Timor-Leste Trip Notes

Enjoy an adventure travel experience in Timor-Leste, a less frequented corner of Asia. Visit community projects and spend time on secluded islands.

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Last Modified: 26 Jul 2012
Timor-Leste
Trip code: TPST
Validity: 01 Jan 2012 to 31 Dec 2012
Journey into a land relatively untouched by tourism, and one of the world's newest democracies - Timor-Leste. We climb mountains, explore villages and cross into the Wetar Strait for a privileged view of the sights and sounds hidden in this emerging nation. With an emphasis on local communities, there will be ample opportunities to share in the lives of people we meet along the way, and contribute to rebuilding efforts.
Table of Contents
StyleGroup sizeEmergency contact
ThemesYour fellow travellersEmergency funds
MapSingle travellersVisas
ItineraryAccommodationIssues on your trip
We also recommendMeals introductionWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerMealsHealth
Culture shock rating TransportSafety
Physical ratingGroup leaderTravel insurance
Included activitiesJoining point Responsible Travel
Optional activitiesJoining point descriptionA couple of rules
Money ExchangeJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyArrival complicationsResponsible Travel projects
TippingFinish point Carbon offset
Departure taxFinish point descriptionFeedback
Important notesFinish point instructions
Style
Original
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Themes
Explorer
Map
Timor-Leste
Itinerary
Days 1-2 Dili
Bondia! Welcome to Timor-Leste.
You can arrive at any time on Day 1 as there are no activities planned until the welcome meeting at 6pm.
More than 90% of East Timorese are Catholic, so Sunday for most is a day of rest. Dili is located in the north-west of Timor-Leste, facing the Wetar Straits. The city is quite small, sandwiched between steep hills on the southern and eastern sides and Dili Harbour to the north. Parts of Dili are still being rebuilt since its destruction in 1999, but it has come a long way since then. There are banks, internet offices, a post office, restaurants and many shops with a wide range of imported goods. Bottled water, soft drinks and beer are readily available all over town. It is easy to get around either by walking or paying around 50 cents for a mikrolet (minibus), which ply the main streets. Taxis are plentiful and charge just a few USD to take you anywhere within the city limits, regardless of the number of passengers.
We have a full day in Dili to take in the sights. We spend a half day together visiting some of the less-accessible places - including the outskirts of Dili, the Santa Cruz cemetery and the Jesus statue out at the eastern end of Dili Harbour. You also have time to wander the harbour front and explore the streets at your leisure.
A visit to one of Dili's busy and colourful markets is a must-do. A visit to the Xanana Gusmao Reading Room is also recommended - it has a lot of resources on Timor-Leste's history and culture and is a good place to pick up phrase books, photographic books or maps. In the evening we can watch the sunset from one of the terrific seafood restaurants along the eastern Dili beaches.
You may wish to come earlier than our arrival day or stay an extra couple of nights after the trip to have more time in Dili, or to perhaps go scuba diving. On all accounts the diving is fantastic and there are several dive companies based in Dili (please note, however, that Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the dive operators).
Included Activities
  • City tour
Optional Activities
  • Scuba diving - USD100
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 3-4 Maubisse / Hato Builiko
We head for the hills south of Dili, in our 4WD vehicles. After a short, steep climb, there is a great view back over Dili and the harbour. There may be time to visit the Dare Memorial which honours the service of Australian soldiers and their Timorese compatriots during World War II. Our winding road takes us through farmland and coffee plantations to the pretty rural town of Aileu (approx 2 hours from Dili). Aileu was formerly the headquarters of Fretilin and the resistance movement. Coffee growing is the main industry of the region and is a large export earner for Timor-Leste.
It's another hour on to the scenic mountain town of Maubisse where we stop at the Portuguese-style poussada or guesthouse for one night to enjoy the views and cool mountain air. This area is very fertile and in a good season the market stocks a wide variety of vegetables. The road becomes much rougher as we head higher up to the small village of Hato Builiko, passing fields of corn and cassava along the way. Hato Builiko has a wonderful market twice a week with which we try and coincide our visit. Colourfully attired men and women walk for miles, or ride into town on their Timor ponies, to bring their produce to sell or barter. Meet the locals, try out your bargaining skills or quietly absorb the hum of activity. Men compare their fighting cockerels, women chew on betel nut, gamblers try their luck on mini-lotteries and children chase each other around the rows of produce laid out on the ground.
For the next 2 nights we stay in a simple, family run guesthouse.
