GILI MENO ISLAND TRAVEL GUIDE: TOP THINGS TO DO
Gili Meno is a tiny island near Lombok, Indonesia and is one of the three Gili Islands. Each of the Gili Islands has a distinctly different vibe despite their close proximity but they are all hotspots for snorkeling and diving. In this blog post, I will share with you all of my tips for exploring the island and a list of my favorite things to do on Gili Meno Island.
THE GILI MENO TRAVEL GUIDE
THE THREE GILI ISLANDS
Gili Meno: Honeymoon island
Gili Trawangan: Party island/Diving
Gili Air: Chill-out spot, Snorkeling
We chose to spend four days on Gili Meno and four days on Gili Trawangan. Gili Meno had a relaxing vibe and made you feel separated from the rest of the world. Like all of the islands in the Gili’s, there are no cars. Most people get around by bicycles or walking and it is a very slow-paced lifestyle on Gili Meno. I suggest choosing either Gili Air or Gili Meno and combining it with a couple of days on the infamous Gili Trawangan. It would be a good mix of a slow-paced island and a bit of action/party on Gili T.
HOW TO GET TO GILI MENO
How to get from Bali to Gili Meno: A return trip from Kuta, Bali costs around $60 USD per person on a fast boat. Tip: Sit on the roof for a nice breeze and views. We didn’t know we were allowed to do this and were stuck in the stuffy undercarriage. You can book your ticket with a local or vendor or I have found this online booking service and price to be the most reliable.
Book your ticket: Bali to the Gili Islands
How to get from Gili Trawangan to Gili Meno: The ferry from Gili Meno to Gili Trawangan is $3.50USD and runs twice daily although you can charter a private boat for $15.
GILI MENO SAFETY
There is no police office or police officers on Gili Meno, which may seem alarming but is a testament to the culture on the island. We felt safe throughout our stay and were greeted by hellos and smiles along every walk we took around the many winding paths of the island.
GILI MENO ACCOMMODATION: WHERE TO STAY
Sari Laut Homestay: We stayed in a small private room less than five minutes walk from the beach. We stayed at Sari Laut Homestay and our room set us back $17USD per night but there are resorts offering much more luxurious lodgings with rooms available for more than $200USD per night. For us it was more than enough and the air-conditioning was key overnight as it was boiling hot for our entire stay on Gili Meno. We had air conditioning, which worked perfectly, a clean room and comfortable bed. Air conditioning can often double the price of your room in Asia so it is a bit of a luxury.
Check Rates and Availability: Sari Laut Homestay
Seri Resort Gili Meno – Luxury: If you can afford the best (honestly still not outrageously expensive), then you go to Seri Resort. This beautiful plantation style resort is the place to be, especially at night. It has a beautiful pool, a restaurant and a hookah bar. I hung out here a couple of times at night as it just has awesome vibes. It’s about as fancy as the Gili Islands get but it doesn’t break the bank with rooms starting at $140.
Check Rates and Availability: Seri Resort Gili Meno
Avia Villa Resort – Value: – Avia Villa is so beautiful with it’s wooden, boho style but luxurious facilities it really is the kind of accommodation you want on Gili Meno. The best part about this place is that its only $55 per night including breakfast! has WiFi, a pool, air-conditioning and even a fridge. This is the ultimate chill spot and the price is such good value.
Check Rates and Availability: Avia Villa Resort – Value
GOOD FOOD OPTIONS ON GILI MENO
Being on a budget, finding amazing food is not often a big priority for us as much as finding affordable food. We ate a variety of food on Gili Meno from food carts to dinner at the largest resort on the island.
Side carts: A few local spots around the island offer mixed rice for $2USD. I tried a mixed rice dish, which included beans, spices, vegetables and chicken. Eating from a side cart is always a bit of a risk for the stomach but I haven’t had any problems so far with cooked meat and rice. I would definitely recommend trying this at least once.
