If you’re looking for desert island vibes, clean white beaches and unspoiled nature, then Gili Meno is the island for you. It’s the smallest of the three Gili Islands, at only 1km wide and 2km long, and has a tiny population of 400 (as well as no cars – travel is strictly by horse and carriage only!).
Compared to the backpacker favourite, Gili Trawangan, or the more family-friendly Gili Air, there’s very little nightlife on Gili Trawangan (and only a few restaurants) which is why some people stereotype it as the ‘couples’ island. So whether you’re travelling alone or on a romantic escape with your loved one, here are some tips for you!
Where To Stay in Gili Meno
As Gili Meno is geared to couples, the accommodation options tend to be up-scale resorts and thatched bungalows, which can be a bit pricey for budget travellers. The Eastern side of the island is where you’ll find the most options, whereas the east is almost deserted apart from a few fancy resorts.
Gili Meno Eco Hostel: Describing themselves as an ‘eco camping hostel’, the Gili Meno Eco Hostel and offers a range of accommodation from hammocks strung up between the trees, to canvas under the stars, sociable dormitories or even a beachfront penthouse.
All built by locals and travelling volunteers, there’s a real community spirit here and it’s a great place to meet other backpackers over a game of volleyball or a communal dinner. Prices start at 80,000 IDR per night.
Putri Home Stay: Very close to the beach (less than 5-minutes walk), Putri offers private rooms with terrace, garden views and air-con from 200,000 IDR per night. The staff are lovely and the breakfast is great.
Putri Bungalow is even closer to the beach and offers bungalows for a similar price.
Things To Do in Gili Meno
Walk the coastal paths: The entire coastal path of the island can be walked in just 90 minutes (and that’s at a comfortable pace). Take your sun hat and a towel – you might want a swim to cool off at the end!
Support the local Turtle Sanctuary: For those looking to find out more about Gili Meno’s local wildlife, take a trip to Bolong’s Turtle Sanctuary. The sanctuary plays an important role in protecting turtle eggs, releasing young turtles and looking after injured turtles. Visitors are encouraged to make a small donation towards the sanctuary, and can even be involved in releasing turtles into the ocean!
Delve beneath the surface: Gili Meno is the perfect place to snorkel or dive. Most cafés and hotels will hire you snorkeling gear, while there’s a choice of PADI & SSI certified dive shops on the island. If you’re a diving fan then head to the ‘Gili Meno Wall’, where you’re sure to find turtles and beautiful vibrant corals. There’s also the ‘Bounty’, a sunken pier, which is a big hit amongst divers.
Hire a bicycle: You can hire a bicycle at some of the cafés and hotels and ride around the tiny island, which won’t take you long!
Catch some rays: As the least developed of the Gili Islands, Gili Meno is the perfect place to grab a towel, slap on the sun cream and spend the day at one of the many deserted beaches. Grab a hammock, kick back and relax.
Food & Drink in Gili Meno:
It’s no surprise that there is fish a-plenty here. Wander the streets and you’ll find that most of the cafés set up a nightly BBQ and grill fresh fish in front of hungry diners. Remember, Gili Meno is on ‘island-time’ – so nothing happens fast!
When it comes to drinking, Gili Meno will give you time to detox. There’s little nightlife here, just a few bonfires that backpackers and locals tend to congregate around and share stories and songs. Have a taste of the local rice or palm wine; it’s an acquired taste!
Getting to Gili Meno:
If you tend to get sea-sick, travel to Gili Meno during the morning when the sea is calmest. It’s usually a small boat, so pack your valuables in waterproof bags and prepare to wade in from the boat to the shore!
From Bali, there is a fast boat service twice every day that leaves from Amed (in the East). Expect to pay around 600,000 IRD for a single journey or 1,100,000 IRD for a return ticket.
If you’re travelling from Lombok, public ferries leave from Bangsal harbour three times a day, taking around half an hour to reach Gili Meno. Prices vary from 15,000 IRD to 35,000 IRD.
To get between the Gili islands, travellers usually have to travel back by public ferry to Bangsal on Lombok, then get a different ferry to their island destination.
Where to go next?
Lombok: Now that you’re rested, head to Lombok to hike Gunung Rinjani, trek through the jungle, wander the markets or hit the surf.
Bali: Craving the hustle and bustle of big-island life? Get the boat back to Bali, surf hotspot of South East Asia and the gateway to the rest of Indonesia.
The Gili Islands: Don’t leave before you’ve had the entire Gili island experience! Read our destination guides to Gili Air and Gili Trawangan to decide which is up next…