Of the three Gili Islands, Gili Meno is the smallest and the quietest in the chain, with simple beach-bungalow-style accommodation. Located in the middle of the three islands between Gili Air and Gili Trawangan, its white, hourglass-sand beaches are peppered with cowrie shells and ghost crabs. Breezes whisper through the many ‘cemara’ whistling sea pines, while the graceful, arched branches of the pandanus trees, with their distinctive stilt roots, make the perfect supports from which to suspend a hammock. With crystal turquoise waters and stunning views across to Mt Agung in Bali and Mt Rinjani in Lombok, Gili Meno is uncomplicated, peaceful and inexpensive; a haven without cars, motorbikes or dogs, and not too many people. In fact, the local population is only a few hundred, mainly concentrated in the centre, and it is possible to walk around the island in less than two hours. There’s less accommodation options on Meno than on the neighbouring islands, so fewer tourists come here, which is probably why this magical little hideaway is so popular with honeymooners
The main income of the local people is derived from tourism, fishing and coconut plantations. On the west side of the island there is shallow saltwater lake, which is used for salt production on a small scale during the dry season. Gili Meno has a small local infrastructure that includes a medical clinic and a primary school. Services include simple shops, internet cafes, money changers and the Gili Meno Tourist Information Centre. The dining scene is predominantly local cafes, serving grilled fish on the beach, as well as tasty Indonesian, Western and even local Sasak cuisine, all with reasonable prices and some with stunning views of the mountains and sunset.
The only transport on the island is horse and cart, and there is no fresh water, so most of the hotels and bungalows have saline water in the showers, although a certain amount of fresh water is imported daily. Electricity is supplied by generators. Every morning the sea is dotted with brightly coloured dive boats and island ferries. Every evening, the sun disappears behind Bali, and on a clear day, a blue outline of the mighty Mt Agung will dominate the skyline, illuminated by a red-rimmed golden orb. Time becomes meaningless on this enchanted island, and it becomes all too easy to believe that you have been transported back 60 years to a deserted tropical garden of leafy trees and shaded sandy clearings, surrounded by a coral reefs and a white-sand beach.
Restaurants & Bars on Gili Meno
Situated in the north of the island, this restaurant specialises in local Sasak cuisine.
Good Heart Bungalows and Seafood House
Good local dishes, especially seafood. Ideal for lunch as it is a bit off the beaten track on the west side of the island away from most of the facilities.
A Japanese-owned, small eco resort and restaurant with cushioned gazebos on the beach. Chef’s specials include tiger prawn fried rice with diced pineapple and peanut sauce, as well as a variety of seafood, chicken and vegetarian curries. Located on the west beach.
Simple 2-storey bamboo cafe with hammocks. Great for sunset beers
The new beach party venue from the owners of Horizontal and H Rooms on Gili Trawangan
Open terraced restaurant with great Indonesian food. Often a bonfire on the beach.
At this rustic open-air café, couples can enjoy simple, romantic fish dinners on the beach, complete with a bonfire. Seating is a large piece of driftwood beside a low bamboo table adorned with a tablecloth, flowers and candles. Guests will be served fresh fish coated in a thick fresh sauce, accompanied by potatoes, veggies, salad and a spicy sambal. Unforgettable and extraordinarily good value for money.
Positioned on the southeast corner of the island, with beach views and a big menu that includes seafood, rice and noodles.
With a lovely view, the restaurant at Hotel Gazebo has good Western selections on its menu.
Tao Kombo Resto and Jungle Bar
The restaurant & grill serves Indonesian and international cuisine, while the jungle bar offers happy hour sunsets, late nights and cool music.
Mallias Child Bungalows and Restaurant
Open air restaurant beside the beach, serves a great wood oven pizza.
Bibi’s Café at Villa Nautilus
Bibi’s Café on the east coast serves the usual mix of Indonesian and Western dishes, with an emphasis on freshly caught seafood. Excellent pizzas and gorgeous sea views.
Blue Marlin Dive & Café
Located near the harbour on the east coast, Blue Marlin is open for breakfast and offers a good selection of Western and local dishes for lunch and dinner. Also serves good value sandwiches and burgers, steaks and seafood dishes, as well as drinks and cocktails.
Open-air restaurant situated in front of the jetty, specialises in seafood as well as Indonesian cuisine.
Simple but tasty food and bamboo gazebos on the edge of the beach and great views.
Ya Ya Café
Guests can choose their fish and watch it being cooked on the open fire
Located at Casablanca Hotel, serves good food including delicious fish dishes.
Open air stall selling a wonderful collection of wooden boxes, bowls, masks, pots inlaid with mother of pearl, and other wooden Lombok handicrafts. Owned by Bapak Botel and Mama Botel. Bartering essential.
This handmade jewellery shop offers silver workshops in which visitors can make their own piece of jewellery in a 3-hour session
Book here and let’s go to Gili Meno.