This is the largest of the three Gili Islands with an estimated permanent population of about 800.
Trawangan was the first of the three islands to attract visitors in any numbers, and it was backpackers who led the way. In the 1990s the island developed a reputation as a wild party destination with cheap accommodation, no police. Whilst that is still partially the case, Trawangan has matured into a destination that has a far wider appeal.
The thriving dive industry of the Gili Islands is centered here (although some operators have outposts on the other two islands), and since about 2005, the island has gone through a massive development boom, and a number of upscale sleeping, eating, and drinking establishments have opened.
Any visitor to Trawangan should be prepared for a real mish-mash of fellow travelers; some will be ensconced in US$400 per night, unashamedly Bali-style villas, while others would be quite happy to rest their crusty dreadlocks on an organic hemp pillow after a tough day.
Most of the accommodation and other facilities on the island are on the eastern side, sheltered from the winds and rough seas of the Lombok Strait which sometimes batter the opposite side of the island. Boats dock here as well, on the beach just north of the market. This generally means a walk in the shallow water to disembark. There is also a private concrete and wood jetty used by a few companies.
A footpath circumnavigates the whole island and various tracks criss-cross, nearly always leading back to this coastal path. The area set back behind the east coast beachfront establishments is where most of the locals live (and where there is a lot of budget accommodation), and is known simply as "the village". There is a low lying hill in the southern center of the island, which is easily reached from the tracks heading southwest from the back of the village.