Gili Meno – the paradise on Earth
Gili Meno is the smallest of Gili Islands archipelago located just of the northwest coast of Lombok, Indonesia. The archipelago consist of three small islands: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air from which Gili Meno, located in the middle, is the smallest. Only about 500 people live permanently on the island. The main income comes from tourism, coconut plantation and fishing. It is the most peaceful island from the three of them.
How to reach Gili Meno ?
The island can is reachable from the main land only by boat. Several boat services are operating between Bali, Nusa Lembongan, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, Gili Air and Lombok. Links to several websites can be found at the bottom of this post.
Depending on the weather, the fast boat journey to the island may be quite unpleasant. So be prepared and keep a plastic bag handy (especially when travelling with kids). You may not get a chance to visit the toilet. They seem to be occupied all the time…
Why Gili Meno ?
Because time really runs slower here. If you are looking for an secluded island experience, no crowds and places on the beach with Bob Marley music – this is the place. Gili Meno is the perfect place for people who wish to recharge the batteries or for those who are searching for peaceful time in their hectic life – perfect getaway holiday. It is one of the most peaceful places I have ever visited – no wonder why it`s Honeymoon favourite destination. The island is beautiful on ground- many local restaurants with amazing variety of fish with extremely relaxing ambiance – but also underwater – with colourful coral reefs, turtles and other unique marine animals.
Fortunately all three Gili Islands do not permit any motorised transport on them. Cidomos (small horse-drawn carriages) can be rented if you need transport on island. The island is tiny so if you stay few days you can explore the whole territory and enjoy untouched by human existence flora and fauna.
DIVING AND SNORKELING
Gili Islands is paradise for divers and snorkelers. There are plenty of famous diving sites around the island such as “Gili Meno walls” where turtles can be seen during the day swimming freely and at night Morays Eels. Clean water full of fish, clear blue crystal see, colorful coral reefs and endless beaches with white sand. Best way to explore the underworld is to hire a local guide with a boat and do a full day snorkeling trip around the island. Because Gillis are often called the turtle capital of the world the chance of seeing a turtle is so high that the local guides sometimes say: If you do not see a turtle today, you will get your money back.
It is an interesting place which plays an important role in protecting and hatching baby turtle for release to Gilli waters. Gillis island are ” turtle capital of the world”! It is fun to watch small babies turtle in different stages of their development – in different ” swimming pools under one roof “ you can observe how they grow. This sanctuary is a good example how one person can make a difference as this place is run by one person Pak Boulong – who dedicated his life to take care of turtles – which are protected on all Gili islands.
SALT LAKE AND MANGROVE FOREST
The lake is located near the mid-western half of the island. It is a place to visit when you get bored of the gorgeous beaches and need shelter from the sun.
A place for nature-lovers offering the possibility to watch birds and variety of other species in their natural habitat.
EXPLORING NEARBY ISLANDS
The remaining islands: Gili Trawangan and Gili Air are located very close to Gili Meno and are certainly worth a day trip. Another option is to get a boat to Palau Lombok which is almost as big as Bali and has lots to offer. One of the most interesting destination in the area is Nusa Penida island where we did Volunteering Work for FNPF.
WHERE TO STAY ?
We stayed in “Meno Dream Resort” and would recommend it to everyone! Relaxing ambience, beautiful garden, friendly service, clean rooms and delicious breakfast – and all that 300m from the see! You can rent the bike here for free – and explore different parts of the island. We loved the place so much that we stayed extra longer and would love to go back in the future!! Again do not expect luxury hotels rooms with air conditioning and Wi-Fi and ATM machines on each corner. After all if you want a remote quite place, expect simple conditions – I mean simple conditions.
WHERE TO CHILL OUT ?
Best undisputed no.1 place to chill out on Gili Meno is Bar Diana. This is the place where Bob Marley music sounds like in Jamaica. With the Meno Wall in front and Turtle Heaven on the right it is also a great place to go snorkeling and enjoy a cold beer afterwards. Other places to spend lazy hours would be Karma Beach and Escobar 2. Karma Beach is located on the Lombok side and offers good view on the active volcano Mount Rinjani.
www.gili-paradise.com – Paradise Islands Travel website
www.gilimenobungalows.com – Meno Dream Resort website
www.nomadicmatt.com – Gili Island travel guide by Nomadicmatt
www.indonesia.travel – Info about Gilii Meno
www.giliecotrust.com – non-profit organisation established to protect Gili Islands
www.nc.cdc.gov – Health Information for Travelers to Indonesia
www.bigbubblediving.com – Gili dive sites map with description