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THE FAST BOAT(s) TO BALI:
For detailed Information about Gili Air click here.
The day before I was due to leave Gili Air, we heard that the Fast Boats to / from Bali had been cancelled due to poor sea conditions. This was the 4th of January. The cancellations were to extend to (at least) the 9th of January.
This forced many people to re-think their itineraries; many looked at catching the ‘official’ slow ferry from Lembar, Lombok back to Bali; the Ferry trip, alone, takes about 6-8 hours. It takes you 3-4 hours to get there from Gili Air (door-to-door). Total cost is about 350k.
Others looked to fly from Mataram, Lombok to Denpasar, Bali; the flight was going for 350k plus checked-in baggage. Many people decided to fly and save a day of their holiday.
GILI AIR TO MATARAM, THE AIRPORT, or KUTA:
You can get a taxi from Bangsal to Mataram for 150k. It is between 150k and 200k to the airport.
I paid 200k to get the boat out of Gili Air, and across Lombok to Kuta on the north coast.
THE SHUTTLE BOAT(s) TO BANGSAL, LOMBOK:
When you arrive at Gili Air harbour to catch your boat, don’t stand around wondering what is going on… be assertive. Go up to one of the (obvious) harbour locals (or to a kiosk) and make sure that your ticket is fully OK’d.
Then, just relax.
There are several ‘shuttle boats’ and they all leave at the same time. Who sold you your ticket is irrelevant…
When the boats are ready to go, you will be shepherded towards them and it is ‘first come first served’ on every boat. Don’t worry, you will get onto one of them in the end – they won’t leave without you.
You wade through less than 12 inches of water to get on to the boat.
LANDING AT BANGSAL:
On landing, you will get a rude awakening… you are back on Lombok and the hawkers are waiting!
One of their favourite scams is to get onto the boats and pretend to be the people that you are connecting with.
They grab your bags before you know it and carry them off the boat – you have no choice but to follow. However, they are (yet again!) local taxi or cidomo drivers who want to charge you 100k to take you 200 metres up the road to where your actual minicab is waiting.
Even when you manage to dodge the taxi ride, they then want you to pay them for carrying your bags off of the boat! God loves a trier…
Offer them a ‘thank you’ and walk away.
CONNECTING WITH YOUR TAXI / MINICAB:
The harbour area is cordoned off (just like an airport is); to get in and out, taxi drivers (etc) have to pay an entry fee.
Because of this, the normal taxis and connecting minicabs are parked just outside of the ‘harbour area’. This is a 200 metre walk up the road from the harbour (going directly inland). This is where you will find the Bunga Bunga Cafe – where many of the minicab connections are made.
We got to Bunga Bunga Cafe and showed our tickets; we thought that we were safe and out of reach of the hawkers. But, alas, no. The ‘boss’ told us that we had missed our connection and that we had to pay another US$10 each.
In no uncertain terms, I told him that (if he knew what was good for him) he would honour the ticket in front of him. That seemed to do the trick and he made no further mention of any extra charges.
About 30 minutes later, 5 of us were in a minicab and on our way. No doubt all of us had missed the same connection?
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