Cidomo: The Horse-Drawn Cart on Gili Trawangan

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4 min read
by Marlin
May 19, 2023

The Gili Islands are awesome! They've got super cool beaches and the water is really clear. If you're going there, you can walk, ride a bicycle, or go on a Cidomo to get around.

Cidomo is a traditional way of getting around that they've been using for ages. In this article, we're gonna learn all about Cidomo!

We'll find out where it came from, how you can hire someone to drive it, and if it's better than the other ways of getting around.

So, if you're curious about Cidomo and want to have a great time on the Gili Islands, let's keep reading!

What is Cidomo

You may already know from the title what Cidomo is 🐴 it's a horse-drawn cart that's used for transportation on the Gili islands and Lombok.

Since cars and taxis aren't allowed on the Gili islands, Cidomo is one of the alternative modes of transportation to get around the island.

cidomo on gili trawangan

It can be particularly handy if you've just arrived on the island and need to travel to a hotel located far to the west, especially if you're carrying a lot of heavy luggage.

Cidomo can certainly be really helpful in such situations

Where to find Cidomo

Cidomo is actually from Lombok, but you can totally find them on the Gili islands too!

If you're on Gili Trawangan, you can usually spot them hanging out on the main street by the jetty, waiting for anyone who needs a ride to their hotel or just wants to explore the island.

cidomo on gili trawangan

And if you're wandering around the island's center, you'll probably come across some Cidomo too.

But you won't see any Cidomo on the north or south side of the island. Apparently, those fancy hotels don't like the look of them hanging around and prefer to keep the view looking pristine.

By the way, if you're hoping to experience the charm of Cidomo in Bali, you're out of luck! This traditional form of transportation can only be found in Lombok and the Gili islands.

So, if you're interested in trying it out, you'll have to make your way to one of these places.

How much does Cidomo cost

Cidomo offers two kinds of service - not only will they take you to your destination, but they can also take you on a tour circling around the island.

The cost of taking a Cidomo on Gili Trawangan:

  • To a destination: Rp 100,0000 - Rp 150,000

  • Circle the island: Rp 250,000 - Rp 350,000

If you're looking for a quick ride to your hotel via Cidomo, it'll cost you anywhere from Rp 100,000 to Rp 150,000. But keep in mind, the farther your destination, the more it'll cost you.

And a tour around the island will set you back Rp 250,000 per person. If you're bringing along a friend or two, the total cost for the group is Rp 350,000.

Cidomo operational hours

I'd say the Cidomo drivers on Gili Trawangan are some of the hardest workers on the island. They start early in the morning, around 8 am, and keep working until at least 10 pm or midnight.

This is because there are lots of tourists who get drunk at night and need a ride back to their hotel.

cidomo on gili trawangan

You might think it's cruel for the horses, but I talked to one of the drivers and he assured me that he has two horses that take turns working. One works from 8 am to 3 pm and the other takes over until nighttime.

I didn't interview every driver, so there may be some who overwork their horses. But as far as I know, most of them take good care of their animals.

Cidomo alternatives

If you're someone who loves animals and doesn't want to support any activity involving animal abuse, I got a solution for you.

You can either walk or rent a bicycle to get around Gili Trawangan. Check out my detailed article on how to get around the island.

But if you choose to walk, be prepared to get tired, because you'll have to walk about 3 km or 1.8 miles to get to your hotel if it's on the west or north side (the jetty is on the east side).

cidomo on gili trawangan

On the other hand, renting a bicycle may not be worth it because you'll still have to return it and walk back to your hotel, unless you rent it for your entire stay on the island.

Also, most hotels on the west provide free bicycles for their guests. So my suggestion is to take a walk to your hotel and enjoy the beautiful island scenery. I've done it many times and it never gets old!

Interview with a Cidomo driver

I had the opportunity to interview a Cidomo driver on Gili Trawangan named Nurtinah. He gave me a lot of insights about the island, and shared his personal experiences.

Nurtinah, originally from Lombok, has been living on Gili Trawangan since 1980 when he was a kid.

He has been driving Cidomos for over 40 years and told me about the peak times in the early 2000s, when there were many tourists who used his service.

"I remember when Gili was bustling in the 2000s. A Cidomo driver could earn Rp 1 million a day. Now, after the 2018 earthquake, Gili Trawangan has become quiet."

Nowadays, his earnings are only half or even lower than what he earned during his peak times.

He added, "It's not just my child's expenses that I have to support. With two horses, I could spend up to IDR 350 thousand a day."

To feed a single horse, he spends Rp 100,000 to Rp 150,000 per day, and he also spends Rp 50,000 for cart maintenance.

The future of Cidomo

The future of Cidomo seems uncertain as more and more people are calling for it to be stopped altogether.

Hotel managers often receive negative feedback from guests about Cidomo, which detracts from the beautiful view.

There are numerous protests from animal welfare groups calling for an end to this type of business, and for it to be replaced with something better.

The government of North Lombok also has announced plans to completely remove Cidomo from the Gili Islands and replace it with electric carts.

While there are arguments for and against this, if it does happen, the transition will likely take some time.

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