Gili Meno is the meat in the sandwich of the three Gili Islands off Lombok.
Gili Meno is an island in Indonesia, the middle of Lombok’s three Gilis. It has a population of about 400, mainly concentrated on the center of the island. The main income of the population 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.
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 is imported daily. Electricity is supplied by generators, although there are plans for renewable energy sources to be developed. There are also no cars or motorbikes and only a limited number of tourist accommodation options.
With a population of just 300, Gili Meno is the mellowest of the three islands, and certainly the most in-tune with a desert island ethic. The beaches are much nicer than you will find on Gili Trawangan and Gili Air.Orientation
A coastal path leads all the way around the island, and can be covered at a very leisurely pace in 90 minutes. Most of the tourist facilities, including the boat arrival and departure point, are on the southern part of the east coast.
There is a lake on the western side of the middle of the island. This is sometimes quite full, and at others very dry. It is though always very saline.
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 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 15,000
Gili Meno to Bangsal 1 way is Rp 15,000
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.
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 2500,000, return Rp 4500,000
Gili Meno to Bangsal 1 way is Rp 250,000, return Rp 4500,000
Gili Meno to Senggigi 1 way is Rp 5000,000, return Rp 8000,000
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.