Blessed with great mountains to ascend and untapped reefs to discover, Asia’s most current nation, Timor-Leste, is the latest travel destination to watch out for. The latest country is a haven to its young populace and assorted universal vicinity that includes simply the perfect measure of flavor. Dili, the capital city has all the splendid lights, yet wander out for wild social encounters. Spend time in an elegant Pousada (a home built in Portuguese style), or immerse into the culture of a tranquil island home.
Look out for whales as you trail the cliffs along the northern coastal part of the island. Its picture perfect shorelines entice swimmers and deep sea divers. Discover this astonishing nation and embrace every adventure with so much passion, then you will realize why it is worth all the time and effort to understand what Timor Leste is all about. The ideal time to visit and go on tour of this historic nation is after the wet season (April – July).
A country that has an exciting waterfront adventures to experience, here are the not to be missed places and the best attractions to see in Timor Leste:
The Archives & Museum of East Timorese Resistance (Dili)
Archives & Museum of East Timorese Resistance
located in the district capital of Dili narrates the recent history of East Timor and their leaders. It is an interactive museum that is designed for all audiences. It is very beautiful and well maintained, and can amuse you with all the details for hours. For those who want to understand a bit of the island and its people, it is obligatory to stop and understand its significant role in Timor Leste’s history. It has a good collection for researchers or for anyone who wants to see more of the history of the Timorese resistance. It was recently renovated and is now part of the UNTL – National University of East Timor which is also worth the visit. Do not expect an interactive museum with sound and light effects as you will be disappointed, but a visit to this museum is still a must to understand the history of this very young country.
Although it is the only Museum of the City of Dili, it is an interesting initiative that could be more diverse in its activities even if its exhibition design is still very poor. It was built with Portuguese Government support and the items displayed are quite explanatory and does not require the help of a guide. For those who want to deepen or even know some of the history of this country, it is a must stop. You will see the airy and cool space, the exhibition, the story that finished well. While some people do not like to watch the testimony of so much suffering, the site has a great way of stressing the point that it is important not to forget what happened in the past must never happen again on this land. This nice little museum is more focused on the atrocities this nation suffered and endured. It has lots of information and it is all presented in English. However, it lacks a section on art and customs of the people, but a short tour is still mandatory while you’re in Timor Leste.
The long walk to the
is very special and one of the best highlights of a visit to Timor Leste. It might seem like an imitation of Christ in Rio de Janeiro, but it has its own charm despite being a miniature version of the grand attraction in Brazil. The statue is still a stand out with its 27 meters imposing presence that is placed on top of a globe. It can be accessed by a staircase that is very long and requires at least an hour to visit considering the number of steps. One of the main attractions of East Timor is an obligatory stop for those in Dili. The ride up it is already very good, coasting the sea and a peek through some beautiful little beaches (but not very good for swimming). The rise of the Christ is tiring and long, but worth it. The city view is spectacular, especially at sunset. Even without the impressive Brazilian Christ Monument, access is easy, nice and free. Take your camera to capture beautiful landscapes. On the way, it is possible to have different views of the local scene. It is a demanding uphill walk, but it is worth it and totally unforgettable!
The view of the bay of Dili is very impressive, and from the top you can admire the gorgeous color of the water on the beach below. The climb is free and it is highly recommended to do it early in the morning because of the stifling afternoon heat. It would be better to schedule the return to the city with a taxi driver, as the area during the week is devoid of public transport. Bring your own snack or drinks because you cannot find any seller around this area. If you do visit Dili, the statue is seen from across the bay and it is flocked by local and foreign tourists. Not far from the center of Dili, the Christ the King stands on a hill by the sea and offers beautiful views of the harbor and the city. Just do not neglect safety.
Cemetery of Santa Cruz
Cemetery of Santa Cruz
is an exciting place in the history of the people of East Timor resistance. It is not considered as a tourist spot because it has no information, but it is a historical place because it is here where a massacre has occurred and marked the restoration of independence of Timor Leste. Although not anything flashy in the eyes and looks very typical or just like any cemetery in Timor Leste, it is very symbolic because it carries the historical weight of the “Santa Cruz massacre”. There are lots of things to learn which is quite thought provoking and complemented with strong images that make the place truly remarkable.
A visit to the burial place is always accompanied by a sense of sadness, nostalgia, and melancholy. Inevitably the place will always be remembered by the bloody events that transpired in Santa Cruz, at which time the precarious situation occurred between the Indonesian government and the “government of East Timor”. It serves as a reminder of the events that occur when the motorcade procession gathered the residents of East Timor and go hand in hand towards the tomb of Santa Cruz. It was the time of so much chaos wherein so many innocent civilians became victims of these cruelties. You can visit this cemetery to pray for the souls of the innocent victims that suffered during the dark period.
was established by the Portuguese during their era of colonization. The religious structure played an important part in the occasions paving the way to the Cementerio de Santa Cruz slaughter. It is on this church (October 28, 1991) where a meeting had occurred between radical members of the congregation and pro activists that resulted into two Timorese being slaughtered and initiated the start of the revolution and heightened the Timorese Resistance.
A month after the tragic incident, thousands went to the commemoration for Timorese resistance member Sebastiao Gomes and protested, starting from the Motael Church up to the Santa Cruz Cemetery. Amid the walk a bloody encounter with the Indonesian troops occurred. At the point when the protest was about to enter the cemetery a new gathering of Indonesian military forces surfaced and began shooting. The slaughter took the lives of no less than 250 Timorese and the following overall shock began the disintegration of international support for the colonization of Indonesia.