Accommodation
Guesthouse (2 nts)
Days 5-6 Suai
On the morning of Day 5 arise early (around 0400) and travel to Mt Tatamailau - or Mt Ramelau as it is commonly called. At 2,964m, the great Ramelau is the highest mountain in Timor-Leste and home to the Mambai people. Since 1975 it has provided a sanctuary for East Timorese resistance and is considered, like the men and women it protects, to be indestructible. After the referendum in 1999, the people of Hato Builiko fled into hiding on Ramelau's upper slopes, while below, the departing militia destroyed their homes. We will head to bed early, in preparation to rise by 04.00 to ascend Mt Ramelau.
After a short drive, our climb begins. We aim to reach the summit for sunrise. The well-defined track is steep but easily negotiated in the dark and manageable for most reasonably fit people, taking between 1.5 and 2.5 hours. The higher reaches of the mountains are thought by the Timorese to be the resting places of the souls of the dead. We are mindful of this as we climb quietly and respectfully. There is a statue of the Virgin Mary on the summit. On a clear morning, the views are breathtaking and we may see across the full width of the island, from the sea in the north to the sea in the south. We take our time descending, enjoying the views and the vegetation along the way.
After our steady descent our journey continues south-west through lush rainforest and farmland to the town of Ainaro where we stop for a late lunch after which we continue our travel through to Suai, the district capital of Cova Lima. Suai is our base to learn about some of the activities of the district - agriculture, fishing, and arts and crafts. Suai is renowned for the weaving of traditional cloth (tais), education and soccer. Fancy a game anyone?
We may visit the neat little village of Suai Loro, with its traditional thatched-roof houses near the sea, see Suai's oil wells where this black gold bubbles out of the ground, and visit the Suai Cathedral - the site of the horrific massacre of more than 250 people shortly after the ballot in September 1999. A 'Circle of Stones', memorial tablets, has been laid near the church by the local women, and this is perhaps an appropriate place to pay our respects to those, mainly women and children, who died there. There may also be the opportunity to drive through the dense rainforest to the border of West Timor, Indonesia.
Tonight we stay in simple, but clean accommodation.
Included Activities
  • Mt Ramelau climb
Accommodation
Guesthouse (2 nts)
Day 7 Dili
Early risers may get the opportunity to visit the bustling weekly market in central Suai, before heading off on a long but scenically varied day, travelling back to Dili via the mountainous districts of Bobonaro and the coastal district of Liquica (9 hours). We stop in Maliana for lunch and then Balibo (there may be the opportunity to visit the Balibo House Community Learning Centre) before heading east along the northern coast. The road conditions are usually better along this section and we aim to be back in Dili before dark. Bobonaro is a strong area for traditional tais production, and we are likely to see many women sitting at looms, on the verandas outside their homes.
We stop off in Dili for 1 night before heading to Atauro.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 8-9 Atauro Island
We leave most of our luggage in storage at the hotel and just take small bags with us on our island adventure. We journey by fishing boat, taking 3-4 hours to travel around 24 nautical miles across the Wetar Strait. Keep your eyes peeled for whales and dolphins - sightings are common.
Atauro is 25km long with a mountainous spine and narrow coastal plains. It is home to some of the best coral reefs in the world, and breeding grounds for hundreds of species of fish fringe the island. The mountains are mostly limestone and the highest, Manucoco (995m), figures in many legends and is considered sacred. Due to its isolation Atauro was historically used by both Portuguese and Indonesian governments as a place of exile. The community of nearly 8000 people, mostly subsistence fishers and farmers, live in 5 villages spread over the island. Our hosts are the local community folk working through the NGO, Roman Luan. Their ecotourism project is part of a community capacity-building program.
We stay in simple huts made from local materials, in a lovely location right near the beach front. The project has been developed with very carefully researched environmental and cultural preservation and empowerment principles, and is a great role model for other potential tourism projects in Timor-Leste.
We can explore the fishing villages on foot, guided by local community members; go further afield in an outrigger; swim and snorkel over colourful reefs; hear some local songs, music and dance; or simply relax gazing out over the sparkling waters. We are guests in a community whose culture is still quite traditional and conservative, so your group leader will remind you of appropriate behaviour and dress.
Included Activities
  • Boat to Atauro Island
  • Outrigger hire
Accommodation
Bungalow (2 nts)
Days 10-11 Baucau
We travel back to Dili to freshen up before heading east on our second 'loop', driving along the 'great ocean road' to the town of Manatuto, where President Xanana Gusmao was born. Onward east to Baucau (around 3 hours), the second-largest town in Timor-Leste (after Dili), which will be our base for 2 nights. This city has many remnants of Portuguese administration and the more recent Indonesian occupation in the form of many large houses, churches, and other public buildings.
