Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Mon February 15 2016

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  • A Cruising Couple | February 15, 2016 9:00 PM ET

    Paradise Found: Gili Meno, Indonesia

    Paradise Found: Gili Meno, Indonesia

    Photo by A Cruising Couple

    If you’re looking for an idyllic island escape in Indonesia, then look no further than the Gili Islands. Nestled between Bali and Lombok, these isles are relatively easy to get to — while still feeling worlds away. There are three Gili Islands, each lovely for their own reasons. But for a pristine paradise unlike any you’ve seen before, don’t miss a stop at Gili Meno.

    Gili Meno - March 2013 - 014 

    Photo via Flickr/Sy Smith

    It’s no wonder Gili Meno is also referred to as “The Honeymoon Island.” From its secluded beaches to luxurious hideaways, the island oozes romance. Gili Meno is also the smallest and least developed of the three Gilis; you can circumnavigate the whole island by foot in just about an hour. As there is no motorized transport on the island, this certainly makes exploring it a bit more manageable!

    READ MORE: Gili T: Where Partying is the Rule, Not the Exception

    Admittedly, there isn’t much to do on Gili Meno, but that’s what makes it all the more wonderful. Our days were spent lounging on the powdery white beaches and snorkeling in the calm, sparkling water. An up-close encounter with a swimming sea turtle proved particularly memorable. As night rolled in, we went for long walks on the beach to enjoy the sunset. Perhaps cliche, but totally romantic all the same.

    Gili Meno - March 2013 - 085 

    Photo via Flickr/Sy Smith

    With nearly no nightlife to speak of, Gili Meno isn’t for everyone. But if you enjoy stargazing or joining in with locals who play guitar on the beach, you’re in for the time of your life. There are also plenty of local warungs and cafes where you won’t have any problem finding beer or fresh fruit cocktails.

    Of course, no mention of Gili Meno is complete without talking about the top-notch scuba diving. Whether you’ve been diving for years or you’re pursuing your first scuba certification, the conditions off the coast of Gili Meno are fantastic. Expect underwater encounters with creatures such as turtles, sharks, octopus and moray eels. There are numerous dive shops on the island, but Blue Marlin Dive is always a crowd favorite.

    snorkeling in gili meno

    Photo via Flickr/Francesco

    Should you find yourself in need of a change from Gili Meno’s ultra-relaxing setting, the other Gili Islands (Air and Trawangan) are easily accessible for a day trip. There are a few high-speed boat departures each day between the islands, as well as the possibility to charter a small private boat. Gili Trawangan is the most developed and well-known for its parties. Gili Air is a bit of a backpacker hub, known for its unique character. We opted for a quick trip to see Gili Trawangan, but found it wasn’t long until we were ready to head back to our secret hideaway at Gili Meno.

    Gili Meno

    Photo via Flickr/Nick Botter  

    For such a small and undeveloped island, Gili Meno boasts a surprising number of fantastic hotels. The MAHAMAYA Boutique Resort is easily the most luxurious. Beachfront villas, complimentary bicycles, a five-star staff and mouthwatering restaurant make it an easy choice.

    READ MORE: Gili Air: Slow Boat to Tropical Bliss

    For an intimate stay with a personable host, try Paul’s Last Resort. With only three, two-bedroom villas, a lovely pool and beautiful beach access, it’s a unique stay on an already unique island. On a backpacker budget at the time, we opted to stay at Gili Dream. Though a bit far from the beach, the bungalows were lovely, as were the friendly owners. There are a handful of lively restaurants on the beach just a short walk away.


    We hope Gili Meno will remain a serene escape for a long time to come, but as Bali and Lombok continue to attract more tourists, Gili Meno could change as well. We say get to paradise now and enjoy it while it remains the gem it is.

    Have you been to Gili Meno? What did you think?

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A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
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