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How to Visit the Secret Gili Islands in Lombok

How to Visit the Secret Gili Islands in Lombok

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.

Learn how to island hop and snorkel at the Secret Gilis of Lombok.

Gili Kedis, Gili Nanggu, and Gili Sudak are four epic southwest Lombok Islands tucked away from their frenetic island cousins in the north. Nicknamed the Secret Gili Islands of southwest Lombok, they’re known for incredible snorkeling and actually aren’t really that secret.

But, compared to the more famous Gili Islands like Gili T, these are remarkably more peaceful and off-the-beaten-path Lombok travel destinations.

I’ve visited these islands several times now on camping trips and day trips. In this blog post, I’ll outline my experiences to help you plan a day or overnight Secret Gilis Island hopping experience.

Map showing the location of the secret gili islands off the coast of lombok, indonesia
Secret Gili Islands off the southwest coast of Lombok

Overview & Things to Know

For those looking for a more authentic Lombok experience, visiting the Sekotong coastline and the island-speckled coastline will be a fresh sigh of relief. Here you'll find epic coral reefs, tiny tropical sandbars, and palm-lined islands without a tourist in sight.

The Secret Gili Islands in Lombok are a hidden gem offering a unique and tranquil escape with each island providing a distinct experience:

  • Gili Nanggu: Known for its breathtaking coral reefs and vibrant marine life (with artificial reefs), it is an ideal spot for snorkeling and underwater photography.
  • Gili Kedis: Often called the "honeymoon island," this tiny and secluded island boasts serene, white sandy beaches perfect for a romantic getaway.
  • Gili Sudak: Renowned for its calm, shallow waters and relaxed atmosphere.
  • Gili Tangkong: Less-visited than the others but is a good stop for lunch, with a friendly family selling coconuts on the beach.

Here's what you need to know.

  • Location: Located off the southwest coast of Lombok, in the Sekotong region.
  • How to get there: Join a full-day island hopping tour from Lombok or take a metered Bluebird Taxi to Sekotong and hire a local boat at the main harbor for island hopping.
  • Entrance Fees: 5,000 IDR for Gili Nanggu, 5,000 IDR for Gili Kedis. This is typically included in organized tours.
  • Best Time to Visit: The dry season (April to October) offers the best weather for snorkeling and island hopping.

How to Get to the Secret Gilis of Lombok

Due to being a far more remote region of the island, getting here takes a little bit of planning. Below I'll break down each option but here's an overview.

  • Option 1: Book an Island Hopping Day Trip - The easiest way to reach the Secret Gilis is on a full-day snorkeling tour from Lombok, which includes hotel pickup in popular tourist areas like Sengiggi or Mataram.
  • Option 2: Public Transport Route - For a more independent approach, take a metered Bluebird Taxi to Sekotong for approximately 27,000 IDR from Senggigi. From Sekotong, you'll find small boats at the main harbor offering island-hopping trips to Gili Nanggu, Gili Kedis, and Gili Sudak, (though prices and quality may vary).
  • On the Lombok Loop - While not officially one of the stops on the famous Lombok Loop, the co-founder of the loop was also the first to offer Gili Kedis camping trips. Therefore, most Sundays you have the option of including a Gili Kedis camping night after the loop.
Gili sudak sunset

Option 1: Secret Gilis Island Hopping Day Trip from Lombok

By far, the easiest way to reach the Secret Gilis is on an epic boat trip from Lombok. This is a full-day snorkeling tour on a traditional lebar (motorized outrigger) boat and includes hotel pickup in popular tourist areas like Sengiggi or Mataram.

It includes:

  • Private boat with a guide
  • Snorkeling equipment
  • Expert-guided excursion
  • Comfortable coach with air conditioning
  • Professional driver
  • Entrance tickets
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off in Senggigi and Mataram (extra charges apply for other locations)
Snorkeling at the secret gili islands in lombok
Epic snorkeling in the Secret Gili Islands

Option 2: Public Transport Route

Gili Kedis, Gili Nanggu, and Gili Sudak are located in the region of Sekotong. While there is some tourist infrastructure here, it's still very raw, and finding regular transport here will be difficult.

Since there are no regular shuttles or public transport services to Sekotong, you'll have to organize private transport. After asking around, I found that the cheapest and easiest option was to get a metered Bluebird Taxi, which cost me 27,000 IDR from Senggigi.

  • Once you arrive in Sekotong, there are a number of small boats at the main harbor that opportunistically offer island-hopping trips to Gili Nanggu, Gili Kedis, and Gili Sudak.
  • Quality for these island-hopping trips are hit and miss and price will vary dramatically depending on the size of your group.

