Gili Trawangan, a small island off the northwest coast of Lombok is increasingly popular especially among the Whites. I came to know about the existence of this island a couple of years ago and became fascinated with it not because it possesses great attributes of a dream island but strangely, it was the 'cidomos' that captivated my interest. The 'cidomos' are small horse drawn carriages that replace all types of motorised vehicles as a means of transportation be it to ferry people, goods or even garbage. Fume emitting vehicles are totally banned in Gili Trawangan, the rationale being pollution needs to be contained. The only other mode of transport for individuals are the bicycles. It took me two long years before I finally trod on this 'land of bicycles and cidomos' and got up close and personal with what intrigued me from the start.
It is not cheap at all to take the cidomos. The rate for a short distance of 800 meters was more than IDR50,000 per ride. We bargained hard but the coachmen appeared unrelenting. This is 'their territory' and 'take it or leave it' seemed like a common attitude among the coachmen. It was a test of persistence and 'Queen of Bargains' successfully got a ride to her hotel, Pearl Of Trawangan Hotel for IDR50,000.
Most parts of the roads around the island are not in good condition. Many stretches are unpaved,some stretches are graveled, some pebbled and some sandy. Even though it is convenient to walk around, pulling a heavy bag even a stretch of 200 meters would be doing injustice to your (branded) trolley bags. Like it or not the cidomos are pretty needed at least when you check in or check out of the hotel.
The cidomos mostly ply the stretch of main road passing the busy town area. This is where their service is most needed as loads of tourists poured into the harbour from Lombok and Bali each day.
You occasionally see cidomos in the interior part of the island.
The locals use them to ferry their supplies which include foodstuff, building materials and almost every other thing.
Cidomos that are used to ferry passengers are usually adorned unlike those that carry goods.
The cidomos are also the garbage collectors. The island's garbage would be taken to the dump site in the interior to be burned.
A cheaper option to get around is to rent bicycles which are available at every nook and corner. Rental rate at IDR50,000 per day is rather standard.
Even though the island is small, bicycles are essential as walking from one corner to another can be quite exhausting. (The island is about 3km long and 2km wide)
The second hotel that we stayed in Gili Trawangan allowed us to ride its bicycles for free during which time we circumnavigated the island a few times.
Our last cidomo ride was on our last day in Gili Trawangan. That was when we checked out of Les Villas Ottalia, our second hotel to get to the harbour about 1.3 km away. For this short ride we had to pay IDR100,000. (approx RM46). Ouch, that was steep!
Despite the exhorbitant rates, it is undeniable that cidomos has added a rustic charm to this tropical island.
Lombok Travel Part 1: Overview
Lombok Travel Part 2: Mama Bella's Retreat, Senggigi
Lombok Travel Part 3: Senggigi
Lombok Travel Part 4: Leaving Senggigi For Gili Trawangan
Lombok Travel Part 6: The Charms Of Gili Trawangan