The Gilis of Lombok
Did you know there are in fact 26 Gili islands surrounding the mainland of Lombok, on the northwest coast is of course the most famous and most developed, They are called – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air, they are the most famous Gili Islands which are in the North Lombok Regency.
On the southwest peninsular which is rapidly being developed on the mainland due to the expectation of the new airport and of course it’s amazing natural beauty are another 12 Gili islands in the Sekotong Peninsula, West Lombok Regency. They are called – Gili Nanggu, Gili Sudak, Gili Tangkong, (Where the super chic, Dharma Gili eco resort is planned), Gili Poh (the smallest by far) Gili Genting, Gili Lontar, Gili Layar, Gili Amben, Gili Gede, Gili Anyaran, Gili Layar and Gili Asahan. only 2 have accommodations, Gili Nannggu and Gili Gede.
The southwest coast of Lombok is one of the most spectacular areas in Indonesia and is still relatively undeveloped, offering a pristine natural region for travellers to explore.
South of Lembar Harbour, the main port on West Lombok, the southwest coast features a series of stunning bays set against a backdrop of green hills and fields. There are also twelve small islands just off the coast, similar to the famous Gilis, but largely uninhabited.
The drive itself is a worthwhile trip, meandering through villages where life is untouched by tourism and where the people are involved in their day-to-day activities of farming, fish cultivation, boating and fishing, brick-making and other traditional pastimes. Along the roadsides you will see people building and repairing boats, laying out hand-made bricks to dry in the sun, working in the fields, and sometimes guiding primitive wooden ploughs harnessed to huge water buffalo as they prepare the fields for planting.
Heading towards Sekotong, on the left side of the road is a sealed road leading up the hill. Climbing steeply, the views back down the hill and across the fields are truly magnificent. The panorama stretches out across the clear waters, highlighting the white sand coastline and the many small islands dotted just off the coast. Some of these islands have simple accommodation for travellers and are great places to visit – the Gilis of the future, no doubt!
A bit further along the main road is Taun, a peaceful village with friendly people, situated on a wide, placid bay. The ocean is sparkling turquoise and the dazzling white sand stretches in a wide sweep around the bay, while the hills behind form a perfect backdrop to an idyllic setting. Just out in the calm bay sit the three lovely islands of Gili Nanggu, Gili Tangkong and Gili Sudat – all easily accessible by local outrigger boats. A small sign in the nearby village will direct you to the local boat hire area, where you can arrange boat trips out to Gili Nanggu and the other small islands in the area, at reasonable rates.
A little further on, before the local marine culture complex (Balai Budaya Laut), there is a small dirt road leading off toward the beach. This road leads out onto a dazzling white peninsular of land that juts into beautiful blue waters. Gili Genting is a small hill in the ocean situated just off the point. At high tide it is separated from the mainland by a shallow stretch of water and at low tide it is possible to walk out to explore the island. The rock formations are ancient lava flows into which the sea has carved all sorts of interesting shapes, tunnels and caves; providing sheltered nooks and crannies of shade… a perfect setting for a picnic lunch!
On the South West coast in the Lombok Regency there are another 3 islands – Gili Solet, Gili Sarang Burung and Gili Kawu.
In the South east, in the East Lombok Regency is 3 more islands, Gili Indah, Gili Merengke and Gili Belek.
And the only other islands are in the very North East Lombok Regency, is Gili Lawang, Gili Sulat, Gili Pentangan, Gili Bidara (Pasaran) and Gili Lampu.
All have a few things in common, 75% are uninhabited, they all have crystal white sands, clear turquiose waters for amazing snorkelling and diving, and are unspoilt. This left us wondering how these islands can still be one of Lombok’s best kept secrets, although I have heard through the grapevine people are catching on and plots are selling, which is not surprising when they have so much to offer, both to tourists and investors!
Dotted in the ocean just off shore from the mainland, around two hours drive south from Senggigi, are the magnificent Southwest Gilis – starting with the three small gilis (meaning “islands” in local language) just south of Lembar Harbour: Gili Nanggu, Gili Sudat and Gili Tangkong. only Gili Nanggu has accommodation for visitors, with Gili Nanggu Cottages providing simple accommodation on the beach and a restaurant, as well as some more up-market rooms further back from the beach.
Slightly further south are Gili Genting and Gili Lontar, with Gili Poh forming a round white dot in the ocean slightly further offshore to the north of these two. Gili Genting sits just off the tip of a beautiful white-sand peninsular that juts into the ocean. At low tide, you can walk across the sandbar from the peninsular and explore this uninhabited island. Old volcanic rocks and stone carved from centuries of tides create small caves, providing shelter for picnics and interesting nooks and crannies to explore.
