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Gili Meno is the middle of the three gilis (the word means ‘small islands’ in Sasak).
Gili Meno is the middle of the three gilis (the word means ‘small islands’ in Sasak).

Need a break from Bali? Try Gili Meno, a quiet Indonesian island paradise Add to ...

There really isn’t much to buy on Gili Meno, so bring what you’ll need: sunscreen, hats, maybe a towel or two, lots of reading material and batteries. And a lot of cash – there’s no ATM and no one takes credit cards.


Fly into Bali’s Denpansar International Airport and then you have two choices: either a bus to the coast, where you can take one of the speedboat services to Lombok and the Gilis, or another short flight to Lombok, a two-hour drive and then a brief boat tip off the north of Lombok. The speedboats cost about $35 a person, and leave only in the morning. You can book local connections through Travelindo.com, whom we found very helpful. They don’t take foreign credit cards but we used PayPal with no problem.


The best place, by far, is Villa Sayang, a two-bedroom house set in a huge, lush garden. Hosts Sylvia and Saleh live on the other side of the hedge, and can help with anything you need, from money-changing to ferry tickets to milk for breakfast. $75 a night, in cash.

Other options to consider: Villa Nautilus, set in a verdant garden, has air conditioning and is well-maintained. The Royal Reef is basic but right at the water’s edge with a trillion-dollar view. And try to stay on the east side of the island, where the view is better and you don’t get noise blown across the water from the largest Gili island.


Gili Meno has only one proper restaurant – with tables and chairs – the high-design and pricey Mahamaya Boutique Resort. The rest are palm-thatched lapas where you sprawl on pillows, stare out to sea and eat off a low table.

The Jetty Bar is strategically positioned right at the shoreline of the island’s best snorkelling reef. The ingredients in their coconut-banana shake are plucked while you wait.

The Sunset Gecko has charming staff, an excellent tuna steak and an unbeatable view of the sunset.

Rusty’s is at Gili Meno’s main dock, and consequently a “busy” spot – if you’d call a half-dozen guests busy. Amazing fish kebabs made with the catch of the day.

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