Here are the steps on getting to Kuta from the towns of Senaru and Sembalun (Mount Rinjani):
During our trip to Lombok, we decided to first check out the town of Senaru, along the foothills of Mount Rinjani before visiting Kuta. Kuta Town was our last stop before we left Lombok.
1. Book your transport.
Take note that there is no public transportation in the towns of Senaru and Sembalun. You have to arrange private transport from here to Kuta in southern Lombok.
Your hotel management will likely know a driver who can drive you to Kuta. You can still negotiate the price of the transfer. You do not have to accept the initial price that they will offer you.
In our case, we paid 600 000 Rupiah (around 55 USD), for a private car to drive us from Sembalun to Kuta Town. The drive took about 4 hours in moderate traffic.
Tip: Make sure that you ask the driver if he is experienced driving to Kuta from Senaru or Sembalun as the roads are narrow and angulated especially around Rinjani. It is risky to drive with an inexperienced driver or in an unreliable vehicle.
2. Enjoy the ride.
It is a long one, about 4 hours. A nice compensation for the long journey is the scenery along the way. The countryside and mountainous landscape along the way are nothing short of spectacular. We had to ask our driver to stop a few times, so we could take pictures.
If you are going to book transport to Kuta in Lombok, it is better that you already have a place to stay in Kuta so that your driver will know where to drop you off. Get the address of the hotel. Or better yet, save a map that shows where your exact hotel is located in Kuta.
Kuta has many types of accommodation to choose from. Some of which are near the beach, but most are along the main roads in town.
Getting to Kuta (Lombok) from Bali Island
The fastest and most convenient way to get to Kuta from Bali is to catch a flight from Denpasar Airport to Lombok International Airport. Flying time is very short, only about 25 minutes. Some companies fly with turbo propellers (smaller planes), while others are jet powered. The most reliable airline with a good record in Indonesia is Garuda (the national airline), but there are also other choices out there.
By Ferry + Bus
Another way to get to Kuta (Lombok) from Bali is to take the ferry + bus option. Tour agents in several locations throughout Bali (like in Ubud, or Seminyak) offer this itinerary. But be careful if you decide to do this. Based on what we have heard, it’s a bit risky, aside from being quite expensive. There are reports that some companies do not bring passengers directly to Kuta, and drop them elsewhere. Take extra precaution and book with a reputable company that you have made some research on.
There are supposed to be slow ferries departing from Padang Bai to Lembar Pier on Lombok Island. Chasing Places has not taken this itinerary before, so if you’re interested in doing this, make sure to do enough research.