Gili Amben is just offshore, slightly to the south, while Gili Anyaran is further out, but easily accessible by local boat. Dominating them all, located between these two islands, is the big island of Gili Gede.
So large and so close to shore that it is often mistaken as part of the mainland, Gili Gede is a picturesque and sprawling island with many small coves and pretty beaches along its coast and small hills running through the centre, which have wonderful views of the Southwest Gilis.
Secret Island Resort is located on a small hill at the southern tip of the island, providing simple and comfortable accommodation, as well as personalised snorkelling and island tours and fishing trips on their 9m purpose-built boat, Scorpio. On the northern end of the island is another small resort, Via Vaccare, with octagonal shaped rooms on the beach, offering peaceful island breaks, and yoga and meditation sessions for those who wish to participate.
To the south of Gili Gede, the islands of Gili Renggit, Layar and Asahan are lined up like secret treasures in the calm sea. Abundant coral reefs lay just below the surface waiting to be explored, filled with thousands of brightly coloured tropical fish, huge sprawling blue starfish and magical turtles gently gliding through the water. Deserted white sand beaches call visitors from the sea to picnic on the beach and swim in the clear turquoise waters. Many of the beaches are lined with shells washed up by the tide and the temptation to take home these pretty souvenirs is irresistible. A day spent playing in the water, snorkelling above the colourful coral and beachcombing the shores is a tonic for the soul in this magical and pristine environment.
Those who wish to explore the underwater world further can join dive adventures with Dive Zone, the only diving company located in the area, on the beach at Sundancer Resort in Sekotong. Owner-operator, George, is only to happy to show visitors these exciting and totally unspoiled dive sites, abundant with hard and soft corals and all kinds of tropical fish species. Diving amongst schools of magnificent turtles is common, as these peaceful giant creatures live undisturbed in the waters of the Southwest Gilis and do not fear man as a hunter.
There are at least four other small islands, barely dots in the ocean, as well as coral atolls raising out of the sparkling waters of the Southwest Gilis… more delightful islands in the making. But for now, the secret islands of the southwest provide more than enough opportunities for those seeking truly unspoiled and deserted tropical island paradises. With so much beauty on offer both above and below the sea, the Southwest Gilis can’t remain a secret much longer!
This small remote island is situated off of south-west Lombok. This is an ideal destination for snorkelling. Gili Nanggu is an absolute water paradise with white sand beaches and crystal clear turquoise water. Come here and experience the underwater world amongst thousands of tropical fish and various sea creatures. If you are lucky you may even see some sea turtles! Make sure you bring your underwater cameras as it is an experience you will want to capture forever! You can take a day trip or spend a couple nights here.
There are three ways to get there. From Sengiggi, you can go directly by boat (2.5 hours). Or, from Sengiggi, drive 2.5 hours to Taun Harbor, then take a boat (15 minutes), can be reached also From Lembar harbor 40 minute with outrigger boat.
Where to Stay
Gili Nanggu Cottages and Bungalow is the only one accommodation on the island, which belongs to Mr. Gede Bajra, but nowadays manage by PT. Istana Cempaka. The Accommodation you can book through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Places to stay
Secret Island Resort, Gili Nanggu, lombok, Indonesia. $25 – $75 usd
If you are looking for a Lombok Gili Hotel and a change from the often over crowded 3 NW. Gili islands or Lombok’s other remarkable areas. The Secret Island Resort Hotel is perfect for your get away. We consider our Hotel a Two Star Hotel in a Five star location. Meaning we have Hot water only via special request and No AC. Yet we have a Spectacular Bungalow over the Reef , stable not floating and attached to a Wooden Dock that is Wonderfully Tranquil and private. Plus we have a 2 bedroom Villa for those looking for a higher class setting.
The beautiful surroundings and undisturbed nature of Gili Gede provides the perfect location to experience the 12 Unspoiled SouthWest Gilis. It is located just 5 minutes from the mainland of Lombok Island.
Look for the only Car & Boat Gas Dock/Station in Sekotong SW. Lombok, just a 45 minutes drive past Lembar harbor you will find Tembowong beach and just 100 meters past the only gas station you will see the ‘Secret Island Resort’ sign.
The charter Sport Fishing and Snorkel Mania speed boat ‘Scorpio’ is located here at Secret Island Resort’s own private Dock. We now have 3 diferent boats to offer you snorkeling from 100,000Rp to 200,000Rp, depending on your desired time snorkeling and amount of locations. If you are only two 3 people we recommend our 6 meter Speed boat to 3 different Gili islands for 150,000rp per persons. The 12 unspoiled SW. Gili Islands have the Best Snorkeling in Lombok, we promise you won’t be disappointed.
