East Timor (aka Timor-Leste) is one of the world’s youngest countries, becoming a separate state from Indonesia in just 2002. It has some similarities to Indonesia in terms of the tropical climate and geography (it’s part of the island of Timor), but the people here have a different ethnic and cultural background.
The islands near the coast of East Timor are becoming increasingly popular for diving and snorkeling trips, with white sand beaches, turquoise water and amazing coral reefs. The biodiversity is pretty similar to nearby Indonesia, but part of the novelty in visiting East Timor is that you get to check another country off your to do list. Dili, the capital city of East Timor, also makes a decent place for a visa run if you’re wanting to extend your stay in Indonesia. I found the visa and arrival process to be pretty straightforward.
East Timor is generally a safe travel destination, although you should take extra precautions and try to avoid being out at night. Harassment of women is a problem here, and I’m not sure I would recommend visiting the country as a solo traveler. Still, the UN reports that the violent crime rate is a fairly typical 4 per 100k inhabitants (36% lower than the global average), so it’s not a very dangerous place to travel. The biggest safety risks are probably motorbike accidents and natural threats, like dengue fever. Be sure to wear mosquito spray during the rainy season.
Despite the general state of poverty in East Timor, it is oddly not a very budget friendly travel destination compared to other countries in SE Asia. The country doesn’t get a lot of tourists, so infrastructure is pretty limited and this is partly why the prices are higher than they should be. Hostels are available from $10 and private hotels from $25. Meals are pretty cheap, costing about $4 to $8 depending on location. Transportation is generally by car or bus, and taxi fares are paid for in US Dollars.
East Timor is becoming an increasingly popular destination for diving and snorkeling trips, and part of the novelty is that it’s also one of the world’s youngest countries,… Read More