Sasak Cafe: On the west side of the island, this ocean-side eatery soon became our local sunset hangout. Our servers loved to chat with us and would often sit down beside us and talk about Gili Meno and their lives. A row of bean bags are assembled on the sand facing out towards the setting sun, which is one of the most relaxing ways to end the day. There are plenty of similar cafes like this along the coast offering food and drinks, as well as huts, sun beds and bean bags. You can expect to pay $5USD for a burger or $4USD for local eats such as noodle and rice dishes. Often we would order a couple of cheap drinks and enjoy the comfort of a hut or bean bag for quite a while.
Seri Resort Gili Meno: One of the best ways to discover the island is to walk around the coast and check out the resorts and beaches. We came across Seri Resort by chance and it looked amazing, the kind of place celebrities would vacation in. Despite our pretty tight budget we decided to have a splurge on our last night and went to the third floor overlooking the ocean and the pool. Here we ordered a very fancy dinner and a shisha/hookah pipe. Our server fast became our friend and told us if we ever visited Lombok he would show us around. We really love the genuine happiness and friendly spirit almost of all of the people on Gili Meno. Despite it being our huge splurge night, two drinks, two mains, and the shisha/hookah pipe only set us back $35USD after the tip. A very small amount for a visitor from Australia or America for such a lavish night but for us, this is well over our daily food budget.
GILI MENO THINGS TO DO
Scuba Diving on Gili Meno: The Gili Islands are known for their amazing dive sites, water clarity and temperature. We didn’t go scuba diving but there are a number of day trips or full certification courses, which will have you diving with turtles and amazing coral.
Snorkeling spots on Gili Meno: There are a handful of well-known sites off the shore of Gili Meno that totally blew us away. We hired a private wooden long boat for the morning with a captain and a young boy who would swim with us showing us all of the points of interest. After jumping into the warm water we swam with countless sea turtles and thousands of colorful fish. Our next stop was the Meno wall which is a steep drop-off with an eerie atmosphere. There was also a shipwreck that we floated above, watching the scuba-divers below us investigate the remnants of the old vessel. There are also a collection of bicycles creating an artificial reef on the western side of the island which was my favorite underwater attraction. Find a turtle was no.1 on my list of things to do on Gili Meno.
Outdoor Gym on Gili Meno: We love to use outdoor gyms and didn’t stumble across one in Bali but we found one of the coolest workout stations I’ve seen yet. It was made of old trees and some lead pipe. We used a pullup bar and a dip bar to get our sweat on.
Hut Hopping on Gili Meno: On the eastern shore or the harbor side of the island there are a number of small huts and eateries. We used this to our advantage, ordering a drink and using the hut or bean bags at one restaurant before moving on to do the same at the next. We always made a small purchase of a drink or a meal but felt like we were getting the good end of the deal. This was a really relaxing way to spend the day.
Gili Meno Lake: Inside the island of Gili Meno is a saltwater lake and a mangrove forest. It is a peaceful spot for a walk or for reading a book. There are a few little huts that are just over the water and it would be a very peaceful spot for sunrise or sunset.
TRANSPORT ON GILI MENO ISLAND
There are no cars or mopeds on the island. The only way to get around is to use a taxi, which is a horse-drawn cart or to rent a bike. We rented bikes for two days at a cost of $4USD per day per bike which was fun. However, the roads were not great and often there was just sand so we ended up walking some of the time anyway. On the days we didn’t rent bikes we walked around the island, which wasn’t a great trek and gave us a chance to look around and explore our surroundings. To be honest riding a bike around the island is one of the most enjoyable things to do on Gili Meno.
ATM’S ON GILI MENO ISLAND
There are several ATM’s on Gili Meno and prices run relatively similar to Bali so don’t expect a huge shock when you arrive. You can still find cheap food, accommodation, and activities. However, if you are looking for luxury, it would be a dream to wake up in many of the beachfront bungalows.
SUMMARY OF GILI MENO
Isolated and relaxing
No cars only mopeds
Very friendly/no police!
Laidback island vibe
Amazingly clear and warm water
Some of best snorkeling/diving in the world
Can walk anywhere on the island
Salt water showers
Wifi IS minimal
Lack of infrastructure
Lots of rubbish