Gili Meno. Paradise still exists. Forget Bali, forget Lombok, go to the Gili Islands. White sandy beaches, palm trees and clear blue water, Gili Meno is one of the most beautiful islands that you will see in Indonesia, a true paradise. Calm, relaxed, with not too many tourists and beautiful nature. Both under water, with the coral reef, the turtles and all the coloured fish and above water, with the white sand, the jungle and the relaxed and comfortable restaurants on the beach.
,,Gili Meno is more relaxed than the other islands,’’ Fernando Esquivel (31) from Chili says. This young guy from South America quit his job to travel the world. ,,This island is an ideal place to come to yourself. To spend some time together with your soulmate and to deepen your relationship. Personally, I prefer this island to the other two islands. It is so beautiful here. The water is so clear and the sand is so white. It is amazing.’’
,,For me the Gili Gili Gili hostel, that is located on the middle of the island, is very special,’’ Esquivel says.
,,Everything in there is made with love and the place has an artistic flow. You can really see they put a lot of work in it. They did everything within their power to make it a nice and beautiful place. The Gili Gili Gili Hostel is so creative. It inspires me.’’
There are more nice things to see on Gili Meno. Pass by the local tattoo shop and get a bamboo tattoo. People travel from far to get a tattoo here. Or go to the Warung Buati and get some of the best local Gado Gado or Nasi Goreng, that you ever tasted in your life. The owner, who is known as Pak Man, is an inspiring guy from Java. He is 68 years old, but he still looks like fifty. He stays young by doing Tai Chi and karate. And if you get the chance, ask him for a massage. It might be a bit painful, but he can possibly influence your energy flow in a positive way.
,,I help people when they have a problem with their body,’’ Pak Man says. ,, An English guy had a problem that couldn’t be fixed by the American hospital. He came here and after six months his problem was solved.’’
The nicest thing for me, though, was to rent a bike and go around the island on my bike. That is a great way to see all its beauty. You can pass by all the different beaches, have a drink at a local restaurant, while you are sitting on a beanbag with your feet in the white sand. You can also jump in the ocean at any spot around the island to snorkel on the coral reef to discover the most beautiful fish in all different kinds of colours. Or go see the Japanese ship wreck or the Meno walland have a look at the local turtles that are swimming around. The snorkelling on Gili Meno is unreal! It is really fun to do and a great way to explore the magic of the world that is hidden under the water surface.
,,I have never enjoyed the snorkelling as much as on the Gili islands,’’ Natasha Smit says. ,,I have done some snorkelling before on Nusa Lembongan and even one Hawaii. But I have never seen so many different types of fish as on Gili Meno. I cycled around the island on a bike and I stopped at several snorkelling spots. I first entered the water near a spot called blue coral. I am a swimmer, so for me it was easy to swim out into the ocean. I saw fish in yellow and black (with a kind of tale), in bright purple and in blue. I don’t know which type of fish they were, but they were beautiful.’’
Smit was continuing her swim in the ocean when she saw from the corner of her eye a middle sized turtle swimming by. ,,That was amazing,’’ she said. ,,I have never seen anything like that before. That is actually not true, I have seen turtles before on Hawaii, but I have never been so near one. It just swam in front of me and I was able to follow it for a bit. Isn’t that great? Our mother nature is able to create the most beautiful creatures and out here you are able to see them from up close.’’
After snorkelling at the blue coral Smit continued her journey and stopped at another snorkelling and diving spot, called ‘Meno Wall.’ The diving school ‘Divine Divers’ is located here as well and you can book some fantastic diving courses. ,,Go there, book a diving course and see the secret of the underworld water,’’ Smit says. ,,I was not able to go diving because of my ear infection, but I know that it is beautiful down there. I went snorkelling at Meno Wall and that was already fantastic. The water there is very clear and blue and I saw quite a lot of fish. I spent half my day under water to see all the beauty that is below the water surface.’’
The most beautiful spot the Dutch woman discovered, was in front of the Diana café. Diana café is a lovely bar, where you can look at the sunset while listening to live music and sitting on a beanbag. ,,I loved that place,’’ Smit says. ,,It is such a fun, relaxing bar and it is located right at the ocean. It was great to just sit there and have a look at the ocean. But the best part for me was the snorkelling there. If you want to see a lively and vibrating coral reef,go snorkelling near Diana Café! That coral reef is really on another level. It has so many different colours (green, purple, etc.) and it attracts a lot of fish that are swimming around it and feeding themselves on all the plants that grow there. That snorkelling spot is unreal and you don’t want to miss it!’’
Another place that you want to see on Gili Meno is the salt water lake. In the beginning the lake looks a bit dirty and muddy, but if you are brave enough to walk on the small, wooden pier, you will see its true beauty. ,,That lake is so peaceful,’’ Fernando Esquivel says. ,,We walked on the pier and we sat in the middle of the lake. There was nothing around us and we could only hear the sounds of the birds and the wind. We spent a few hours there, breathing in the fresh air that is coming from the ocean. The lake is located at the heart of the island and you can feel its energy. We stayed out there until the sun went down and that was a beautiful view. The whole lake just turned orange and that was a very special moment. Those moments are the reason why I travel. To see such beautiful places, with a few wonderful people that I have just met. That made me feel alive.’’