The island of Gili Meno, Indonesia is the second largest of the three Gili Islands. It is also the least populated and developed. It is nicknamed “Honeymoon Island”, as it is frequented by couples. It is aptly named, as it has everything you need for a romantic island escape.
The island can be walked around in an hour and a half and is dotted with subdued bungalows and chilled-out restaurants. The sandy trail doesn’t mix well with bikes, so walking is the best way to get around. That doesn’t stop a few bike rental shops from trying to suck tourists into renting a bike that they end up pushing around the island. In fact, all the Gili islands have a no motorized vehicle policy, so the only other transport option is to take a ride in a pony-drawn-carriage which isn’t recommended due to the poor treatment of the animals.
Our accommodation, Ana Warung Bungalows, was at the north end of the island. This meant we had to lug our backpacks for 20 minutes along the sandy trails to get to our bungalow. Needless to say, we were more sweat than human when we arrived. Even worse, the beach in front of the bungalows wasn’t suited for swimming. We slid into our swim suits and roamed the beach like zombies. The coral reef around the island comes in very close to the water’s edge so many places can only be swum at high tide. Being low tide, we were forced to crouch in knee-high water to cool off. Given there were others in the same predicament, we found ourselves having an awkward bath with strangers. Not exactly the picture of romance.
The bungalow we booked was considered basic. This meant it was small, had no air conditioning and no hot water. As the temperature was in the high twenties, I had incorrectly assumed that heated water was a luxury we could do without. After only one cold shower, it felt like an eternity since I had been clean and warm. Even worse, the bathroom was down a few stairs into what felt like a dungeon and it was very dark. I dreaded entering the room. I had also read about someone who had found a scorpion in their shower, so I was certain that there would be one lurking in the corner waiting for me in the night. This lead to a CSI grade search before I could use the toilet or shower.
Being a small island catering to honeymooners, there was little to do. Luckily for me (or unluckily) I was feeling pretty sick with a cold and had little energy for activities. With so many foreign bugs to be exposed to and slowing down after a busy few months travelling, catching a cold seemed, sadly, inevitable. We completed a lazy lap of the island, stopping along the way to swim in the beach, lie in the sun, and take medicine (i.e. drink cocktails).
Arriving at the west end of the island just in time for yet another glorious sunset, we sipped on margaritas and reflected on our travels. We have been travelling for nearly three months in South East Asia and it has been over four months since we left our jobs in Canada. Laying on the pristine beaches of the Gili Islands it’s hard to imagine a life filled with commuting, working, and responsibility. It seems a world away.
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