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Gili Meno Island of Lombok Indonesia

Gili Meno is a tiny island off the north-west coast of Lombok Island, Indonesia, the middle of Lombok’s three famous Gilis. Generally the word used in Indonesia for island is ‘pulau’ but in the local language Sasak which is spoken on Lombok and surrounding islands, Gili is the word for “little island”. Gili Meno has a population of about 400, mainly concentrated on the center of the island.

The main income comes from tourism, coconut plantation and fishing. On the west side of the island there is a small shallow lake that produces salt in the dry season. Until a few years ago there was also a small production of seaweed on the reef at the north end of the island. It has swimming beaches all around the island, as well as an impressive bird sanctuary. Monkeys also can be seen.

The island attracts fewer tourists than Gili Trawangan and is the quietest and smallest of the Gilis. However, honeymooners are often drawn to the crystal clear water and idyllic, secluded white beaches.

There is no fresh water on the island, it has to be brought by boat from Lombok. Electricity is supplied by generators, although there are plans for renewable energy sources to be developed. There are also no cars or motorbikes, not even real roads, only soft sandy paths. There are a limited number of tourist accommodation options. There is no ATM machine yet on Gili Meno and though you can pay with visa card in some restaurants, dive schools and hotels, it´s recommended to bring cash for your daily expenses.

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
Super Scoot Fast Boat, . Twice daily high-speed boat service to Gili Meno from Sanur of South Bali. Boats depart Sanur at 08AM and with arrivals on Gili Meno at 11:30AM. Prices are Rp 680,000 (one-way) and Rp 1,200,000 (return). Online bookings are available at www.bali-gilifastboats.com

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 9,000. 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)
This is the standard method to reach Gili Air and is used by both local residents and tourists. The afternoon boat departs at 2PM, arrive with plenty of time prior to departure to avoid overbooking problems or last moment confusions. The maximum number of passengers is fixed at 20 persons but it is often overloaded with goods and or passengers. If it seems clearly unsafe due to either overloading or prevailing weather conditions then it is most likely best not to board it.

- Bangsal to Gili Meno 1 way is Rp 9,000
- Gili Meno to Bangsal 1 way is Rp 9,000

Shuttle boat
This service supplements the Public boat (ferry) service.

- Bangsal to Meno Air departs at 5PM, the official price is Rp 27,000.
(This is more expensive than the standard Public boat cost officially fixed at Rp 9,000).
- Gili Meno to Bangsal is not listed.

Charter boat
The official charter boat service provided by Koperasi Angkutan laut Karya Bahari is permitted to carry a maximum of 12 persons.

- 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

Informal and unofficial charters are also available from private operators to travel from Bangsal to Gili Meno. If requiring one try to deal only with the boat operator, ignore the touts and ‘facilitators’ and use your time over a negotiation, any hint of haste or urgency is sure to raise the price.

Perama has a tiny office 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 co-ordinating 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 dependant 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.

Island Hopping boat
A limited formal Island hopping boat service is provided by Koperasi Angkutan Laut Karya Bahari, this is the same local koperasi (maritime transport co-operative) that provides the Public Boat ferry service.

- 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
The official charter boat service provided by Koperasi Angkutan laut Karya Bahari is permitted to carry a maximum of 12 persons.

- 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. A single trip may cost Rp 20,000-30,000.

See
Gili Meno Turtle Sanctuary. 8AM-6PM. A splendid initiative whereby green sea turtle and loggerhead turtle eggs are collected, hatched, and the younglings safely released into the ocean. In 2008 and 2009, a total of 2,000 turtles were released. Go along, see the work and lend your support. Donation.  edit

Taman Burung (Bird Park), 9AM-5PM daily. Sadly, this aviary is not as well kept as it was, and the formerly very popular komodo dragon died in 2007. Still worth a visit though, with a large range of birds present. Rp 50,000

Do
Diving
Blue Marlin, . This is the only dive shop actually on Gili Meno. It is a full blown operation though, with the same range of PADI courses and fun dives as are offered on the other islands.

Snorkelling
There are several good spots for snorkelling, and gear can hired at almost any cafe or hotel for about Rp 30,000. 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. 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), perhaps stationed at Good Heart Cafe with an ice cold Bintang.


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