Why I love Timor-Leste
“From its ruggedly beautiful landscapes to its centuries-old traditions, Timor-Leste offers one of the world’s last great off-the-beaten-track adventures. At least that was what I’d heard – and from the moment I touched down on Dili's palm tree-lined airstrip, I wasn’t disappointed. From diving its delicate, untouched reefs to bumping along its diabolical country roads, hiking to sacred mountain villages to sharing...” Read More
Top experiences in Timor-Leste
Sights in Timor-LesteSee all sights
Full-Day Tour of Dili
Meet your guide between 8am and 8:30am at your accommodation in Dili, then take a seat in your vehicle to begin your 7-hour tour. First, head to the Australian World War II Memorial and Museum in Dare and learn how the Timorese people supported Australian soldiers against the occupying Japanese forces between 1942 and 1945.Afterward, visit sites of interest including the Santa Cruz cemetery — infamous as the site of the Santa Cruz massacre of 12th November 1991 — and the Xanana Cultural Centre, which showcases a collection of photographs and paintings of Timorese resistance fighter and politician Xanana Gusmão. Here, visit the East Timorese Resistance Archive and Museum for a 40-minute guided tour, and gain insight into Indonesia’s troubled occupation of the region.Following a delicious Timorese buffet lunch, visit alocal craft market where women practise the traditional arts of fabric- and basket-weaving. Along the way, discover top sites of interest such as the National Parliament and the popular Chega! Exhibition — standing for truth and reconciliation in East Timor.Head east along the coast to the Cristo Rei of Dili statue — widely considered among the city’s top attractions. Here, choose to either explore the gardens or follow the Stations of the Cross to the top for panoramic views.When your time at the Cristo Rei of Dili statue comes to an end, return in comfort to your accommodation in Dili to conclude your tour.
Full-Day Maubara and Liquica Tour from Dili
After being picked up from your hotel you will travel west along the esplanade through East Timor’s laid-back capital of Dili, which has sprung into life since independence in 2002. The city is nestled into the base of the surrounding hills, which are lush and green in the rainy season. You will pass by many historical buildings, monuments and religious places including the Farol Lighthouse, Statue of Integration and Dili’s oldest church, Motael. You will arrive at the Tasi Tolu Peace Park (Tasi-Tolu literally means “three seas” in the local language) and refers to 3 salt lakes that comprise the Tasi-Tolu wetlands. The area is of national cultural significance being an important symbol of the struggle for Independence, and was declared a national park in 2000. The Tasi Tolu Alter is built in the shape of a traditional Uma Lulik or sacred house and was commissioned for the visit by Pope John Paul II where he celebrated mass in 1989. A large bronze statue of Pope John Paul II was commissioned by the Timorese Government 2003 in memory of his visit. The next stop is the ruins of the Aipelo Military Command Post, which dates back to 18th Century and served as a prison, run by the Portuguese until 1959. Travelling further west we arrive at the colorful seaside town of Maubara where the women are renowned for the production of hand woven, basketwork. Taking a break for morning tea in the Fort of Maubara, built by the Dutch in the 1850’s, a building that generated many disputes between the Dutch and Portuguese during that time. You will then you have free time to explore the craft markets along the seaside. Travelling back towards Dili, you will stop in Liquisa which is the closest district to the west of Dili, taking a 1.5 hour easy walking tour of the historical town with its Portuguese influenced architecture, visiting 12 sites that have been identified as significant cultural and historical sites. You will have lunch at the Black Rock Resort and enjoy a refreshing swim at the Black Rock Beach before returning to Dili.
Atauro Island Guided Day Tour from Dili
Following a morning pickup at your Dili accommodation, meet your guide at 8am and hop into your air-conditioned minivan to begin your 9-hour tour. First, take the ferry along the Wetar Straight with your guide and watch the waters for sightings of native dolphins and whales. On arrival at Atauro Island, visit local women’s co-operatives and gain insight into the handicrafts and trades passed down the generations. After a buffet lunch, enjoy free time to relax at your leisure. Perhaps go snorkelling with tropical fish and turtles along the coral walls, or relax and soak up the sunshine on the beach. When your times on Atauro Island comes to an end, take the ferry back along the Wetar Straight to Dili. Then, return in comfort to your hotel to conclude your tour.
5-hour Dili After Dark Night Tour Including Dinner on the Beach
We’re heading out on the town! This Dili night tour hits up the locals’ favourite places after dark and you will be taken along for a night to remember. Once you’ve been picked up from your hotel, you’ll travel along the waterfront — commonly known as Embassy Row due to the 15 foreign embassies located in this area — until you reach the Dili night market. This is where the locals flock every night and you will join them for a local experience. Your guides will set up tables and chairs on the beach, amid all the local families gathering for an evening meal. Watch the children building sandcastles and swimming in the shallows, and smell the delicious array of local food being prepared on the grills lining the beach. Barbecue delicacies are seasonal so the menu’s always changing, but you can often find dishes featuring fish, squid, octopus, chicken, beef, corn, and katupa (rice cooked in a palm leaf basket). Dig into a tasty dinner starring these local treats as you watch the sun go down from the beach. Soft drinks and water are served with the meal and ice-cold Bintang beer is available to purchase. (Don’t worry if you’re vegetarian — Your tastes are catered for as long as they have notice in advance. Please notify us in the “Additional request” box at checkout when you book your tour. After dinner you’ll head to a local live music venue, where you can sit back and enjoy a view across the bay or dance the night away. Grab a beer or cocktail (not included), and enjoy the live music being performed by talented Timor-Leste musicians. Once the night has come to a close, you will be dropped off back at your hotel.
Half-Day Dili Cultural Tour
You’ll start your guided half-day Dili tour with an easy walk through Largo de Lecidere Park, along shaded pathways as you pass by the local fruit markets until you reach the Gembel Art Collective. Here you’ll have time to browse the exhibition hall and even meet the local artists all working on-site. From there, you’ll jump on a microlet — the minibuses that are the preferred local form of public transport. You’ll ride alongside locals who are going about their day and who are always surprised to see a “Malay” (foreigner) — don’t be surprised if a few locals want to practice their English on you and tell you all about themselves! The next stop on our Dili tour will be the PNTL (National Police Memorial) that honours the 12 police officers who were killed during 2006 Dili crisis. You’ll then take a short walk along the busy Vila Verde Road to the Dili Cathedral, before hopping on your next microlet ride. From there, it’s on to Dili’s main street, Comoro Road, and the Manleuana local markets. Here you’ll find hundreds of traders selling everything from fresh produce to plants, clothing, crafts and household items. Spend some time browsing the market, where you’re free to grab a cold drink or snack at one of the many stalls serving the locals. Take another short walk to a local school, where you’ll get the chance to chat with some students learning English. Help them practice their conversation skills before hopping on the next microlet that’s eagerly awaiting. Head for Timor Plaza, Dili’s newest feature on the skyline and the city’s only western-style shopping centre. There’s a great photo opportunity here as you head up to the fifth floor and take in the panoramic view of the city and harbour. Then, back on the roadside you’ll flag another microlet that’s heading back toward the CBD. Travel along the waterfront on the Dili Esplanade that’s lined with foreign embassies and government offices. The last stop will be in the historical Motael area, where you’ll walk past sites such as the Farol Lighthouse, the Dili Massacre Memorial, the Motael Church, the Statue of Integration, the Government Palace, and the Casa Europa.