If Gili Trawangan is the Gilis’ party island, Gili Meno could hardly be more different. Despite being barely half a mile away from Gili Trawangan, Meno is a far cry from that island’s wild nightlife and party reputation. It’s the quietest and smallest of the Gilis, and the least developed for tourists.
Gili Meno is popular among couples and honeymooners, and it’s not difficult to see why. It has all the beauty of Gili Trawangan and Gili Air, with none of the crowds. Despite the island’s quietness, there are things to do here. You won’t find the crazy night life of Trawangan, but there’s a lovely inland lake, a turtle hatchery, and fantastic diving and snorkelling. Read on for tips on getting there, where to stay and what to do on Gili Meno.
Getting to Gili Meno
There is no airport on the Gili Islands, but they are easy to reach by boat. Boats depart from Bali, or from the mainland on Lombok. Many boats from Bali will stop off at Lombok on their way to the Gili Islands. You can read our guide on how to get to the Gili Islands here.
Getting to Gili Air by fast boat
As the Gili Islands get more and more popular, there are more and more companies offering ‘fast boat’ services from Bali and Lombok to the Gilis and back. Many of these are reputable companies and this can be the best way to get to the Gilis. However, there is not much regulation and some have bad safety records. Some companies overbook their boats and travel in dangerous weather, so they can carry as many customers as possible. This is irresponsible given the fact that the Lombok Strait is one of the deepest bodies of water in the world, and the water can get very rough when the weather is bad.
Make sure you do some research and only book with companies with a good safety record and reputation. One good company is Gili Getaway, which offers a very comfortable service and has a good safety record.
Most of the fast boat services travel to Gili Air as well as to Gili Trawangan, but not directly to Gili Meno. They depart from Serangan on Bali and Senggigi on Lombok. The journey from Bali to Gili Trawangan takes a little over two hours. From Gili Trawangan, you will probably have to get the ‘island hopper’ boat, which travels between the islands twice a day, to Gili Meno. It leaves at 9.30am and 4pm and takes around twenty minutes.
Where to stay on Gili Meno
Gili Meno does not have anything like the range of hotels that Gili Trawangan has, but there is still a decent range considering it is such a tiny and undeveloped island.
If you’re on a budget, a good choice is Pondok Anjani. This homestay is in the southeast of the island, a little inland from the beach. Accommodation takes the form of basic wooden bungalows, but great attention is paid to presentation and service. The rooms have private bathrooms with showers, and some have their own terraces. Prices start from around Rp 180,000 per night.
If you have a little more money to play with, check out Dea Gili Cottages. This property is just a minute’s walk from the beach, and has a lovely garden. Accommodation takes the form of brick cottages, rather than wooden bungalows, with steep tiled roofs. The ceilings feature bamboo latticework and the rooms have pleasant, tiled bathrooms. Rooms have air conditioning and, again, some feature private balconies. Prices start at around Rp 350,000 per night.
If you’re after a high-end stay in Gili Meno, Seri Resort Gili Meno is a beautiful property. You’ll stay in beautiful whitewashed bungalows which open straight on to the beach; there’s also an outdoor pool. It doesn’t come cheap, though, with prices from around Rp 1,800,000. There are cheaper rooms available besides the bungalows, though. This hotel is on the northeast coast of Gili Meno.
What to do on Gili Meno
The primary activity for most visitors on Gili Meno involves little more than lazing on the beautiful beaches. There is nothing like the selection of bars and nightlife that you’ll find on Gili Trawangan, and if a party is what you’re after, you should look elsewhere. However, if you’re itching for a little activity, there are a few things to do on this tiny island too.
One popular attraction is the turtle hatchery, on the southeast coast of the island. Here, tiny baby turtles are looked after to give them the best chance of surviving in the wild. At present, the sanctuary is home to over one hundred baby and adult turtles. You don’t have to pay to visit them, but donations are very much appreciated and are vital in the sanctuary continuing its good work.
You can see the work of the hatchery for yourself by snorkelling off the coast, where you’re likely to spot turtles alongside colourful fish and other sea creatures. Another popular Gilis activity, scuba diving, allows you to get an even closer look. There are numerous dive operators on Gili Meno, but, as ever, you should make sure you do your research and book with a reputable company. Divine Divers is a popular and well-run outfit on the northwest coast.
Gili Meno is a beautifully serene island, much quieter than Gili Trawangan and Gili Air. It is popular among honeymooners and couples for its beauty and serenity. In some ways, it’s the best place to stay on the Gilis, because if you fancy experiencing Gili T’s nightlife, you can pop over there for a night on the island hopper and then retreat to Meno’s calm atmosphere.
Have you been to Gili Meno? Do you have anysuggestions other than those mentioned above? Let us know in the comments below.