dense traffic on Java these days are long gone.
So meet them at Lombok's Hutan Monyet or Monkey Forest. Unlike Monkey Forest at Sangeh, Bali, these monkeys still live in undisturbed forest. You find them near Pusuk Pass, the highest point in the road straight north from Mataram. At the pass is a parking, where you see the first monkeys. But all along the road through the forest another km or so you may find them.
It is said these macaques can be aggressive, especially the males. We did not find them so. Stick to these rules and they will eat from your hand:
- never touch them, try to caress them or hold their hand.
- do not try to cheat them by withdrawing food you are offering them.
And while you are here, take the short walk to Pura Manik Sari. See our OTBP tips.