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Gili Meno Snorkelling Guide: Tips To Know Before You Go

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If you want to find all the very best Gili Meno snorkelling spots (and turtles!) then read on for our top tips!

Why Gili Meno Snorkelling Trips Are So Incredible

The honeymoon island of Gili Meno is where you’ll find the now Insta-famous Gili Meno statues, as well as a staggering amount of turtles.

No surprises then that a popular Gili Meno snorkelling spot is called Turtle Point and a popular Gili Meno diving spot is called Turtle Heaven!

And even when you’re not finding turtles or cool underwater statues, you’ll have the pleasure of seeing a huge variety of fish and other marine life – from butterflyfish and neon damselfish to mantis shrimp and black sea urchins… even if you prefer snorkelling in shallow water!

Fish and coral underwater near Gili Meno

Not only that but Gili Meno is also perfect for drift snorkelling, allowing you to see a lot of beauty and magic underwater in a short space of time and by using far less energy than other top snorkelling destinations.

In our opinion, Gili Meno easily has some of the best snorkelling of all the Gili Islands. And here’s how to make the most of your trip!

The Best Gili Meno Snorkelling Spots

Whether you’re in search of turtles, statues, colourful corals or otherwise, here are all the very best Gili Meno snorkelling spots…

Gili Meno Statues

Gili Meno Underwater Statues

On the western side of Gili Meno, you’ll find the Gili Meno statues

These 48 Insta-famous life-size statues of couples embracing and lying down were created by the well-known underwater sculptor: Jason deCaires Taylor and are based on casts of real people.

The statues are a popular Gili Meno snorkelling spot – and for good reason. They are beautiful and a delight to see. But there’s no denying that they’re also a little spooky, raw and haunting.

Read More: 9 Things Nobody Tells You About The Gili Meno Statues

Coral Garden

From the Gili Meno statues, it’s possible to drift along the current over the ‘Coral Garden’. 

As the name suggests, this area along the western side of Gili Meno is positively teeming with corals and marine life. You may even spot a turtle or two!

Coral and clam underwater near Gili Meno

Bounty Wreck

On the south western side of Gili Meno and along the same drift current as Coral Garden is the ‘Bounty Wreck’. Here, you can find a sunken jetty covered in hard and soft corals. 

Although it’s 30 metres down and a popular wreck diving spot, it’s sometimes possible to see the wreck when snorkelling in calm and clear sea conditions.

Turtle Point

Along the north eastern side of Gili Meno is another popular snorkelling spot known as ‘Turtle Point’.

You can get to it by walking out to sea from the Warung Bungalows and it’s the perfect area for spotting turtles… even when snorkelling!

We were only in the water for twenty minutes and Scott had already seen two turtles! Sadly, we were too slow to catch them on camera before they’d swum away against the current, so hopefully you’ll have better luck!

Gili Meno Snorkelling

Bonus: Turtle Heaven (Diving Spot)

We couldn’t possibly talk about turtles near Gili Meno without mentioning ‘Turtle Heaven’.

Although this is a diving spot rather than a snorkelling spot, it’s one that beginner and advanced divers love equally. 

If you want to progress from snorkelling to diving then this is the perfect place to learn. And where seeing turtles is pretty much guaranteed! 

We saw six large Hawksbill and Green Sea Turtles ourselves, and as this was our first time scuba diving, it was an experience we’ll never forget!

There are two dive schools on Gili Meno: Blue Marlin Dive and Gili Meno Divers. We personally went with Blue Marlin Dive and couldn’t fault the whole experience.

We had a pool session early in the morning to get used to the equipment and breathing techniques, and by lunchtime, we were 13 metres down and surrounded by colourful coral, thousands of fish, and of course, the turtles we’ve already talked about.

When To Go Snorkelling Near Gili Meno

For the best and safest snorkelling trip, you’ll want calm sea conditions, or at least calm waters near the beaches. 

Although it’s hard to predict sea conditions until the day of, you’ll have better luck when visiting Gili Meno during its peak tourist seasons (July-September and December-January).

Justine snorkelling at Turtle Point, Gili Meno

When we were staying on Gili Meno as part of our honeymoon in mid-September, we were able to snorkel in calm waters for most of our trip. There was just one day when the water was just too rocky so we sunbathed on the beach instead.

In addition to calm water, you’ll want to visit the popular snorkel spots (especially the Gili Meno statues) either before 9.30am or from 4-5pm. This is usually when all the snorkel tours have left so you’ll see fewer crowds.

