One More Sumbawa-Bali Road Trip Under the Belt

In the last post, I wrote about leaving for home; I’ve been home now for three days resting up from the trip over from Sumbawa. This time it took me 15 hours and 45 minutes to make the 300 km drive that includes two ferry crossings. I left the apartment in Sumbawa at 2:15 A.M. and arrived at the house in Singaraja at 6:00 P.M.

bali from the ferry

bali from the ferry

Both ferries were full of travelers pulang kampung (the Indonesian term for returning home), but I was able to get a seat on the ferry from Poto Tano in Sumbawa, and I even managed to get a short nap. Because it was still the Ramadan fasting month, the markets in Lombok were less crowded than usual, and I made the trip from East Lombok to West Lombok in 2 hours, just to wait for two hours to get on a ferry to Bali.

Apparently the ferry that I took is one of the new ones so there was a group of important people around the harbor along with a television crew. I managed to get a seat in an air-conditioned cabin, but it was filled with screaming children and lots of adults throwing up. The “important people” took a tour of the ferry and ended up in the air-conditioned cabin. One person, who was obviously the most important, noted to a reporter that the cabin would be very popular with “bules” (the somewhat controversial term that many Indonesians now use for Westerners). He missed the fact that there were 16 foreigners on the ferry and only one opted for the cabin; the rest sat outside. It’s a common mistake for Indonesians to assume that foreigners will take an a.c. room even though it had two drawbacks for many foreigners – it was too crowded, and the sound level of the television was incredibly high and irritating.

As I was fasting, the smell of people throwing up was getting to me so I opted to look for a seat outside. Wrong decision. There were many empty benches outside, but they were all in the sun, and I ended up with a bad case of sunburn. (Note to myself: bring some sunscreen on the trip back to Sumbawa.) When we arrived at the harbor in Bali, we ended up waiting for an hour to dock. That wait is always difficult because everyone wants to get off the ferry and continue on with his or her journey.

The trip along the east coast road was easy as usual, and I made it in a fast two hours. The family was waiting at home for hugs and kisses, and at 60 years old, I’ve made my second trip across the islands.


~ by drbrucepk on September 20, 2009.

6 Responses to “One More Sumbawa-Bali Road Trip Under the Belt”

  1. Dr. Bruce,
    Interesting post. I read in a previous post of yours you had converted but still was surprised when you wrote you were fasting.
    Are you retired for good?

  2. Hi Dave,

    I’ve been fasting now for ten years. I actually enjoy the fasting, just not the getting up so early to eat in the morning.

    I have another ten weeks to go on my contract and then I’m retired for good. (How many times have I said that?)

  3. Hi Dr

    Im a regular reader and teacher. I was wondering about the future of the Batu school? I notice that the wrangling over its future ownership has not ended so I guess the expat population would much depend on that? Is that true?/

    Finally Im interested in your intrepid trip. I was wondering what the alternative no expenses spared trip to say Denpasar would cost and how long it would take from your place?? If you have the time Id like to hear the itineray and costing.

    thanks John

  4. Wow – and I thought the trip from Bali’s airport to the Gili islands (using the Ferry) was pretty tough!


  5. The trip back was even longer and more intense. The ferries seem to be less reliable than in the past.

  6. Good post. I am a long stay in Bali. and this is an interesting post. Traveled from island to island by road is an exciting journey. I used to do this, usually to Java. with some friends on a road trip tour from city to city. fun.

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