Lombok has millions wondrous of attractions spreading from the west to the east even from the north and the south as well. In addition to the famous Mount Rinjani, Lombok has diverse beaches and unparrallel marine life. However, the small islands called Gili by the locals will be the center of interest of this article for they are the currently appealing destination for snorkeling.
It takes 1.5 – 2 hours drive from the city of Mataram / Senggigi to Gili Layar (West Lombok). We will be treated by a number of very beautiful scenery en route. We will pass through the port of Lembar, the hubs of Bali – Lombok, where we can watch the ships anchored crossing and sometimes view the cruise ships from other continents coming to visit Lombok. Throughout the journey to Gili Layar, we will see a stretch of beaches along the way. We will also pass many other Gilis which are wonderful to visit such as Gili Nanggu, Sudak and Kedis. Gili Nanggu is very popular with its abundance of fish for snorkeling.
We will arrive in the port of Tembowong in Gili Gede after a few kilometers from Gili Nanggu. It is called Gili Gede since it is the biggest Gili in Lombok. It takes 20 minutes by the local’s wooden boats to cross to Gili Layar since there has been no speed boats so far. In addition to Gili Gede and Gili Layar, there are also Gili Renggit and Gili Asahan. Several locations around there are often used for diving.
Once arriving at Gili Layar, there will be no patience left for you to swim. Not far from the edge of the beach, you already can enjoy the colorful and iridescent coral reefs as weel as the various arrays of fish. Gili Layar itself has only one inn with 5 rooms. The caretakers are very concerned about the sustainability of coral reefs. Hence, there will be an officer immediately reprimanding you when you step on the coral reefs while swimming. You also are suggested to swim by hand gestures alone when the water is receding. Beautiful cliffs in the sea are not supposed to be touched because they will die and it takes a long time to preserve them. So, let’s protect and maintain them. You can snorkel to your own satisfaction there and the underwater scenery are guaranteed to be amazing and fun. One more apppealing idea when staying at Gili Layar is its magnificent sunrise.
To the east, there will be Gili Kondo which becomes one of the most favorite snorkeling destinations. It takes 2.5 hours from the city of Mataram to get there. In heading to Gili Kondo to the eastern end of the island of Lombok, we will go through a lot of villages of the West Lombok, the Central Lombok, and the East Lombok. We also will see the beautiful Mount Rinjani from a distance. And interestingly, we will see trees with giant sizes called Dinosaurs tree.
Once arriving at the harbor crossing, you’d better rush to get into your swimsuit since the snorkeling will be done in the middle of the ocean. In addition to Gili Kondo, Gili Bidara and Gili Petagan, there are also Gili Kapal, Gili Gosong , and Gili Pasir which only appear when the water is low. Gili which has population, though not much , is Gili Bidara.Snorkeling usually is started in the area around Gili Petagan where we will see a lot of fish, as well as coral reefs. We even can meet the popular Nemo here.
After being snorkeling-satisfied, we can go by boat into the mangroves if the water is high. Then, we can visit Gili Pasir, the uninhabited island which only appear when the water is low. After satisfied there, we will be visiting Gili Kondo, Gili with tosca water color which looks very beautiful. We even can snorkel there although the coral reefs are still in the process of maintenance so they are still scarce. In the afternoon, we could see the magnificent sunset which will disappear behind Mount Rinjani.