A short and sweet 45 minute boat trip from Bali’s Padang Bay will get you to the incredible Gili Islands which border the north west corner of neighbouring island, Lombok. The Gili’s are made up of three idyllic islands where the powdery white sand is like silica crystals, the water is sparkling clear and a civilisation where no cars or motorbikes exist. I spent most of my time on Gili Meno relaxing before meeting up with some friends from home on Gili T. 

Recommended by other backpackers I made friends with back in Ubud Bali, I had to check out the Gili Meno Eco Hostel the moment I saw the snaps of it! I had visioned the way of life there being tranquil and chilled, and how right I was! Time is something which just doesn't exist on this island and everyone is so relaxed. I spent the mornings getting up at 6am to climb up to the top deck of the wooden rooftop, ready to watch the sun rise over the crystal blue sea and over Bali's Mt. Agung in the background. 


The beds are surprisingly comfortable but being completely outside, the mosquito nets can’t always fully protect you from all creepy crawlies. But if you’ve been backpacking prior to this, you will have made some sort of thick skin from encounters with insects and at the end of the day nothing will kill you (well fingers crossed it doesn't anyway).

A nights stay is around £9 which is totally reasonable but note, staying here is extremely basic and the concept of it being a Eco Hostel means you will be using a degradable toilet and showering with sea water…

The only bad experience I had at the Gili Meno Eco Hostel was making the rookie error of leaving a open packet of crisps in my bag which was left on the floor for a good few hours… Only resulting in what can only be summed up as a swarm of thousands and thousands of red ants absolutely everywhere, like nothing I had ever seen before - not even on a David Attenborough animal documentary! My bag having my phone, passport, go pro AND wallet in, I was uncomfortable leaving all of this out at night and letting all the ants slowly migrate out themselves, just in case something got stolen. So what at the time felt like a Im A Celeb Get Me Out of Here challenge, I was trying to get everything out but at the same time trying to get bitten the least whilst in the pitch black. It was most definitely a experience I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. 

The island itself is just as gorgeous as the pictures on the internet make out, but the amount of washed up dead coral on some of the shore lines was a real shame. Speaking to a local about the dead coral, they mentioned it was due to climate change, but I couldn't help feel as if the tourist ridden island of Gili T (only a few hundred metres away) didn't help with tourists killing the coral by just stepping on it!
Meno also is a big breeding ground for turtles, just below is 80 turtles rescued for hatching too far inland making them vulnerable to predators. Here they will be looked after until they are old enough to fend for themselves.

Gili T
The most developed, the liveliest and the largest of all three islands, Gili T is perfect for those who like to party. The island has a friendly vibe and everyone is keen to get to know another, each night a different bar or dive centre hosts a party, so everyone ends up in the same place. Ideal for those who are travelling alone or those looking to mingle and party, not so ideal for those who don’t enjoy wild nights out. 

Gili Meno
The quietest of all three islands is Gili Meno and when I say its quiet, it is quiiiiiieeet. My time here was prolonged for I made the error of staying at the time when Ramadan had just ended and it was Eid celebrations which meant no boat services were running at all. So I was quite literally stranded on this island! Besides getting stuck here, there are a handful of restaurants and bars, but the main attraction to this island is the escape you get from civilisation as soon as you step foot on that beach. Perfect for those longing for a relaxation escape or those wanting to live like a hippie - think sunset views with Bob Marley tunes. 

Gili Air
The smallest of all three islands and the best way to describe this island is by imagining Gili T mixed with Gili Meno as it has the perfect balance of both. A little more sociable and built up compared to Gili Meno, this island is perfect for those who are visiting with friends or a loved one. Arguably the best beaches of all three islands are here and the least amount of dead coral is washed up on the beaches (a real problem for the Gili Islands).

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