Gili Meno Statues Story
Described as “hauntingly beautiful”, the Gili Meno statues have quickly become a snorkeling and diving hotspot. The project, named “Nest”, was commissioned by BASK, the eco-resort in which the statues sit in front of, and created by British sculptor, Jason deCaires Taylor. Symbolizing life and continuity, 48 life-size statues are situated in a circle. Embracing figures surround curled up statues on the ocean floor. Each statue was made from the casts of real people, making the sculptures even more unique.
Jason deCaires Taylor is a renowned underwater sculptor, with pieces in the Canary Islands, Mexico, West Indies, and even a temporary exhibit in the Thames in London. Not only is Nest an incredible photo opportunity, but it’s designed to be the home for coral to form a beautiful man-made reef.
Environmental Effects of the Gili Meno Underwater Statues
Nest is an environmental space and was created to be a home for coral. The world’s coral reefs have been dying at a rapid rate, including Indonesia’s incredibly diverse reefs. The earthquake in August of 2018 and the illegal anchoring along the shores of the Gili islands have contributed to the destruction of coral reefs. However, the main causes for the bleaching and death of coral reefs worldwide are inflicted by humans: pollution, overfishing and climate change.
These statues will eventually be the home of a fully-established reef. Made from pH neutral, environmental-grade cement and anchored to the seabed, Nest offers a platform for marine life to inhabit. Soft corals and sponges will first create a home on these statues, which will then provide the foundation for more marine life to flourish here. You can already find plenty of fish and even sea turtles at Nest. Not only do installations like these help save reefs across the world, but they bring an abundance of tourists, which spreads awareness about the need for reefs to be saved in the first place.
Gili Meno Statues Location
The Gili islands are three small islands off the coast of Lombok in Indonesia. Just an hour or two boat ride from Bali, these islands are a common stop for travelers. Gili Meno is the middle island between Gili Trawangan to the west and Gili Air to the east. Gili Trawangan is the most popular island for backpackers but Gili Meno is only a 15 minute boat ride away, making it easy to hop over, even for a day trip. The Gili Meno Statues are located on the west side of the island in front of the Bask Resort. Bask is still under construction and set to open in 2020.
Read more: How to get to the Gili Islands
How to Get to the Gili Meno Statues
If you’re staying on Gili Trawangan, you can take a boat to Nest. Various tour companies operate on the island, with prices between IDR 150,000 and IDR 350,000 for a snorkel trip that will also take you to other spots (where you’re bound to see plenty of sea turtles).
For an even better experience, join the Monkey Sea, Monkey Do Snorkeling Tour with Mad Monkey! We spend 5 hours on the water hitting the best snorkel spots, including the underwater statues at Gili Meno and Turtle Heaven! Our tour also includes lunch at the beach on Gili Air, along with music and all the good vibes with your Monkey Mates. Book today to reserve your spot!
Explore more: Check out all our Gili T Madventures tours and events
For those on a budget, just hop on the daily local boats, which leave from Gili Trawangan to Gili Meno (and Air) at 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tickets from Trawangan to Meno cost 35,000 and 40,000 to Air. Local boats from Meno to Trawangan leave daily at 8:50 a.m. and 3:20 p.m. If you’re looking to just go on a day trip, you’ll want to leave Gili Trawangan at 9:30 a.m. and come back on the 3:20 p.m. boat, giving you about 5.5 hours to explore.
From the Gili Meno port, it’s about a 15–20 minute walk to Bask Resort. There are places to rent bicycles near the port if you prefer to cycle around the island. Head to Bask resort and then you can just swim out to Nest. It’s about 100 meters out from the beach over mostly shallow water. The statues themselves are only about 4 meters deep, making it accessible to both divers and snorkelers.
Tips About Seeing the Gili Meno Statues
As you’ve probably guessed, these statues have gotten incredibly popular. Go during peak times (around 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.) and you’ll see hoards of boats and tourists surrounding the statues. This less-than-magical experience means loads of people in the back of your photos, including far too many life-jacket-clad swimmers floating right above the statues. For the best photo ops, come early in the morning (8 a.m. or earlier) or try around 1 p.m. when many of the boat tours are having lunch or returning.
If you’re swimming from Gili Meno, be careful of the sharp coral. Wearing fins will help you swim down to the statues to get a closer look at the growing coral. Please respect the wildlife and do not touch or provoke any animals you see. Feeding the fish might offer some great photos, but this disrupts the ecosystem so people are strongly advised against it. Be sure to also wear “reef-safe” sunblock (plenty of shops on Gili Trawangan sell it including Kayu Cafe and Gili Eco Trust), as normal sunblock has chemicals that harm coral and other marine life.
Madventures — Experience the Best of Gili Trawangan
We’ve curated the top experiences of the Gili Islands in Indonesia for you so that you can leave knowing that you’ve fully experienced these stunning islands. Our Mad5 will give you a taste of the beauty, culture and adventure of Gili T and we’ve made it super easy for you to book them! Check out the links below or even better, download our app, Mad Monkey Experience, to also gain POINTS for booking a Madventure tour and event! More points = more discounts + free perks to make your Mad Monkey trip even more epic (and cheaper😉)!
- Monkey Sea, Monkey Do Snorkelling Tour: See the best snorkel spots on the Gilis — snorkel gear + lunch included
- Indonesian Family Dinner: Taste the best of Indonesia, enjoy with a free Bintang or house mixer
- Bucket List Bike Tour: Discover the best of Gili T – beach spots, photo ops and snorkelling included!
- Foam Party: Get your tan on with a live DJ, free shots every hour, and Happy Hour!
- Beach Clean Up: Help keep our island paradise clean, and get a free drink for your good deed!
Did you enjoy this article about the Gili Meno underwater statues? Interested in finding more unique snorkeling spots and underwater statues? Then check out these other articles to discover more epic underwater worlds!
- Artificial Reefs Around the World by Alan Taylor from The Atlantic
- Jason deCaires Taylor from Artworks for Change
- 7 Amazing Underwater Sculptures and Sunken Gardens in Bali by Bali Indonesia
- 5 Top Underwater Spots for Instagram Photos in the Gili Islands by Roza Tsvetkova from Manta Dive
- 10 Mysterious Statues You Can Only See Underwater by Brooke Morton from Red Bull