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Reviewed August 5, 2019 via mobile

After spending a couple of weeks in bali, north gili islands were the perfect getaway. I stayed a couple of days on each island, trawangan, meno, and air. Calm, no traffic, no rush, no motors, just nature, beach, and fun. They all have nice beaches, great for snorkeling and diving. Has nice parties and nice chillout spaces. With good restaurants, bars, and hotels. Small and compact, we could easily walk around all the islands. Each island takes around 45 minutes to walk all around.

Date of experience: August 2019
1  Thank emmgee8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2019

We have just returned from 5 days on Gili Meno and 11 days on Bali. We selected Gili Meno as it is reportedly the most undeveloped and quietest of the 3 Gili Islands. It was fantastic - sated in Karma Beach - Luxury "tent" room right on the beach 20m from the sea...what a treat. The island offers great Scuba Diving, Snorkeling and typical local restaurants. All good. The walk around the island is just 5km and it will take you just 60 minutes to do the walk - or a bit longer for a stroll. We did it a few times before sunrise and to watch the sunrise while you walk is great. So, we will be back and I can recommend to anyone not looking for a party. For a party head to Gili Air or Gili T. Oh and no mortised machinery/bikes/cars are allowed on Meno - fantastic.

Date of experience: July 2019
1  Thank Idleman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2019

Hi, thank you guys for great service, albeit a rough trip, such rough seas, was a bit hairy at times, was glad to get back on land. Great service dropped us at the Perl Hotel and also picked us up from there too, which was a great help.

Thank you again guys.

Date of experience: June 2019
1  Thank LinPerth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 5, 2019

THE "SECRET" GILIS - GEDE AND LAYAR

GILES GEDE and LAYAR are 2 of the “SECRET GILIS” aka (SW Gilis), the many small islands off the north coast of LOMBOK’s SW peninsula. Until recently access to westerners was fairly difficult involving the slow vehicle ferry from PADANGBAI on Bali’s central east coast to LEMBAR in SW LOMBOK, then a series of bemos to the small fishing town of TEMBOWONG followed by a small boat shuttle across to the islands. Takes all day.
Locals have found access not too taxing, so the sourh of GEDE has long had a few resorts but the fast boat service has seen a lot of newer places being opened further north, with more to come.

G GEDE is the bigger of the two – roughly rectangular, elongated on a slightly tilted north-south axis (4.25kmxav.0.8) with a pronounced 1km peninsula half way up the west coast. Circumference abt 13km. Nearest point to mainland <1 km.
Walk around the southern half on paths, the north via the beaches. I didn’t try the far part of the west peninsula. No cars but plenty of motos. 3 lakes/lagoons/swamps (2 tidal) take about 20% of the area. Mozzies and other pests no problem in dry season. Wet season?
Quite hilly in parts. A signposted track aboutv800m north of the pier leads 20mins to a viewpoint with best outlooks west. Slopes moderate.
Major activities: fishing, cattle, goats and chickens in that order. Tourism becoming increasingly important. Population of a few thousand spread over 5 villages and a couple of smaller settlements. The friendly locals are Muslim so no dogs, Surprisingly few cats (maybe not compatible with the free range chickens). Resorts seemed to have booze but I wouldn’t be doing any skinny-dipping.
BEACHES: sand runs most of the east coast, around the north end and halfway down the west side. But not great – narrow (most disappears full high), lotsa coral + rubbish at the storm-tide mark. Best beach is in the north-east where the new VILLA SELALU grooms the sand – similar at KOKOMO/FLOWER PARADISE near the pier + THAMARIND and neighbours abt 1km south.
Small patches of beach in S and SW.
Good beaches or not, if you want to find a patch of deserted sand, there are kms of it.
Water quality and coral/fish were similarly underwhelming and best off THAMARIND.

