Highlights of Gili Meno, Lombok

‘Gili’ meaning ‘small island’ in Indonesian is the perfect way to describe Gili Meno. The smallest of the three main Gili islands, it’s quiet, friendly and full of welcoming locals.

Gili Meno

We were only there for two days and we probably could have stayed for a couple more but not more than a week. It might cause a slight feeling of cabin fever otherwise as the island is only 2km long and 1km wide.

Gili Meno

Getting there

We caught a fast boat from Bangsal Habour, Lombok. It cost us about 150,000 rupiah – which is around £8 and took 15 minutes.

This is obviously pretty cheap by UK standards but if you catch the public boat (which we think runs at 10am, 2pm and perhaps one in the evening) it’s roughly £1 but takes an hour.

Annoyingly, we can’t remember the name of the company we caught the boat with but if you arrive in Bansal Harbour and someone with an orange top approaches you, take it!

He was also really considerate on the way back, making sure we had transport from the harbour and a place to stay, nice guy.

Gili Meno

Where to stay

We flew in quite late to Lombok and planned to go to Gili Meno the very next day so we looked for somewhere between the airport and the harbour. We ended up staying in a nice little hotel with very friendly staff and a good breakfast to get us on our way. You can check them out here.

When we got to Gili Meno, we stayed in the brilliant Meno Smile cottages, which was a five minute walk from the harbour (like most places on the island). You can book it here.

Gili Meno Smile Cottages

The owners were really accomoadating and friendly and the bungalow we stayed inwas clean and (more importantly) had air-con. Breakfast was included which meant omelettes and banana pancakes with tea in the morning, ideal.

Gili Meno Smile Cottages
Gili Meno Smile Cottages

You can find loads of these bungalow companies, our friend stayed in Putri cottages and they seemed really good too. Her room had a couple of extras (fan, safe) and was still only a 10 minute walk to the harbour. To see all your options for Gili Meno, have a look here.

Gili Meno

Side note: there are chickens and cockerels roaming all over the island so expect to here a call at all kinds of the day (not just at sunrise!) and there is also a mosque in the middle of the island so you can just about hear the call to prayer at around 5am.

What to do

You can walk round the island in around 45 minutes and cut through the more rural areas, there are usually families cooking or occasionally watching TV.

Gili Meno

It’s currently a hot-spot for snorkelling and diving (although as we found out later in our trip, not as fruitful as the south-west Secret Gilis).

I managed to see one turtle on our trips out to the ‘drop off’. Like in Finding Nemo, it’s coral below your feet one minute and the big ol’ blue dropping underneath you the next. Our friend told us that if you take the snorkelling trips from any of the Gili islands they take you further afield to find turtles.

We did manage to see a turtle laying eggs one night on the beach though, so I suppose it’s half knowing where to go and half luck!

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Meno is also home to sea sculptures by Jason deCaires Taylor, a well-known underwater sculptor. These are famous around the world for encouraging coral growth and they’re pretty amazing to see up close.

They’re easy to snorkel out to and you don’t need to go with a boat trip to see them. However, it’s worth mentioning that if you’re not a strong swimmer/not confident in deeper water go with a trip and go out with a life jacket.

Gili Meno underwater sculpture

You can get to the statues yourself by heading to the west side of the island, if you find Diana cafe and head southwards for about five minutes you’re there.

Look out for a large white sign that says BASK resort on the front. In the water facing the BASK sign it’s just to your left – keep swimming underwater and you’ll see the two sculpture features. If you want to read more on these, you can here.

Gili Meno underwater sculpture

Note: The currents around Gili Meno are really strong, especially as the day goes on. The day before we arrived a tourist didn’t listen to the warnings and swam out too far and the current took him. Unfortunately, and really sadly, the man died, so please make sure you’re sea safe over there. You can usually gauge the safety by the boats and groups out around the snorkelling areas. If you hear ‘too strong/go to the boat’ make sure you swim to shore yourself.

The Diana cafe has live music in the evenings and is a great evening, campfire spot to hang with a Bintang. We went to four or five restaurants on the island including the highly rated Mahamaya – this is great for a special evening to watch the gorgeous sunsets and enjoy cocktails during their happy hour. My best friend Poppy surprised me by coming over from Bali for a night, so that was our excuse!

Gili Meno

Gili Meno isn’t as busy as Gili T or Gili Air, it doesn’t have as many bars or as crazy nightlife (especially compared to Gili T!).

If you’re looking for a chilled couple of days to relax, snorkel and eat good food this is the place for you. It’s also super romantic, walk hand in hand round the island and finish your day on the beach watching the sun go down.

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Any questions or comments, please feel free to chuck us some feedback below!

Gili Meno

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