Gili Meno Lombok
Gili Meno is the middle of Lombok’s three Gilis. It has a population of about 400, mainly concentrated on the center of the island. The main income of the population comes from tourism, coconut plantation and fishing. On the west side of the island there is a small shallow lake that produces salt in the dry season. Until a few years ago there was also a small production of seaweed on the reef at the north end of the island. It has swimming beaches all around the island, as well as an impressive bird sanctuary.
The island attracts fewer tourists than Gili Trawangan and is the quietest and smallest of the Gilis. However, honeymooners are often drawn to the crystal clear water and idyllic, secluded white beaches.
There is no fresh water on the island, it is imported daily. Electricity is supplied by generators, although there are plans for renewable energy sources to be developed. There are also no cars or motorbikes and only a limited number of tourist accommodation options.
The second island between G. Air and G. Trawangan. The most quiet island and probably the water is cleanest.
Electricity is available 24 hours but very unstable. The water system has not been installed to this island therefore most of cheap hotels use light salty water and only expensive hotels buy pure water from the main land but most
The boats from Lombok arrive at the East coast of the island. The accommodation is spread m ainly to S(left as you land) and some to North
Gili Meno is the middle of Lombok’s famous three Gilis. It has a population of about 400, mainly concentrated on the center of the island. The main income of the population comes from tourism, coconut plantation and fishing. On the west side of the island there is a small shallow lake that produces salt in the dry season.
With a population of just 300, Gili Meno is the mellowest of the three islands, and certainly the most in-tune with a desert island ethic. The beaches are much nicer than you will find on Gili Trawangan and Gili Air.
A coastal path leads all the way around the island, and can be covered at a very leisurely pace in 90 minutes. Most of the tourist facilities, including the boat arrival and departure point, are on the southern part of the east coast.
There is a lake on the western side of the middle of the island. This is sometimes quite full, and at others very dry. It is though always very saline.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Public boats depart from Bangsal between 8AM-5PM, take about 30 minutes, and cost Rp 10,000. They depart only when there are enough people (normally a minimum of 15). Dedicated boats to Gili Meno are few and far between, and best looked for early in the mornings and mid-afternoon. The boat office at Bangsal will though make sure you get dropped off by a Gili Trawangan-bound boat if necessary. A chartered boat from Bangsal to Gili Meno will cost about Rp 200,000.
Perama has a tiny office (tel:+62 370 632824) on Gili Meno at Kontiki Cottage. They offer daily transfers to and from Senggigi, but these may not run direct outside the peak seasons, and you may be diverted to Gili Trawangan.
From Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno
Public inter-island boats run twice daily. The morning boat leaves Gili Air at about 8:30AM arriving in Meno at 8.45AM. The same boat goes onto Gili Trawangan picking up there at 9.30AM, and returning to Gili Meno at 9:45AM. The afternoon boat runs the same route leaving Gili Air at 3PM and Gili Trawangan at about 3:30PM. The fare from either of the other islands to Gili Meno should be about Rp 20,000, but is prone to impromptu fluctuations.
A charter boat from Gili Trawangan or Gili Meno will cost about Rp 200,000 – a relatively huge sum of money for a 10 minute ride.
WHAT TO SEE:
It is hard to imagine why anyone on Gili Meno would want to do anything other than walk. Do just that, slowly. Horse carts (cidomos) are available though, and are useful for getting you and your bags to and from the boat landing. A single trip should cost Rp 40,000-60,000.
* Gili Meno Turtle Sanctuary
A splendid initiative whereby green sea turtle and loggerhead turtle eggs are collected, hatched, and the younglings safely released into the ocean. In 2008 and 2009, a total of 2,000 turtles were released. Go along, see the work and lend your support. Donation. edit
* Taman Burung (Bird Park)
Sadly, this aviary is not as well kept as it was, and the formerly very popular komodo dragon died in 2007. Still worth a visit though, with a large range of birds present. Rp 50,000.
WHAT TO DO:
This is the only dive shop actually on Gili Meno. It is a full blown operation though, with the same range of PADI courses and fun dives as are offered on the other islands.
There are several good spots for snorkelling, and gear can hired at almost any cafe or hotel for about Rp 30,000. The beach in front of Good Heart Cafe on the north western shore is as good as any, and you have a reasonable chance of seeing turtles in shallow water here. Also on the west coast, try the area close to the disused, derelict jetty (formerly the landing point for the equally derelict Bounty Resort). The former pontoon here was sunk and has become an important dive site with a healthy reef life. If you snorkel off the east coast, be careful of boat traffic.
A gentle stroll around the coast path of Gili Meno is not to be missed, and it is probably the nicest walk anywhere on the three islands. If you do this in the morning, there is no real preferred starting point. It is a nice idea to walk in the late afternoon, starting in the northwest at about 4:30PM, taking it easy to walk all the way around the island in either direction, returning to your start point at about 5:45PM. Then get yourself set for sunset behind Gili Trawangan (6:15PM-6:45PM), perhaps stationed at Good Heart Cafe with an ice cold Bintang.
