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Add a Gili Asahan snorkeling holiday to your travel itinerary when visiting Lombok in Indonesia! This lovely island is one of 12 Secret Gilis in Sekotong, on the southwest coast. With excellent eco resorts, lush vegetation and rich marine life, it is the perfect place for a romantic getaway or an active family vacation! But before you start organizing your trip, read this complete Gili Asahan travel guide for information on how to get there, what hotel to choose, where to snorkel and what to do!
Why you should visit Gili Asahan?
Most travellers who come to Lombok give only a few days to this destination: visit the North Gili Islands and trek Mount Rinjani. But this wonderful Indonesian island has more to offer! The southwest, south and east regions are still unaffected by mass tourism and wait for visitors with undiscovered beaches and islands.
Not many people know, but besides the popular Gili Islands (Trawangan, Meno and Air), there are more Gilis on the southwest and east coast that are not only beautiful but offer good snorkeling too!
Gili Asahan is one of the South Gilis. If you decide to come here, expect spending your Lombok holiday in a truly relaxing environment. It is a place to disconnect while staying active at the same time! The most popular activity is definitely the Gili Asahan snorkeling, but you can go diving, hiking, kayaking as well as paddle boarding!
Tip: Don’t forget to read our Lombok snorkeling guide to learn what other areas you should visit on the island if you love snorkeling!
How to get to Gili Asahan?
Gili Asahan can be found on the southwest coast of Lombok, next to Gili Gede. No matter you arrive by boat or plane, it is not too difficult to get to the island. The easiest way is asking your hotel to arrange your transfer, but of course you can do it on your own too.
If you coming from mainland Lombok, you need to go to Tembowong Harbour. This port is the closest to Gili Asahan, the boat ride to the island takes about 20 minutes. This is a very small harbour with only a few boats and fishermen around, therefore, expect to deal with them if you haven’t arranged transfer beforehand. The price depends on your haggling skills, but usually between 100.000-200.000 IDR.
Tembowong Harbour is about 1.5-2 hours from Lombok International Airport, and 40 minutes-1 hour from Lembar Ferry Port. For land transfers, find a Kotama or Kotasi licensed taxi (unless you have pre-booked pick-up by your hotel) because they use meter.
Not many know, but you can get also from Nusa Penida to Gili Asahan. Gili Getaway has a daily fast boat service that stops at the nearby Gili Gede. From Gili Gede to Asahan, local transfer boats are available.
How to get to Lombok from Bali?
If your international flight arrives to Denpasar Bali, you have 3 options to continue your way to Lombok:
- public ferry from Padang Bai to Lembar
- Fast boat from Serangan to Gili Gede (Gili Getaway)
- Domestic flight from Denpasar to Lombok
If you are looking for a budget solution, choose the public ferry that operates between Padang Bai Bali and Lembar Lombok 24/7 leaving every hour. The journey takes 4-5 hours depending on weather and sea conditions. The normal ticket costs 46.000 IDR per person per way. You can take your scooter too for an extra fee.
The faster yet more expensive solution is buying a speed boat ticket. Gili Getaway offers daily departures from Serangan Bali to Gili Gede (one way ticket is 710.000 IDR) with safe and comfortable boats.
If you prefer arriving by plane, there are several flights offered by Lion Air, Wings Air etc…
Gili Asahan hotels
There are 4 hotels in Gili Asahan:
- Gili Asahan Eco Lodge
- Pearl Beach Resort
- Matahari Villas
- Avatar Raja Bungalows
The Gili Asahan hotel prices are slightly higher than on the mainland or on the more developed North Gilis. The reason for this that there is no government electricity on the island so the hotels need to use solar panels as well as bring everything to the island by boat. But in return, you get a fully relaxing holiday experience where no cars or other artificial noise disturbs you!
This destination offers visitors not only the opportunity to disconnect from the everyday life, enjoy nature and good snorkeling but also discovering the local’s life in the village.
Gili Asahan Eco Lodge
A unique, eco style private resort that offers traditional bale style accommodation besides bungalows. When establishing The Eco Lodge, the owners paid attention to every small detail to stay as sustainable as possible. The bungalows have thatched roof, while the furniture, beds are made mostly from driftwood.
