One of the least populated of the so-called “secret Gilis,” this tiny island is a quiet slice of tropical island paradise. Abundant and beautiful nature, both above and below the water, surround the island’s white sand beaches. There’s great diving, snorkeling, and plenty of relaxing to do here on this hidden treasure located off the coast of southwest Lombok in the West Nusa Tenggara region. Gili Asahan is about 2 hours south of Mataram, including a short boat trip.
There are 33 Gili Islands around Lombok. Gili Asahan is part of a group that includes Gili Gede, Gili Layan, and Gili Rengit. It’s 3 miles (5 km) around and can be walked in 2 hours, so there’s no public transportation. Soft white sand beaches ring the perimeter, with clear waters perfect for swimming or snorkeling at pristine reefs right off the beach. The interior has easy hills that capture stunning views of Mount Rinjani to the northeast or Bali and Nusa Penida across the Lombok Strait to the west. Sunsets here are stunning. There is a small Sasak village populated by friendly fishermen and farmers living much as they did many years ago.
There are 24 dive spots around Asahan, boasting beautiful reefs teeming with colored fish and a variety of marine life. Several spots offer swimming with sea turtles. Highlights include the famous Secret Garden, Spanking Point, and the clusters of coral at Belongan. Snorkeling and diving tours in this area are exquisite, and reefs grow close to the beach. The best time for diving is during the May-November dry season when seas are calm and visibility is high.
Development has a couple of resorts as well as numerous private rental bungalows and rooms. Even the most high-end accommodations are of the thatched-roof bungalow variety. Other housing can be found on Airbnb. There are few dining options but plenty of fresh seafood.
Gili Asahan can be easily reached by booking a transportation package from a travel agent upon arrival at Lombok International Airport. Fast boats can be hired from the piers in Senggigi, Lembar, or Sekotong.
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