The Gili Islands, particularly Gili Meno, are probably one of the most stunning places I have visited! There are 3 Islands altogether; Gili Trawangan (the party island), Gili Meno (the quiet island) and Gili Air (the inbetweener).
We went to Gili Air first of all which was probably for the best because it was our least favourite of the three. Gili Air’s meant to be the laid back island with a hint of fun but it just didn’t grab us while we were there. A lot of the places to eat and sleep along the main front strip seemed horrendously overpriced and even the ones inland weren’t offering rooms that were good value.
The beach on Gili Air was also by far the worst out of the three and we did walk up and down to try and find the best spots! At first sight it looked beautiful but it was impossible to walk in and out of the sea without serious foot pain from stepping on the mountains of broken coral! That meant we had great difficulty in getting out to the reef to snorkel unfortunately! We found ourselves splurging a bit more than usual on Gili Air to overcompensate for the lack of love we were feeling for the island! We stayed in a lovely little resort which was good value even though it had a pool and we found a lovely place called Scallywags to dine right on the beach which was a nice treat!
Gili Meno is the very mellow middle island and we were hoping it was going to be our sort of paradise as we had heard that not many people actually make the short trip to stay on Meno, preferring to day hop it from the other 2. As a result it was less touristy and even though it isn’t as established and built up as Gili A & T, we certainly preferred it.
It had all the ambiance of a secret desert island, cheap places to stay and eat, fantastic snorkelling and the most beautiful serene beaches I have ever laid eyes on. It was more than perfect and as a result we found ourselves repeatedly extending our time on the island. We didn’t particularly do very much as there isn’t many activities to pursue on Gili Meno unless we fancied snorkelling or scuba diving, however we were quite content to while our days away doing nothing more than relaxing!
Originally we were going to skip right past Gili Trawangan as we just didn’t think it would be our scene right at that time as we were in full chill out mode. Bearing in mind you can hear the music thumping off Gili T from the sunset side of Gili Meno we thought it was best to give it a miss. However somehow in the midst of island hopping to get to our next destination we found ourselves on Trawangan and we decided to give it a couple of days to wow us.
Surprisingly we actually loved it, maybe it was because we had experienced our fair share of quiet beach paradise and the bustling busy strip along Trawangan was just what we needed! We found that the accommodation and food was not nearly as expensive as we thought and we found a good value room a lot easier than we had on Gili Air!
The snorkelling on Gili T was fantastic too and we finally chanced upon seeing a wild turtle as we were swimming in the north east of the island! We were ecstatic as the Gili’s are meant to be “the turtle capital of the world” so we had been previously disappointed at the lack of turtle presence!
All in all the Gili’s had turned out to be the highlight of our Indonesia trip, they seem to offer a little something for everyone whether it be a bit of luxury in the five star resorts that we drooled over many a time or a budget value room for us lowly backpackers!