Gili Meno - true island PARADISE

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May 15th 2015
Published: July 14th 2015
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Finally arrived on Meno!Finally arrived on Meno!Finally arrived on Meno!

Walking with suitcases on dirt tracks through the villages and past roaming cows with the harsh midday heat beating down...EEK!
Ketut had organised for us to get to Gili Meno via fast boat from Padang Bai, twenty minutes south of Candi Dasa. We thought it best to pack light and took our hand luggage only to Meno (leaving our suitcases at Aquaria). We were booked on Semaya One’s morning boat and thought we were being collected from Aquaria at 8:30am. However there was a knock at the door at 7am – a taxi driver saying we had to check in at Semaya One by 8am. We literally inhaled our breakfast (so delicious at Aquaria!) and jumped in the car. Needless to say, having to wait two and a half hours in the sun left us far less than impressed at Semaya One. Then to be ferried from island to island, stopping last at Meno at 2:30pm - we were so furious with Semaya and their terrible service! Especially having paid $180AU return for the two of us (1,800,000 IDR). We wouldn’t recommend them to our worst enemy… well OK maybe to them. In retrospect we should have left from Amed - on the Amed Sea Express (twice daily high-speed boat service to Gili Meno, departing 10am arriving on Gili Meno at
Seri Resort, Gili MenoSeri Resort, Gili MenoSeri Resort, Gili Meno

The BEST hotel we stayed at during our honeymoon
11:30am for 1,100,000 IDR return). But this is what happens when you’re a first time visitor without having done any research.

Most visitors arrive via Gili Trawangan then jump on a connecting islandhopper boat for the fifteen minute trip over the channel. However the 9.30am and 4.00pm daily departures (cost is approximately 23,000 IDR) don’t quite fit with the fast boats arriving from Padang Bai. We weren’t keen to wait over an hour until 4pm so we hired a local boatman to take us to Meno. He originally quoted us $40AU to the beachfront at Seri Resort, but we bargained him down to $20AU to take us to the north-eastern tip at Divine Divers. In retrospect I would have gladly paid him the extra $20 to avoid having to walk inland across the island. It was a little tough with suitcases on dirt tracks through the villages and past roaming cows with the harsh midday heat beating down. Yet when you step foot onto the white sandy beaches of Meno, look to the hand painted wooden signs nailed onto the trees for directions and hear…nothing…you know you have arrived somewhere special.

Seri ResortSeri ResortSeri Resort

Our little Beach Bungalow (No.B103)

When I turned the corner at Gili Meno Eco Hostel and could see the white and blue beach furniture of Seri it was like seeing a fountain through a mirage! I was so relieved to arrive and to have a bit of respite from the piping hot sun. The staff gave us an icy ginger drink and cool towel as soon as we sat down – it was bliss!

I can confidently say that Seri Resort on Gili Meno(Website Link) was by far the best resort we stayed at during our honeymoon. From the moment we arrived to the time we left we felt like we were in paradise. The locals were so care free and friendly and the staff at Seri were outstanding. One staff member mentioned to Matt the staff work on rotation from Lombok, purely because so many Lombok locals want to work on the Gili Islands.

Only two kilometers long and one wide, Gili Meno is the smallest of the three islands and by far the most peaceful and under developed. It’s possible to walk around the island

It's a way of life on Meno!
along the beach or paths of Gili Meno in under two hours. We did just that on our final day there and highly recommend the walk. There is no transport on the island – only horse carts (cidomos) which seem to be used for getting you and your bags to and from the boat landing (for around 100,000 IDR). We personally didn’t use a cidomos but were relatively happy with how they were treated. We had heard such terrible reviews about the treatment of the horses that we almost didn’t go to Meno. Every horse owner we saw would get off the horse and lead it around when it wasn’t in use by tourists. I feel the locals may be ‘cleaning up their act’ after such negative feedback.

At Seri we stayed in ‘Beach Bungalow No.B103’. The power went out just once, with the generators powering up within a minute. We ate dinner at the hotel both nights and thoroughly enjoyed it. We also snorkelled straight out from the resort both days, and to the left/north corner. We saw two turtles on the first afternoon and four on the second afternoon. We overheard one guest say they saw six turtles on one snorkel!

Aside from the spectacular sunsets and picture-perfect beaches, we were at Meno to snorkel! We tried several spots (tips from locals and the resort) and found the area to the north of the island the best. We also thoroughly enjoyed our snorkel out from Diana Café, which is on the north western side of the island facing Gili T. We also swam out from Two Brothers Café, located on the southwest of Gili Meno (beside the abandoned Sunset Bungalows). Two Brothers also serves local and western food and beer – which I tucked into while Matt spent an extra hour in the ocean. I have also read their curry (Urap Urap) is fantastic.

On a side note, Seri Resort can book snorkelling day trips for $15AU per person (150,000 IDR) but they must be booked the night before to guarantee minimum numbers. Another fantastic thing about Seri is that they have HBO! Being massive Game of Thrones fans we were very excited to be able to watch the late-night re-run of the morning’s episode while we were there. Sad but true. Seri also has a great menu and beautiful beachfront tables for dining come sunset. You do not want to miss a Gili Meno sunset! We ate dinner at the resort both nights purely because it was so romantic and they had a great choice of food. We went for Mexican the first night and Indonesian curry the second.

I was also excited to hear there are no dogs on the Gilis – only cats! The locals have a great attitude towards them and most hotels have resident cats the staff look after and feed.

During our walks around the island we spotted bungalows/resorts that looked fantastic and made note of them for people wanting a cheaper option than Seri. We liked the look of Biru Meno and Adeng Adeng.

We returned to Gili T via private boat, which Seri arranged for $45AU for the both of us. Once at Gili T we had two large Bintangs and Satay at a waterfront warung for just $13AU (130,000 IDR). Gili T definitely seems like the party
Diana CaféDiana CaféDiana Café

Great snorkelling out from here, on the north western side of the island facing Gili T
island. People on the mainland told us there are no police on the Gilis, therefore lots of drugs and loud parties on Gili T. It is much more built up, with lots of bicycles and far more horse and cart. Gili Meno suited us personally, but as a young part-going traveller I’m sure Gili T would be more appealing.

I truly wish we could have stayed longer – cut out our stay in Benoa completely and spent an extra few nights in Ubud and Gili Meno. Alas, it was a great introductory trip to Bali and Lombok. Just one more stop to go now…

Additional photos below
Photos: 15, Displayed: 15


Diana CaféDiana Café
Diana Café

Dump your bags on the sand and swim straight out from here :)
Meno Married bliss!Meno Married bliss!
Meno Married bliss!

Perfect place for a honeymoon
Gilis MapsGilis Maps
Gilis Maps

Quite handy!
Meno MapMeno Map
Meno Map

Has most of the hot spots listed
Gili T Waterfront Warung Gili T Waterfront Warung
Gili T Waterfront Warung

Two large Bintangs and Satay for just $13AU (130,000 IDR).

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