go to content go to search box go to global site navigation

East Timor

Health & safety

Dangers & annoyances

Malaria and dengue are common and are real concerns for those staying in East Timor; take precautions. Consider all tap water and ice as highly suspect (bottled water is widely available) and do as the locals do: wipe off any water from the tops of beverage cans before drinking. Antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals are easily bought in Dili but are hard to find elsewhere.

The main risks associated with East Timor besides political upheaval are those universal concerns of road safety and petty crime.

The driving in East Timor is generally passive and traffic is far from dense; however, vehicles and roads are generally in poor condition, and are made more hazardous by wandering livestock. Sudden wash-outs of roads is just one reason why driving after nightfall outside Dili is foolish.

Theft most frequently occurs from cars, with mobile phones a prime target. Wandering alone on the beach at night is never a good idea, and women travelling solo should take particular care, but generally the crime rate is not high.

Given the regular bouts of political instability in East Timor, check the current situation before you visit (although government travel advisories are usually cautious in the extreme). Outside of mass unrest, political violence is not aimed at non-Timorese. If you see stone throwing or other provocations, vamoose.