Just a point to note that if you are renting a bike (which is quite cheap at 30,000R or so a day) or a jeep---> Lombok is going through some shortages of gas.
Everywhere you go in Senggigi and in the city, you will notice long queues for petrol or empty gas stations.
I am told that this is recent ,due in parts to the high fuel prices worldwide and the Indonesian government's effort to ration petrol consumption.
In fact, some people buy huge quantities of petrol only to see later for a slightly higher price.
Hence if you plan to rent jeeps or bikes, remember about the fuel shortage and fill up whenever possible, especially if you plan long-distance travel. It doesn't pay to be out of gas in someplace remote and having to pay scalper's prices for a bottle.
Going for organised tours is probably a good way to see Lombok since you are there for only a short time.
Generally, tour agents here charge less than in Bali, which makes organised touring a popular alternative to going solo. The most expensive tours are the trekking expeditions to Rinjani or the sailing/cruises to Flores.
If you plan to do Bali-Lombok, and then intend to go to Flores to see the famous Komodo dragons, it is better and cheaper to see a Lombok tour agent who will charge less.
However, do find out if the tour agent includes meals, entry fees and tips into the full payment for the tour. Many tour agents don't .......which means you need to bring extra cash with you and preferably small change.
It is best to ask the specifics before signing on the tours.
Taxis in Lombok really provide good service and they don't need to be reminded to switch on the meter (even in Bali, that happens).
A ride from central Senggigi to Mataram is around 30,000R one way and vice versa. The meter will start from 3000R.
A cidomo ride can be cheaper for shorter distances but there are limits. The driver will not go beyond a certain number of kilometres and cidomos are not allowed in Cakra-Mataram which is the newer city area.
You can also charter a taxi to other parts of Lombok for example to the north, south or elsewhere for the day. This can work as most drivers are quite willing to earn extra money.......but you need to negotiate the fare first before chartering one for the day.
Taxis in Lombok are general new vehicles with air-con and are in good condition. Hence no worries for breakdowns and being stuck somewhere remote with no help.
But the most important thing is to bring small change (not big notes) for short taxi rides, as most of these drivers do not have much money to begin with.
Transportation is not a big problem, there's meter taxi but for short distance we can take horse-cart, here it's called 'cidomo'.
No fix price, so find out the proper price to people in the hotel first before bargain.
It's easy to get around with a Taxi within the Senggigi area. There are also horse carriages that can take up to 2-3 people and it cost only 5000Rp per 5KM. However, these horse carriages are more commonly found within the Mataram area and other smaller villages.
As our hotel was located outside Senggigi Beach center, sometimes we made it to the center on foot and took a taxi back to the hotel. No problem ! Taxi are always kindly waiting for you and are very cheap. Discuss and fix the price before leaving though.
Andong or Sado is local transportation which need horse and cart behind. I find this transportation infront of my hotel at Senggigi. It routes only around Senggigi (about 2 kilos). so, you can't go with andong to entire lombok :D
A Cidomo is a Lombok horse carriage. It's a pretty cool way of travelling around. The horse took us from Senggigi via the Ampenan market to Mataram and Cakaranegara. After this it had a short lunch-break at its home (a horse doesn't need petrol, but has to eat too though) before taking us back to Senggigi. Guiding us through the traffic was a great job done.
By airplane there are Domestic flights from Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Surabaya every day. (Garuda Airlines). From Denpasar Bali five times every day (Merpati Airlines). International Flights 4times a week from Singapore to Mataram Lombok (Silk Air, daughter of Singapore Airlines). By Seaway: Fastboats leaving from Benoa Harbour Bali, or by Ferry (Car, Passenger) leaving from Padang Bai Bali.
What a pity we hadn't enough time to take that boat with the locals for a trip to the Gili's.
They were loading the boat with all kinds of stuff to transport it to Gili's Air and we could have joined them.
We would have loved that
if you take this transportation you'll have to pay more but the trip will be great because you can see all the lombok beach and the sea is really clear. beautiful, you will enjoy it. and you dont have to face the hawkers on the harbour.
To get to the Gili Islands the bus will take you to Bangsai, the 'port' - basically just a beach from which you can get a small boat to the islands. There are usually a few other travellers so organise yourself a group as it will be cheaper than paying separately.
We organised our trip to Lombok from Ubud, Bali through Perama. You are taken by bus to Padangbai and from there you get the ferry to Lombok. The ferries are large (they transport vehicles as well) and you can sit up on the deck in the open or down below. teh views of Gunuing agunung as you leave Bali are fantastic (see my Bali page). The crossing takes about three hours on the slow ferry.
The journey from Bali to the Gili's is a long one! but it IS worth it!
From Kuta, you can book a trip all the way through to the Gili's in one hit. Costs 65,000R, only £4!
If youre leaving from Kuta, you have to take a minibus to the port. Then the ferry to Lombok takes 4-5 hours and is a tedious journey with hardly anywhere to sit but outside in the blazing sun! Be warned, that you will arrive at the port way before the boat leaves. You will be taken to a cafe which the minibus driver is on commission for. when its time to go to the ferry, someone will kindly pick yout bag up and carry it onto the ferry. All included in the ticket you'd think...WRONG! the guy will demand a huge tip(i say huge.....in local curreny terms!)...simple thing...always carry your own bag!
Once on Lombok, you'll travel to the north for a few hours. You'll stop at another cafe, again the driver will be on commission. The locals will want to swap anything with you. I got offered a digeridoo for my ripped t-shirt! also, take coins form your own country, they seem to always ask for them here!
Eventually you'll get on a small wooden boat and you'll get to the Gili's in 45 mins! the whole day to get there from Kuta!
We arrived in Lombok on the Dawn Princess cruise ship. It was a tender port, which meant we took a small boat in to shore.