WHAT TO BUY:
There is no ATM, nor is there much to buy on Gili Meno. If you run out of cash, Blue Marlin is probably the only option for a credit card cash advance, and they charge a 10% commission.
WHERE TO EAT:
Unsurprisingly, fish is the go here and many cafes set up a seafood barbecues every evening. Just choose what you want and wait while it is cooked over an open wood grill. The other widesperad option is wood-fired pizza which has become something of a Gili Meno speciality.
Most of the cafes are clustered in the southern half of the east coast and many are attached to hotels. After you have ordered, be patient as nothing happens very fast here. That is all part of the charm of the place.
* Aroma Cafe, Well prepared wood-fired pizzas are the deal here.
* Good Heart, Serves good local dishes and is located directly on the beach overlooking the sea. This hotel and restaurant is a bit off the beaten track, on the northeast side of the island. You can take the track around the island or a shortcut across the middle to get there. If you are not staying here, this might be a better choice for lunch as walking through the island in the dark may not be comfortable for some travelers. Rp 20,000-70,000.
* Jali Cafe, Serves Sasak food and it is quite authentic. The chicken curry is excellent, as is the obligatory fish barbecue every evening The old Gili Island ethic is very much still alive here. Expect the locals to be strumming a few Bob Marley tunes.
* Rust Warung, Probably the best known eatery on the island, and the one that attracts some sort of crowd, even when there are few visitors around. Fresh fish everyday, and as elsewhere on Meno, there is no real need to even think about eating anything else. Rp 20,000-100,000. edit
* Yaya Warung. Choose your fish and let Yon cook it on the open fire. Inexpensive, expect to pay around Rp 40,000 for a fresh fish with nasi goreng and vegetables. If the fish all gets too much, they have a pasta menu, and make a passable job of preparing it. Nasi goreng is Rp 10,000 and fresh juices around Rp 8,000. About 100m north of the boat landing. Slow service, but a chat with the owner and the view will distract you
WHERE TO DRINK:
Nightlife is very laid back here, and somedays you might not notice any at all. This is very much the anti-Trawangan.
* Diana Cafe, ? +62 818 0577622. Very good choice for a sunset beer or cocktail and somedays it goes on until quite late here. The beruga pavilions are comfortable and allow you to look right at the setting sun.
WHERE TO STAY:
In general terms, accommodation on Meno is more expensive than on Gili Air and Gili Trawangan, and the standards of service distinctly lower.
* Amber House
Popular circular bungalows on the north coast. Set back from beach in a very quiet spot. A good choice if you really want to be away from it all. From Rp 450,000.
* Tao Kombo
These budget bungalows away from the beach have been around a long time. They are a bit worn and distinctly rough and ready, but that does not seem out of place on Gili Meno. Probably the most popular backpacker option on the island. Backpacker huts from €14, bungalows from € 30.
* The Sunset Gecko.
A Japanese-owned small resort, with a couple of cabins and one beachside family house. Rooms are simple and clean, great atmosphere and they do their best to be eco-friendly Rp 250,000-450,000
* Biru Meno
Nice quality bungalows on the south coast, with verandahs and decent bathrooms. About a 10 minute stroll from the boat loading point. From US$ 50.
* Hotel Gazebo
The ten individual cottages here are a bit run down, but the location near the southeast beaches is very nice indeed. Choice of fan-colled or air-conditioned rooms. Has a communal pool right by the beach. US$60-95.
* Kontiki Cottage
You will enjoy staying here due to the location, right by one of the best bits of beach anywhere on the 3 islands. You will also wish they had thought about the design a bit more, and tried a lot harder. The cheaper rooms are fan-cooled and there is quite a premium if you want air-conditioning. Rp 475,000-700,000.
* Malia’s Child
Very cute looking thatched roof bungalows on the east coast near the boat harbour. Right on a lovely stretch of white sand beach. From US$ 60.
* Royal Reef Cottages (formerly Janur Indah)
Thatched roof bungalows set in nice gardens very close to the boat landing. Each bungalow has its own little private terrace and ceiling fan, but no air-conditioning. A few steps from here and you are on the beach. From US$ 48.
* Villa Nautilus
The swankiest accommodation on Gili Meno. Five detached villas which are fairly well appointed. Guests might wonder why they fitted those ugly tiled roofs when such good natural materials are available here. Still, a nice enough option. From US$ 95 – 150
There is small, simple clinic with an attendant nurse in the middle of the island next to Taman Burung. While this is fine for dealing with a minor ailment or injury, any visitor with a more serious problem needs to get back to Lombok, or better Bali, as quickly as possible.