You probably gonna need to take two bemos and one boat... no worries… just go with plenty of time and no stress! It will work… but is better to start early morning, about 7:30 am, because you’ll just arrive to Amed in the evening.
How to go from Mataram to Bangsal by public transport:
If your accommodation in Mataram is at Cakraneagara neighbourhood you just need to wait at Jalan Panca Usaha for a bemo (yellow). And you don’t need to go to Mandalika Terminal to catch it.
You must ask the driver to drop you at the crossroad between Jalan Jendral Sudirman and Jalan Dr.Wahidin. The area is called Puri Lestari, but as most of the bemo drivers don’t speak English just ask for “Bangsal” and they probably will drop you nearby the junction and point you the next bemo that will be waiting there for passengers.
The second bemo (white or black) will take you to Pemenang; from here you need to walk to reach the pier. You can also get an ojek (moto-taxi) or a horse cart… both will be waiting for you at the place where the bemos stop.
The trip cost 25.000 Rp in total and takes 2 hours… most hotels can arrange a shuttle for you for 75.000 Rp.
- Bemo from Jalan Panca Usaha to Puri Lestari: 5.000 Rp (takes around 30 minutes, but maybe you need to wait a while for a bemo that goes on that way… I start at 8 a.m. and just wait around 10 minutes).
- Bemo from Puri Lestari to Pemenang: 20.000 Rp (it takes about 1 hour).
- From Pemenang you can walk to the Bangsal pier: around 1.4 km.
The trip between Mataram and Pemenang is quite nice, with the road passing trough a hilly area, covered by thick jungle, where hundreds of monkey, gray fur and a kind of fluffy mustaches, wait on the road rails for some food drop by the cars and motorbikes that pass by.
Public Boat to Gili Air:
If you are going to Gili Air by public boat (identified by the name Koperasi Angkutan Laut Karya Bahari) you must turn right until you find a small ticket counter behind a big building where the private companies sell their tickets.
Don’t ask informations to people hanging around the pier, as most of them will try to push you to one of the private boats, that are faster but much more expensive. For informations, you can go to the main ticket counter, inside the big building located on your left as you enter the harbour area.
The public boat doesn’t have a fixed schedule and just departure when is full, which mean 40 passengers.
I arrive around 11 a.m., and was one of the first on the list, but it took just 30 minutes to fill the boat. There isn’t a pier, so you need to put wet your feet to reach the boat. The same applies to when you arrive at the island.
The trip from Bangsal to Gili Air takes 15 to 20 minutes.
How to go from Gili Air to Gili Meno:
They’re a hopping island service boat, from the public company (Koperasi Angkutan Laut Karya Bahari) that links the three Gilis.
From Gili Air to Gili Meno the ticket cost you 35.000 Rp, and there are boats at 8.30 and another at 15.00. The trip from Gili Air to Gili Meno takes about 10 minutes.
If you are on a very short budget and have plenty of time, you can take the boat back to Bangsal (12.000 Rp) and then another boat to Gili Meno (14.000 Rp+2.500 Rp). I didn’t try this option that just saves you 6.500 Rp and probably takes you all day 🙁
How to go from Gili Meno to Bangsal (Lombok):
There public boats to Bangsal three times a day: 8:00, 14:00 and 15:15… and the ticket cost 14.000 Rp.
You should arrive at least 30 minutes before the schedule, as the boat departure as soon as it’s full. Mine start 10 minuts before.
The trip from Gili Meno to Bangsal takes 25 minutes.