11 Best Things to Do in East Timor


East Tim­or is a small coun­try in South­east Asia, washed by the warm waters of the Indi­an and Pacif­ic Oceans. Its ter­ri­to­ry is cov­ered with high hills, dense forests and savan­nas.

Eastern Timor

Things to do in East Timor

East Tim­or has a rich cul­ture and inter­est­ing his­to­ry. Large set­tle­ments appeared here thou­sands of years ago. The abo­rig­ines were engaged in gath­er­ing, farm­ing and devel­oped trade with neigh­bor­ing islands. Euro­peans dis­cov­ered a new land in the 16th cen­tu­ry. These were the Por­tuguese Catholic mis­sion­ar­ies who col­o­nized the area.

East Tim­or gained inde­pen­dence from Por­tu­gal, but after it was occu­pied by Indone­sia. The inva­sion was accom­pa­nied by protests and repres­sion. In 1999, the UN held a ref­er­en­dum, as a result of which the coun­try final­ly became free. Its econ­o­my is based on oil and gas pro­duc­tion, agri­cul­tur­al pro­duc­tion and pearl fish­ing.

The tourism indus­try is poor­ly devel­oped — mil­i­tary con­flicts have destroyed the infra­struc­ture of cities. For­eign­ers are scared away by the lack of good roads and hotels. Most often, lovers of adven­ture and “wild” recre­ation come here.

On the one hand, the coun­try is washed by the Tim­or Sea, which is part of the Indi­an Ocean. There are no pres­ti­gious resorts here, but clean beach­es are cov­ered with fine sand, sur­round­ed by euca­lyp­tus and coconut palms. Coral reefs run along the coast, mak­ing these places ide­al for div­ing and explor­ing the seabed.

Local peo­ple are friend­ly to guests. In coastal towns, it is easy to rent a boat to fish and explore the islands scat­tered in the sea. In the vil­lages, you can plunge into the life of the tribes, see tra­di­tion­al Tim­o­rese dances, buy hand­made woven bracelets, bas­kets, and seashell jew­el­ry.

Interesting places



Dili is the cap­i­tal of the state, locat­ed in the north of the island of Tim­or. It is the cul­tur­al cen­ter and main port of the coun­try, which is dec­o­rat­ed with Por­tuguese hous­es of the colo­nial era, Catholic church­es and mon­u­ments.

Along the main city square stands the gov­er­nor’s palace. In the cen­ter stands the Uni­fi­ca­tion Mon­u­ment, ded­i­cat­ed to the strug­gle of the Tim­o­rese peo­ple for inde­pen­dence. The mon­u­ment is a fig­ure of a man in tra­di­tion­al clothes with bro­ken chains on his wrists.

Dili has some of the best shops and restau­rants in East Tim­or. Tourists relax on the beach­es, snorkel, watch marine ani­mals.



The state con­sists of sev­er­al islands. One of them — Atau­ro — has an area of ​​140.5 km². The area is cov­ered with hills and euca­lyp­tus forests. The largest city is Maumeta, which has good hotels and mar­kets sell­ing seafood, fruits and sou­venirs.

Dur­ing the colo­nial era, there was a prison in the vicin­i­ty of Maumet. Now it is closed, and the island per­forms a tourist func­tion. The coastal waters are great for div­ing, and there are bird­watch­ing and exot­ic plant-watch­ing trails through the for­est.



The unin­hab­it­ed island of Jacou is part of the Less­er Sun­da Islands and has a moun­tain­ous land­scape. A piece of land with an area of ​​10 km² is con­sid­ered a reserve. The coast­line is dot­ted with white sand and lined with coral reefs. Swim­ming in the water, you can see blue moray eels, sea­hors­es, bright trop­i­cal fish, giant tur­tles, dol­phins.

There are no hotels on the island. Tourists usu­al­ly arrive by boat ear­ly in the morn­ing and leave in the evening. To stay with an overnight stay, you need to bring a tent and every­thing you need to relax with you.



A lime­stone cave near the city of Lalea has giv­en the world amaz­ing archae­o­log­i­cal dis­cov­er­ies. The remains of peo­ple who lived 44,600 years ago were found here. In a cave at an alti­tude of 86 meters above sea lev­el, human bones, fos­silized frag­ments of ani­mals, birds, as well as arti­facts used for hunt­ing, shell jew­el­ry have been pre­served.

