Lombok Travel Tips

Introduction to Lombok

Long overshadowed by its superstar neighbour across the Lombok Strait there’s a steady hum about Lombok that catches the ear of travellers looking for something different from Bali. Blessed with exquisite white-sand beaches, epic surf, a lush forested interior, and hiking trails through tobacco and rice fields, Lombok is fully loaded with equitorial allure. Oh, and you’ll probably notice mighty Gunung Rinjani, Indonesia’s second-highest volcano, its summit complete with hot springs and a dazzling crater lake.

And there’s much more. Lombok’s southern coastline is nature on a very grand scale: breathtaking turquoise bays, world-class surf breaks and massive headlands. Development on these splendid beaches is just around the corner, but until that moment comes, they are still natural wonders to explore over much-improved roads.

If you’re going to the Gilis, a Lombok stopover is a must. It’s easy to get around the Lombok–Gilis–Bali triangle.

Climate

Lombok has a tropical climate and can be quite hot during the marked rainy season from late October to April. Climbing Mt. Rinjani can be more difficult in wet weather and the Rinjani National Park is often closed at this time.

The driest months coincide with the peak tourist period in July and August. You’ll need to balance crowds versus ideal weather.

The rainy season offers an excellent time to catch a local festival, such as the spectacular rice-throwing event called Perang Topat which is held at Pura Lingsar in November or December, Peresean stick-fighting competitions in December or the Narmada buffalo races during April.

Lombok International Airport

Garuda, Wings, Batik and Lion Air schedule several flights to Bali and Java 7 days a week with a few services going east into Nusa Tengga. Flights also serve the international hubs of Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Book online or visit travel agents in Kuta, Mataram and Senggigi.

Bidy Tours in the main street of Senggigi is a clear favorite with expats.

The new airport is located near the city of Praya on Jalan Raya, Tanak Awu Lombok Tengah in central south Lombok and is approximately 40 km south of Mataram, and 55 km southeast of the established Senggigi tourism precinct of West Lombok

Bali (IATA: DPS) is only a short distance by air (flight time 25 min) with several daily flights by both turboprop and jet powered aircraft. Tickets usually cost Rp 200,000-300,000 for a single journey unless very heavily booked.

Garuda airlines reintroduced services between Bali and Lombok in 2009.

Wings Abadi code share with Lion Air and recommenced Bali to Lombok flights on 6 September 2010 after an extended absence from the route. Passengers bags may be offloaded without notice by Trigana airlines if the aircraft is over capacity. Trans Nusa provide services from Bali and onward routes to other destinations in West Nusa Tengara. Indonesian Air Transport (IAT) provide daily services from Bali to Lombok (operating for Trans Nusa).

There are daily connections to Java including Jakarta (CGK) (flight time 1 hr 50 min-2 hr ) and Surabaya (SUB) (flight time 55-60 min). The direct flights to either Jakarta or Surabaya are a good alternative to the much longer bus/ferry trip via Bali.

Flights to Surabaya are provided by Wings Air (the regional feeder affiliate of Lion Air) and Batavia and are often much cheaper (less than Rp350,000) than to Jakarta (more than Rp 600,000). Flights to Jakarta are provided by Lion Air (direct), Garuda (direct), and Batavia ( often with a scheduled stop in Surabaya SUB). Flights to the east include services to and from Sumbawa (SWQ) and Bima (BMU)). Eastward bound services are often disrupted and scheduled flights may change or be cancelled at short notice. Some of the eastward destinations may offer slightly better flight frequencies if you fly to Bali first.

Airport Shuttle Bus

A public bus service is available from Bandara Internasional Lombok to service passengers wishing to travel to and from either Mataram or Senggigi. The 8 DAMRI buses serving the route have a capacity of approximately 40 passengers, 10 further buses with a 20 passenger are expected to complement the fleet but have not been delivered. They are new air-conditioned buses and are white in colour.

DAMRI services depart from their office located in eastern Mataram on Jl. Tuan Guru Faisal (a three minute taxi ride from the Mandalinka Bus Station) every hour and proceed to the airport, commencing at 04:00 with the last bus leaving that terminal at 19:00. The fare from/to the Mataram is Rp 25,000.

DAMRI services are also provided to connect Senggigi to the airport departing Senggigi from 03:00 and then every 1.5 hr until the last departure from Senggigi at 20:00. Some airport buses may provide services between Mandelika and Senggigi. In the last coup[le of months these services have not been accurately following the published schedules, ensure you leave plenty of buffer time if catching a departing flight.

Taxis are normally available at the terminal for travel onward to other areas.

Traveling by Boat

Fast-boat companies link Lombok with the Gili Islands and Bali. Ticket offices are located at Senggigi harbor and on each of Gili Islands.

By Ferry: Public ferries connect Lembar on Lombok’s west coast with Bali, and Labuhan Lombok on its east coast with Sumbawa. The port of Lembar is 22 km south of Mataram. There are ferries every 90 minutes or so, 24 hours a day, from Padang Bai on Bali, with the trip taking 4-5 hours. Any volunteer “porters” who carry your bags will expect at least Rp. 10,000. See the main Lombok article for details.

