But the secret is out. No longer an off the beaten track destination for those seeking a slice of heaven on earth. Who hasn’t heard of the famous three Gilis: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air?
Dotted around the coast of Lombok, there are actually 26 other GIlis. “Gili” means “small island” in the local Sasak language.
Known as “the secret Gili Islands” or “the other Gilis”, we have made it our mission to visit as many as we can! For our wedding anniversary, we decided to visit Gili Sudak and Gili Kedis. Due to the time of year, we had the island of Gili Sudak all to ourselves.
How many places in the world have you visited where you can make that claim?
Having visited nearby Gili Gede, Gili Asahan, GIli Layer and Gili Ringgit, we wanted to see what the other secret Gilis had to offer. As most of the 26 islands are uninhabited, we didn’t have much left to choose from, so we started with the accommodation … you can’t stay on an island without accommodation.
Gili Sudak only has one place to stay: Nirvana Gili Sudak. They were open and accepting bookings – bonus! Decision made then! (Note: not all accommodation is open during low season)
We were travelling from Gili Air, and getting to the closest “port” to Gili Sudak (Tawan Sekotong) was easy enough. I use the word “port” loosely, it’s just a few local people sitting around on barugas waiting for someone/anyone to request the 10 minute ride.
I personally feel more people should stay at Nirvana Gili Sudak and truly appreciate this wonderful place. At the same time, I don’t want this secret to be out. It may not surprise you to learn we were the only people staying in the resort. What surprised us, was we were the only people on the entire island!
We were happy with this.
Our stay at Gili Sudak
Our welcome at Nirvana Gili Sudak was wonderful, so warm and friendly. We were handed a cold fresh juice of our choice and shown to our room; a bungalow looking out to sea. Immediately we fell in love with this place and knew we had chosen wisely.
Reality check: powdered white soft sand – check; crystal clear waters – check; paradise island all to ourselves – check!
A walk around the island can only be done at low tide as you need to climb over boulders and rocks. The walk could easily be done faster, but I’m slow, awkward and have short legs, so when it comes to walking over boulders and rocks (in flip flops), I take my time!
Kayaking to Gili Kedis
On the day of our wedding anniversary, we grabbed a couple of kayaks and paddled over to Gili Kedis. We could see the island from Gili Sudak beach so the journey only took about 10 minutes.
Our own private island. It could only be more perfect if we had a bottle of champagne and two glasses with us.
As more people arrived, it was time to kayak back to Gili Sudak, and relax in the shade for the rest of our day.
We absolutely loved our stay on Gili Sudak. If you are looking for somewhere special, you can’t go wrong with this secret Gili Island. But shhhhhhhh, let’s hope it remains secret for years to come!
The sad reality of plastic pollution
When we were snorkelling at Gili Kedis we were severely disheartened to see plastic and trash littered in the ocean. Yes, plastic in paradise! Again. There are a number of bins on this island and no litter on the beach itself, but alas, we know that trash is washed in with the currents from all around the world. It was yet another sad reminder of the world’s plastic problem and incredibly sad to see.
We are huge advocates for reducing ours and the world’s single use plastic consumption, and this is one of the reasons why! To visit a dot of an island, so perfect and beautiful on the surface, yet all we had to do was dip our head into the ocean to see the true reality. If you are a personal friend of ours on Facebook or follow us on Social Media, please read and share the conservation messages that we post. Together, we CAN make a difference and stop the world’s plastic problem before it’s too late.
- Do not feed the fish. Ever. Even if people say it’s OK and you see others doing it. It is not OK. It upsets their digestive system, and the relationship between fish/algae/coral – a relationship that is crucial to the survival of our world’s struggling coral reefs.
- Look out for Seastars when walking to and from the shore. They live close to the shore and you can easily stand on one and kill it. They don’t move as quickly as fish.
- Do not touch anything. Do not pick anything up. Do not take any marine life out of the ocean – especially Seastars. I see a lot of local people picking up Seastars to show tourists who then take photos holding them. They are living creatures who belong in the water.
- Take your litter with you and always discard it in a bin. Do not throw it on the ground expecting someone else to pick it up. The ocean is already full of litter.
There are a number of options to choose from. All times and prices are approximate and subject to change.
From Bali: There are two options.
1: Catch a fast boat with Gili Bookings, Gili Getaway or Blue Water Express from Padang Bai to Lembar (approx. 2 hours).
2: Fly with Lion Air or Wings Air for 25 minutes from Denpasar to Praya .
Taxi Praya Lombok Airport to Lembar Port: 200,000 IDR (1 hour) then get a boat.
Taxi Mataram to Lembar Port: 65,000 IDR (30 mins) then get a boat
Taxi from Sengiggi/Kuta to Lembar Port: 200,000 IDR (1 hour) then get a boat
Boat Lembar Port to Gili Sudak: 350,000 IDR (40 mins)
Taxi Lombok to Tawan Sekotong Harbour: From Sengiggi/Kuta to Tawan Sekotong harbour: 350,000 IDR (1-1.5 hours)
From Mataram to Tawan Sekotong harbour: 150,000 IDR (1 hour)
Boat Tawan Sekotong Harbour to Gili Sudak: 100,000 IDR (10 mins)
From Gili Islands:
Boat to Bangsal: 12,000 IDR pp (20 minutes)
Taxi to Tawan Sekotong: 250,000 IDR– 300,000 IDR (2 hours approx).
Note: Bluebird taxis are metered so this is an average cost. If you have the Grab/Uber app this is worth a try, you may have to split up the journey as locals seem to think Mataram to Sekotong is a long way (it’s about an hour) We caught a Bluebird to Mataram (visa renewal) then a grab to Lembar, we then negotiated onto Sekotong peninsular because it’s closer to the islands.
Nirvana Gili Sudak
We booked our stay via Booking.com – cost 725,000 IDR for 2 x nights in Honeymoon Room
All rooms have aircon, western style bathroom, a safe, towels are provided
Restaurant on site: average cost of a meal: 65,000 IDR
Cost for Bintang: Small: 40,000 IDR; Large: 60,000 IDR
Snorkelling is out the front of the rooms just off the beach
Kayaks are free to hire
Would you visit Gili Sudak and Gili Kedis? Have you heard of these islands before? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.
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