RESORTS - there are over a dozen places to stay – more soon.
I stayed at 2 – FLOWER PARADISE and TAMARIND and visited most others:
BEST SUNRISE – all the east coast resorts had great views of SOL rising just south of RINJANI (late June).
BEST SUNSET – VIA VACARE and HULA HOOP on a low cliff just west of the main (central) village had neat sitting platforms with great views NW of sunset over G LAYER (late June).
MOST FUNKY – PAPAYA LODGE across the other side of the central western peninsula looked suitably new world. Also a couple of the places down in the south-east village like THE BEACH and TANJUNGAN BUKIT seemed different and appealing.
LEAST CROWDED – most places had few guests in this shoulder season. Both mine had only me one night each and never went above 20%. The far south’s big SECRET ISLAND RESORT definitely closed (owner very ill).
LOWEST TRANSFER COSTS FROM THE PIER – important for budget travelers with more distant resorts charging upwards of IDR100K each way by boat (pack yer stuff in plastic – can get wet). Pier-adjacent KOKOMO and FLOWER PARADISE best (walk). TAMARIND charged only 20k and seemed to have very good prices for land+boat transfers from all around the mainland incl. LEMBAR and AIRPORT.
CAMPING – bottom budget travelers will find an expansive free camping area on the hill between the pier and TAMARIND with great views towards LEMBAR. Amenities blocks gutted.

CONSTRUCTION CAPERS – lotsa new stuff going in. MARINA DEL RAY in the south putting in a fancy clubhouse, pool and more. The marina caters to outside boaties who want a LESSER SUNDA ISLANDS home anchorage/call-in. The pier already featured over 20 craft.
Nearby, Aussie Nigel constructing some high-end villas (V BAKAO), was particularly proud of his anti-earthquake footings and teak+stone fit-out.
The big Kahuna was just north of the main central village on the W coast where a large area of swamp was being filled in with spoil from the nearby hillside – a Singaporean group plans a MULTI BED RESORT here with VILA OMBOK of G TRAWANGAN fame planning a smaller joint just Nth.
Other side of the island some outfit is building villas up the steep hillside near the pier.

G LAYAR is a tiny island only 900m NW of GEDE averaging 900m across and abt 3km around the coast: walked in under an hour. Most of latter is beach, also narrow and disappearing full tide, lotsa coral debris + rubbish back of beach Best section in front of the only resort + in the south. where some grooming is done. No problem finding a long stretch of deserted sand (away from weekends**).
W coast is mainly a 700m rock platform covered with coral debris – tricky to traverse high tide along with the approach/exit corners. Wear good footwear.
Best snorkeling in region in front of the resort with ok fish and coral on the reef drop-off not far from the sand – drift along with the tidal current. Novices will be enthralled but hard-core fin flappers underwhelmed. An underwater sand spit 100m S of resort on SE corner good for water enty/exit lower tide. Plenty of visiting snorkeling and dive boats from GEDE/MAINLAND with abt 20% vising the resort restaurant.
Latter not bad – good food at maybe 20%+ on budget levels. Fair wait for meals which meant tpreparation from scratch, not long simmering pots. V good service.
Many visitors talk of “ROBINSON CRUSOE” island – the only permanent people here are abt 6 resort stall and 2 farming families (whom I never saw)**
I spent 4 nights in the resort – my basic fan outside toilet bungalow fine, fair value if you add a 100K ‘ROBINSON CRUSOE**’ loading. Beware wind blown fine sand on gusty days. The 2 upmarket beachfront 900+K bungalows are NOT value - 450K places, way short of 900+K. But plenty of takers, so what do I know?
LAYAR’s highest hill has good views – BALI’s AGUNG (west), G TRAWANGAN’s hill (north) and GEDE + MAINLAND (west).

** the “alone on a tropical island” thing doesn’t last into the weekend, when LAYAR attracts mainlanders. On the Sunday we had abt a dozen canpers and 50 fishermen/reef fossiker, But that’s ok – I like to see local leisure culture.

CONCLUSION – these are not party islands like the NW GILIS. But perfect places to wander the tracks and beaches, check the sunrises/sunsets/local culture and kick back and relax. Hopefully with the new access they will remain that way.

Date of experience: June 2019
1  Thank blackeldo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2019

beautiful snorkelling with above mentioned marine amphibians. So close you can grab them. But I didn't.

Date of experience: June 2019
Thank Dreamlineaway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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