The whole place has a special atmosphere that combines simplicity with luxury. The on-site Nautilus restaurant serves excellent Italian food along with Indonesian cuisine.
Pearl Beach Resort
The Pearl Beach boutique resort is located on the most relaxed part of the island and has direct access to the best Gili Asahan snorkeling area!
The bungalows have a modern interior, a stylish semi-outdoor bathroom and a terrace with a swing bed. Guests can take a walk in the well-maintained garden or enjoy water activities. Free kayak/SUP is available!
Do you need more information? Read our Pearl Beach Resort Gili Asahan review!
Privately owned luxury villas in the middle of the village. The Matahari Villas feature bathroom, a huge terrace, outdoor furniture, and there is a garden around.
The spacious villas are excellent for romantic getaways as well as for family holidays. Peaceful atmosphere with a touch of local tradition is guaranteed!
Avatar Raja Bungalows
Small but neat bungalows at the edge of the village managed by a local family. Although the Avatar bungalows seem to be basic comparing to the other Gili Asahan hotels, but if you stay here, you will support a local family.
The rooms come with seating area and private bathroom. On-site restaurant is also available.
Where to snorkel in Gili Asahan?
This Gili Asahan snorkeling map shows where it is recommended to snorkel around the island:
- in front of Pearl Beach Resort
- around Eagle Rock
- at Batu Belanda
Out of these 3 spots, we found that the Pearl Beach Resort house reef has the best coral and richest marine life. The other two spots had less coral and few fish around, therefore we suggest to snorkel the reef in front of Pearl Beach Resort!
Here you will find not only vibrant corals, but also turtles, moray eels besides many different tropical fish species. The reef gives home to smaller creatures too like nudibranch and sea slugs.
Sea stars, like pillow, blue and chocolate chip sea species are also common. Keep your eyes open and you might spot a seahorse too between the sea grass! Also, there are some artificial coral tables here as part of the local coral restoration project.
Things to do
We understand that you will spend most of your time in the sea on your Gili Asahan snorkeling holiday, but let us recommend you some other activities to make the most of your vacation!
Exploring the village
Traveling to new destinations is not only just about lying on the beach, but also discovering the local culture! Make sure to walk through the authentic Gili Asahan village, learn about fishermen’s life and meet friendly people!
Hiking and walking
After exploring the stunning underwater world, discover the land too! Walking around the island is the best at low/medium tide and takes about 1.5 hour.
If you love hiking, go up to the ‘big hill’ to enjoy the view of the surrounding islands and Lombok. Best is at sunrise or sunset!
Kayaking / SUP
With calm, current-free water and moderate boat traffic around, this is a perfect place for kayaking as well as supping!
You can easily paddle around the island and also explore the nearby Gili Goleng. Accommodations like The Eco lodge and Pear Beach Resort provide their guests with kayaks for free.
Picnic at Gili Goleng
Gili Goleng offers not only excellent snorkeling with a vibrant, shallow coral garden where you can spot turtles around and sea horses, but an excellent place for a romantic picnic too!
Besides a few daily boats, the uninhabited Gili Goleng is visited only by guests from Gili Asahan. If you decide to arrive late afternoon, most likely you will be the only visitors and can enjoy perfect privacy! I’m sure you will feel like Robinson Crusoe!
Day trip to Gili Layar and Gili Rengit
If you feel like exploring more secret Gilis, sign up for an island hopping snorkel tour! All hotels offer half or full day trips to the nearby Gili Layar and Gili Rengit. Gili Layar will amaze you with its picture-perfect beach, while the abandoned Gili Rengit offers excellent snorkeling!
For more information on these islands check our Gili Layar travel guide!
Best time to visit
The island enjoys tropical climate with constant air (30-32 C / 86-90 F). and sea (27-28 C / 81-84 F) temperatures year round. From November to April there is rainy season peaking in January to March. In this period, you can experience daily showers and some thunderstorms.
The chance of heavy rain is always higher in the highlands, therefore it can easily happen that you will enjoy pleasant sunny weather on the coast while it is raining in the mountains.
If you are looking for the perfect time for your Gili Asahan snorkeling holiday, schedule your trip for the dry season between May and October! The main summer months are always popular by tourists, therefore you can experience fully booked hotels and higher hotel prices, so we recommend to arrive before or after the high season. May, June, September, October are the best months to visit!
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