This inspiring South-East Asian island nation tinged with Portuguese flavours may not receive the tourist crowds of its neighbours but that's all its part of the charm. Possessing beautiful beaches without the crowds, communities with big hearts, and peaceful, mountain retreats seemingly hidden from the modern world, Timor-Leste (East Timor) is an emerging destination full of promise.
Timor-Leste Tours & Travel
At a glance
|Time zone:||(GMT+09:00) Yakutsk|
|Electricity:||Type C (European 2-pin) Type E (French 2-pin, female earth) Type F (German 2-pin, side clip earth) Type I (Australian/New Zealand & Chinese/Argentine 2/3-pin)|
Best time to visit Timor-Leste
Like many other South-East Asian countries, Timor-Leste has a tropical monsoon climate, with year-round temperatures of around 30 degrees Celsius. Heavy rains are present from December through to March. Monsoons can sometimes make travel difficult in Timor-Leste, with road closures and floods causing delays. Dry, hot weather prevails from June/July to November, although cooler temperatures can be found in the mountainous highland areas, particularly at night. Travelling during this period offers optimal conditions for hiking in the forests and visiting the beaches and coastal areas.
Geography and environment
Top 5 Souvenir Picks of Timor-Leste
Introduced by the Portuguese, all coffee is grown organically in Timor-Leste, so it's a great place to stock up on quality beans at a relatively low cost. Look for small, cooperatives that support local farmers and communities.
2. Traditional Jewellery
Locally made, silver jewellery can be found at markets and shops throughout Timor-Leste. Bold, heavy pieces featuring distinct designs are among the standout picks.
This handwoven fabric with a range of region-specific designs can be bought from markets and street stalls. Colourful and distinct, Tais can be worn like sarongs and are a great choice for those looking for a unique, authentic gift to give to friends and family back home.
4. Contemporary Art
Offering a window into the lives, thoughts and dreams of local people, art is a form of expression that gives people a voice. Although Timor-Leste doesn't have many galleries, there are a few (as well as stalls at markets, on the streets and within cooperatives). Look out for paintings and sculpture created by locals, which represent unique souvenirs that support and empower the local community.
5. Wood Carvings
There are many skilled craftspeople in Timor-Leste, with wood carvers being among the best. Choose from carved statues or decorative pieces for the home among the handicraft treasures found at markets.
FAQs on Timor-Leste
Can of beer = US$2.50-5
Street food snack = US$1-3
Dinner in a traditional restaurant = US$5-10
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Mar 29 Good Friday
May 20 Independence Day
Aug 15 Assumption
Aug 30 Consultation Day
Sep 20 Liberation Day
Nov 1 All Saints' Day
Nov 12 Santa Cruz Day
Dec 8 Immaculate Conception
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/east-timor/public-holidays
Australia: Yes - on arrival
Belgium: Yes - on arrival
Canada: Yes - on arrival
Germany Yes - on arrival
Ireland: Yes - on arrival
Netherlands: Yes - on arrival
New Zealand: Yes - on arrival
South Africa: Yes - on arrival
Switzerland: Yes - on arrival
United Kingdom: Yes - on arrival
USA: Yes - on arrival
An entry visa (of up to 30 days duration) will be issued to valid passport holders on arrival, based on the purpose and period of stay stated by the applicant at the time of entry, and provided entry into Timor-Leste is regarded by local authorities as being for a legitimate purpose. There is a charge of US$30 on arrival at Nicolau Lobato International Airport for an entry visa.
If travellers can demonstrate that they have a valid reason for extending their stay beyond 30 days in East Timor, an application to extend a visa may be submitted to the Immigration Department of Timor-Leste located at Vila Verde.A visa fee of US$30 is payable on arrival at Dili Airport, and gives a maximum of 30 days entry.
Health and Safety
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
From New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
Timor-Leste Travel Tips
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for Timor-Leste
1. Be considerate of Timor-Leste’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
2. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered, especially when entering places of worship.
3. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.
4. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
5. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!
6. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.
7. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
8. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
9. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
10. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.
The Intrepid Foundation
The Intrepid Foundation provides travellers with an opportunity to give something back to the many wonderful communities we travel to. By donating to The Intrepid Foundation you can make a difference in local communities - in health care, education, human rights, child welfare and the protection of wildlife and the environment.
In Timor-Leste, the Intrepid Foundation proudly supports:
The Alola Foundation
With a mission to improve women's health, education, leadership and earning capacity, the Alola Foundation offers community development projects in 13 districts of Timor-Leste.
Image supplied by Jane Crouch.
To learn more or donate, go to: www.theintrepidfoundation.org
|East Timor: A Nation's Bitter Dawn||Irena Cristalis|
|If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die||Geoffrey Robinson|
|East Timor's Unfinished Struggle||Constancio Pinto and Matthew Jardine|
|Crossing: A Story of East Timor||Luis Cardoso|
|Independent Women: The Story of Women's Activism in East Timor||Catherine Scott, Irena Cristalis, Isabel Casimiro and Ximena Andrade|