There are three islands that make up the Gili Islands, off the north-east coast of Lombok. Gili T is well-known as the party island. What is less known is that there is a great kid-friendly option in the Gili Island group, Gili Meno. We spent five nights there and it was surprisingly family-friendly. You can also read about our adventure getting here.
Playing on the beach
The Gili islands are all skirted by beautiful beaches, that are particularly wide and white. Most kids would play at the beach all day if you let them, well ours would! All you need is a few buckets and spades, and the kids should be captivated by the soft sand, the warm water, and the few small waves. Many of the beaches here have coral too, so this adds a bonus play item!!
Glass Bottom Boat Ride
Although Olive could join in the snorkelling from the beach, the boys were missing out. We decided to embark on a snorkel trip on a glass bottom boat, this way the little kids had something to look at while the big kids (and Olive) went snorkelling. We negotiated a reasonable price, as there are many spruikers trying to get us on their boat. We paid about $60 for a 3 hour tour of several snorkelling spots around the island. It was a great trip, we saw colourful fish and coral in abundance, as well as a large turtle which we managed to follow for a few minutes. Unfortunately it got away before Olive saw it under the water. There was also great viewing of a large boat wreck.
Near the centre of the island is the Meno Bird Park. This park was quite well set up for a small island like this one. It had a range of colourful birds on display, but also a large crocodile, monitor lizard, and deer. It was somewhat interesting, but a little overpriced for what it was.
Baby Turtles at the Turtle Sanctuary
A very friendly little place, with lovely hosts right near to where we were staying. They survive mostly on donations, and the place has been transformed over recent years. They have four main tanks with baby turtles of differing size and age in each. Bolong, the local who runs it, releases them to the ocean when they are old enough.
Riding a Cimodo
Horse and carts are a great eco-way to get around (the only way really other than by foot!). Although it was not cheap, it was great fun for the kids riding in the back.
The restaurants on Gili Meno are mostly family friendly as they are usually located right on the beach, so the adults can sit and have their meal, beer or coffee, while the kids play, yay all round! Most restaurants are very westernised, so there is usually something on the menu for the kids. Pizza was a common choice for us, though being part of Muslim Indonesia, there was no ham for our Hawaiian Pizzas. Oh and if you want the food spicy you have to ask.
It’s Quiet and Low Key
And the best thing about Gili Meno is that it is quiet. There are no dogs, no cars and no motorbikes. Very safe, and a great spot for relaxing.