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Boat or Plane from Bali to Lombok - safety wise

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Boat or Plane from Bali to Lombok - safety wise

Hi

I have read heaps of information about how to either get to Lombok from Bali by boat or by plane. However what I am trying to figure out is which is 'safest'. We are travelling on 9 March.

We can fly with Garuda for about $AUD125 each way leaving only at night. The Lion Air flight is only $AUD30 each way leaving in the morning (more convenient for us).

I have read plenty of negative comments about Merapti and one or two negative reviews of Lion Air. I am tossing up between Garuda and Lion Air - both of their 'safety' track records are about the same it seems however Garuda is the only airline that is on the EU's 'safe airline' list which most other Indonesian airlines (including Lion Air) being blacklisted and deemed unsafe.

The other option is the fast boat (2-2.5 hours) but some posts recommended not doing this in March when the seas are pretty rough and necessarily safe. I tend to suffer seasickness when it gets rough..

Any advice would be most appreciated or any experiences doing either?

Thanks

Tammy

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1. Re: Boat or Plane from Bali to Lombok - safety wise

I know how you feel I spent ages trying to figure out how to get to Gili Air. With two kids in tow I was worried about safety.

I decided to fly and as with you Garudas flight times didn't suit, we flew with Merpati and I couldn't fault our flights .

The flight was on time, smooth and the plane was spotless.

I just kept on telling myself I hadn't heard of any plane crash from Bali to Lombok, but I had heard of boats sinking.

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2. Re: Boat or Plane from Bali to Lombok - safety wise

I have done it both ways. Firstly on the fast boat. It was very rough, and I think we were the only ones of our 25 people who were not sea sick. The boat was also very uncomfortable. May be a different story on calm seas. We have flown with Merpati twice. First time was 3 hour delay leaving Lombok due to inclement weather. Second time faultless. Also last time flew Garuda and no issues at all. Will be doing the trip again in March and probably go with Merpati again, only because Garuda's times don't suit.

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3. Re: Boat or Plane from Bali to Lombok - safety wise

Pretty much heard, horrible stories, both ways. We just returned from 5 nights in Senggigi and 4 nights on Gilli T, we booked the fast boat from Padangbai, costing us $75 return including hotel transfers fron Kuta. so it comes down to what you want to spend and if you prefer boats to flying on planes, a friend of mine flew a few years ago and said the propellars where held on by rubber bands, but I think its mostly jets today.

It also depends where you want to go in Lombok, we went to Sengiggi first , which is not recommended as its expensive and overated compared to Bali, Gillies is marginally better but you can be caught by the taxi and boat mafia on Lombok, depending how you arrange your transfers if going by boat. If the weather is good its a nice 2 hour trip from Padangbai to Lombok and then a 40 minute taxi ride to Senggigi.

coming back the waves were 2 mt. so rough in the straits, not good if you get sea sick, we don't get sea sick was just worried the boat would crack and we would sink, as we were packed in like sardines.

Well we arrived back at Padangbai, a little shaken up from all the screaming, of the young girls who sat in the front, we were advised to sit at the back of the boat, less bumpy, as the boat hits the waves with a tremendous crash, but happy to be back in Bali as its much cheaper to live and I felt very ripped off in lombok, as the attitude is a take it or leave it attitude, when buying sraples such as smokes, beers, crisps, cokes etc. Prices are approx. double that of Bali, something to keep in mind if you are going to spend a long time on Lombok. Feel free to ask any more questions and I will try to help.

BC.

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4. Re: Boat or Plane from Bali to Lombok - safety wise

Who on earth quoted you A$125 each way to Lombok with Garuda? How many people is this for? I have just paid Rp480,000 including taxes for 2 people on a Garuda flight = around A$56.

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5. Re: Boat or Plane from Bali to Lombok - safety wise

assuming you are going to lombok mainland and not to gilis i would fly. i've done both.

i think they are both as safe as each other, depending on conditions.

the garuda flight is over quoted as advised. i've flown to lombok on ruia and merpati. merpati was fine where as the other was a bit ancient. the flight is short.

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6. Re: Boat or Plane from Bali to Lombok - safety wise

I can't say about other airlines. Three years ago I would not have flown Garuda. However, Garuda has major strides to improve its reputation. The company is about to go public so it is taking strides to improve its reputation

thejakartaglobe.com/indonesia/…419285

But who knows. Indonesia is the only country where I have seen people pray before the flight takes off:) The whole plane if fact led by the stewardess. You should be fine but follow what is happening with Garuda closely.

Edited: 09 February 2011, 07:43
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7. Re: Boat or Plane from Bali to Lombok - safety wise

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Edited: 18 February 2011, 13:35
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8. Re: Boat or Plane from Bali to Lombok - safety wise

There are a several TA threads on the Bali-Lombok crossing (aircraft-vs-small boats) and others on getting from the Lombok mainland across to the Gili Islands.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297733-i9237-k401… has lots of information on the Lombok strait crossing, including links to the airlines and detail on aircraft types, issues with the small boats crossings and some other discussion.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g664666-i12936-k42… has some detail on getting from the mainland to the Gili islands including taxi costs to Bangsal from Senggigi and contact numbers.

Both the links above have links to other TA articles on the same subject, they have further detail such as prices and contact numbers.

There are some issues at Bangsal and a read of the Wikitravel http://wikitravel.org/en/Bangsal article on that location may assist travellers a lot. There are links in that WT article to other more comprehensive articles on Lombok, Senggigi, and the Gilis.

