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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are cheaper ways to reach the Gilis from Bali but these are obviously slower. The most popular way for budget travellers to reach the Gilis was with the Perama company which left from Padang Bai in East Bali taking 5 hours direct to the Gili Islands. Prices are typically €25.
If you really want to save money and get a true taste of local life, you can do what we did and take the public ferry from Padang Bai to Lombok and transfer separately to the Gilis. The ferry is slow (count on between 8 and 12 hours or more) but it is full of friendly locals, is cheap as chips and is much smoother than the fast boats (obviously!!!)
It may sound like a hassle but if you book through one of the many tour companies in Bali turns out to be a straightforward, cheap if long affair. If you book through a tour agency all your bus transfers are included as well as the transfer boat from Lombok to the Gilis. Not the most comfortable way to reach the Gilis but definitely the most memorable! We paid about €12 each for return trabsfers to the Gilis which included 4 bus transfers (Kuta to and from Padang Bai and Lembar to and from Bangsal), 2 Gili Boat Transfers and return Ferry Ride....bargain!!! The ferry ticket alone costs about €3 and you can make your own way to Padang Bai using public transport but you won’t save much money and it will make the journey even more drawn out.
BTW, the more people you can gather in a group the cheaper the price of the transfer package will be so ask around at the budget guesthouses.
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
There are a variety of choices for travellers wishing to get between Bali and the Gili Islands/Lombok by fast boat. The fast boats generally take between 2 – 2.5 hours from Bali to the Gilis but the journey can be a bumpy, stomach churning experience. You have various options depending on your location on the island of Bali, the most popular of which are outlined below...note that rates usually include pick-up and drop off to accommodation in Southern Bali.
Blue Water Safaris - Departs Serangan (South Bali) at 8.00 and arrives at Gili Trawangan at
Departs Serangan (South Bali) at 10.00 and arrives at Gili Trawangan at
12.30 via Padang Bai (East Bali)
Departs Padang Bai (East Bali) at 11.15 and arrives at Gili Trawangan at
Rates are typically around €110 return or around €90 return when booked online.
Gili Cat - Departs Padang Bai (East Bali) at 11.30 and arrives at Gili Trawangan at
13.00 via Teluk Kode (Lombok)
Departs Padang Bai (East Bali) at 16.30 (High Season only) and arrives at
Gili Trawangan at 18.00 via Teluk Kode (Lombok)
Rates are typically around €100 return
These are the most popular fast boats but there are also other operators running to the Gilis. Check www.gili-fastboat.com for more operators
Obviously the same companies offer return routes from the Gilis and Lombok to Bali and their times are outlined below.
Blue Water Safaris - Departs Gili Trawangan at 11.00 and arrives at Serangan (South Bali) at 13.30
Departs Gili Trawangan at 15.00 and arrives at Serangan at 17.30 via Padang Bai (East Bali) at 16.30
Gili Cat - Departs Gili Trawangan at 9.00 and arrives at Padang Bai at 10.30 via Teluk Kode (Lombok)
Departs Gili Trawangan at 14.00 (High Season only) and arrives at Padang Bai at 15.30 via Teluk Kode (Lombok)
Check www.gili-fastboat.com for more operators
Swimming between the islands is a definite no-no as outlined in the warnings and dangers tips so the only way to reach the other islands is to use the twice daily inter island ferries which circle between the islands. These useful services give visitors a chance to explore the other islands as day trips without having stay overnight although to fully enjoy and appreciate each island you should try to stay at least one night on each.
There is a morning and evening service which leaves Gili Air at 8.30am stopping at Gili Meno at 8.45am, Gili Trawangan at 9.30, and again at Gili Meno at 9.45 before returning to Gili Air by 10.00. The evening service leaves Air at 3.00pm, Meno at 3.15pm, Trawangan at 3.30pm and Meno again at 4.15pm before returning to Air by 4.30pm. These times are approximate at best but times are posted at the jetties on each of the island where you can also buy tickets. Boats back to the Lombok mainland can also be arranged at the jetties where times are posted and tickets are sold.
One of the joys of a stay on the Gili Islands is the absence of any motorised vehicles. Cars and motorcycles are prohibited for private use on the island and apart from one small pick-up truck (for essential island maintenance) we were blissfully free of exhaust fumes and backfiring engines for our three week stay on the islands. Getting around the islands on foot is easy and hassle free due to its small size and flat topography. However you can hire a bicycle if you want to take a leisurely cycle around the island or more even the more traditional Cidomo! A cidomo is a horse drawn cart which has been used as the traditional mode of transport in Indonesia for years. On the island you will inevitably be approached to hire a cidomo to take you on a ‘tour’ of the island or to take you to your accommodation on arrival. There is no actual necessity to hire a cidomo as the island is small and most of the accommodation is located centrally, however it may be an enjoyable novelty while on the island or may be useful if your luggage is quite heavy or if you have some disability which limits your mobility. If you do hire a cidomo make sure you agree a price with the driver beforehand.
Bemos is a familiar form of transport on Lombok. It resembles that Tut Tut in Thailand. The driver will pick up passengers as and when needed and passengers hop on & off as when needed as well.
The standard fare for travelling between points on the island was 1000 Rupiahs (US$0.10) circa 2001.
I took a bemos from Senggigi beach to Mataram for that fare! It seems that the authority on the island had imposed a standard fare (1000 Rupiahs) to prevent drivers from wanton profiteering so we as tourists, also benefits! Kudos!
There is only 1 airline that served Lombok from Singapore directly. It's Silkair, a daughter company of Singapore Airlines. The airline fly into Mataram, the island's administrative capital and folks usually make their way to the main 3 attractions on the island: Senggigi (in the west), Kuta (in the south, and not to be confused with the same named beach area on Bali) and the Gilis just off the west coast of Lombok.
The flight takes about 3 hours.
You can get a taxi at the airport directly to Bangsal
(it is a fixed price - maybe 75k max)
which is where the ferries leave to the Gilis.
Bangsal has a bad reputation for hassles.
It is a bit hectic but no real problem.
Just be aware of some of the pointers to follow.
It is only a 400m trip from
the carpark where
taxis and buses drop you, to the boat –
easily walked if your luggage is not huge.
Otherwise 5000rp (less than one dollar) per person
for the cidimos seemed to be acceptable,
although they will ask for more.
Always agree on the price first.
Don't buy boat tickets off anyone in the carpark
or on the way down the road.
Nor allow yourself to be steered
to the restaurant across the street,
You ware warned: they will approach you,
and try to convince you that
you need to buy your return ticket before hand ,
try to sell you half of Gili Trawangan & Lombok
along with a RTW ticket for $25 all up.
For another $2 they will throw in
a night with Miss Indonesia.
I have just come back from Gili Air to Legian (August 2006).
We flew with Lion Air going (about US$40) to Mataram then a US$6 taxi ride to Senggigi and a US$30 (chartered as 3 people travelling) boat ride taking 2 hrs direct to Gili Air. (7 hrs door to door due to check-in time, transfer times and a lunch stop in Senggigi)
Travelling back we used Perama which involved a 20min ferry ride to Bangsal, a 500m walk to the bus station, a 1.5hr bus journey to Senggigi and then a 4hour boat crossing to Padang Bai. This cost US$25 per person. (8hrs door to door as we had breakfast and lunch on the boat and very little waiting for transfers and caught a cab from Padang Bai back to our Hotel).
The 4hr boat trip was not too bad with a hearty breakfast and lunch served.
We bought our flight ticket 2 days before we left in a travel agent in Legian.
Perama have several offices in Bali and can include a transfer from Padang Bai although this is fairly slow.