Gili Meno

written in collaboration with mahli974 (6 spots)

The three tiny Gili Islands, fringed by turquoise waters and coral reefs, are among the most popular tourist destinations in Indonesia, and certainly one of the best snorkeling area in Southeast Asia. The crystal-clear waters of these paradisiacal islands, where turtle-watching is the star attraction, are the guarantee of exceptional snorkeling experiences. Sandwiched between Gili Air and Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno (only 2 kilometers long) is the smallest and less developed island of the archipelago.

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How to get there?

There are dozens of speedboat and ferry services to get to Gili Meno, mainly from Lombok (Bangsal) and Bali (via Gili Trawangan). Inter islands boats transferts are also available (from/to Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan). Contact the different companies for up-to-date information.

Water entrance

You can enter the water anywhere along the sandy beach.

You can do snorkeling all around Gili Meno, continually surrounded by coral reefs, but we particularly recommend you the area on the map below, known for the richness of its marine life and the regular presence of two species of sea turtles.

Aerial view


The spot to explore covers a 150 to 200 meters-wide area between the beach and the reef drop-off. At this point, when starting from the beach, you will cross a few dozen yards of sandy areas and seagrass (↕0.5-2m), then a sea bed covered with coral (↕2-3m) as far as the reef drop-off (+6m).

The sea turtles are practically unmissable on this spot. Two species, the green sea turtle and the hawksbill sea turtle, are mostly observed in the coastal waters of the island, sometimes just 5 to 10 meters from the beach. They use to feed on the sea grass, but you can also meet them on the coral areas along the drop-off, especially at high tide.

Snorkeling Report - Hawksbill sea turtle in Gili Meno
Hawksbill sea turtle at Gili Meno © photo credit Mahli974

In Gili Meno, like on the two other Gili islands, the turtles have been long used to human presence and can be easily approached and observed. Avoid disturbing them, which come to the area to feed and rest: don't chase after turtles, don't touch them, and leave them enough room when they come up to the surface to breathe.

While snorkeling with sea turtles is the star attraction on the island, the other richness of the site should not be overlooked. Along a strip of ten or so meters along the reef drop-off, the spectacle is at its finest! Soft and hard corals (even if some areas are suffering of human pressure) covers the seabed. Move along in parallel with the beach and here and there you will come across shoals of surgeonfish, sunburst butterflyfish, groups of sea goldies, or even (if you are lucky), three-banded clownfish (amphiprion ocellaris) in their sea anemone.

The reefs were damaged in the past and are slowly regaining their former glory. Don’t touch the coral and be careful not to break it with your swim fins. Watch out for boats that come and go on this site when you are exploring the drop-off area.

Restaurants and accommodation

On Gili Meno, you’ll find countless beachside hotels, bungalows, cafés, bars and restaurants.

Snorkeling Report gives the most precise tips possible about the snorkeling spots and potential dangers, but each one of us is responsible for our own safety in the water. For more information, take a look at the snorkeling safety page. If you want to add extra information or make any corrections to the spot descriptions, please contact us.

Spot’s weather forecasts (°C)

Spot tips

  • Type of spot
  • Level of difficulty
    All levels
  • Maximum depth
  • Water entrance
    Easy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential Dangers
    Boats crossing in the area
  • Visitor numbers
  • Access costs
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Public toilets & showers

Spot map

Spot photos

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Underwater spot photos

Species you may spot while snorkeling Gili Meno

Common name Scientific name Abundance Fishbase Wikipedia
Hawksbill sea turtle
Eretmochelys imbricata
Green sea turtle
Chelonia mydas
Blackback butterflyfish
Chaetodon melannotus
Ornate butterflyfish
Chaetodon ornatissimus
Sunburst butterflyfish
Chaetodon kleinii
Raccoon butterflyfish
Chaetodon lunula
Green Chromis
Chromis viridis
Whitetail dascyllus
Dascyllus aruanus
Indo-Pacific sergeant
Abudefduf vaigiensis
Scissortail sergeant
Abudefduf sexfasciatus
Moorish idol
Zanclus cornutus
Barred thicklip wrasse
Hemigymnus fasciatus
Clown surgeonfish
Acanthurus lineatus
Bicolor cleaner wrasse
Labroides bicolor
Sixbar wrasse
Thalassoma hardwicke
Convict surgeonfish
Acanthurus triostegus
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You encountered a specie at this spot that is not listed here?
  • Julie Dewis

    I have spent nearly two days trying to work out the best place to snorkel from the beach on Gili Meno. I want to book my accomodation accordingly. There are such conflicting reviews. Some say the best is at Turtle Point on the beach from the south east corner, some say at south west in front of sunset lodge others say in front of Mamamaya on the North West can someone please tell me where it is best to snorkel from the beach at Meno???? Or is it a case that the although the best snorkeling is to the east, the coral beach is hard to walk on and the best white sandy beaches to swim from are on the west?? Really only have two nights on Meno in January. I want to snorkel from the beach and see turtles and colourful fish. Not so worried about seeing the coral.

  • Megs An Roger Kendall

    I have been coming to Gilli Meno for the last 36 years. After travelling the world and snorkeling in many places I arrived here to my paradise, in the beginning spending 6 to 9 months at a time on the island, the only accommodation (started by Graham the Australian) who convinced me to take the 5 day trek from Kuta beach Bali out to the island in the first place and stay at his accommodation Malius Child, $NZ 20 a day for beach front bungalow, 3 meals and boat trips, living was slow, cheap and the snorkeling magical . This island was for serious travellers, it stayed that way for a few decades, bringing with it Diana’s cafe, Sunset Geko and Blue Coral Bungalows, Tourism sped up with the arrival of electricity The now harbor side had Hugh brain corals and large clams of a multitude of colours, but over the early years with the diamante fishing and boatmen dropping their anchors everywhere it has all gone. Over the years of going there, getting to know many of the local families, and watching their families grow, their lives change with the explosion of tourism and the depletion of the coral reefs all around the island. Now when we go, we stay around in different Bungalows around the Sunset area, depending on the condition and management on the time of our arrival, we snorkel early before the hordes of tourist boats from other islands arrive. Anywhere between Anna’s wurang and bungalows all the way around to past Diana’s Cafe is the best you are going to get now days. We sometimes walk around the island and base ourselves at a restaurant or cafe on the way and swim out from there. The north end can be good but quiet tricky as it is a surf break and the wind comes in from there and it also has a current running through there, so unless you are a strong swimmer I wouldn’t chance it. Snorkeling or no snorkeling, Gilli Meno is a place we go to just chill out, and even after all the development over the years, it still has my heart by a string.