It’s here! Our long promised Gili Meno travel guide. An island we fall in love with over and over again. Below we curated our best tips and places to stay for your next trip here!
We visited the island for a tropical getaway last July with our friends Yenny and Anne and to shoot our new Take me to Bali collection for our online shop The Islandlife Store (if you haven’t seen it yet, have a look here:).
So, let’s do this! Our curated mini guide:
About Gili Meno
Gili Meno is the middle one of the three Gili Islands. Known as ‘the honeymoon island’, cause it’s SUPER romantic, laid back and a secluded slice of paradise. Perfect for all day cuddles and smooching away into the sunset while tanning, relaxing and being spoiled. You’ll notice absolutely nothing of the outside world, exactly what you need in life some time.
Gili Meno and Gili Air are the two smaller islands next to Gili Trawangan. This last one we all know as the party island. Where you can boogie all night long in the sand between backpackers, beachbums and ‘masroom’ bars (note: on the west and north side you’ll still find the serene island vibe! See our Gili Trawangan Guide here). Gili Air is similar to Gili Meno, also a truly laid back, slowmode vibes kinda island.
Regardless of its lovers only image, Meno is not only perfect for the lovebirds, but perfect for anyone looking for their own blue lagoon days, filled with nothing but sunkissed hours, the sound of the ocean, salty feet and tropical memories. Whether you’re solo traveling, a group of friends or young family (super kid friendly!). We don’t wanna choose faves, but secretly, we do. Gili Meno we love you, hihi.
// How to get there
There are 2 options to get to Gili Meno. The first is to book a boat to Gili Trawangan from Sanur or Serangan, get off board and book a local boat to Gili Meno at the harbor. Go for Gili Getaway, great service and free pick-up from your hotel in Bali.
What we did this trip to make it as easy as possible: we took a direct boat from Padangbai to Gili Meno Ekajaya. It departs from Padangai, which takes about 1,5 drive from Seminyak and then another 1,5 hours by boat to get to Gili Meno (it does do a little stop at Trawangan to drop passengers of). It includes arranging your pick-up and drop-off at your hotel in Bali. Padangbai harbor can be quite hectic though, and the boat is quite big, so watch your belongings, and be on time, Sanur is a way more relaxed departure harbor.
Tip: Seasick easy like us? Take the seats in the back, it helps. And go for the window seat or upper deck to spot Dolphins.
// Getting around
Bicycles! (At this part we Dutchies go crazy of excitement hehe). There are no cars and motorbikes allowed on the island, so biking is your way to get around. Cruising around the island’s coastline takes about 1 hour. We rented the bicycles near Avia Villas, but you can rent them anywhere on the island.
// Where to stay
Absolutely every place looks incredible on this island, so you can’t really go wrong. Most stays are basic and cheap. But there are a few resorts that offer a bit more upscale experience. We stayed at 3 different places this time on Gili Meno, each of which we LOVED and will definitely go back to in the future and would recommend to all of you.
Stay 1: AVIA Villa Resort
Tropical bungalows and villas with private pool right on the beach. We stayed in a 2 bedroom villa with our own pool, where we literally stepped out the door on the sand, in the ocean. The staff is all smiles and super kind and helpful. AVIA Villa Resort is filled with colorful Bougainville’s, it’s so so so beautiful. There is a poolside and beachfront restaurant, on the beach you can relax all day on the sun beds and sip on coconuts. Perfect place for little ones too!
Stay 2: Seri Resort
A little piece of paradise on earth! If you’re reading this and planning a little upscale getaway, romantic adventure or honeymoon, this is your place. Think white sand beach, basking in the sun all day, dipping in the pool, snorkeling with turtles out front in the turquoise ocean, friendliest people, dinner on the sand underneath the stars. Islandlife is truly good at Seri Resort!
Stay 3: This breathtaking Gili Meno beach house on Airbnb!
We spotted this incredible ocean front house on Airbnb. The only house on the island actually ON the beach and looking at nothing but the infinite horizon of the sea and the sky. It’s one room, with a sun deck and the most incredible bath room we’ve ever seen. The pictures will say it all, haha. From the bed you can watch the sun rise (yup, pretty romantic hey!).It’s located next to Karma Reef Resort, and a few minutes’ walk from the harbor. Owner Sam came to meet us and hand over the key, super friendly and kind! We must say, this has been one of the most unique island stays we’ve ever been and if you have the chance to stay here, do!
And, if you’re with a bigger group of friends or family, we spotted this incredible house next to Seri Resort: The Robinson Crusoe House, from The Island Houses. It’s on our bucket list to stay here next time for sure!
// To Eat
When on Gili Meno, you have to make yourself it as easy as possible. Go with the flow and eat don’t move too much :). It’s not a real foodie kinda island, you’ll find great local food and each bungalow, resort or villa restaurant offers great fries. And that’s about it haha. So that’s exactly what we did.
- AVIA Villa Resort: go for the vegetable curry with rice. We ate it every lunch and dinner, haha. Great salads on the menu as well!
- Seri Resort: they have fresh ocean BBQ every night, and the rest of the menu is also great! We went for the gado gado and fresh veggies. Always good!
- Karma Reef Resort: perfect for a night out or lunch on the beach. A bit fancy (read: small) dishes but super yummy.
- We ordered fresh kelapas (young coconuts) somewhere on the beach at a random beach hut and found a spot in the shade to enjoy it. Life is good.
// To Do
- Rent bicycles and go cruise the island, take plenty kelapa pitstops (you can rent bikes everywhere on the island, just ask for the closest one from where you’re staying). Take turns inlands to get lost in amazing coconut tree fields.
- In the middle of the island, there’s also a lake (!), you can bike or take a walk here
- Beach days for life! The whole island is surrounded by white sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters perfect for tanning, snoozing, mermaiding, snorkling and diving. Grab a beach bed, hammock or little piece of sand in the shade for the perfect beach day.
- Visit the turtle sanctuary, where eggs and baby turtles are nurtured and protected until they’re a few months old and ready to be set free in the sea. We we’re super lucky cause we we’re able to release the baby turtles when we we’re there! See all our photos here from the baby turtle release on Gili Meno.
- Snorkle with the Meno turtles! (see photos and video’s of our last turtle point snorkling trip here) At Turtle point in front of Seri Resort you can go in the water, or book a tour (or our guide Mario was the best! Call him and tell ‘m that you got his contact from us: +62 8 7865262257) PS. Watch out for the sea urgins, our friend Anne stepped on one :( not very pleasant we can say.
- Swing at Avia Villas! At the left of Avia Villas (when facing the ocean) there’s this cute swing that you can see on our pictures. Can’t leave the Gili’s without a little swing action. And the one on Seri Resort is also cute :)
- Surfing: on the east side of the island you can surf when the swell is up. (Watch the reef:)
- Watch every sunrise and sunset – and nap in between.
That’s it, hope you loved! Enjoy our photo diary and dream away with us :))
PS. Also planning a trip to Gili Trawangan? Check our Gili Trawangan travel tips here.
Island jalan jalan in Cantik Swim
The small Gili Meno harborAirBnb Beach House
Hope you loved our tips! Are you planning a tropical getaway to Gili too? Let us know your questions or any other tips in the comments!
-x- Eve & Pris
PS. For Gili Trawangan trips. check out our Gili Trawangan travel tips here!