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How to Visit Gili Nanggu in Lombok & What to Expect

How to Visit Gili Nanggu in Lombok & What to Expect

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

Discover Gili Nanggu, the most popular island for snorkeling and exploring on the coast of Sekotong, Lombok.

If you’re wondering what to do on Lombok that’s not surfing or chasing waterfalls, then you’ll want to visit the Secret Gili Islands. These islands are much more laid back, relaxed, and picturesque than the famous Gili Islands you might visit from Bali or Senggigi.

I’ve visited Gili Nanggu a couple of times now on my trips to Lombok and it’s one of my favorite spots for snorkeling. Below, I’ll help you plan a visit, breaking down how to get there, what to expect, and some tips for finding the best places to snorkel!

Island hopping to gili nanggu

About Gili Nanggu

Gili Nanggu is a small island located off the southwest coast of Lombok, Indonesia. It's part of the Secret Gilis, a group of lesser-known islands that offer a more tranquil experience compared to the popular Gili Islands (Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air).

Gili Nanggu is the most popular island to visit on an island hopping trip in this region and the best for snorkeling. You'll find a stunning white sand bar (which has shifted slightly in the last few years), coral reefs, and diverse marine life!

How to Get to Gili Nanggu

Sekotong, where the island is located, is located roughly 1.5 hours from Kuta Lombok and just over 1.5 hours from Sengiggi. This region is less frequented than other regions of Lombok. Therefore, most people will book a trip here that includes transport.

Either way, below are the current best way to reach the island.

  • Taxi and Boat: Take a taxi or private transfer from the airport to Tawun Harbor (1.5-hour drive), then hire a boat for a 15-20 minute ride to Gili Nanggu. You can pay about 100,000 IDR per person for the boat transfer. There are also local fishermen offering full-day island hopping trips from Tawun Harbor but the quality varies.
  • Island Hopping Tour: Join a full-day island hopping tour from Lombok that includes transfer from your hotel in Senggigi or Kuta Lombok. This is the best option and worked out cheaper for me than doing the independent route.
  • From Lembar: There are also some locals offering island hopping trips from Lembar. In my opinion this route is not as scenic and I like to try to avoid the commercial harbours in Lombok.
Boat at the secret gili islands
Typical island hopping boat

Whichever option you pick, the small outrigger boats will usually depart from Tawun Harbour. It takes roughly 15-20 minutes to reach the island from the mainland.

Tawun harbour pier in lombok
Outrigger boat in lombok island hopping

My Experience Snorkeling & Exploring the Island

I've visited Gili Nanggu both in the dry and wet seasons of Lombok. In my opinion, the wet season is much more beautiful, with rich, tropical greens reaching all the way to the white sands and dropping into crystal clear waters.

Aerial view of gili nanggu

On both occasions, I visited on an island hopping trip, with camping on Gili Kedis in the evening. Gili Nanggu was the first island to visit on both occasions, which is a good idea since it can get busy at midday with snorkelers.

Both times, we spent most of the time in the water, exploring the artificial reefs and practicing freediving. On the tour that I linked above all snorkeling gear is included. However, it's also possible to rent snorkeling gear like mask, snorkel, and fins on the island.

Man snorkeling in lombok
Fish and artificial reefs of the secret gili islands

The water is very clear in this area and the artificial reefs have gotten much healthier in recent years, with strong coral growth and vibrant marine life! The artificial sections are "restoration structures", that are essentially large cubes that corals attach to, providing a home and ecosystem for the fish.

Tip: The photos in the dry season above are from a time when the sand bar was very white and long. This has shrunk a lot in recent years but it's still one of the most beautiful beaches on Sekotong!

Best Snorkeling Spots

After snorkeling around the whole island I suggest avoiding the northern end. The best spot for snorkeling is just north of the main beach where the boats land. This is where you'll find the largest reefs and the deepest waters.

I suggest swimming up from the beach, since there is too much boat traffic near the sand bar.

Tip: While there's less variety of locations, I consider Gili Nanggu overall to be better than snorkeling on the Gili Islands.

Man snorkeling at gili nanggu
Girl snorkeling at gili nanggu

Staying on Gili Nanggu

The first time I visited the island there was no hotel. Now, there are two options where you can stay the night. I haven't personally stayed here but I made the effort to take a look around on my recent trip.

  • Gili Nanggu Cottage & Bungalow - Nice bungalows near the beach with basic facilities. Great if you don't want luxury but want to stay on an island away from the crowds. This is also attached to the sea turtle conservation team, which sometimes releases baby turtles. You can ask your guide for this activity if the timing is right.

From what I noticed, the island facilities and its accommodations are in poor condition, often overpriced, and require more maintenance and support from visitors. Despite the shortcomings, the tranquil atmosphere and unique wildlife (sea life and lizards) make it worth a visit, but I'd recommend camping on Gili Kedis or staying in Sekotong instead.

Here are some alternatives

Star sand beach resort private villas

1. Star and Sand Beach Resort

Offering secluded beachfront views and private luxury pet-friendly villa-styled accommodation. Located in an area perfect for diving and fishing.

Outdoor swimming pool at the cocotinos sekotong lombok

2. Cocotinos Sekotong Lombok Top-Pick

The property overlooks the incredible secret Gilli islands, has a large outdoor beachfront pool, wellness center, and has its very own digital nomad video editing room. A great choice for those wanting a quiet location.

Aerial view over krisna bungalows and restaurant

3. Krisna Bungalows and Restaurant

located in Pelangan, not too far from Sekotong Harbor. Each double room is equipped with a fan and bathroom and is conveniently located in a quiet area. You’ll also get a free breakfast.

What to Pack for a Sekotong Island Hopping Adventure

Here's what I recommend bringing for a Sekotong island-hopping adventure.

  • Snorkeling gear (mask, snorkel, fins) - if not provided by your tour
  • Biodegradable sunscreen (essential)
  • Wide-brimmed hat and Polarized sunglasses (to see the corals through the surface)
  • Lightweight, long-sleeved UV protection shirt
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Swimwear
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Change of clothes
  • Waterproof phone case or dry bag
  • Camera or GoPro
  • Portable charger
  • Small backpack or dry bag
  • Eco-friendly insect repellent (if camping at Gili Kedis)
  • Cash for boat transfers, tips, or local purchases (500,000 is usually enough for a day!)
Snorkeling in lombok with fish and artificial reefs

I hope you've enjoyed this quick guide to visiting Gili Nanggu! While you're here on my blog, check out some of my other guides for more Lombok travel inspiration.

Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

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