For divers, the schedule is dynamic. Early starts, quick turn arounds between dives and a hefty list of vital safety procedures. It’s very easy to forget that at some point you have to eat!
So this is YOUR guide to the Gili Trawangan Diver’s Diet. We’ll look at where to get the best feed that money can buy and how to be time-efficient to make sure you don't miss your briefing.
Whether spice is friend or foe, whether you’re a vegan, veggie or flexitarian, or if you’re a budget biter, we got you covered!
First off, understand the layout of the island. It’s imperative when racing the clock! When arriving on Gili Trawangan you’ll be greeted by the iconic Manta Dive Gili Trawangan dive centre. It’s a great reference point for those who haven’t visited Gili Trawangan before. It is literally around 20 meters from where the boat drops you. We’ll be basing this as our hub as it’s centrally located to all local and western food options.
So let’s get going and let’s get you fed.
Starting the day right
We’ll start our diver’s diet with breakfast. Briefings at 8 am are a regular occurrence on Gili Trawangan so it’s important to get a fill beforehand. If you’re the organised sort, plan ahead with local fruit. Apples are great as they slowly release energy, but the refreshing watermelons and dragon fruits cannot be overlooked! It’s always a great way to absorb some essential sugars but not the most filling of feeds.
However, be warned the warungs and western options don’t usually open until after 8 am, sometimes way later. So fruit is definitely a friend, but we’ll go into that a bit more soon.
Those in a rush
So you can handle the heat?
Next up the quick bites - essential for any diver’s diet. The turn around for some boats can be as little as one hour so you’re going to be against the clock.
When arriving back from your dive, swing yourself a left walking out of Manta Dive and walk straight along the front for about 40m. Outside a supermarket you’ll find Bayin working.
For a mere 15,000 IDR you can get a large banana leaf wrapped Nasi Campur. Filled with rice, noodles, vegetables and a choice of calamari, chicken, beef or egg fillings. It’s rich in flavour and packs a punch in the spice department. It is ready to go straight away and completely plastic-free, so is also good for the environment.
Chill on the chilli
If spice isn’t your thing, then don’t fear. One Manta Dive instructor we interviewed isn’t that keen either. Her words of wisdom for you folks that can’t hack the heat is to work your way through the Chappie’s bar menu.
It’s located on-site at Manta Dive, so cancels out the issue of having to wander far and wide in search of grub. The sandwiches are quick to be served and well priced so make for a great addition to the Gili Trawangan diver’s diet. She recommends eating after the second dive of the day. Your body will be aching for some energy by this point!
For the health-conscious
For those of you who fancy being a bit fancy, Banyan Tree comes highly recommended. They offer a fantastic range of incredibly nutrient-rich meals and snacks. Not the place to go on a tight schedule but for those long afternoon waits before a night dive, this is the place for a healthy dish.
The smoothie bowls are a firm fan favourite but at a bit of a cost so be careful! Again, take a left out of Manta Dive then head 80m or so along the Gili Trawangan beachfront. Save your legs for frog kicking, not for foraging!
Clog me up with carbs
Next up, serial snackers. Those who don’t have an appetite the size of South East Asia may not want a meal. There are always options for a quick snack, however options throughout all supermarkets are limited. Rest assured, if you are a fan of crisps (or chips for the North American readers) then you’re pretty set.
Pringles are the only western crisp around and a tube can set you back more than an entire meal. Plus they’re not exactly packed with nutrients, so no diver’s diet should survive on snacks alone. So think before buying.
Feeling a bit fruity
In terms of healthy snacks, as mentioned before you can always grab some fruit. There are various little shops dotted around. They usually offer watermelons, dragon fruit and bananas. The natural sugars and hydrating slap you get is brilliant to get you fired up for your next dive. It pays to shop around though. The beachfront prices are always hiked so take a look inland and remember ALWAYS try to haggle.
The no no’s
So on top of what’s good, what should you avoid? You all have different tolerances, so this is a little harder to predict. The main things to be aware of is the side effects of greasy, salty or spicy foods. You know best about how you handle them, but be aware that an upset stomach at 27m deep is not going to be pleasant so take it easy. As a rule of thumb, where the locals eat is the best price but the highest risk for causing illness.
Bali Belly combat techniques
Diving in many parts of Indonesia will leave you in areas that aren’t big on food hygiene, so you could be at risk of catching the infamous ‘Bali Belly’. If this happens we cannot stress enough the importance of smashing plenty of water and re-hydration drinks to help you get back to full health, ready to dive!
For the eco-warriors
Now some serious stuff. The Gili Trawangan community is fighting back against the issue of single-use plastic. They have weekly beach clean-ups which are a great way to meet other divers as well as helping maintain the island. This is also important to be aware of when deciding what your Gili Trawangan diver’s diet will look like. For more information on the weekly beach clean ups please check the Gili Eco Trust facebook page here.
Whatever you eat or drink make sure to use the phrase ‘tidak plastic’, which means ‘no plastic’. Then you will be keeping the island clean, the marine life safe and will be an absolute bloody legend!
Wrapping this up
Conclusively, the Gili Trawangan Diver’s Diet is varied and flavoursome. There’s something for everybody no matter how limited on time you are. Be aware of what’s available and from where. There are some incredible options - go find them and enjoy diving in paradise.