And if you’re keen to see turtles when snorkelling near Gili Meno then you’ll want to aim for high tide and stay close to the reef drop offs in order to increase your chances of seeing some.

Gili Meno Snorkelling Tips

Alongside knowing the usual snorkelling tips and tricks, here are our top tips for snorkelling and staying safe near Gili Meno specifically…

1. Follow the current for epic drift snorkelling

There are strong currents surrounding the island of Gili Meno, which makes it the perfect place for drift snorkelling! 

This is great because you can be out for well over an hour or two without realising it or using much energy (providing you’re not trying to battle against the current of course!)

The current will try to pull you out over the reef drop off ever so slightly and then usually flows from north to south.

The best spots for drift snorkelling around Gili Meno are at Turtle Point, across the Coral Garden from the Gili Meno statues to the Bounty Wreck and in the north west corner of the island.

Just keep an eye out for boats and other snorkellers as you drift along!

2. Keep an eye on where the reef drop offs are

As mentioned, the current will naturally take you towards the reef drop offs. This is where you can see a large dip or slope in the ocean floor, making the water deeper and a darker blue.

You can see the reef drop offs surrounding Gili Meno in this Google Maps satellite image:

Reef Drop Off At Gili Meno Statues

And here’s what reef drop offs look like when you’re actually in the water:

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Reef drop off near Gili Meno

Swimming over this part of the ocean can be a little unnerving for beginner snorkellers

But it’s not an issue just as long as you keep an eye on other snorkellers, boats and where you are in relation to the island. In other words, how long would it take you to get back to dry land in the event of an emergency?

3. Watch out for boats (both moving and moored!)

Gili Meno is a bustling hub of boat activity. 

This is especially the case at and around Turtle Point where boats regularly take other snorkellers to the same area or divers to nearby Turtle Heaven.

You’ll also need to watch out for boats coming into dock along the eastern side of the island where the main port is.

Also, along Turtle Point and the northern side of the island, you may also come across boats moored up near the beach. This is only an issue if you’re not taking note of where the anchor ropes are as they stretch out quite far behind the boats.

Gili Meno Beach

4. Remember that sharks are common near the Gili Islands

White Tip Reef Sharks and Black Tip Reef Sharks are common around the Gili Islands. 

While you’re more likely to see them when diving (especially at Shark Point) than snorkelling, they prefer shallow water, so don’t be surprised if you do spot one.

They’re not known for attacking humans; they usually just pass by quietly. But again, it can be unnerving if you’ve never seen one before.

5. Watch out for sea urchins… they hurt like hell to step on!

Forget sharks though; it’s sea urchins you have to watch out for!

Sea urchins are the spiky black creatures you often see tucked under and sitting on top of rocks when snorkelling. 

If you’re taking a break from swimming, be sure to look where you’re putting your feet down first. 

Not only will it hurt like hell to step on one, and possibly cause swelling and infection, but some sea urchins have poisonous bites as well!

6. You’ll need to wear water shoes as you’ll have to walk over dead coral

When walking from the beaches on Gili Meno to your favourite snorkelling spots, you’ll need to wade through shallow water for at least ten minutes each time.

And the reason it’s so shallow? Dead coral. 

Sadly, mounds of dead and bleached coral have built up over time, and unfortunately, there’s no way of avoiding walking across them.

Therefore, to protect your feet and help make the walk more comfortable, you’ll definitely want to wear water shoes. Seriously, get a pair; you can thank us later!

Colourful fish during Gili Meno snorkelling session

Equipment You’ll Need For Snorkelling Around Gili Meno

Alongside water shoes, here’s all of the equipment you’ll need for your Gili Meno snorkelling trip…

Snorkel

Obviously, you can’t go snorkelling without a snorkel! Your snorkel will probably be attached to the side of your goggles. 

But it’s also possible to get full face snorkels where the snorkel and goggles are one in the same thing, with the snorkel part sitting at the top of the mask.

Most snorkellers agree that full face snorkels are the best as they allow you to move your head around while breathing more freely underwater.

Goggles / Mask

Most goggles are good right out of the box, but if your eyesight is not brilliant, then you can also purchase prescription goggles (although they do come at a price).

If your snorkel is separate from your goggles, then they should cover your nose as you’ll be breathing out of your mouth.

For the perfect fit and to stop water from leaking into your mask, hold your mask to your face (without tying the straps) and breathe in through your nose. If the mask sucks into your face and stops you breathing through your nose, then awesome, it’s a good size for you!

