Gili Meno is the smallest and the most quiet island among the Three Gilis in Lombok which are often visited by tourists. The beautiful beaches in almost all parts of the island and the clear sea water have made many tourists come to Gili Meno to do tours and escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Once you are there, you will feel like vacationing on a private island because there are not many people visiting the island. This is because Gili Meno is often ignored by tourists compared to Gili Trawangan and Gili Air. Although the beauty of this island beat out the two neighboring islands.
Same like Trawangan and Air, Gili Meno is also surrounded by beaches with its beautiful sand. You can explore this beach about 90 minutes by foot while encircling the island. There are no cars or motorbikes here, so there is no doubt about the silence and the quality of the air. If you have to much luggage, you can use Cidomo (aka: gig, horse-drawn cart) that can help you to carry your luggage from the port located in east side of the island to your inn.
Even though it’s quiet, Gili Meno is actually inhabited by local residents but only around 400 of them. Most of the population lives around roads that connect one part of the island to another. For your information, electricity is still rare here. There are only few people and villas that have generators. The locals still use candles/torches for lighting and use firewood for cooking.
Accommodations and foods are slightly more expensive in Gili Meno compared to other Gilis and also luxury food is not available here, only seafood dishes. To clarify what activities tourists usually do here, the following are 8 best things to do in Gili Meno.
1. Walking to Explore the Island
Because Meno is a small island surrounded by beaches, it is a must for you to walk encircling the island which only takes time around 90 minutes. Along the way, you will be presented with a beautiful and amazing beach. Moreover, in every corner you will witness different and unique scenes. If you are too lazy to walk around the island, you can rent a “cidomo” here.
After walking down the beach you can also continue to walk in the middle of the island while hanging out and watching the lives of local residents. A walk in the middle of the island will give you a unique experience because the streets leading to the village are still in the form of trails and have not been paved.
2. Watching Birds at Gili Meno Bird Park
The calm rural atmosphere is completed with the sound of birds flying freely between the trees. In one corner of the village there is a bird park called Gili Meno Bird Park which has various collections of birds. The bird park belongs to an Australian and not owned by the local government. There are also lodging space here.
Gili Meno Bird Park presents more than dozens of species of tropical bird such as Betet, Nuri and Flamingo. Among those impressive birds, you will see eclectus parrots, fire-scented barbets, parakeets, peacocks, ospreys and eagles, dumb swans, wild pheasants, Nicobar pigeons, wild turkeys, rainbow pendants and many more. Everything inside the bird park area are very well maintained.
3. Visit Asin Lake and The Mangrove Forest
Gili Meno has a salt water lake (Asin) and mangrove forest located in the central part of the island. Those ecotourism area can be an option for tourists to spend the day on Gili Meno both by exploring the Mangrove Forest and enjoying the twilight scenery on Asin Lake.
The Asin Lake which is surrounded by mangrove forests has an area of six hectares where tourists tourists can see various types of birds that fly freely over the lake or are perched on trees in the mangrove area.
4. Me Time on The Beach
It is undoubtedly true that Gili Meno beach is one of the best among The Gilis. The beach is sloping and clean, with yellowish white sand and soft. Not only clean, the beach is also clear and calm. It is so clear that you can see the sea floor around the beach.
This wide and sloping beach can be used for various activities. For foreign tourists, sunbathing around the beach is the most common things they do to enjoy the warmth of the sun. Tourists can also enjoy the atmosphere of the beach while sheltering under the trees thriving around the beach.
5. Visit The Turtle Captivity
One of many attractions in Gili Meno is The Green Turtle Captivity. In this area there are turtle egg incubation managed by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Affairs. The place to hatch the turtle eggs looks like small ponds around 1m x 1m, containing cute and adorable turtle kids. Although the captivity place is for green turtles but when they are still babies their skin is reddish.
6. Scuba Diving
Visiting Gili Meno is not complete yet if you only just enjoying the surface not the underwater area. The underwater scenery around the island is very fascinating. It is dominated by a variety of colorful coral reefs that look stunning decorated with various kinds of marine animals ranging from turtles to reef sharks. Gili diving activities are very save here because the ocean currents on the diving spots are not too strong.
For those of you who still want to enjoy the beauty of the underwater without having to pay expensive fees like the scuba diving, then snorkeling can be an option. Clear and calm sea water is the reason why many tourists choose snorkeling. Even though you only take the snorkeling activity you can still watch the underwater beauty complete with fish and turtles in it.
8. Enjoy The Sunset & Sunrise
If you happen to stay on this island for several days, don’t miss to watch the sunrise in the morning by going to the east side. And in the afternoon, you just have to take a walk to the west side of the island to watch the beautiful Gili’s sunset.