Where is Gili Gede and the Secret Gilis of Lombok?
In Indonesia, not far from Bali, in the southeast of the island of Lombok are the Secret Gilis (The Secrets Gilis). This set of islands is composed by: Gili Gede, Gili Layar, Gili Asahan, Gili Rengit, Gili Anyaran.
They are said to be secret because they are little known and, to date, are free from mass tourism. Especially if we compare them with the three most famous Gilis of Indonesia: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, Gili Air, where it is almost impossible to find a corner without tourists.
The Secret Gilis of Lombok, like the other three famous Gilis, are all close to the coast of Lombok and very close to each other so it is easy to move between islands. The ideal is to stay on one of them and visit the others by boat.
Where to stay in the Secret Gilis of Lombok?
Of these 5 islands, the largest is Gili Gede with 4 km long. Although it is possibly the least spectacular of the 5 islands, it is where you will find the most accommodations. There are already a few large resorts that have moved ahead of mass tourism, but the vast majority are small family businesses with beautiful bungalows by the sea.
If you are one of those who do not need great luxuries and prefer to enjoy the feeling of staying in the house of some humble locals and enjoy their cordiality you can stay at Pelangi Homestay Bungalow. For 15 euros a night you can enjoy a bungalow with sea views.
If you prefer something less modest, in Hula Hoop Bungalows or Tanjuangan Bukit you can stay in beautiful bungalows in the middle of nature and by the sea for 30 euros per night.
How to get to the Secret Gilis?
There are many ways to go to the Secret Gilis. You can go from Bali, Nusa Penida or Gili Trawangan. In our case, from Amed we took a ferry to the port of Bangsal, to the north of Lombok (just next to Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan). We wanted to get off and visit the Secret Gilis first and leave the most famous gilis for last and compare. However, we went back a long way. So, if you go from Amed, first I advise you to visit Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air, then go down to see the secret islands of Lombok.
From Bangsal port there are public buses that will drop you off at Lembar port, right in front of Gili Gede. Just get off the bus and you will find locals, who will offer to take you with their boat to Gili Gede or any of the surrounding islands.
If they are not right where the bus leaves you they are on the coast waiting. They are usually there from 7 am to 5 pm. The price of the trip to Gede Island is 25,000 IDR (1.5 euros) and it usually takes about 15 minutes. You may also be offered to be dropped off at a particular accommodation. If you don’t have a hotel booked you can go and have a look at their recommendation, otherwise you can give them the name of your hotel and they can drop you off there.
What to do in Gili Gede?
Visit the surrounding islands and snorkel
In the same hotels you can ask about how to visit the neighboring islands. Most likely they will offer you boat routes for different prices depending on the type of route. In our case, for only 10 euros per person we did a day tour of the islands. We visited their deserted beaches with crystal clear water and were taken to the best places to snorkel among corals, colorful fish and sea turtles. Without a doubt, I can assure you that it was my best experience snorkeling.
Take a tour of the island and enjoy its tranquility
The island of Gili Gede is about 4 km long, so one can spend a few hours walking around the island to discover the life of the locals and find some place even more secret and special. The majority of the local population is Muslim and they live mostly from fishing and livestock. For the Spaniards, it will certainly be very curious to see cattle right next to the beach.
As an anecdote, I ran all around the island. Calmly, stopping from time to time to take pictures and enjoying the landscape it didn’t take me more than 1h30. Finally, it is advisable to swim with booties since the shore is full of coral and, as we could see at night when the tide is low, full of sea urchins; so you have to be careful where you put your feet.
How to go from Gili Gede to Bali?
From Gili Gede to Bali by Ferry
In order to return to Bali from Gili Gede it is not necessary that you return to raise to the north of Lombok. Just next to the secret islands is the Port of Lembar and from there you can take a ferry that takes to the part of Kuta, to the south of Bali, or to Padangbai, to the east of Bali. This is the cheapest option. The trip only costs 40,000 IDR (3 euros) although the trip lasts 5 hours.
From Gili Gede to Bali in Fastboat
At the same Port of Lembar you will find people offering to go to Bali (or the other islands Gili) in a fast boat (Fastboat). After the airplane, it is the fastest form to move around Indonesia but also more expensive. Usually it costs 650,000 IDR (40 euros) by a person a trip of going. The trip is 2 hours.
From Gili Gede to Bali by plane
The last option is to go to the Airport the International of Lombok and to take a flight that leaves to you in Bali or any other destiny that you have in your trip plans. The flights from Lombok to Bali usually cost one 20- 30 euros.
Next Destination: From Gili Gede to Gili Trawangan
I hope that this travel guide about the Secret Gilis of Lombok will help you. I am sure that lovers of quiet places, desert beaches and snorkeling will not regret visiting this little paradise. In my next post I will relate my experience in Gili Trawangan, where we unfortunately lived through a 6.9 earthquake and had a 45 minutes possible tsunami warning.
I remind you that you can subscribe to the blog if you want to receive updates about trips. You can also comment, rate and/or share the post to help us keep growing. And finally, if you are thinking about making a trip to Bali, you may also be interested in the post about the South of Bali: The Uluwatu Temple and the Best Beaches Around and the post about The 3 Possible Routes to Travel through Southeast Asia.
If one travels far enough, the left becomes the right, the up becomes the down, and the north becomes the south.Gore Vidal