Public Ferry: Lombok – Bali
Our public ferry experience was a little bit of an adventure. To save some money and because it´s not soooo much of a difference in travel-time, we decided to take the local boat from Lembar (Lombok) to Padang Bai (Bali).
We went to an travel-agent in Kuta (Lombok) and bargained a transport from hotel to hotel, including the ferry for 165.000 IDR/pax for the next morning. That means going to Lembar by car, taking the ferry and another car or mini-bus. Our pick-up was a small car with four seats that arrived at our homestay punctually at 9.30 a.m. We picked up another couple at their hotel, luckily they didn’t bring any luggage and started our journey. The car ride to the harbor in Lembar took about 1 hour. Then we had to wait for 1,5 hours, for everyone, who booked the same tour. We had the chance to buy some rice packs and water for the journey. The ferry left at 12.00 p.m. and we entered the boat half an hour before. Because people sit on the floors quite often in Indonesia, even at home, there were not many sitting options, so everyone found a spot on the floor somewhere. Inside are some seats and it´s air-conditioned. There are a lot – like really a lot – of food sellers on the boat and walk around with coffee or tea, crisps, rice packs, instant soups and hot water, fruits, peanuts, etc.
We seated ourselves next to a really nice and sympathic Indonesian family. As soon as everyone was seated they started eating lunch. That’s how we were offered small banana leaf packages from our neighbors that contained a fruit-rice mixture. We gave our best Bahasa Indonesia, which lead to many big smiles and more food offerings. After that people went to sleep. Most of the locals were prepared for that and brought blankets.
A group of 4 Indonesian Man next to us went for buying beer for them, but got back with closed bottles and found themselves without a bottle opener. Me seeing them struggle searched for my Swiss armee knife and helped them out. Just 10 minutes later they had the same problem again and had a look at me. But this time I was to lazy to search for the knife. So I tool the water bottle in my hand and opened their bottles with that as a tool. This led to big AHA and OHO´s like they never have seen someone opening a bottle like this. 5 minutes later I found myself with a big bottle of the “good” Heineken Beer in my hand as a gift for my crazy “performance”. I had to take at least 5 pictures with everyone of the group and talked as much Bahasa as possible… So I ended up drinking a 0.7 l Heineken beer on a quite bumping ferry in 30 °C somewhere between Lombok and Bali. But I had 3 hours to manage this…
Finally arriving in Padang Bai (Bali), all tourists with a booked trip were collected by locals and spread to different minibuses, referring to the final destination. That means the two of us plus 13 more people found a place in the bus for another 2 hours, until we finally, finally arrived in Kuta, Bali and reached our guesthouse. Luckily we did trips like this before and knew what to expect, which was not the case for all of the travelers.The buses, which wait for you in Padang Bai are small mini buses. And they always manage to pack more people inside than a European would expect. After 14 people where inside and still two waiting outside and asking for a extra bus, the driver counted twice, got two mini stools out the trunk put them somewhere between the cases and the seats. Problem solved, everybody in the bus, lets go for a 2,5 h bus ride down Balis east coast to Kuta (Bali).