Agriculture is the main economic activity of the district, with crops of corn, rice, peanuts, coconuts and vegetables all grown here. The area is quite lush and we can head down to a beautiful beach, about a 20-minute drive away, or relax and have a drink under the huge trees by the communal spring, where women come to wash their clothes and children come to bathe and play.
We take a day trip up to the hills to Venilale. It is a very picturesque drive along a winding road lined by gigantic ancient fig trees, and we'll view cave hideouts used during World War II along the way. Venilale is dominated by the Salesian school, the orphanage and the newly restored Portuguese-style community centre. After a look around town we can trek through forest and farmland to Mt Ariana.
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 12-13 Los Palos
Los Palos, the district capital of Lautem, is our next base, approximately a 2 hour drive. Los Palos receives high rainfall so it's tropical and lush, though if there has been heavy rain it may make the town difficult to access.
East Timorese women of the area suffered greatly during Portuguese colonial times and more recently under the repressive Indonesian regime. Here we may visit some of the agricultural and community development projects of this area, particularly those established by the women to improve their economic situation and self-esteem, these include tais weaving.
Heading further east to Tutuala, we pass many traditional 'uma lulik', or spirit houses along the way, a large freshwater lake to the south where crocodile abound, and see beautiful rainforest-covered peaks. This area is part of the Nino Konis Santana National Park, Timor-Leste's first National park which was declared in 2007 - the vistas are superb! If road conditions allow, we take a very rough road down from Tutuala village to the beach and then board an outrigger out to Jaco Island just offshore. If time allows we may be privileged to see ancient cave paintings along the way.
Accommodation
Guesthouse (2 nts)
Days 14-15 Dili
Time permitting we visit the busy Saturday market in Los Palos before commencing our return journey to Dili, via the beach at Com (around 6-8 hours including lunch stops). As we head towards the west and the setting sun, perhaps time will be needed to reflect on all the incredible experiences we have had in 2 weeks in peaceful and independent Timor-Leste.
Our last night, Day 14, is spent in Dili and you can depart at any time on Day 15.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
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      Itinerary disclaimer
      Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
      Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
      Culture shock rating

      The comforts of home are more of a rarity. English isn't common and the food will be quite different to home. It's important to observe some of the local customs to not cause offence. Many of the locals’ standard of living may be confronting.
      Physical rating

      This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
      Included activities
      Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
      Optional activities
      A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
      Money Exchange
      The official currency of Timor-Leste is the US dollar.
      There are no money exchange facilities at the airport. You should bring adequate US cash if arriving on the weekend. US currency travellers cheques can be changed to cash in Dili. There is an Australian ANZ bank, a Portugese BNU bank and a Western Union office open on weekdays. Banking facilities are limited outside Dili, so enough US cash will be required for the duration of the trip.
      There are several ATMs around Dili, including the ANZ Bank. These machines dispense US dollars using credit/debit cards that are Cirrus/Maestro linked, but they should not be solely depended on. Credit cards are only recognised at some of the more expensive hotels, shops and restaurants.
      Spending money
      Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
      Tipping
      If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.
      The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
      Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
      Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$2-3 per day for local guides.
      Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$1-2 per day for drivers.
      Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
      In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
      At your group meeting on day 1 your tour guide will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your group leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip.
      Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.
      Departure tax
      A US$10 departure tax is applicable.
      Important notes
      CONSULAR ADVICE:
      Travel in Timor-Leste has recently been the subject of Consular Advice, in relation to both the risk of civil unrest and security incidents that have occurred. Intrepid is constantly monitoring the safety of travel in Timor-Leste, and our itinerary is subject to change depending on the latest travel advice. Please read your country's travel advice on their web-site before booking this trip.
      RESTORATION OF INDEPENDENCE DAY
      For all passengers travelling on the 20th May 2012 departure, please note this date is a public holiday known as the Restoration of Independence Day. This year will be the ten year anniversary of independence. Please be aware that there may be delays and a number of businesses will not be open. We recommend, if you can, to arrive a day earlier to avoid delays and to enjoy the festivities.
      PRE/POST ACCOMMODATION
      Please note, if you are wanting to book pre or post accommodation, the start/finish point hotel only has double or single rooms. There are no twin rooms available.