Pope John Paul Statue
Pope John Paul Statue
was established since June 2008 in the city of Dili, and it stands right across the imposing landmark of Cristo Rei (Christ the King Monument). This statue was constructed in memory of the pope’s official visit to the country in November 1989.
His symbolic visit to the country gave courage and strengthened the hope of the people that was struggling during that time for full independence. It is placed on top of a hill that overlooks the area where he celebrated the Holy Mass for the people of Timor Leste.
Beach earned its name and was given by the tourists who frequent this place because it can be found at the back of the Christ the King Monument (Cristo Rei). If you plan an excursion or gathering, you must bring everything that you need because there are no shops or any establishment there. It is more disengaged than the major shorelines in the middle of Dili and the statue. So in the event that you need shops and bistros, beverage and nourishment sellers, you can do so at the main road portion of this area.
If your idea of a beach holiday is a few people, no hawkers, serene environment, and immaculate water, this beach are perfect for you. You have two alternatives to access this lovely beach; you can stroll up the stairs of the monument and begin your descent from the 14th enclave, from this point the beach is just 5 minutes away. The second option is if you have a rented 4×4 you can drive towards the monument and take the shortcut on the road called Hera, continue the drive up to the mountain and once you reach the base camp, turn left and take a short trail along the rough road.
is worth a visit for trinket shopping and where you can find a wide assortment of things from Timor Leste. From conventional to high quality materials made with regular colors for more mass-created things or whatever you are inclined toward, there is an incredible scope of tais and items that is easily accessible here.
This includes home materials, pieces of jewelry, woven wicker bin, garments, and so on. It’s extraordinary to see ladies weaving in their stalls, and some are more than cheerful, friendly and very welcoming. The Tais Market in Dili is a veritable buffet of by regional standards locally manufactured and hand woven clothing items with everything taken into account as an extremely tasteful experience of a visit to Timor Leste.
is a great dining place located along the coast of Timor Leste. It is situated on the beaches of Metiaut, a friendly place that is equipped with good food and drinks. It is a perfect site to enjoy a late afternoon, relaxing on the beachfront, while comfortably seated on the balcony or in the garden. It is one of the best restaurants in Dili located along the seaside area that offers delicious Portuguese African Timorese food.
It has an elegant environment and an owner who is very helpful and accommodating. The price of the food is affordable and quite acceptable. The concept really is heavily inspired by the excellent Morabeza, located a little further from the center of Dili and where the value for money is better. For the quality of food, cooking is competent and sufficiently distinct to get elevated to being exceptional.
The best shorelines of Timor Leste are the ones that are located mostly in the north side of the island. The south part is exceptionally rough. The
Tutuala Beach is
the best shoreline with complete beach infrastructure in the whole island. Just a few meters form here is the Dollar Beach which is a white sandy shoreline, useful for swimming, in spite of the solid ebbs and flows amid the low tide.
You need to pay 1 USD to gain access and use its facilities, that’s why it‘s called as such. Most of the beaches here have reefs and diving sites with restaurants and bars near the shore.
is an awesome break from the hustle of whatever is left of Timor Leste, over-run by such a large number of expat specialists. Atauro Island is the most enormous island you can see aside from the district of Dill City. Atauro is a captivating spot and indeed worth the visit. It is one of the most visited islands in Timor Leste that is populated with interesting villages.
However, Atauro is dry and staggeringly rough, but the locals very cordial and welcoming of any tourists who come by for a visit. There are lots of amazing areas, fish and coral, so enjoy and have fun snorkeling and diving on this majestic side of Timor Leste. Eco-tourism is currently being developed and soon enough, immersion and staying in one of the communities is just a few of the things to look forward to here in Atauro.
is in the district where a significant part of the country relies on coffee production. It is here where coffee is grown, harvested, and processed. This important part of the country is also home to numerous coffee estates. If you drive along the highway while coming from Dili to Maubisse you will see an astonishing number of scene changes, from the parched lands of Dili to the delightful green fields, the natural forest, and lastly to the territory of Maubisse which is an excellent valley with a huge slope in the center.
Make sure to visit or pass by the Maubisse Market, it is here where you can see all things about Timor Leste aside from seeing stalls of vegetables and fruits. The best part of staying in the island is spending the afternoon watching the day change into night as the glorious sun goes down to the slope. The astonishing dusk scene is very calming and worth waiting for.
Jaco Island (Com)
is located in the district of Com and it is sacred to the local people, so do not be surprised if you are the only visitor to the island. It is a gorgeous looking white beach, deserted, with intact coral reefs that are less than 1 meter deep, numerous fish, perfect for diving and water sports, and probably among the best places to snorkel and hang out with your family and friends in Timor Leste. It is not yet frequented by tourists and even its nature is virtually untouched, but it already has a few hotels constructed with very stable structure. Tip; access should be done preferably during the dry season and with a 4×4 car (if possible with extra gallons of fuel) because the roads fall short and not very easy to find where to source the supply.
A country that is fast developing and in the process of reconstructing its important landmarks and points of interests, Timor Leste is an ideal travel destination in Asia that deserves a visit and recognition for its brave effort in their fight for freedom and democracy. It is an ideal example of how a country can get rid of oppression if the people unite and fight for one goal. A visit is a must and the best option to understand the political struggles, history, natural wonders, the patriotism, and inspiring determination of its people.