Therefore the independent route can often work out more expensive than just booking the local tour above.

However, if you'd rather spend the night on Gili Kedis, make sure to check out Feel Lombok. These guys run an incredible tour (the one I did) and are some of my best friends on Lombok.

Gili sudak sunset

My Experience Visiting the Secret Gilis

Wondering what to expect on the islands of Gili Nanggu, Gili Kedis, and Gili Sudak? Below is a breakdown of my trip with highlights so you know what to expect once you arrive.

Gili kedis lombok

Snorkeling at Gili Nanggu

After arriving in Sekotong Harbour, a Secret Gilis island hopping trip usually begins with snorkeling on the beautiful Gili Nanggu island.

Gili Nanggu is one of the largest of these islands and even has a resort at the back. The main beach is a stretch of white sand on the southern tip, which backs onto a pristine coral reef.

The vibe at Gili Nanggu is extremely relaxed. There's almost nothing going on here, which is a relief from the constant tourist buzz of Kuta Lombok or Gili Trawangan.

However, once you strap on your mask and snorkel, you'll find one of the most diverse snorkeling locations on Lombok. In my opinion the underwater life here is more vibrant and healthy than what I experienced snorkeling on the Gili Islands.

There are huge schools of fish of all colors and even a bio-reef formed around a sunken berugak (traditional gazebo).

If you're lucky, you might even spot the odd turtle making its way from Gili Kedis and the other islands.

Tip: While the snorkeling at Gili Nanggu is quality anywhere around the island, if you swim over to the northeast tip, you'll find some larger sections of hard corals. Just remember to not stand or touch corals.

Gili nanggu snorkeling
Snorkeling with huge schools of fish at the Bioreef on Gili Nanggu
Snorkeling at the secret gili reef
Gili nanggu snorkeling
Schools of fish at gili nanggu

Exploring Gili Sudak

Before heading to Gili Kedis, the boat will stop at Gili Sudak. Compared to the other islands off Sekotong, Gili Sudak is probably the least impressive. However, here you'll find an authentic Lombok Island experience. There are no resorts or tourist infrastructure, just rows of palm trees, some cows and small local huts.

If you choose to join in on a camping trip, you'll stop at Gili Sudak to get some firewood. There is a healthy supply of dry and old wood on this island. What I liked about Feel Lombok's island camping tour is that they use resources sustainably, and they didn't cut down any trees or leave any rubbish behind.

If you're only here for a Secret Gili Islands snorkeling and island hopping tour, you'll still get to check out Gili Sudak.

Firewood for camping on gili kedis
Collecting firewood on gili sudak

Arriving at Gili Kedis: The Honeymoon Island

The last island is my personal favorite; Gili Kedis. It's a tiny sandbar island that you can walk across in about 15 seconds. There's not much here, just a small swing, some benches, a hut, an outdoor toilet, and a few trees.

Gili Kedis is also the island sunset spot of choice. You'll get to watch as the sun sets behind the horizon, lighting up the floating pearl farms and tiny islands that dot the Sekotong coastline.

After sunset, our tour cooked a traditional BBQ dinner of fresh fish, vegetables, rice, tempeh, and tofu. We then sat around the campfire, watched the stars, and learned some local Sasak songs by the talented guitarist and singer; Ilham.

Tip: While day trips for island hopping and snorkeling are popular, by far, the best way to visit Sekotong's Gili Kidis, Gili Nanguu, and Gili Sudak is to join in on a camping trip.

Gili kedis lombok
Gili kedis lombok sunset
Sunset on Gili Kedis Island
Gili kedis island camping lombok
Gili kedis island camping lombok
Gili nanggu snorkeling
Gili kedis island camping lombok

Stay in Sekotong Before or After Your Trip

Since Sekotong is quite far from the main tourist hubs of Lombok, I recommend staying here for a night or two if you have the time. There's plenty more to explore, including the epic Orong Bukal and untouched beaches.

The best places to stay in Sekotong are around the northern coast. Here are some great options.

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.

More Photos from the Secret Gili Islands

I hope you've enjoyed this quick guide to visiting these hidden Islands in southwest Lombok! While you're still here, make sure to check out some of my other travel guides to the region below.

Looking for more travel inspiration? Here are some more photos from my trip below.

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.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.


Wednesday 27th of July 2022

I as a local person are very grateful, have reviewed the natural beauty of Lombok, hopefully one day I can meet and take you to tourist attractions on the island of Lombok.