If you haven’t booked an end-to-end travel package, getting from Lembar to Mataram can sometimes be problematic. You can take a shuttle bus service to Mataram with Perama Tours and Travel, Pejanggik Str. No. 66, Mataram, ☎ (Mataram) +62 370 635928 (fax: +62 370 653936). Perama have offices across Indonesia including Bali and Lombok providing land sea and air connections. Perama shuttle bus offers Bali to Mataram connections and Lembar to Mataram connections. Hotel pick-up should always be arranged well in advanced and preferably confirmed by email. An alternative is to negotiate a trip with a private car operator upon arrival. You can take a bemo from Lembar Harbour to Ampenan-Mataram-Cakranegara-Sweta areas during daylight hours.

Alternatively, metered taxis are often available at the terminal or just outside the gates. A taxi may be available but do not depend on one being there. There are a few basic warung and losmen in Lembar if you get stuck

By Bemo (small bus): If you arrive with the Ferry from Padang Bay (Bali) in Lembar, you can take a bemo on the first street you get to outside the harbor. You will find plenty of guys, who try to offer you a seat to Mataram. Be careful: You realy have to negotiate the price for the ride. You should get it for 15.000RP.

Getting Around

By Taxi: Taxi fares are quite reasonable if they use the meter. Some drivers may try and enforce a 20,000rp minimum. Blue bird *Lombok Taksi, ☎ +62 370 627000 is the most common and reliable taxi available. Both the Bluebird and white coloured Express Taksi have a radio despatch system and both companies cars are equiped with meters which should be used by their drivers at all times. Bluebird now have a great app which is definitely worth downloading. Not only is the Bluebird app reliable, it often solves any communication issues.

Flag fall is Rp6,000 and the meter ticks up a few hundred rupiah for every hundred meters past 2 km. Taxis can be booked in advance either by calling them yourself or by booking through your hotel. Taxis may be hailed down on the street anywhere with the exception of the dark blue Airport Taksi the use of which is limited to arriving airport passengers only.

By Bemo: Bemos run many set routes in and around Mataram, Ampenan and Cakranegara. They may be flagged down anywhere on the streets of Mataram. Bemo can sometimes be crowded and may stop and start frequently to pick up and set down passengers or to tout for business. Sometimes trips can get a bit drawn out. Beware of pickpockets as they often prey on passengers especially around the Cakranegara routes. These pickpockets can be persistent even if their activities are detected. It may be more straight forward and possibly less expensive to take an airconditioned taxi especially if there are 2 or more persons in your group.

By Ojek (Motorbike Taxi) :Prices are negotiable but a rule of thumb is Rp10,000 for a short trip with a local motorbike rider if the destination is nearby, longer distances will require some informed negotiation.

By Cidomo (horse & cart): Horse carts known as Cidomo remain a common means of transport especially on the Gilli Islands and at the local markets. Public bemos and metered taxis are more commonly used for transport in and around Mataram and Senggigi.

By Car: Renting a car is a possible alternative on Lombok. It will cost around Rp 250,000-Rp 300,000 for a Toyota Avanza/Daihatsu Xenia (2×4) 6-8 seats, Rp 300,000- Rp 450,000 for a Toyota Kijang (2×4) with 7-8 seats. Age and condition of car will effect price as will high rental demand in the peak tourism period around the June-August and local holidays. Rental periods should be for 24hours.

Driving in Lombok

This requires an International Driving Permit (IDP), plus your own home country of residence Drivers License. Both these documents must correctly match the type and class of vehicle being driven or they are invalid. Both must be carried and are often required to be presented in roadside police stops. This requirement is actively enforced by the police throughout Lombok.

If riding a motorbike, then a full motor bike endorsement appropriate to that class of motorbike is required on both the IDP and the home country issued drivers license. Do not under any circumstances ride a motorbike or drive a car without a proper license. A car license alone is not sufficient to ride a motorbike; the license must clearly permit you to ride a motorbike in the country of issue and the appropriate section of the IDP must be endorsed as well.  Insurance is not provided by the motorbike renters so you are responsible for any damage. If you do hit a local person, either on foot, on motorcycle, or in a car, you can expect to pay a very large sum of money to make restitution. Street signs are infrequent and ambiguous. If you are not familiar with the road system and comfortable riding a motorbike at home then this may be ill advised and dangerous to learn.

Thoroughly check your travel insurance policy to ensure that your cover is still in place whilst operating or riding upon a motor bike or scooter or driving a car.

Car with Driver

A good alternative to renting a car is to rent a car with a local driver. The price range is normally IDR450,000-700,000/day and will vary upward with the destinations required. IDR450,000 will normally only cover a basic trip with a limited distance. This type of service is normally offered as an all inclusive package of rental car, driver and fuel. The driver can take you effortlessly to all the local attractions, plus some places that are never shown in the guide books. A suitable driver will take responsibility for whatever happens during the trip and will be happy to accommodate your travelling schedule. If you want to take a 2-3 day trip around the island, the driver will accompany you, eat low priced meals, and find low price places to stay at night. Normally the renter is responsible for the drivers meals and the costs of accommodation if an overnight stay is required at a location distant from their home.

It is sometimes worthwhile enquiring at the hotel where you are staying as some of them offer their own car and driver at a very good price. Often though they may just add to the cost of the rental and driver fees with high service fees or commission payments to themselves.

Motorbike

Motorbikes are also available for rent around Mataram. Expect to pay approximately Rp50,000 per day for a motor bike in good condition. There are several rental operators in all tourist areas area, however, it is usually easier to enquire at your hotel for assistance.

For your own safety ensure you obtain and use a helmet when riding a motor bike as road rules on the island are regularly ignored.