Magu Bee at World's End

A travel blog of one crazy Magu Bee traveling the globe.

Gili Meno is one of three small islands located like drops of beautiful sandy beaches next to Lombok. It's a lot quieter than Gili Trawangan, and a bit less frequented than Gili Air. Its estimated population is about 300 :)

There's one dive shop, a couple of warungs (local bistros), some cottages, a small and very unimpressive turtle sanctuary. Although the idea behind the sanctuary and number of younglings they've safely released into the ocean sure are!

I was "based" on Gili T, but decided to go on a snorkel glass boat trip (small, a bit dirty and almost no visibility). Normally, you pay around 70-75k rupiah to take off in the morning, go to 3 snorkel spots inbetween the Gilis (with a short stop at Gili Air for some lunch/drinks, not included) and head back to Gili T in the afternoon. However, I had this idea of spending a night on a deserted beach, so decided to diss the group on Gili Air and wait a bit to take a local boat going to Gili Meno, where I was planning on staying till the next day.
The snorkel trip itself was not worth going for. One of the stops was supposed to be great for turtle watching. We even had one of the locals act as a guide and jump in the water with us, as he was supposed to show us the animals' spot, but was unsuccessful.

After having spent a couple of days on Gili T I was somewhat accustomed to the beautiful views, but Gili Meno still made quite an impression. There's really almost nobody there, and the tourists you meet there are not your typical crowd - I've seen mostly older couples with this spiritual and peaceful vibe or honeymooners looking for nothing but relax and a good book. Honestly, there are almost no facilities in here but I have never seen so many second-hand bookstores one next to another.

I was with a travel companion and we had some things with us that we didn't feel like carrying around. That's where the turtle sanctuary's owner comes into the picture. He also rents out snorkel gear, and I definitely wanted to see the marine life in the coral reef just steps away from the shore, so I took a mask and a tube from him (30k rupiah/day), and  he suggested we leave our things there. He asked where we were going to spend the night and I told him I wanted to sleep on the beach in my sleeping bag. He said it'd be ok for us to leave the things overnight in there. My companion was a bit freaked out in the beginning, as the things were out in the open and not locked away, but the guy said nobody was going to touch them. And no one did.

I really wished I had more time and money, as to get a PADI on one of the islands (Gilis are a huge diving center in the region, Gili Air's schools almost all in French, for example).

After some underwater time came dinner time. I strolled around and ended up in, what I think, was the last warung before you ended up taking the path leading around the island into the forest. Don't know many restaurants with a better view. The food in YaYa Warung was not bad at all, and as I later found out, the cheapest option available (10k for nasi goreng - fried rice). I dined there twice, the second time had about an hour-long talk with the owner/cook, while one of the local teenagers was playing some tunes on his guitar for us. We talked about how extremely different our lives were and how he couldn't imagine what living in a city like Warsaw must be like. Surprisingly enough, he knew some Polish words!

The turtle sanctuary
My spending the night on the beach turned out nothing like expected. Simply because come sunset, the beach started disappearing. Didn't take the tides into account...
So, I ended up sleeping inbewteen the roots of a huge tree next to the sanctuary. Somehow two of them formed some kind of a shape that was pretty comfortable. I fell asleep facing the water, listening to the sound of the waves and woke up just in time to see the most beautiful sunrise yet. The sky was amazingly red, orange and some other colours I cannot name. I just lay there in awe and it didn't occure to me to take pictures!  I realised that's what I should be doing but by the time I located my camera, the sky was back to its baby blue self.
It was around 5.30 and I wasn't sleepy anymore so decided to go for a morning run around the island. It didn't take long, as the island's really petite, but it was half an hour of happiness, the feeling of total freedom and the smell of life-long dreams coming true.

After the run, I had a quick breakfast and went for the last swim before heading back to Gili T. The water's really shallow there and you walk on the reef, which already in itself is ucomfrotable, especially when wearing fins. It was that much worse as there was a tide and the current was pretty strong. I was afraid I wouldn't see anything but luckily that wasn't the case. I even got more than I bargained for - while following some small cute fish I found turtles, and pretty big ones at that. Spent some time watching one of them have dinner and then started following another one around. Watching a turtle dive for air and then slowly go back under the water to search for food is somehow very serene.

Glili Meno is the central of all three islands. In the background you can see Lombok and Gili Air.

All in all, a great one day trip!