When you hear about ‘The Gilis’, an immediate reaction is to think about the three popular islands Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. These three islands have become popular snorkeling, party and relaxation spots – a getaway from the over-crowded Bali. However, there are more Gili’s than you know. In fact, there are 26 different Gili’s near Lombok. While on Lombok, I did the ‘Secret Gili’s’ tour. While the islands are far from secret they are beautiful and a something new to explore with great marine life, tiny sandbars and a lunch-stop on the shore of a remote island.
WHERE ARE THE SECRET GILI’S
I stayed in South Lombok for the second part of my trip, which is a good place to be if you want to visit the ‘Secret Gili’s’ on an island hopping tour. From the main town in South Kuta, your tour will include the 1-hour van drive to the port/jump-off spot for your island hopping trip. The Secret Gili’s can be seen on the map below. They are on the west coast of Lombok and not too far from the shore at all!
WHICH COMPANY I DID MY ‘SECRET GILIS’ TOUR WITH
I did my tour with Adventure Divers Lombok. The company specializes in scuba-diver training and trips around Lombok but also offer island-hopping trips and other excursions. Our entire experience was amazing the crew from the moment they picked us up to the minute we were dropped back that night at the hotel. The part I liked best was that there was no rush to leave an island and move to the next spot like other tours I have done. Our guides just told us to tell them when we were ready to leave so we snorkeled for hours.
The trip with Adventure Divers Lombok is 750k Rupiah per person (Group discount available) including hotel pickup/dropoff. You can contact them to make your reservation via whatsapp: +62 813 5378 2059 (Tell Guillem you came from my blog. He’s a great guy and will look after you!)
OUR TOUR OF THE ‘SECRET GILIS’
The crew from Adventure Divers Lombok picked us up at our hotel in South Kuta and we made our way north-west towards Lembar. The drive was winding but had some interesting rice-fields and scenery along the journey. When we arrived at the jump-off there were two outrigger boats waiting for us. We tried on our fins, snorkels, and gear and then we were off.
Our first destination was Gili Nanggu. It was a pretty short boat ride to reach Gili Nanggu taking about 15 minutes for us to reach the white sand of this beautiful little island. This was the island for snorkeling our guides told us. They were not wrong. Beneath the surface, we found an abundance of marine life. Huge schools of fish surrounded us as they swam in and out of the coral restoration structures. The reef itself was quite nice but it was the huge amounts of fish that made this spot a great place for snorkeling.
The water clarity was perfect and we had some awesome moments free-diving here at the drop-off of the reef, which you can see clearly from drone shots.
We got out of the water after our first snorkel and our guide told us to rest and then go again on the other side of the island as this was the best snorkeling of the day. The other two stops would be more for relaxing and lunch. We ended up having about 2-3 hours on Gili Nanggu. Therefore, if you were to only visit one it would definitely be Gili Nanggu.
It appeared that there were accommodations to rent on Gili Nanggu but being so close to shore, I’m not sure I would suggest it for more than one night.
The island next to Gili Nanggu is called Gili Tangkong. You can explore it by foot if you wish but I purely checked this one out from the air. It has some incredible coconut tree plantations and vast empty beaches. It truly is a virgin paradise island so maybe it is better tourists don’t visit this one and just enjoy the views as they cruise past on the boats!
GILI SUDAK – LUNCH STOP
For lunch, we left Gili Nanggu and took a short boat trip across to Gili Sudak. Here we found tables practically in the water. We would have our huge group lunch inches away from the shoreline under the shade of a beautiful tree. It was one of the most picturesque lunches I have ever had as we looked out over the ocean towards the mountains. At the waroeng (cafe) you could order western dishes or Indonesian. I had Nasi Goreng, a coffee and a coconut. What a combination in paradise. The Secret Gili’s were turning out to be a relaxing way to spend a day from Lombok.
After our relaxing lunch at Gili Sudak, it was time for our last stop of the day. The final island was Gili Kedis, a tiny little island. I wondered if this island was at risk during high-tide. A small shack serving snacks and a few trees is all that was built on this little island. Several swings and benches to sit made this a relaxing spot where you could have a necessary siesta after lunch. We flew the drones around, hung out in the sun and took in our beautiful surroundings.
WHERE TO STAY IN SOUTH LOMBOK
The southern region of Lombok is where people go to chill out, enjoy the surf and the beautiful beaches. You can expect smaller crowds here than Bali in what is still quite an underdeveloped area compared to mainland Bali, although there are lots of hotels and restaurants. These are the places I recommend to stay in Kuta, Lombok.
Harmony Villas – Luxury: These villas are so stunning and picturesque you may not want to leave to go explore. The white theme throughout the property contrasts against the emerald green pool and plants. The villas are laid out impeccably and the best part about this 4-star villa is that it actually isn’t as expensive as it looks. Definitely check out Harmony Villas if you are looking for a luxurious villa in Kuta, Lombok.
Martas Windows – Value/Luxury: This place is incredibly beautiful. Bungalow-style villas surround the modern pool at this amazing property. I love the high roofs in the bungalow villas and how they have made it luxury-style but with the bamboo vibe. For less than $65 a night you can get yourself what would cost hundreds of dollars in most other countries at Martas Windows.
Boogie Hostel Kuta Lombok – Budget: The Boogie Hostel is everything you ask for in a hostel. It’s super modern and clean, has lots of chill spaces as well as lockers for your gear and blinds for privacy at your dorm. It is just a really relaxing vibe for travelers and only costs $7 a night… with breakfast included.