Getting to Mount Tambora - Options and Prices
It's an adventure on its own
Depending on where you're coming from, you could take private cars, chartered ferries or 15-hour bus rides to Tambora. While we would recommend comfortable journeys that will ensure adequate rest before hiking Mount Tambora, there are alternatives for die-hard adventurers or travellers who want more affordable options.
Read below to find out what you'd prefer!
Expensive route: Plane - Private Hire - Motorbike
Total Price: 2,450,000 IDR (1,200,000 IDR for car hire can be split if you are in a group)
Cons: Much more expensive than taking public transport
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
1. The nearest airport to Mount Tambora is Sultan Muhammad Salahudin Airport (BMU) in Bima. There are only 2-3 flights that go every day from Bali, and prices start from US $80 (1,200,000 IDR).
* Word of caution: Taxis at Bima's airport are controlled under a taxi cartel which charges high prices to tourist spots (namely Lakey Peak, Bima city centre and Sape Harbour) and basically all other areas.
It is unlikely that taxi drivers will know the road to Tambora as well because it is not visited often enough by tourists from the airport, but if they do, it's 1,500,000 IDR one way. To avoid this, make sure you communicate with Rik (our host in Tambora) and arrange a private driver to pick you up.
2. From the airport, a car ride to Pancasila village is 1,200,000 IDR per vehicle - if you have 2-4 people in your group, you can split up the cost. The ride is about 6-7 hours long depending on road conditions and your driver will make a pitstop for lunch along the way when you're hungry.
3. To get to Rik's guesthouse, take a motorbike up. It is 50,000 IDR per person and definitely better than a 3-hour climb up by foot.
The most fun part of the journey - ojek (motorbike taxi)!
Affordable, longer route: Plane - Taxi - Public Bus - Motorbike (2D1N journey)
Total price: 1,425,000 IDR for transport (including flight), 150,000 - 400,000 IDR for accommodation
Cons: Non-air conditioned, seats not guaranteed, not possible to do within a day.
We do not recommend going straight to Pancasila by bus and motorbike on the same day you land at Bima's airport, because you will have to take the motorbike at night and roads are dangerous in the dark. Instead, head to Dompu first, sleep for a night, then proceed onto Calabai-Kadindi the next morning.
1. Without a private hire, you have to take a 100,000 IDR taxi ride out of the airport to Terminal Dara, where buses to Dompu and Calabai-Kadindi start. Check the schedule for the day with the locals - tickets are only available before departure and seats are not guaranteed.
2. The bus ride to Dompu is 35,000 IDR and takes about 1.5 hours from Terminal Dara. Accommodation ranges from 150,000 - 400,000 IDR in Dompu, and we recommend Hotel Anisa and Hotel Rinjani from the reviews we read online.
3. Buses from Dompu to Calabai-Kadindi run from 7am to 2pm, cost 40,000 IDR and the journey is roughly 4-5 hours long.
4. Once you get off the bus, simply hop onto a motorbike taxi (50,000 IDR) to Pancasila and onwards to your guesthouse - that's the final end of your journey!
Whatever route you take from Lombok, you will pass by Sumbawa Besar. Below are the options:
Expensive route: Plane - Ferry - Motorbike
Total Price: 2,750,000 IDR
Cons: Expensive, difficult to charter ferry without help from host
1. Wings Air flies from Lombok International Airport (LOP) to Sumbawa Besar Airport (SWQ) daily. The flight is only 30 minutes long and costs about US $50 (700,000 IDR) - this is the easiest and most straightforward way to go.
2. There are no daily ferries from the Sumbawa Besar harbour to Calabai-Kadindi, but try to negotiate a price with available ferries at the harbour (difficult, but not impossible). If you can't manage to do so, contact Rik so that he can charter one for you - this 45-minute journey costs 2,000,000 IDR.
3. The last leg of your journey is a 1-2 hour long motorbike ride up to Pancasila.
Rik's chartered ferry
Affordable, longer route: Public Bus - Motorbike
Total Price: 150,000 IND
Cons: Painfully long
A typical public bus in Sumbawa. Photo credit: RoamIndonesia
1. This is a straightforward journey that starts from Mataram Bus Terminal in Lombok and ends at Calabai-Kadindi. The bus costs 100,000 IDR.
2. From Calabai Kadindi, take a motorbike up to Pancasila. (50,000 IDR)
Let us know if you're still unsure
This list only features the most popular routes to Tambora, but that doesn't mean that you can't come from anywhere else in Indonesia. The best way to plan your transport to Tambora would be to contact your accommodation host (Rik in the case of Seek Sophie customers), and he will advise you accordingly. If not, just give us a message and we'll help you as well. Safe travels!
Afterword: This article was written by Jin, who hasn't climbed a mountain since she was 12 years old. She can positively say that climbing Mount Tambora was her greatest feat of 2019.