Indonesia’s Lombok Island is considered by many to be Bali’s twin island, only Lombok is unspoiled and more pristine. If you know Bali, Lombok is exactly like it without the excessive commercialization, tourist overflow, and persistent vendors. If you don’t know Bali, you may want to get introduced to Lombok first, because this island is one of the best that Indonesia has to offer. Indonesia has more than 15,000 islands, and Lombok is definitely a stand out. Getting to Lombok involves a number of domestic airlines coming in from different parts of the country, as well as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. The most common ride is on board Garuda, Indonesia’s national carrier.
There are daily flights from Java, Jakarta, and Surabaya to Lombok’s Selaparang International Airport, the only airport in the province. It is not far from downtown Mataram. Lion Air and Garuda fly direct from Jakarta for about Rp 500,000 airfare or more, while the much cheaper and shorter flight from Surabaya is serviced by Lion Air, Wings Air, Batavia and Merpati for only less than Rp 300,000. Jakarta is almost two hours away by plane while Surabaya is roughly 50-55 minutes. International flights include those coming direct from Singapore through Silk Air and Garuda, and from Kuala Lumpur through Malaysia Air and Garuda. These show that tourists have plenty of options when getting to Lombok by air, since all major airlines around the world enter Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, and from there can get a connecting flight to Lombok.
First-time tourists should be aware of two things: (1) domestic flights to and from Lombok are often delayed and even cancelled without earlier notice; and (2) a 30-day visa into Lombok may be purchased upon arrival at the Selaparang Airport for US$25.
Getting to Lombok by sea primarily involves a short ferry ride from Bali. These two amazing beach destinations are merely separated by the Lombok Strait. There are two options: the fast boat or the slower public ferry. For obvious reasons, the fast boat is much more expensive-in fact, it is even more expensive than the 20-minute plane ride from Bali. Only a few private boats operate the Bali-Lombok-Gili Islands route and can service a limited number of passengers. The ride is satisfyingly fast, which is why pregnant women and children under 2 years old are not recommended to take this ride.
The public ferry is much cheaper and slower, taking about 4 to 5 hours to cross the Strait. The ferry departs from Padang Bai, east of Bali, every two hours for 24 hours. Tourists taking the public ferry must be aware that they will be traveling most probably with animals and local produce. The boat ride is Rp 21,000 for individual passengers, Rp 65,000 passengers with motorcycles, and 450,000 for passengers crossing with their cars. The ferry can take in vehicles: in fact, shuttle buses travel direct from Bali to Lombok using the public ferry. The Bali-based Perama bus company takes passengers from major tourist spots in Bali to major tourist spots in Lombok using their shuttle buses and boat services.
By air, sea or land, there are many trip options getting to Lombok, which makes it easy for local and international travelers to reach it. The island offers tempting beaches, unique local crafts, amazing waterfalls, and a host of fun activities such as scuba diving, trekking, and fishing, just to name a few of the tourist and local favorites.