Traveling in Lombok
Most foreign visitors will end up in Senggigi along the western coast, or on one of the three 'Gili's', just a little to the north. The tourists have also discovered the beaches around Kuta. Less popular are the southern slopes of Gunung Rinjani.
Travel agencies and free-lancers in Senggigi organise daytrips which show the 'real' Lombok to the tourists. Often you will see some Balinese temples, the weavers in the village Sukarara, the potteries in Penujak, the traditional village on the beach of Kuta and Sade with the bay near Tanjung Aan. However this is enough for the visitor which has problems to get off the beach, Lombok has much more to offer. To see the rest of the island, you will need some initiative.
The roads of Lombok, most of them have been paved over the last decade of the 20th century, are improved rapidly. The best road, which is wide and smooth, connects the seaport of Lembar with the city area near Mataram, and then runs to the ferry port Labuhan Lombok.
A road of similar quality connects the capital of Central-Lombok, Praya, with the east-west main riad. Selong, capital of East-Lombok, is also connected with a main road through a good road, which continues to the fisherme village Labuhan Haji along the eastern coast, from where pilgrims leave for Mecca.
Cidomo form the main traffic problems. These carts which are pulled by horses often slow down cars and bemo. The poor horses always seem to survive the dangerously driving cars. In the ten days that the writer was on Lombok, he only saw one dead horse, which was just hit by a truck. A good cidomo-horse costs about US$250; most transporters hire a horse and card from the owner.
The name cidomo originated from the first two characters from three different words:cikar which means cart in Sasak, dokar which is the more common Indonesian word for horse cart, and mobil which is the Indonesian of car.
The paved secundary roads are not wide and are usually full with holed, but on many locations the roads are improved, and the roads also get some drainage from two small canals along the road. These roads are for slow traffic. People are often victim of loud yelling kids 'Turis! Turis!'. These unwanted attention is the price you have to pay for travelling areas outside the tourist places.
Almost everywhere you can rent transport, most of the time small buses for four or six people and English speaking guide. They can reach most places on Lombok, but some areas from the rough southern coast, where you can find the best nature, you will need an experienced driver and jeep (locally called hardtop) or Kijang (Toyota van/jeep) which is in good condition.