Located only a kilometer away from Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno is perfect for escapist-types in search of a true slice of solitude. Set in the middle of the three Gili islands, Meno is only two kilometers long and one kilometer wide, and can be traversed in under two hours by foot. There are no motorised vehicles on the island, and the most common way to get around is by walking, cycling, or via a cimodo (horse and cart). This sleepy little island is perfect for honeymooners and those seeking a more rustic, island experience.
Limited local infrastructure exists on the island, although you will find a small clinic and a local primary school. You’ll also have access to basic services like ATMs, money changers and some internet cafes if needed. Electricity on this island is generator-supplied and sometimes prone to shortages.
WHAT TO DO
The beaches on Gili Meno are breathtaking, and the serenity here offers visitors a chance to really switch off and unwind. There are no hawkers on Meno to disturb your peace, but you can buy food and drink from the nearby warungs at your convenience. Spend the day swaying gently in a hammock with the latest page-turner or simply soak up the sun with an icy Bintang in hand. Thatched beach huts along the shore provide a perfect place of respite during the sweltering afternoons. The waters around Meno are calm and suitable for swimming, but we wouldn’t advise venturing too far out.
Snorkelling is one of the most popular activities on the island and equipment can be rented on almost every corner. The Gilis are famed for their turtle population, so expect to come face-to-face with Hawksbill and Leatherback turtles. You’ll also spot batfish, blue spotted stingrays, a variety of crustaceans, and vibrant hard and soft corals.
Gili Meno is home to a bird park with around three hundred species of birds in a natural environment. You’ll see everything from peafowls to pheasants, hornbills, eagles, pelicans, parrots, to majestic macaws.
The turtle sanctuary on Gili Meno consists of various tubs and pools filled with tiny green and loggerhead turtles who are nurtured before they are released at eight months old. The sanctuary has had a marked impact on the island’s turtle populations and is definitely worth a visit for marine life lovers. If you’re lucky, you might catch one of their regular releases.
Nature-lovers shouldn’t miss Gili Meno’s saltwater lake. Located inland, this little ecosystem can be reached in a ten-minute stroll from the docks. Green and serene, the lake and surrounding mangrove forests boast an impressive variety of flora and fauna which can be enjoyed from the small wooden shelters that are dotted around the lake. Expect to see rare blue king fishers and an array of other birds swoop into the waters below.
GILI MENO ACCOMMODATION & DINING
Accomodation options on Gili Meno are not as varied as Gili Trawangan, though there are a variety of up-market choices if that’s what you’re after. Most accomodation in Gili Meno can be found on the east coast along the most picturesque beach. Go further inland and you’ll come across some homestays and thatched bungalows. The luxury rooms on Gili Meno have air conditioning, hot water and all the amenities you’d expect such as a minibar, hairdryer and even a private pool. There are a few budget-friendly options lining the beach, fitted with fans and cold salt water showers.
Dining options may seem limited at first, but walk up and down the beachfront and you’ll come across a fair number of places to satisfy your hunger and indulge in an afternoon tipple. All the beachfront cafes provide stunning views of the neighboring islands and you’ll find everything from pizza to local Indonesian cuisine.