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East Timor and Dili are most commonly reached by air. It's cost is inflated due to two main reasons. First, the large percentage of salaried expats working there drives up the "tourist" inflation. Second, there are only three airlines that service Timor with extremely limited connections. If you are looking to save money, come overland from Kupang.
Airnorth flies to/from Darwin - http://www.airnorth.com.au/
Merpati flies to/from Denpasar (Bali) - http://www.merpati.co.id/
Silkair, chartered by Austasia flies to/from Singapore - www.austasiaairlines.com
If you plan to fly into Dili, you can get a Visa on arrival.
If you are leaving from Dili, please note that there is a $10 airport departure tax.
The airport has a small cafe and even smaller gift shop. I recommend eating before going to the airport. There are two public (free) computers in the boarding area with access to the internet.
Written Mar 17, 2010
If you know Dili, you can walk the entire length of the town in about 30 minutes. However if you are not feeling that you want to tackle the length of the walk and the heat of the day, or if you have things to carry, you have two options.
Taxis cost $1 for any destination around town. You can possibly negotiate for less, but if you are white, $1 will likely be the minimum. There may be a bit of a mark-up for late night pickups (+$1). If you meet a driver you like, take is number and call when you need a ride.
The more budget and local way will be a "mikrolet". These are public, mini-buses. They have set routes, but no designated stops. Simply flag one down and get in. When you want out, just tap the rail so the driver hears you. Cost is $0.10 for anywhere on the circuit.
I've attached a mark-up of the Dili map showing mikrolet bus #10. This is the best choice for getting most tourist destinations in Dili.
Written Mar 15, 2010
If you are not in Timor on business, then I'd be surprised. If it is business, then the cost of a $80/day rental car (4WD) will be no problem as it can be expensed.
If you are not on business while in Timor, $80 per day may be a bit too much. And although the cheap public buses may be more in line with your budget, their safety and comfort will not be satisfactory.
To me a possible middle ground is renting a motorcycle or scooter. The Backpackers rents scooters, but they are small and often in need of some maintenance.
Best quality and price it to go to see Tony at Sumha Motor Hire. They have 100cc scooters all the way up to 650cc motorcycles. ($20 ~ $25 per day)
Pay cash in advance and leave a photocopy of your license. Pick-ups and drop-offs during weekends should be arranged in advance.
Located on the side of Tiger Fuel, on Rua Comoro.
Written Mar 15, 2010
Phone: +670 723-0965
East Timor allows visitors to obtain a visa upon arrival at both the airport and land border crossings ($30 USD). However Indonesia does not reciprocate this. You "must" have a visa in your passport prior to arrival at the border if you are trying to enter Indonesia.
Timor Tour & Travel offers small buses (11-passenger vans) that travel the route between Dili and Kupang every day. The transit time is between 10~12 hours and the start time is about 8am. They will confirm a pick-up time at the place you are staying as early as 5:30am.
Price from Kupang to Dili is 185,000 IDR.
Price from Dili to Kupang is $20 USD.
Timor Travel advertises this as an A/C bus, but in reality it will either not work or will not be turned on. Some of the buses do not have all their windows in working order, so I recommend placing your belongings on the seat and trying to informally reserve your spot as soon as you can. Also, may want to bring earplugs since the radio has a tendency to play laud music.
You will get off the bus at exiting immigration check, then have to walk the ~200m to the opposite entry checkpoint. If you do not want, or cannot carry your baggage, there are typically many kids here looking for a dollar or two and will offer to be your porters. After going through immigration and customs on the opposite side, you must get back on a different bus for the remainder of the journey. Buses do not drive through the border due to additional paperwork hassles.
Your hotel/hostel should have the phone numbers on record, but they are currently listed as:
Kupang office Tel. 0380-881543
Dili office Tel +670 723-322-095
I've also seen +670 390-333-1014
(take note, these may change)
If you want to do this a bit more on a budget, take a local bus between various sections and walk across the border. Kupang, Atambua, Mota'ain.
Updated Mar 13, 2010
Phone: +670 723-322-095
The Nakroma Ferry (same that operates to/from Oecussi) offers a once per week journey to Atauro Island.
This ferry leaves Dili at 9am ever Saturday for Atauro. Sailing time is about 2:30 ~ 3 hours.
On the same day, it returns from Atauro, leaving about 3pm. There "should" be a series of horn whistles before the boat sets off, first at 30 minutes, then 15 minutes.
The ferry is rather spartan. There are several hundred seats in the regular class rooms. There are bathrooms and a few TV's that will be movies from DVD. However, a good amount of people who buy the regular ticket will opt to spend the journey on the roof of the ferry, catching the breeze and the view. There are no seats up there and the sun may be strong.
The VIP room has ~20 chairs and is equipped with A/C.
One-way "foreigner" price is $5 for regular class. VIP is $10 one-way.
At least on the way to Atauro, it is recommended to buy a ticket the day before to guarantee a ticket. Ticket office is on the side of the the Administration Building, inside the port, on Rua Pelabuhan. This is just opposite the Timor Hotel.
For those people who wish to stay longer on the island, do not be dismayed that the ferry will not return for another week:
There are a few local fishermen that capitalize on the weekend visitors to Atauro and offer rides back to Dili "early" Monday morning. Typical departure is about 5am on Monday for $10/pp. Once you get to Atauro, ask around and most people will point you in the right way. When in doubt, see my other tip to "Spend the Weekend at Atauro Island".
Updated Mar 10, 2010
Phone: +670 7353217
There is a main bus station for travel to the major town in the East of the island, BAUCAU (3hrs) and LOS PALOS (6-7 hrs), and two small ones for destinations in the south, AILEU(1 hr), MAUBISSE (2-3 hrs), AINARO(hrs), SAME and SUAI, or destinations to the West, towards the border to Indonesia. Prices and service are very low...
For few days' trips consider hiring a truck with a driver, for daytrips taxis are good. Prices to those two last options are reasonable again, after the departure of the majority of U.N. personel.
People from abroad tend to hike with the International Forces vehicles around the island, i avoid it...
Written Dec 25, 2002
1 Review and 31 Opinions My girlfriend and I initially planned to stay at The Esplande Hotel in Dili however when we booked...