Oct 31 2012
It seems Lombok is really starting to hit its strides popularity wise. Perhaps some travellers are being put off by the higher costs and larger crowds of Bali, while others are drawn to the increasingly lyrical reports from Lombok’s southern beaches. Whatever the reason, the best news is there are plenty of ways to get to Lombok. Here are some of the most popular.
Lombok, after a delay or three, has a brand spanking new, very shiny airport towards the southern area of the island. It is located about 30 minutes from Kuta on the south coast, an hour from Mataram (the capital), 1.5 hours from Senggigi and roughly two hours from the boat landing to the Gili Islands. There is a 25,000 rupiah departure tax for domestic flights and 100,000 rupiah departure tax for international flights.
International flights to Lombok
If you want to head straight to Lombok, bypassing the rest of Indonesia, you have a couple of options. SilkAir flies three times a week from Singapore, with the flight taking just shy of three hours and costing around US$285, while AirAsia flies three times weekly from Kuala Lumpur for around US$350-450, taking four hours.
Domestic flights to Lombok
Lombok is much better connected domestically with most mainstream Indonesian carriers flying there. Garuda flies Bali to Lombok daily,
Batavia Air has daily flights from Surabaya and Jakarta to Lombok, Merpati flies between the island and Bali, Surabaya, Jakarta and a selection of destinations in eastern Indonesia. LionAir flies from Lombok to Bali, Jakarta, Surabaya and Sumbawa. Transnusa flies daily to Bali, Bima and Sumbawa from Lombok.
Note that travellers without an Indonesian credit card may struggle to buy tickets online with some Indonesian carriers, so you may need to wait until you are in country to buy your ticket (or use a travel agent).
Boats between Lombok and Bali
Four main ferry routes run between Bali and Lombok, some to Lembar, south of the capital, and some direct to the Gili Islands.
Car ferry from Padang Bai to Lembar
This route runs 24 hours a day, with departures every hour. The trip takes roughly four to five hours depending on sea conditions. Padang Bai is 1.5 hours north of Kuta, and Lembar is about 45 minutes south of Mataram. A walk-on passenger costs about 35,000 rupiah, a car around 600,000 rupiah. If you are not in a hurry, this is the preferred route.
Many operators run the following routes; we do not recommend using them in bad weather as boats have sunk in the past and safety continues to be a concern with some operators. Prices below are online prices but discounted fares may be able to be negotiated in person or with travel agents.
Speedboat from Padang Bai to Gili Trawangan: Roughly 1.5 hours to Gili Trawangan and costs $68.
Speedboat from Serangan to Gili Trawangan: Roughly 2.5 hours to Gili Trawangan and costs $64.
Speedboat from Sanur to Gili Trawangan: Roughly 3 hours to Gili Trawangan (via Nusa Lembongan) and costs $60.
Speedboat from Amed to Gili Trawangan: Roughly 1 hour to Gili Trawangan and costs $53.
Online price comparison site Gili Bookings is useful.
Boats between Lombok and Sumbawa
There is a regular (roughly hourly) car ferry service which takes 1.5 hours to travel between Labuhan Lombok on Lombok’s east coast and and Poto Tano on the west coast of Sumbawa. The service runs 24 hours a day.
Bus travel to Lombok
Any bus service to and from Lombok will use the car ferries to travel to the island. There are regular departures from Mataram to Denpasar (Bali), Sumbawa Besar (Sumbawa), Yogyakarta and Jakarta (Java).
Aside from public bus services, Perama Tours also runs a variety of bus/boat combos and is the preferred operator among many backpackers and foreign travellers to Indonesia.
Travelfish.org always pays its way. No exceptions.