There is no "taxi mafia" on Lombok. There are two quite legitimate and professionally operated taxi companies on the island. Bluebird (the more prolific), and Express are both radio despatched, can be summoned by telephone and use meters. Their drivers are generally reliable and capable. If for some reason someone should encounter a problem with an individual driver then just use a different taxi, if there is none then just get into the taxi and firmly insist on using the meter. Bluebird (Taksi Lombok) Tel +62 370 627000

Some of the people who hang around Lembar (the vehicular ferry port in SW Lombok can be a real pain and may sometimes put pressure on the Bemo or Taxi drivers to enter into some ridiculous arrangements with tourists. Just don't under any circumstances get involved with 'touts' or 'helpers' and problems are very unlikely to arise. Make sure you are only talking with the taxi driver, really it is no one else's business. Bluebird drivers wear a uniform.

The Airport Taksi in Lombok are a single journey only service for arriving air passengers, they use a coupon system withset charges per a list of destinations. They are more expensive than a similar metered journey. The metered taxi services are not allowed to pick-up arriving passengers inside the airport grounds. See the Wikitravel article on Lombok for details and charges.

Senggigi may be "overrated", but I guess it depends on what someone is expecting from it in the first place. Lombok is well known as providing good value for money in hotel accommodation and is generally a little cheaper than Bali. The Senggigi district offers a wide range of accommodations. High quality boutique style accommodation such as offered by places like Qunci villas in Mangsit beach or Jeeva Klui at Klui beach represent very good value. Both of these are on northern outskirts of Senggigi. The Kuta area and the Gili islands also have good selection of alternatives.

Some local supermarket prices in Lombok may be a little higher than in some parts of Bali, this has more to do with the extra costs in getting goods to Lombok and then out to a small coastal town in the case of Senggigi. There are better priced and larger supermarkets in the city of Mataram/Cakra and one opposite the airport.

A taxi ride to a city supermarket will provide access to those cheaper alternatives. Ruby supermarket in Cakra is very cheap, MGM supermarket is also OK, Hero in the mall is a bit expensive.

Lombok's fresh food costs have skyrocketed in the last year due to LaNina effected weather patterns, crop failures and disrupted planting regimes. This is putting a lot of local people under severe cost of living stress. If the prices of local services have gone up fractionally it is well explained by these issues rather than any perceptions of price gouging experienced apparently experienced by BeachComber001. I sorry to here that BeachComber001 had a bad experience in Lombok and a nasty boat crossing. I have noticed several posts by this person relating to their experience in Lombok and with their sea crossing. It is true that there are some annoying pestering opportunists in Lombok, maybe this person had an unhealthy dose of them. The same issues are apparent in many similar destinations. Just don't get involved with touts and opportunists, they are there to help themselves, not to help you. Ignore them as best as you can and try to keep smiling as you walk away.

There is a considerable amount of advice on the TA Lombok forums concerning the prudence of using a small light duty boat for an open sea crossing especially in the middle of the monsoon season. Those threads discussing the Lombok straits fast boat services offer some quite pointed advice as to the prudence of using one of the many scheduled air services instead. They are safer, cheaper and especially in the monsoon season an unquestionably more sensible alternative.

The sea crossing by vehicluar ferry is slow, sometimes a little chaotic and very cheap. It is detailed quite well in the Wikitravel articles mentioned above so I will not add further detail here.

The public ferry from Bangsal is a set charge; Rp 10,000 to Gili T and Rp 8,000 to either Gili M or Gili A. Speed boats are from Teluk Nare-Teluk Kode and are by negotiation. Some hotels will provide transfers for you.

Paying AU$125.00 for DPS-AMI is tragic. It is normally under Rp 250,000 (about AU$25.00), looks like someone paid AU$100 too much.

There have been no problems with the air services even though some of the aircraft are a bit old. Occasionally there are delays or cancellations due to operational issues, sometimes arising from passenger numbers in the case of Merpati.

However 2 of the fast boats have sunk, I think this tells the story fairly well but if you want some detail then follow the links supllied above.

Yes, Garuda have bought some new aircraft (737 next gen 800s) however they are not used on the DPS-AMI route. The newer aircraft on this route are a couple of the IAT ATR 42 turbo props (Trans Nusa), the new Merpati Xian MA60 turbo props and the new Wings ATR 72-500 turbo props. The Merpati 737s are antiques. There are also a clutch of older Fokker F50s and 60s on the route but they are one of the worlds more robust turbo prop aircraft.

Edited: 18 February 2011, 12:34
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9. Re: Boat or Plane from Bali to Lombok - safety wise

Planes crash and boats sink.

I am guessing they are 50/50 in regards to safety record.

Safest place to go on holiday is to stay at home but then again ...

If you intend to visit Lombok mainland, use plane

If you intend to visit the Gilis, go by boat.

This will save you time.

Maybe spread the risk, Depart by plane. Visit Lombok first. Then continue to the Gilis and return to Bali by boat.

Just make sure you don't end up on the wrong side of the 50/50 or you could be twice in bad luck.

I was on a boat sinking between Lombok and Gili Trawangan and it was no fun.

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10. Re: Boat or Plane from Bali to Lombok - safety wise

I wonder if keeping the bad experiences to ourselves might be a good thing.

Share the love and good times.

I always try to travel with an open mind and a smiling face. This maybe the way to stay on the right side of 50/50 @ Bori007.