Definitively, Gili Meno is the most laidback island of the Gili group and the one where I feel the connection with the beach, the sea and with the rural lifestyle that still occupies the interior of the island, were cows, goats and chickens overtake the number of inhabitants.
Despite the rain from the end of the monsoon that left a strong print during the time spent at Gili Air, the days at Gili Meno were mainly sunny, with a gentle breeze and a full moon.
Gili Meno has a privileged position between the big Gili Trawangan, best known as Gili T, and the small Gili Air. From the east coast of the island, you can see the small flat Gili Air with it tinny beaches with the impressive mountains of Lombok behind, covered by dense vegetation with the top frequently wrapped in thick clouds of the end of the monsoon.
From Gili Meno west coast, despite the far distance is possible to see the contours of Mount Agung, the highest mountain of Bali, behind the small hills of Gili T, with this landscape getting a special twist at the sunset.
Lots of nature, not many resorts, restaurants, bars or nightlife, and with a seashore still with many natural and empty spaces make this island the more pleasant one, where you can find a strong connection with nature, an easy going rural lifestyle and where you interact with local people, that here look much happier and smiley than in Gili Air.
The quietness of the island is broken by the callings for prayers that come from the mosque several times a day, filling the air with a melody that in the beginning sounds strange and misplaced but that after a few days serves as a reference in a place where is easy to lost the perception of the hours and of the days…
Where to sleep at Gili Meno:
Gili Gila… that means “crazy gili” and in fact that a bit of craziness in this project. A hostel located in the center of the island, with dorms and rooms, build in a creative and very original way, with a lot of places to chill and socialize. But this craziness extends to the environment with a lot of party going on that makes difficult to sleep without good earplugs… a heavy contrast with the quietness of the island.
The dorms cost 100.000 Rp, including breakfast that is only pancakes. Water refill, tea and coffee are available for free all day. You better bring your own padlock and towel otherwise you need to “rent” at the reception. Has Gili Gila open recently the wi-fi is not working yet.
You can go snorkeling with the guys of the hostel and rent part of the gear there.
Where to eat at Gili Meno:
At Gili Meno is still easy to find local food with local prices, in small eateries and family style warungs located along the roads that cross the island. And even at some of the restaurant nearby the beach is still possible to find reasonable prices, like the Yaya Warung.
Nearby Gili Gila, the Rizkey Warung Makan, with delicious and cheap food, cooked by a super smiley lady. Beyond the standard Indonesia menu, you can also find Sasak food as Urap-Urap (mix of vegetables with grated coconut) and the Olah-Olah (mix of vegetables with a spicy coconut sauce).
What to do in Gili Meno:
- Snorkeling (the west coast of the island offer nice places with corals and many colorful fishes). You need to rent the gear (50.000 Rp a day).
- Walk around the island… it’s not more than 5 kilometers. The south part of the island is a bit dry and without much shade.
- Swim in the clear blue waters of Gili Meno. The best place is the north part of the island, without many resorts yet, and with very still waters and with some natural shade all day. The east seashore is littered with plastics.
- Get lost on the narrow roads that cross the island and watch the countryside lifestyle with cows, goats and chickens a bit everywhere.
- Visit the salt lake.
- Watch the sunrise and the sunset.
How to move from Gili Meno to Lombok (Bangsal):
There public boats to Bangsal three times a day: 8:00, 14:00 and 15:15… and the ticket cost 14.000 Rp and the trip takes 25 minutes.
How to go from Gili Meno to Gili Air:
They’re a hopping island service boat, from the public company (Koperasi Angkutan Laut Karya Bahari) that links the three Gilis.
From Gili Meno to Gili Air the ticket cost you 35.000 Rp, and there are boats at 9:50, 16:20. The trip from Gili Meno to Gili Air takes about 10 minutes.
If you are on a very short budget and have plenty of time, you can take the boat back to Bangsal (12.000 Rp) and then another boat to Gili Air (14.000 Rp+2.500 Rp). I didn’t try this option that just saves you 6.500 Rp but maybe takes all day 🙂