Gili Meno

Gili Meno is the meat in the sandwich of the three Gili Islands off Lombok.

Understand

With a population of just 400, 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.

Orientation

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.

Map of Gili Meno

Get in

By boat

The sea is calmest in the morning and all transport stops running in the late-afternoon, well before dark. During periods of southerly winds and in July and August especially, the swell can be a bit hairy and you are very likely to get wet on the crossing. It is advisable to place laptops, cameras and handphones in waterproof bags for the crossing. You will need to wade through shallow sea when disembarking, so wear either appropriate footwear, or none at all.

From Bali

From Lombok

Public boats depart from Bangsal between 8AM-2PM and are fewer in number than go to Gili Trawangan. The voyage takes about 30 min and the official price is Rp 12,000. Sometimes these services only depart when there are enough people, normally a minimum of 15 is enough. If numbers are insufficient you may have to endure a wait at Bangsal. The boat office at Bangsal should make sure you get dropped off by a Gili Trawangan bound boat if necessary. The official maximum is 20 people but sometimes the boat is overloaded by the time it is ready to depart. The best time to be sure of a crossing to Gili Meno is prior to 2PM in the afternoon however this can vary, especially with weather or passenger loads.

Buy your tickets direct from the official Koperasi Angkutan Laut Karya Bahari office. In Bangsal this is located inside the main building near the door at the eastern corner. The Koperasi operate the Public Boat, the Shuttle boat, the Island Hopping boat and also offer (official) Charter boats.

There is a ticket office on Gili Meno to buy your ticket back to Bangsal, it is located adjacent to the arrival and departure point.

Public boat (ferry)

  • Bangsal to Gili Meno 1 way is Rp 12,000
  • Gili Meno to Bangsal 1 way is Rp 12,000

Shuttle boat/Tourist boat

  • Bangsal to Meno Air departs at 5PM, the official price is Rp 20,000.
    (This is more expensive than the standard Public boat cost officially fixed at Rp 12,000).
  • Gili Meno to Bangsal is not listed.

Charter boat

  • Bangsal to Gili Meno 1 way is Rp 170,000, return Rp 320,000
  • Gili Meno to Bangsal 1 way is Rp 170,000, return Rp 320,000
  • Gili Meno to Senggigi 1 way is Rp 490,000, return Rp 690,000

Perama has a tiny office ☎+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.

Departing from Bangsal to either of the three Gili islands is rarely pleasant due to the very persistent touts who infest the place, just try to ignore them and do not listen to their generally fanciful tales that involve you paying them money to solve an imaginary transportation problem. They often provide a chorus of gloomy predictions regarding the alleged unavailability of services, then if successful they just place unknowing passengers upon the normal scheduled service or a private charter at an often seriously inflated prices.

The situation arising from the activities of pestering touts combined with confusing and inadequate formal services at Bangsal is the source of many disappointments and complaints.

From Gili Trawangan and Gili Air

To move from one island to another the formal procedure is to take the Public boat (ferry) to Bangsal and then a further similar ferry to the required island departing from Bangsal. To return the reverse is required. This can be confusing and coordinating the timing with the connecting boat departing from Bangsal may be either difficult or elusive. There is also a limited official inter-island Island Hopping service provided.

Ferry operators may sometimes enter into informal arrangements with passengers to journey inter-island. In this situation a passenger boards a boat that is meant to go directly to Bangsal from one of the three Gili islands but instead it detours and sets down on the beach at another island whilst en route. The prices are a movable feast but people will normally pay a price of around Rp 25,000. Inter-island access on the public boats in this manner is dependent upon timing, weather, loading, payment and the inclination of the crew to facilitate an inter-island journey and such arrangements are not officially sanctioned. The standard procedure is to travel to Bangsal and make a separate trip to the different island or to use the very limited official service. The price for a single journey Public Boat ferry journey from Gili Trawangan is Rp 10,000 and Gili Air to Bangsal is Rp 8,000. The price for the subsequent Public boat to Gili Meno from Bangsal is Rp 9,000, this assuming the required connection was made at Bangsal.

