It was finally time to start my solo motorbike trip from Bali to Flores. The first leg would be to get off Bali by taking the ferry from Padang Bai, about two hours from Kuta. The ferry to Lombok takes around five hours, so I decided to leave late and sleep on it.

I arrived at the terminal at 11, and showed the disappointed policeman my bike’s registration and my Indonesian driver’s license. No tea money for him! I drove on, parked, and found a place to sleep for a few hours. Taking a motorbike off of Bali really was easy.

I was roused from my fitful sleep at 4 am. We had arrived on the island of Lombok. It was cold and pitch black. I should have left later!

My plan was to just drive across the island to Labuan Lombok, where I could catch a ferry to Sumbawa. I’d see more of the island on the way back.

Glowing Mt. Rinjani.
Glowing Mt. Rinjani.

Bali is Hindu, and Lombok is Mulsim, so the island is like a different world. Google Maps sent me down small roads through villages. Women walked with baskets on their heads. I passed fancy mosques lit up in the darkness.

Around five the mosques started blasting music. Then the calls to prayer started. There were so many mosques the calls blended together into cacophony. I stopped in a field to admire the stars, and listen to the crickets and chants.

The rising sun made Mt. Rinjani glow. I saw the sunrise over this huge active volcano from Amed, Bali. It dominates the landscape. I hoped to climb it on the way back. But for now, I pressed on.

Much of the traffic in towns was horse carts.
Much of the traffic in towns was horse carts.

As the morning progressed, Lombok’s famous horse carts came out. I passed through a busy market town and stopped for coffee and breakfast.

My drive across Lombok took about four hours. It seemed strange not to stop anywhere, but I knew I would be coming back this way.

Finding the ferry was a little tricky, and I had to ask a few folks. There were no police guarding it, and I drove on unmolested.

I was the only foreigner on this boat. The short crossing would take me to Sumbawa, where tourists don’t venture.

A busy market, somewhere on Lombok.
A busy market, somewhere on Lombok.
At the market.
At the market.
Waiting for passengers.
Waiting for passengers.
The ferry to Sumbawa. Just drive on.
The ferry to Sumbawa.
I'm Terry, former cubicle-dweller, and now traveler, photographer, writer, and entrepreneur. I quit my job in 2014 to travel to US national parks, then to South East Asia. I write about independent, flexible, long-term, budget travel. Sign up to my newsletter to get the latest news on what I'm up to. I hope you join me on my trek around the world.


  1. Hi Terry,

    just came across your blog while searching for information about taking a motorbike out off Bali (to Sumbawa over Lombok). We planned to rent scooters already in Bali.
    We’ve read a lot about the bike’s registration. Does it need to be issued on your name? Do you know if it’s possible to leave Bali with a rental bike? (We are a bit afraid of asking the car rental guy 🙂 )

    Cheers, Stephanie

  2. Hi Stephanie, yes it is possible to drive a rental motorbike off of Bali, and that’s exactly what I did. There are police at the ferry terminal, and they will ask for the bike’s registration (does not have to be in your name) and your driver’s license. They say if you don’t have a license, you can offer them money.

    If you tell the guys with bikes on the street you plan to drive off Bali, they will say it’s not possible. I used this guy: He provides good bikes, and all the tools you need.

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