Relax on paradise perfection
The Leisure's guide to the ultimate Indonesian island destination, Gili Meno and Gili Air
Only a stone throw away from Bali’s mainland, located off the northwest coast of Lombok, sits the Gili islands - Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. Surrounded by turquoise sea and fringed by white sand, the three Gili’s are postcard paradise. With travellers often flocking to the party island that is Gili Trawangan, we explore the quieter shores of Gili Meno and Gili Air.
Often referred to as the honeymoon island, Gili Meno offers travellers a relaxed atmosphere away from the fast paced vibe of Bali’s mainland. Whilst Gili Trawangan and Gili Air have seen an increase in tourism and development, Gili Meno remains unspoilt, simple and beautiful.
WHAT TO EAT:
Food Carts - Whether you’re travelling on a budget or looking to experience a taste of Indonesia, street food carts are the perfect option. Although street carts can be a risk for the stomach (stay away Bali Belly) the food is delicious and cheap! Taste local cuisine by enjoying a mix of beans, spices, vegetables and rice.
Sasak Cafe - A quaint bamboo and thatch island hut is home to some of the best food on Gili Meno. For as little as $6 you can feast on a range of epic eats such as burgers, noodle and rice dishes. Sasak Cafe is also a great sunset hangout - pull up one of the many bean bags assembled on the nearby beach and enjoy the evening with cheap drinks and good food.
Seri Resort - One of the more luxe locations on the island, Seri Resorts looks out onto the white sands, turquoise bays, serene beach life and coral gardens of Gili Meno. Laze on one of the many day beds sprawled on the beach and enjoy a range of nibbles or head up to the third floor and enjoy a fancy meal of freshly caught fish that is grilled to perfection. Plus, for dessert sit back and watch the sunset with an after dinner Shisha.
WHAT TO DO:
Due to lower tourism rates, Gili Meno has been able to preserve is beaches and now boasts the best coastal spots across the three Gili islands. Due to the beaches clear water and preserved natural habitat, Gili Meno is the perfect location to snorkel and scuba your day away.
With nothing but a simple snorkel you are guaranteed a good time. Visit the turtle sanctuary, an assortment of pools and bathtubs on the beach that are filled with baby green and loggerhead turtles. Turtles are kept here until they’re around eight months old and then released into the wild.
For scuba lovers, Meno wall is a must! The wall runs 5-16m deep and has multiple nooks and crannies for divers to explore. Whilst near the wall make sure you also check out Bounty - a sunken pier and one of the Gilis few ‘wrecks.’ Explore remnants of the old vessel whilst also sharing the space with many sea creatures including crabs, lobsters, shrimps, turtles, and much more.
Gili Air, the ‘chill-out’ island, is the perfect balance between Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno. From good eateries, uncrowded beaches, casual bars and stunning scenery, Gili Air is island paradise.
EAT AND DRINK
Mirage Bar and Bakery - yes you read that right, this spot not only offers a full english breakfast to fulfil all your brunch needs but it also does alcoholic beverages. Winning! If you’re exploring the northern side of the island, stop here a breakfast fix, continue on for a day of adventuring and finish up back here for a sunset drink.
For fresh seafood and a delicious seafood BBQ hit up Scallywags. Scallywags Beach Club offers relaxing sun loungers, refreshing cocktails, a beautiful beach and stunning cool blue water, as well as, the islands largest selection of fresh fish that is cooked to perfection on their beach side BBQ
If you’re looking for an Italian fix, check out Pura Vida. A stylish bamboo bar that offers live music, wood-fire oven pizzas and a beautiful view of the islands sunset. If Italian isn’t your thing try The Mexican Kitchen. You guessed it, they serve Mexican inspired cuisine. With a stunning pool garden serving up fresh, organic food - this is an easy and delicious food option!
WHAT TO DO
The easiest way to explore Gili Air is by foot or bike. Cycle your way around the island and discover some of the islands best spots to stop and watch the glorious sunrise and sunset.
Similarly to Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan, Gili Air is the perfect location for water sports. Check out Blue Marine Dive Resort and try your arm at snorkeling, diving, stand up paddle boarding and kite surfing. Blue Marine offer courses, recreational diving and snorkeling excursions. Providing all the equipment, an amazing location, plus an onsite cafe, this is the one stop shop for all your Gili Air activities.
If you’ve had enough of water sports check out Blue Marine’s yoga classes. Take in the amazing sunrise views over Mount Rinjani during the morning flow classes and enjoy the sea breeze as you gaze out onto the ocean during the evening classes. For more experienced and adventurous yogis, try your hand at stand up paddle board yoga. Your abs will be on fire!