The Gili Islands are an archipelago of three small islands : Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air situated just off the northwest coast of Lombok – Indonesia. Gili Trawangan has in recent years for the most part become very developed, great if you want to party. Gili Air is somewhere in between whereas if its beauty, tranquility and that Robinson Crusoe feel you’re after Gili Meno is the place to be. White coral beaches fringed by warm turquoise seas and a laid back feel unique to this island.
Most people arrive into Bali. From there you can either take a flight to Lombok or a fast boat to Meno.
If flying into Lombok we can help you with your transfers from the airport to Meno. If you’re flying into Bali just drop us a line with your arrival details & we’ll tell you the best way to get here.
The hub of the island is situated on the east coast around the harbor where the boats drop you off. Accommodation until very recently was nearly all small simple home-stays run by local families. However more upmarket options are springing up now around the island so whatever your budget and requirements there is something for you. Some of the more basic home-stays still have only island water which can be a little salty however most places now have fresh water showers.
There are no motorized forms of transport on the islands which makes for a peaceful life and no pollution. Most people like to walk, you can have a leisurely stroll around the island in about one and a half hours. Bicycles are also available for rent. If you arrive on the island with a lot of luggage and your hotel is far from the harbor you can easily rent a horse and cart, locally known as cidomos. Price is normally 100.000 IDR depending on the location of your hotel.
Seasons and weather
The Gili islands have a warm tropical climate year round with a dry and wet season. Dry season runs through May-October whilst the wet season is November-April. Most of our guests tend to come in the dry but don’t discount the wet season for your holiday, even though you may encounter strong rains, most days get a good amount of sunshine too plus hotels are much cheaper. In Jan/Feb however the seas can get a little choppy at times and often the Komodo boats do not run. Also for those wishing to trek Rinjani volcano this is not a good time of year as the Rinjani National Park normally closes due to risk of landslides. You can check with us for the latest updates.
High season : Jan/July/August/Dec
Mid season : May/June/October
Low season : Feb/March/Apr/Nov
We now have three ATMs on Gili Meno. One is located at Mallias Bungalows & one at Kontiki Resort both located on the east side of the island not far from the harbor. There is also one on the north side at Little Bali Restaurant. We here at Attas Travel also change money and accept Visa/MasterCard payments.
Island Hopping Boats
It’s very easy to go island hopping. The boats run twice every day from the harbor on the east coast and takes approx 15 mins to either Gili Trawangan or Gili Air. Price 35.000 IDR.
There is also an hourly public fast boat service between the islands. Price 85.000 IDR.
Check the harbor office window for the latest timetable. Tickets can be bought 30 mins before departure.
The public boats also go to Bangsal in Lombok. Please be aware however that Bangsal is infamous for people getting hassled, quite aggressively at times. If you’re going to Lombok plan ahead by purchasing a shuttle bus ticket or arranging a private car. We can help you with these.
Health and safety
There is a clinic open 24 hrs in the center, the doctors mostly speak English and are very helpful with simple ailments such as ear infections, upset tummies, cuts and grazes. For more serious illness we recommend you go directly to one of the main hospitals in Mataram in Lombok or return to Bali.
As far as we can ascertain there is no malaria on the Gili Islands although we do have some rare cases of Dengue Fever. We recommend you use mosquito repellent just to be on the safe side. Of course please check with your doctor before traveling that all your vaccinations are up to date for this area and that you have comprehensive health insurance before traveling.
Gili Meno is generally very safe and any sort of crime is extremely rare. You can walk anywhere on the island without any worries although at night in the interior it can be very dark so perhaps walk in pairs and take a strong flashlight.
Religion and Culture
Unlike Bali which is Hindu the Gilis and Lombok are predominantly Muslim. You will find the local people to be very friendly, always ready with a smile and willing to help. On Meno the locals are of course used to tourists but out of a mark of respect when wondering around the interior of the island in the villages it’s always good to cover up a little…wear a sarong over your bikini etc. Plus topless sun bathing is frowned upon. There are one or two sellers on the beach but they do not hassle you, in fact the reverse, they are very friendly and polite and seen as there are few shops on Meno you might wish to buy one or two souvenirs to take home.