To most people the notion of a tropical island conjures up images of sandy beaches, crystal clear turquoise water, small clusters of bungalows nestled amongst towering coconut trees swaying in the wind and small alcoves where it is possible to spend time with someone special free of interruption.
For years the folks on Gili Trawangan, the self proclaimed party island of the three Gili’s off the north-west coast of Lombok, have referred to their nearest neighbour, Gili Meno, as the place to go if you want to imitate Robinson Crusoe, The Blue Lagoon, or Swiss Family Robinson (sans tree-house). In fact, up until a couple of years ago Gili Meno didn’t even have its own power generating station.
While the island now boasts 24-hour electricity, development has not accelerated at the same rate as it has on Gili Trawangan. Shady, sheltered alcoves leading up to white sandy beaches dissolving into clear turquoise coloured water still abound.
Plenty of space
Unlike the large heavily developed central part of Gili Trawangan, the harbour area of Gili Meno stretches barely a few hundred metres before petering out into a meandering walking track that circumnavigates the island, weaving its way along the foreshore past numerous, but well spaced out bungalows.
Whereas most of the accommodation on Gili Trawangan is built from brick, most of the bungalows on Gili Meno are constructed from more traditional materials such as coconut poles, woven bamboo panels (bedek) and alang-alang (a type of woven grass) roofs.
This should not by any stretch of the imagination be interpreted as meaning the accommodation is rudimentary or lacking in creature comforts.
Rooms with air conditioning, hot water (if you must) and the ubiquitous western toilet and bath tubs are all available.
While the restaurants on Gili Meno offer a more limited range of food than the more commercialised eating houses found on Gili Trawangan, the meals are appetising and the dining very relaxed.
Snorkeling and diving are both well catered for on the island, while some of the local young men can often be found surfing the reef at the south-west end of the island.
A walk back from the beach into the kampung (village) reveals a spread out village that provides the local inhabitants with extremely low density living spread over gentle rolling plains punctuated by towering coconut trees dotted with grazing cows and goats.
As with all three of the Gili’s, everywhere a visitor walks they are greeted with the happy smiling faces of local children who all seem happy to just say “hello” before dissolving into shy bouts of laughter.
While the bars and nightclubs on Gili Trawangan are legendary for their parties and club like atmosphere, on Gili Meno the nights are considerably more sedate and perfectly suited to those wanting a more intimate and personal holiday.
No big screen TV, no self styled cinema, and no choose-your-own DVD libraries. In many ways boring. In many ways a perfect place to getaway from the stresses, strains and pressures of modern western living and discover (or rediscover) that special someone in your life, even if that special someone is yourself.
And if things get too quiet, you can always catch the island hopping boat or charter your own across to Gili Trawangan for a night or two of partying and then return to the more peaceful and tranquil surrounds of Gili Meno to recover.
Feature photo Three sixty guides
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- Former Lombok penal colony is holiday hotspot
- Lombok vet takes conservation lead
- Knights on horseback and sea worms feature in Sumba Pasola festival
- Trawangan dive school coral regrowth project encouraging
- Traditions and cultures merge as Indonesia’s wedding month begins in Lombok (video)
- Hell on Earth: inside Indonesia’s Mount Ijen volcano photo special (gallery)
He has spent extensive periods of time working in Africa and throughout Southeast Asia, with stints in the Middle East, the USA, and England.
He has covered major world events including Operation Desert Shield/ Storm, the 1991 pillage in Zaire, the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the 1999 East Timor independence unrest, the 2004 Asian tsunami, and the 2009, 2010, and 2014 Bangkok political protests.
In 1995 he was a Walkley Award finalist, the highest awards in Australian journalism, for his coverage of the 1995 Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) Ebola outbreak.
Most recently he was the Thailand editor/ managing editor of AEC News Today . Prior to that he was the deputy editor and Thailand and Greater Mekong Sub-region editor for The Establishment Post, predecessor of Asean Today.
In the mid-80s and early 90s he owned JLF Promotions, the largest above and below the line marketing and PR firm servicing the high-technology industry in Australia. It was sold in 1995.
Opinions and views expressed on this site are those of the author’s only. Read more at About me
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