The Gili Islands

Gili Meno
We knew we were going to enjoy our time at Gili Meno as the boat we took from Lombok landed at what could only be described as “Paradise”.

Gili Meno is one of three islands that make up the Gili’s (Gili Air, Meno and Trawangan) located around half an hour east by boat from Bangsal Harbour, Lombok. Meno the smallest and most quiet of the three islands, is a place most people come for quiet time or to snorkel/ dive the islands many beautiful coral reefs. You can walk a full lap of its coast in around an hour (if you can handle the heat!), and it was also a pleasant surprise to notice on arrival that the only means of transport on the Island and in fact on all of the Gili’s is either by a small horse and cart or by push bike.

The accommodation we stayed in was pretty unique, it was based around one of the traditional Lumbung buildings once used to house rice off the ground and away from moisture, but the area for the rice had only side walls (no front and back panels) allowing sunlight and a sea breeze to flow through from the beach immediately in-front. It was also a nice treat to fall asleep under the protection of a mosquito net only listening to the sound of the ocean and the calls of the local crickets and birds.

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Our boat leaving for Gili Meno, Lombok in the background.

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The traditional Lumbung with a modern twist

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Our own beach

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Rachel in her element.

Snorkelling & Diving
On our first day we decided to get some Snorkels and fins and go out and see what was living in the crustal clear turquoise waters. We were amazed to see many different types of Marine fish then blown away when we noticed a big hawks head turtle very casually and elegantly swim by. We were both pretty excited to have seen such a beautiful creature out in the wild in its natural habitat.

Inspired by what we had already seen we thought it would be crazy not to see what lies a little deeper in the water and so booked ourselves onto a beginners diving course. This involved being taught some of the basic skills and hand signals required to communicate underwater, and showed us how to use the equipment needed to dive. I immediately felt comfortable under the water but Rachel was a little more nervous, although by the end of the session we were both happily swimming along enjoying the beautiful corals and marine life. After the initial dive I was really keen to get in the water again so asked if I could join them on the boat for an afternoon diving at Halik Reef just north of Gili.T. The dive took me down to 12m with a visibility of around 20m, I was spoilt rotten by the number of different fish and marine life on offer including a shole of Big Bumphead Parrot Fish, Lion Fish, Scorpian Fish, Manta Rays & Hawks-head Turtles to name a few!

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The diving boat – preparing to go under.

Gili Trawangan
After a couple more days of snorkelling and quiet time we decided to head across to Gili Trawangan the livelier of the islands. A harsh contrast to Meno to say the least, Gili.T was much busier, louder and had a lot more amenities that Meno didn’t have – but had a cash machine we were in need of! The snorkelling was still good here if you went out early morning when their wasn’t many fishing / shuttle boats going by, and being so close to Meno meant we still had the same beautiful turquoise waters surrounding us. After a couple of nights we were ready to move on to finish our trip in Bali, where we are to fly home from. Rather then face the dreaded Kuta beach we had heard so much about (nothing good what so ever) we decided to go back to the calm of Ubud for our final two nights.

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