Getting around Lombok is relatively easy and hassle-free, and using public transport is an ideal way to soak up local life. You can zip round town on the back of a motorbike ‘ojek,’ explore the countryside by mini-van or take it slow on a ‘cidomo’ horse drawn cart.
The real beauty of Lombok is the refreshing lack of traffic congestion – even in the city the flow of traffic is smooth and out in the rural heartland, you’ll find wide open roads ahead of you. On most of Lombok’s offshore islands, there is no motorised transport to disturb the idyllic peace. For a cheap, convenient and rewarding experience, charter a taxi or a car and driver for the day and discover Lombok’s best attractions and hidden gems!
There is a public bus service run by DAMRI Buses connecting Lombok International Airport to Mataram and Senggigi. Buses travel from the airport to Mandalika, the main bus terminal in Lombok which is located a few miles east of Mataram. DAMRI buses operate through the day from 04:00 am to 10:00 pm, to cover all the early departures and late evening arrivals at the airport.
A converted mini-van or ‘Bemo’ is the primary mode of public transport to carry passengers around towns and villages in Lombok. In the city, the larger bright yellow bemos serve the popular east-west route of Cakra-Mataram-Ampenan. In the villages smaller mini-vans with an open back and seats along each side are used. You can easily stop one passing by on the side of the road, climb in the back and press the button on the top of the roof or call out the driver when you want to get off. Bemos are used for short and medium distances and are very inexpensive. The cost from Ampenan to Senggigi for example is about Rp5,000. You do need to change bemos if you are travelling from Senggigi to Mataram. The change is at Kebon Roek Market where you change from the smaller mini-van to the larger yellow bemo. Bemos can also be hired for day trips - you will need to negotiate a price before setting off. Once you get out of the city or head north of Senggigi, there are very few regular bemo services, so you will need to charter a vehicle, especially if you wish to travel after dark.
Taxis are readily available in many parts of Lombok and are cheap and convenient to use. They can be simply flagged down in the street. Within the urban Mataram area and in Senggigi, you should have no problem finding a vacant taxi but in less built up areas – especially after dark – plan ahead and pre-book by phone. All taxis use a meter so there is no need to negotiate a fare before you set off. You can use taxis to take you to any destination on Lombok, including Kuta in South Lombok, Bangsal (for the Gili Islands) and Lembar Harbour, and you can even charter a taxi for the whole day for a sightseeing tour. Taxi drivers are quite happy to wait while you go shopping and waiting time charges are very inexpensive. A short trip within Senggigi is about Rp15 000 and from Senggigi to Mataram Mall should cost Rp60 000. There are a number of taxi companies in Lombok. The most popular and reputable is Bluebird Taxis. Ask your hotel reception to book a taxi for you or simply hail one from the side of the road.
Bluebird Taxis - +62 370 627 000
Express Taxis - +62 370 635 968
Horse-drawn carts known as a ‘cidomo’ (pronounced chi -doh-moh) was the original mode of public transport on Lombok and are still used today. As long as you are travelling short distances and in no great hurry, it’s a great way to get around. Cidomos are still the most popular way for local people to get around the villages or to go to market. In fact on the Gili Islands a cidomo is the only form of transport other than a bicycle, as the Gilis are completely car and motorbike-free. Fares are a little more expensive on the Gilis compared to mainland Lombok but all prices are fixed by law and displayed prominently, so there is no need to worry about negotiating a fare.
Ojek is a motorbike taxi service, which is a popular and cheap option for solo travellers in Lombok. Ojek stations are generally set up at junctions of busy roads which are not well served by bemo mini-vans. Negotiate a fare with the ojek driver depending on the distance and time – they will happily wait while you do your shopping or you can negotiate a rate for the whole day. A short trip in the city should work out at rp5,000-10,000 and from Mataram to Bangsal for around rp40,000. Ensure the ojek driver has a spare helmet or you may be pulled over by traffic police and given an on-the-spot fine.
Car & Driver
The most convenient option for longer distances or for a full day island sightseeing tour is simply hire a car and driver. There are numerous professional English-speaking drivers in the city and around Senggigi – your hotel can usually recommend a good inexpensive driver. The price will vary from around Rp350 000 to Rp700 000 for the day depending the distance and number of hours required. A driver will happily follow your desired itinerary and will probably suggest a few interesting off-the-beaten-track places to visit on the way.