This unique resort is now fully open for your vacation pleasure. SIR has the only safe and stable Bungalow over the Reef in all of Bali or Lombok. Please come and meet Lombok’s Friendly people.
The facilities including a large restaurant & pavilion with Titin’s Yacht Bar, sometimes hosting cruising sailors and all others who are interested in having an enjoyable vacation away from other crowded Gili islands.
Some other 4 star guests from other “high class resorts in Lombok” visit us for the day and excellent food. If your looking for a peaceful spot with lots of good Fishing and Snorkeling, shell collecting and very friendly people Secret Island Resort is a place for you.
Whoever you are; our Guests enjoyment and good service come first. If you are interested in arriving via a deluxe charter boat from Bali; there are several excellent possibilities to charter from Bali to the Secret Island Resort our 9 meter ten passenger ‘Scorpio’ is one. ‘Fast Boat Travels’
Our very special “Our Over the Reef Bungalow” is often booked, so please check with us as soon as possible for availability. Also available is our two-bedroom villa, one garden bungalow, 5 double Rooms, 2 double and single bed rooms and single bed rooms; Many rooms offer dramatic ocean views with the perfect sunrise and sunset panorama from different spots around the grounds.
There are a couple Pyramid Gazebos for your relaxing pleasure: one of them may be converted into a Hot Tub for special party events. You must pre request its use at least the 3 days before and there is a $25 charge. Secret Island is quickly becoming well-known to those seeking the good life where FUN, FOOD and ACTIVITIES are primary.
Spend a morning & afternoon here or spend several days. You and your friends can take Guided double “Kayak Group Tour” of the inner waters of “Tembowong Bay”, a natural harbor with many calm reefs and Lombok’s oldest pearl farms. It is also very easy to get around by Kayak just by your self .
The best snorkeling in Lombok is very nearby and excellent night fishing are here in the SW. Gili Islands. “The Secret is the Refuse” where it is easy to refuse your stress. “SIR” encourages you to enjoy your special vacation time here and promise we will do our best to show you around the 12 unspoiled gilis.
Via Vacare Bungalows, Gili Nanggu, lombok, Indonesia. $40 – $80 usd
Gili Nanggu is a beautiful island without traffic, limited access to sweet water and electricity. Via Vacare challenges your way of living by excluding every day luxury. In return it invites you to experience the island life style and eco awareness: the pleasure of mandi (showers are only available in rain season), home made food, tranquil and spiritual atmosphere, starry nights with candles and oil-lamps, and a lovely breeze as fan!
Vacare has four double bungalows with fan and beautiful sea sight, a lovely large porch to relax during day time and enjoy the star-spangled sky at night. There is a partly open air bathroom to shower amidst tropical plants and flowers.
Inside the bungalow you will find a cabinet, chairs and table and of a course a comfortable bed with klamboe/mosquito-net (although there are hardly mosquitos on Gili Gede).
The bungalows are constructed in the traditional Lombok style, Sasak, but modern and comfortable, in a basic chique.
Furthermore there is a one-story residence with two bedrooms upstairs and a large veranda as well. Both rooms have toilet and shower. The ground floor has a large open living room with an cosy restaurant, a great place to enjoy company, meals and drinks. Here you will also find the library and a room for massage and special bath treatments.
On the beach a number of comfortable deck chairs are available for those who fully intend to enjoy sun, sea and sand.
The founder of Vacare is born in Surabaya (1952) and grown up in The Netherlands. Her name is Jet Kellner. In 2006 Jet realised that time had come to make a big change in life. After years of hard working, life and love affairs with great and sad moments she decided to give up her house, relationship and job to start a resort on a tropical island. A resort on the place whose beauty, magic and loving atmosphere will inspire people. Jet’s philosophy is based on her believe that to practise the art of doing nothing is very healthy and productive. If you can really get away – taking a real retreat for a week or more – the opportunities for healing, renewal and inspiration multiply.
Jet has experienced in her own life how important this kind of sabbatical works for her own well being.
So finding a solemn spot like Via Vacare and developing her resort was like following her heart to offer this experience to others. Every day free yoga and meditation sessions, nature, sea and lovely healthy food will help to find energy again.
Jet has been a student for seven years of the Tibetan Lama Sogyal Rimpoche and her formal job was coach, trainer and developer in community organisations. She is also a passionate cook and a lovely host.
So in Via Vacare these talents come together….