Official tariffs and schedules

The tariff for all Koperasi Angkutan Laut Karya Bahari services was last set by decree of the Regency of West Lombok in May 2008. This koperasi now falls under the new jurisdiction of the Regency of North Lombok.
Departure and arrival times may vary due to operational conditions and other random factors such as loading times and delays arising from waiting for sufficient numbers of passengers prior to departure. Overloading may occur and caution should be exercised if considering boarding or travelling on an overloaded boat. If there are too many people requiring transport they may be left behind and a substitute service may or may not be available. Try to limit your dealings to official koperasi personnel only and avoid entering into any discussions or negotiations with local touts and facilitators. Only a few of them will be of any assistance at all and most will endeavour to confuse the traveller so that they accept an inflated price for the provision of an existing service. Do not buy tickets from anyone other than an official ticket seller.
Official Koperasi services include:

  • Public boat
  • Shuttle boat
  • Island Hopping boat
  • Charter boat (Koperasi)

Island Hopping boat

  • Gili Air to Gili Meno departs at 8:30AM and the official price is Rp 20,000
  • Gili Meno to Gili Air departs at 4:20PM and the official price is Rp 20,000
  • Gili Trawangan to Gilli Meno departs at 9:30AM and the official price is Rp 20,000
  • Gili Meno to Gilli Trawangan departs at 8:50AM and the official price is Rp 23,000

Charter boat

  • Gili Air to Gili Meno 1 way is Rp 170,000, return Rp 290,000
  • Gili Meno to Gili Air 1 way is Rp 170,000, return Rp 320,000
  • Gili Trawangan to Gili Meno 1 way is Rp 190,000, return Rp 350,000
  • Gili Meno to Gili Trawangan 1 way is Rp 195,000, return Rp 350,000
  • Gili Meno to Senggigi to 1 way is Rp 490,000, return Rp 690,000

Informal private charters are also available. Prices are subject to negotiation, take your time over the process as any perception of urgency or haste will no doubt increase the price.

Get around

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. Official price lists can be found at the boat landing - a single trip is from Rp 80,000 for local transport to Rp 175,000 for a trip from one side of the island to the other.

See

Sunset

Do

Diving

Snorkeling

There are several good spots for snorkeling, and gear can hired at almost any cafe or hotel for about Rp 50,000 (August 2015) which includes mask, snorkel and fins. Equipment quality may vary slightly, but prices seem to be standard across shops. 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. Another good spot for turtles sighting is right in front of the Karma Beach bungalows on the east coast. In the late afternoon turtles can be seen feeding off the area where the sea floor starts to get deeper. If you snorkel off the east coast, be careful of boat traffic.

Walking

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).

Buy

There is one ATM a few meters north of the boat landing, but sometimes it's not working. Blue Marlin is another option to get a credit card cash advance, but they charge a 7% commission. Alternatively, head to Gili Trawangan or Gili Air where there are multiple ATMs. Hint: As the boat from Meno waits around 25-30 min on Trawangan before going back to Meno and Air, you have a chance to return on the same boat (the ATMs on Trawangan are around 10 min walk north of the harbor). Not so wise to try this with afternoon boat, however, if you do want to come back same day.

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. There have been reports of people getting sick from eating fish in a bad state, so try to choose the fresh ones. If you look at the fish on display closely everyday, you will see some of the uneaten fish showing up repeatedly. Fresh fish have clear eyes, with no cloudiness in them. Baby tuna is very popular and more expensive than other options. Black tilapia may come from fresh water farms, and it's best avoided. Good fish options are parrot fish, grouper, red snapper and sea bream. Most of the fish is brought from Lombok, so you'll have to ask for the local fish if that's what you want. The other widespread option is wood-fired pizza which has become something of a Gili Meno specialty.

There are also a few warungs inland, to be found mostly in the northern half of the island. They offer a variety of local and Indonesian dishes at budget prices. The views are not great, but this is where the locals eat, if that's your thing. Official warungs have a large blue and white sign with the name of the place and the dishes they specialize on.

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.

Drink

Nightlife is very laid back here, and somedays you might not notice any at all. This is very much the anti-Trawangan.

Sleep

There is a range of accommodation on Gili Meno ranging from simple beach huts to villas and a new luxury Boutique resort. The prices here start from beach huts from around Rp 100,000 (less if away from the beach in the village and not during the peak season) per night up to prices in dollars for the hotels. Some places offer fresh water and A/C others just offer a fan. You can find something to suit all requirements on the island and generally most places are quiet and relaxing.

Looking back to Lombok from Gili Meno's southeast coast

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Stay healthy

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.

Connect

There are several cafes, restaurants and hotels offering Wi-Fi on the island, as well as some internet cafes. However for complete and probably more consistent coverage the best option is still to get a local SIM card.

Indonesian GSM operators (at least XL, Telkomsel, and 3; Indosat has a signal too) have their towers standing at Meno, obviously to cover Air and Trawangan on either sides. As such, signal strength is excellent here, much better than on Gili Air, as well as internet (3G) connection speed. So, if you have you own laptop/smartphone - bring an Indonesian SIM card (easy to get at any phone shop. As of 2015, a SIM with 2.5 GB of data for a month can be bought for Rp 70,000. Many different packages are usually available). This is better done in Bali before heading to the Gilis. The nearest place selling top-up cards seems to be Gili Trawangan, and sellers there tend to charge huge (up to 50%) commission.

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, March 08, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.