getting around

LOMBOK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT is a relatively small airport that handles domestic flights between Bali, Jakarta and other Indonesian cities, and international flights to and from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

Getting to the Airport: Lombok Taxi (Blue Bird) is the most convenient taxi operator throughout Lombok and will drop passengers directly in front of the departure terminal. Note: Lombok Taxi (Bluebird) cannot pick up passengers from inside the airport grounds.

Otherwise, book an airport transfer through your hotel or a private car and driver service. There is ample parking at the airport and cars can be left overnight.

From the Airport: taxis and private cars are available to meet all arriving flights. After collecting your baggage, head out of the exit doors of the terminal and through to the arrival hall.

There are official taxi counters inside the arrival hall that will allocate you a fixed price taxi to most destinations. Prices can be negotiated.

Golden Bird Taxi is the premium branch of Blue Bird Taxi and offers regular taxis, limousine and car rental. Look for their desk in the arrival hall or WA 0859 5462 7000.There are also many private drivers waiting to offer rides to anywhere on the island. This is a good option if you are in a group or have a lot of luggage or sports equipment, such as surf boards. Negotiate a fixed price before you get in the vehicle.

Organising an airport transfer with your hotel is often the easiest option, with the hotel driver meeting you on arrival and transferring you to your hotel in air-conditioned comfort. Check with your hotel – charges are usually only slightly more than a taxi.

Approximate taxi fares: Kuta Rp 150k; Selong Belanak Rp 250k; Sekotong Rp 400k; Senggigi Rp 250k; Mataram Rp 150k; Bangsal Harbour Rp 350k; Senaru Rp 500k.

Car rental kiosks are located at the arrival terminal and are open from 7am until 10pm daily.

For low-cost airport transfers, the public DAMRI bus is the cheapest way to travel between the airport and Senggigi and Mataram. The air-conditioned buses seat around 40 passengers and operate a regular schedule of departures from 7am to 5pm every day. Buses to Mataram leave every hour and cost Rp 25,000. Buses to Senggigi leave every 90 minutes and cost Rp 35,000.

The DAMRI counter is located inside the arrival hall and prices are clearly shown on sign board at the counter. The bus parks just outside the hall on the right.

The helpful drivers tend to stop at popular points along the route. If you need to stop at a certain point, let the driver know and he will usually accommodate your request.

Around Lombok: Lombok is easy to get around. The roads are in good condition and there is little traffic, apart from in the cities.

The island itself is only slightly smaller than Bali at 115km (70 miles) long and 80km (50 miles) wide; however, it is not practical to drive around Lombok in one day.

Taxis are easily available in most areas on Lombok apart from Kuta, Lombok. Unlike in other areas of Asia, all taxis use their meters (argo) to calculate fares, so there is no need to haggle a price.

Lombok Taxi (operated by Blue Bird Taxi, light blue colour) is the largest company in Lombok and you will find them in the cities and around tourist areas such as Senggigi. Express Taksi (white cars) are also available, mainly in the cities.

Taxis can be used to make trips to Kuta or Lembar and Bangsal Harbours and, if you are shopping or making day trips by taxi, ask the driver to wait and leave the meter running. Fares are still very low compared to those in the west. Short trips around Senggigi will cost around Rp 20,000; a taxi from Senggigi to Mataram is around Rp 80,000.

Phone for a taxi or ask your hotel to phone, or flag one down from the side of the road. Make sure the driver starts the meter when you get in.

Download the “My Blue Bird” app to book taxis easily. The app is also handy for calculating distances and fares when planning trips and the fare will give you a general idea of the rate you should be negotiating with a private driver.

Lombok Taxi (Blue Bird), ph: 0370 627 000 (or download the ‘My Blue Bird’ App from Google Play, iTunes, or from the Blue Bird Group website). www.bluebirdgroup.com

Gojek and Grab also operate in most areas of Lombok (apart from Kuta on the south coast). Download the apps for easy transport options via car or motorbike.

Note that taxis can drop off guests in Kuta but cannot pick up from Kuta. If you are staying in Kuta, the best options are to ride a motorbike or hire a car and driver.

Cars and Motorbikes can be hired in Lombok and driving yourself is easy. Cars drive on the left-hand side of the road (as in the UK).

Car hire can be arranged at the airport and car rental companies in Mataram. However, self-drive car hire isn’t popular in Lombok and most will include a driver. Modern, air-conditioned cars that comfortably seat 4 – 5 people with a driver can be hired for between Rp 600 – 700,000 per day, including petrol and  basic insurance.

A private car and driver can be arranged in all the tourism areas, either through your hotel or from talking to the drivers that hang around on the streets looking for customers.

Negotiate a price and what is included in the rate (petrol, duration of hire, waiting time, entrance fees if you are visiting attractions, etc). It’s easy to arrange transport this way, whether for a short trip to a restaurant or a full day of exploring.

Motorbikes are the most popular form of transport and are generally small, light 110 – 125cc motorbikes with automatic transmission. Modern and economical scooters, such as a Honda Vario, are easy to ride. Expect to pay between Rp 60 – 75,000 per day for motorbike rental, depending on age and type. Both require an international drivers’ licence.

Do wear a helmet and appropriate shoes when riding a motorbike and don’t decide that Lombok is the place to learn to ride! Apart from the dangers from other riders and a general disregard for road rules, there can be unexpected hazards such as dogs, chickens, cows and children running into the road.

Tours are readily available in all the tourist areas, and drivers and guides are licensed by the local Kotasi (tour organisation), who also regulate prices in the industry.

Most tour operators are reliable and will have a wealth of local knowledge, which can make touring a more rewarding experience. It is also the most comfortable way to explore the island, as you have time to sit back and observe, rather than negotiating traffic and unfamiliar roads.

Popular tours, such as day trips to waterfalls or traditional villages, are structured to take in a full day of sightseeing with stops at other points of interest along the way. Tours range between Rp 350 -700,000 a day for a driver and an air-conditioned vehicle for up to 4 passengers, depending on distances and the number of places visited.

* Prices are approximate. Expect to pay higher prices during peak seasons.

Useful Tip: WhatsApp is the most popular messaging service in Indonesia. Download the app to your phone for convenient messaging and phone calls to Lombok businesses wherever there is internet available.

Luggage Storage in Bali: If you’re travelling with too much baggage or extra equipment such as surfboards, you can take advantage of a great offer from Bali Wake Park in Benoa, just 5 minutes from the airport. Spend some time trying out their fun range of water sports or simply have a drink and a meal before or after your trip to Lombok and the Park will give you free storage facilities until you return. If you have a late flight, you can spend the afternoon swimming and have a cold beer before you head to the airport. See advert Gilis Page 12.

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