We are delighted to be returning to Timor-Leste in 2010 with 4 departures from July to September. Places are filling fast as the word spreads that Timor has the welcome mats back out, and our friends across the country are eager to see Intrepid travellers again.
Jane Crouch, our Responsible Travel Manager and resident Timor-phile took a world music choir over to tour the country last August. Jane writes, “It was simply sensational returning after a two-and-a-half year absence. As we travelled around many of my favourite communities across the country, and visited some that were new to me, my heart and soul were filled with the feeling that we were in the right places at the right time. At our gig in Baucau, Timor’s second largest town, around 400 people of all ages came out for the evening and joined in the dance and songs of the 5 performing groups. At a smaller gathering in Los Palos in the east, after we sang the moving song Walk With Me, we were overwhelmed when a young musician said “We want you to walk with us.”
In between our music performances, we visited many of the highlight destinations of the Intrepid trip itinerary. We toured the former home of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission and through the very powerful ‘Chega!’ exhibition, learnt more about the Timorese people’s extraordinary struggle for freedom and the appalling price paid. We also learnt about the incredible sacrifices made by Timorese to support young Australian soldiers during World War 2 at the Dare memorial and museum. In contrast there were many ‘lighter’ moments like going swimming in the crystal clear turquoise waters by Jaco Island, working up an appetite for the lunch of fresh fish and vegetables served to us back on the ‘mainland’. After this we hiked up to caves on a cliff face to view 5000 year old cave paintings.
The Intrepid Timor-Leste itinerary is a jam-packed 15 days of rich experiences across the country. We head for the hills and picturesque countryside, can climb Mt Ramelau, the highest peak, and watch the sunrise over the whole country 360 degrees around us. We travel through coffee plantations, farmland and lush jungle to thatched-roof villages. In the western region town of Balibo we visit the Balibo Flag House and learn from local people about the history of their area. Two days are spent on reef ringed Jaco Island where we can explore the villages, swim, snorkel or simply relax at our ‘eco’ village.
In the eastern region of Timor-Leste, we visit the area declared as Timor’s first National Park with abundant birdlife, some endemic to the region. In the friendly village of Home (pronounced ‘Homay’) we see how traditional weaving or tais is made, and help to support their local economy. All along the way, our aim is to walk with the Timorese, make friends, learn of their lives and aspirations.”