After a few uses, you might find that your goggles start to ‘fog’ up. You can either buy some anti-fog spray or use your spit to clean them.

Water Shoes

Water shoes are a must when snorkelling near Gili Meno because of all the bleached and dead coral near the beaches. Trust us, you definitely need them!

Plus, if you’re doing drift snorkelling near Gili Meno then you’ll need shoes when walking back to your hotel… so why not just keep them on your feet the whole time?!

Fins (Optional)

Contrary to popular belief, fins aren’t necessary for snorkelling. They do help you move more freely through the water, but if you’re not going far from the beach then you don’t need them.

However, if you plan on heading further out into the ocean or diving below the surface, then fins will need to be on your snorkelling shopping list.

Lifejacket (Optional)

If you’re not a confident swimmer (or good at floating!) then you might want to consider a lifejacket to help you.

Underwater Camera (Optional)

For all those incredible photos and videos you’ll want to take while snorkelling, an underwater camera is a must. 

Unless you opt for a GoPro, underwater cameras are not as expensive as you might think and you can even get 4K ones!

Waterproof Pouch (Optional)

Thanks to waterproof pouches like this one by Aquapac, it’s now possible to take your phone, money and keys into the water with you.

Not only is this safer than leaving valuables on the beach, but also means you can take a few selfies with your phone while snorkelling too!

Gili Meno Snorkelling Tours

Scott diving down to the Gili Meno statues
Scott diving down to the Gili Meno statues

If you’re staying on the island of Gili Meno, then you’ll find it super easy to go out on snorkelling adventures by yourself as you just need to walk out from the beach.

However, if you’re staying on Lombok or the other Gili Islands, then you’ll want to join a snorkelling tour or day trip.

We use Get Your Guide and TripAdvisor for all our tours as both sites usually have plenty of choice and great deals. 

Not to mention you can read other travellers’ reviews and Get Your Guide also has a very generous cancellation policy allowing you to cancel your tour up to 24 hours before… without incurring any fees!

Here are a few Gili Meno snorkelling tours we’ve found that come highly rated and help you to see some of the best snorkelling spots near Gili Meno as well as around the other islands too…

Gili Meno Snorkelling Tours From Gili Trawangan

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How To Get To Gili Meno

Island hopping - Gili Islands

From Bali or Lombok

Fast boats run by companies like Gili Getaway and Blue Water Express operate from various locations across Bali and Lombok and usually go as far as Gili Trawangan and sometimes Gili Air. 

These fast boats can take anywhere from 1-3 hours depending on where you’re travelling from. 

But you’ll need to make your own onward arrangements to Gili Meno as this island is rarely a stop on fast boat routes.

Although it’s possible to join Gili Islands snorkelling tours from Bali as a day trip, we’d rarely recommend going for just one day. Boat trips can often be delayed and cancelled, and the Gili Islands are so beautiful, that they definitely warrant a few days spent on them at least!

From Lombok, it’s definitely possible to see the Gili Islands as a day trip. But our thoughts still stand on giving them a few days to get the most out of your trip!

Read More: Bali Fast Boats To Gili Islands – Things To Know Before You Go

From Gili Trawangan or Gili Air

While fast boats from Bali and Lombok usually only go as far as Gili Trawangan and sometimes Gili Air, island hopping around the Gili Islands is really common, so seeing Gili Meno during your Gili Islands trip is totally doable!

If you’re staying on Gili Meno, then some hotels and resorts send their own boats to pick you up from Gili T. We had this with the Karma Reef Resort on Gili Meno and it definitely made things cheaper and easier for us!

Justine smiling on board boat from Gili T to Gili Meno

But if you’re visiting Gili Meno for the day as an island hopping trip from Gili T or Gili Air, then you’ll need to speak with local boat companies. 

You’ll often find their stands dotted along the beaches near the main harbour points on each island:

  • Gili Trawangan Port: Near the Gili Trawangan Night Market on the eastern side of the island
  • Gili Air Port: Near Oceans 5 Dive Resort on the southern side of the island
  • Gili Meno Port: Near Karma Reef Gili Meno resort on the eastern side of the island

Boat trips from the other Gili Islands to Gili Meno take around 10-20 minutes and are usually via engine powered speed boats.

Read More About Gili Meno & Plan Your Trip

Read more of our Indonesia travel blogs to help you plan your Gili Meno snorkelling trip:

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We hope you’ve found our Gili Meno snorkelling guide and tips helpful! Is there anything else you want to know? Just pop a note in the comments below and we’ll reply asap…

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