      Group size
      Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
      Your fellow travellers
      As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
      Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
      www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
      Single travellers
      Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own room (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
      Accommodation
      Hotel (6 nts), Guesthouse (6 nts), Bungalow (2 nts)
      OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
      The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
      TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
      Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.
      CHECK-IN TIME
      Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
      PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
      If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
      Most accommodation outside of Dili is basic with shared facilities.
      Meals introduction
      While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
      Meals
      8 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
      Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
      USD 300.00
      Transport
      4x4, Boat
      Group leader
      All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
      Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
      Joining point
      Novo Horizonte Hotel
      Areia Branca
      Metiaut
      Dili
      TIMOR-LESTE
      Joining point description
      The Novo Horizonte Hotel is located close to the beaches of Areia Branca and Cristo Rei, and is only 5 minutes from the city centre. Intrepid does not offer additional accommodation at this hotel. Note that only double and single rooms only are available (no twin rooms available)
      www.novohorizontehotels.com/en
      Joining point instructions
      Airport transfers can be arranged via Fly Bus Dili Airport Shuttle. Pre booking of this service is essential and can be done via email: kijoli@bigpond.com (please ensure you receive a confirmation as email services are not yet reliable in Timor-Leste) or telephone +670 (0) 750 8585. Intrepid accepts no responsibility for the services provided by Fly Bus Dili Airport Shuttle.
      Arrival complications
      We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
      If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
      No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
      Finish point
      Novo Horizonte Hotel
      Areia Branca
      Metiaut
      Dili
      TIMOR-LESTE
      Finish point description
      The Novo Horizonte Hotel is located close to the beaches of Areia Branca and Cristo Rei, and is only 5 minutes from the city centre. Intrepid does not offer additional accommodation at this hotel. Note that only double and single rooms only are available (no twin rooms available)
      www.novohorizontehotels.com/en
      Finish point instructions
      Airport transfers can be arranged via Fly Bus Dili Airport Shuttle. Pre booking of this service is essential and can be done via email: kijoli@bigpond.com (please ensure you receive a confirmation as Email services are not yet reliable in Timor-Leste) or telephone +670 (0) 750 8585. Intrepid accepts no responsibility for the services provided by Fly Bus Dili Airport Shuttle.
      Emergency contact
      In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Melbourne Office can be reached on Tel: +61 3 9473 2650. For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week. For further contact details please use the following page:
      Emergency funds
      Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
      Visas
      Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
      We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
      TIMOR-LESTE
      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.
      Issues on your trip
      While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
      We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
      You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
      What to take
      What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
      Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
      You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
      LUGGAGE RESTRICTIONS:
      You will be on the move a good deal, so pack as lightly as possible (try to stay under 10kg /22lb). If flying Air North from Darwin, the check-in luggage limit is 13kg. Most travellers carry their luggage in a pack, although a soft overnight or sports bag with a shoulder strap would suffice. We have very limited luggage space in our vehicles, so rigid bags or suitcases are not suitable.
      WATER BOTTLE:
      Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day
      Health
      All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
      You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
      HEALTH PRECAUTIONS IN TIMOR-LESTE:
      Visitors to Timor-Leste should take precautions similar to those when travelling to other parts of South-East Asia, but be aware of a higher risk of Diarrhoea, Malaria, Dengue fever/Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever, Hepatitus A, Filariasis and Japanese encephalitis. It's important to protect yourself from mosquito bites with appropriate clothing, use of repellents that contain DEET and by sleeping under mosquito nets. Please be aware that there are very limited medical facilities and transport services outside of Dili, and we travel outside Dili for up to 5 days at a time. In the case of illness, returning to Dili may be slow.
      Safety
      Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
      We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
      Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
      For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
      FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
      Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
      BALCONIES:
      Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
      SWIMMING POOLS:
      You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.
      TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
      Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
      SEAT BELTS:
      Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.
      PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
      While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
      WATER SAFETY:
      Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.
      Travel insurance
      Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
      When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
      If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
      Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
      Responsible Travel
      We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
      When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means covering shoulders and no short shorts. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. Shorts should be knee-length. Singlets and tank tops are not suitable. Topless sun bathing is unacceptable.
      A couple of rules
      Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
      The Intrepid Foundation
      Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
      The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
      Responsible Travel projects
      Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Timor-Leste include:
      * The Alola Foundation aims to nurture women leaders and advocate for the rights of women to achieve gender equality and improved health, education and economic prospects. Their work focuses on establishing capacity building programs for working groups, facilitating developmental group discussions, and conducting training in both social and personal skills development.
      Carbon offset
      Carbon Offset C02-e 457.00 kgs per pax.
      Feedback
      After your travels, we want to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.