The shuttle system is very intricate and surprisingly efficient through Lombok! After getting back to Bangsal Harbour I was corralled into a horse carriage and explained the shuttle stop was too far away to walk too. It was a kilometre away however, and so completely possible to walk… walk a little fast though in case the shuttle is early or on time. The carriage driver was a handsome young man and so while everyone else paid 50,000 IDR I used a little charm and got the ride for 20,000 IDR and some lovely conversation.
The shuttles are old white passenger vans that could hold 14 people plus the driver. Luckily, neither of the ones I was in were completely full because even with 9 people we were cramped. It was amazing to see though the efficiency with which they operated. The same shuttle system connects all of Lombok it seems, as I transferred shuttles twice and fellow passengers did the same; all of us though getting to exactly where we wanted to go and in a timely manner.
Getting between Bali and Lombok/Gili Islands can be done with a series vans and boats or by air. Surprising more people chose to travel by fast boat because of the belief it is always cheaper. The truth is that with great negotiating skills and a reputable boat company it can be slightly cheaper, however, often enough it is an expensive, complicated, uncomfortable, and exhausting process. In my time in Indonesia I have chosen to use its great network of cheap domestic flights to get between islands. You can expect almost every plane to be late by an hour on average, but overall it is much less trouble and deals can easily be found to save money.
Look into this for self though, everyone I've ran into here has had completely different experiences with both flights and Fast Boats.
In the end with much persistence we were all compensated with a free room at the airport hotel, free meal, and spots on the first flight out in the morning. Silver Lining in the whole situation was after a week on an island with only cold, salt water showers I now got a luxury hotel room and a hot shower to scrub the salt off in. Furthermore, explaining to the airline that my transportation plans from the airport to Kuta had been jeopardized (planning to travel between the two with a friend and share the costs), they reluctantly agreed to foot the 350,000 IDR taxi bill for me.
I arrived in Ubud exhausted but relieved to finally have arrived. I checked into the hotel my travel companion had been waiting for me at and proceeded to make the best use of the little time I had in the city to find a house for my upcoming yoga teacher training course that would bring me back to the city for just over 5 weeks.
House Hunting in Ubud
2. Arrange your transportation out of the Gili Islands before you get there, this will save you a lot of money.
3. Don't take a taxi from the airport to Ubud. Arrange with your hotel before hand to have a ride for you or go into Kuta and get the shuttle which does hotel pick-up and costs 80,000 IDR a person as opposed to 350,000 for a taxi