We arranged for a half-day trip to Gili Nanggu, one of the small islands in front of the coast of South-West Lombok and a ten-minute boat ride from the Cocotinos Sekotong resort. The boat crew of the hotel dropped us off at the island and picked us up again sometime later in the afternoon.
Gili Nanggu is one of the islands nicknamed the “secret gilis” (secret islands). During the weekends and on holidays you will notice that these are not so secret anymore. This chain of tiny islands has become a popular destination for day-trippers and people seeking tropical white-beaches. The new secret gilis (unofficially branded by myself) are to the east of Lombok, Gili Kondo and Gili Kapal for example.
There are not many facilities on Gili Nanggu. There is one bungalow complex with a limited amount of rooms, one restaurant, and I believe also only one toilet on the island. The main draw of Gili Nanggu is the chill atmosphere, the beautiful soft white-sand beach, and the snorkeling opportunities in front of the island. There are various gazebos on the island’s beach that are rented out to guests as well. It costs IDR 5.000 to rent one for a day, so it is quite cheap. The gazebo is just an elevated wooden bamboo floor, so don’t expect anything more than that.
The island’s reef is quite large, but also quite damaged in parts due to the massive number of people coming here during the weekends and on national holidays. I can’t blame them because it is an idyllic and stunning gorgeous island. Luckily, coral reef restoration projects are underway in this area. And you can see these corals being grown on underwater structures in the nearby sea.
The fish living in the reefs are used to people feeding them. And at the lobby of the hotel on the island bottles filled with slices of bread are sold. You can take the bottle underwater and squeeze it until the bread comes out and then marvel at the various fish that will surround you. It is admittedly quite fun.
We had lunch at the only restaurant on Gili Nanggu and we were surprised to find out it was actually more expensive than the food at the restaurant of Cocotinos Sekotong. Nevertheless, we decided to go for some freshly grilled fish and kangkung (water spinach). Both turned out to be very delicious and we ate until we were stuffed. The meal was really yummy and we were glad we ate there.
After lunch we decided to go for one last dip in the crystal clear waters before the boat would pick us up again. However, a strong wind and current had emerged during our lunch and snorkeling suddenly became a lot more dangerous. The current was flowing away from the beach and out the open waters. It was really quite strong and I saw a bunch of people almost swept out to the open sea. Luckily, they wore some safety vests. But I was quite surprised how fast the current and weather turned for the worse there.
All in all, a trip to Gili Nanggu or any of the other islands off the coast of Sekotong is not to be missed if you are in that area for a few days. The secret gilis are perfect destinations to spend a few hours at and to unwind and have some fun. Not to mention they are easily reached from the Sekotong area with plenty of local fishermen offering shuttling services.