Architecture and museums

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

sobor neporochnogo sachatiya

The main tem­ple of the Roman Catholic Church in Tim­or appeared in Dili in 1988. Indone­sian author­i­ties allo­cat­ed 235 thou­sand dol­lars for its con­struc­tion. The majes­tic build­ing is con­sid­ered the largest in South­east Asia. The tem­ple for 2 thou­sand peo­ple is lined with white plas­ter, dec­o­rat­ed with arch­es and a rose win­dow. Next to the church is a bell tow­er with a gabled roof. In front of the entrance stands a white sculp­ture of the Vir­gin Mary.

Cristo Rey

kristo rei

The cen­tral attrac­tion of Dili is the 27-meter stat­ue of Jesus Christ, installed in 1997. It took a year of hard work to cre­ate it. The sculp­ture is assem­bled from sev­er­al parts cast from cop­per. The sculp­ture, built into the globe, stands on a high moun­tain near the seashore. Christ spread his arms and looks at the city.

There is a chapel inside the moun­tain. And to climb to the mon­u­ment, you will need to over­come 500 steps.

Pura Girinatha

pura girinatha

A Bali­nese Hin­du tem­ple is easy to find in Dili near the local mar­ket. It was erect­ed dur­ing the peri­od of Indone­sian occu­pa­tion for immi­grants arriv­ing from Bali. The sanc­tu­ary in a tra­di­tion­al Hin­du style is framed by a con­crete fence and dec­o­rat­ed with mul­ti-col­ored orna­ments.

The main tem­ple is dec­o­rat­ed with wood­en fig­ures of deities and myth­i­cal ani­mals. In the court­yard there is a gar­den and cov­ered gaze­bos for relax­ation.

Timorese Resistance Museum

museu resistance

The Resis­tance Muse­um opened in Dili in 2005. The exhi­bi­tion, which tells about the strug­gle for inde­pen­dence from Indone­sia, is housed in a beau­ti­ful colo­nial-era man­sion. The expo­si­tion high­lights the his­to­ry of the occu­pa­tion of the coun­try and shows how the Tim­o­rese resist­ed the occu­pa­tion.

The muse­um was cre­at­ed to per­pet­u­ate the mem­o­ry of war heroes and pre­serve impor­tant doc­u­ments. It con­tains an archive con­tain­ing doc­u­ments, audio mate­ri­als and pho­tographs.




Tata­mailau is a moun­tain in East Tim­or. The height of the mas­sif, locat­ed 70 km from Dili, is 2986 meters. The pic­turesque slopes are cov­ered with tall grass and euca­lyp­tus trees.

In 1997, a three-meter stat­ue of the Vir­gin Mary was installed on the moun­tain, to which a well-equipped trail leads. To see the sacred sculp­ture, pil­grims from all over the coun­try come to the feast of the Annun­ci­a­tion. There are oth­er routes on Mount Tata­may­lau — the most dif­fi­cult ones take sev­er­al days and require appro­pri­ate equip­ment.

Ira Lalaro

ira lalaro

A beau­ti­ful fresh­wa­ter lake on the island of Tim­or lies in a moun­tain val­ley. The coast­line stretch­es for 6.5 km and is sur­round­ed by vir­gin rain­for­est. Dur­ing the rainy sea­son, the lake over­flows, form­ing a wet­land.

The pond is inhab­it­ed by Aus­tralian pel­i­cans, whistling ducks, king­fish­ers, green doves. In the coastal zone, there are croc­o­diles and snake-necked tur­tles, which are on the verge of extinc­tion. Peo­ple come to Lake Ira Lalaro to fish and enjoy the nat­ur­al land­scapes.

Nino Conis Santana

nino konis santana

Nino Conis San­tana Nation­al Park was estab­lished in 2007. It cov­ers an area of ​​1236 km², which includes moun­tains, ever­green forests, swampy val­leys, wild beach­es. The jun­gle is home to olive par­rots, cock­a­toos, fly­catch­ers, mon­keys and snakes.

There are 6 eth­nic vil­lages in the park. Local res­i­dents work in the reserve and are involved in the tourism busi­ness. Rock paint­ings of ancient peo­ple depict­ing wild ani­mals and rit­u­al scenes have been pre­served in the moun­tains.


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