Dili Travel Guide

  • Dili Waterfront
    Dili Waterfront
    by DSwede
  • Views of downtown
    Views of downtown
    by DSwede
  • Cuttlefish off of K41
    Cuttlefish off of K41
    by DSwede

Dili Highlights

  • Pro
    DSwede profile photo

    DSwede says…

     If you can bear the heat, you can walk the entire city in a day. 

  • Con
    DSwede profile photo

    DSwede says…

     Accomadation is over priced due to the expat services communities 

  • In a nutshell
    DSwede profile photo

    DSwede says…

     Dili is a working city, struggling to get Timor off and running as a prosperous nation. 

Dili Things to Do

  • City Parks and Plazas

    Dili's architecture suffered heavily during the days of Independence conflicts. There are a few isolated buildings that predate the period, however most were lost. What does remain are some of the city's parks and plaza's.Cost is free, and they offer some nice views. In my humble opinion, walking between the two major plazas of the city gives you a...

    more
  • Street Fish Markets

    Whether you want to actually buy so you can prepare a fresh dinner meal, or you just wish to have a look as to what inhabits the local waters, the local's fish market can offer both.There are no set hours, but Sunday afternoons are probably best. All the fish is fresh and displayed on what ever table they can find. Ice may not be available or will...

    more
  • Spend the Weekend at Atauro Island

    If a completely detached, quiet, relaxed weekend sounds like peace to you, then Atauro Island is the place to go. (sorry, lost all my photos)Many expats in Dili escape to the island to get away from it all on the weekends. The Nakroma Ferry will take you to the island every Saturday morning (see my Nakroma Ferry tip). If you wish to spend the...

    more
  • Backside Beach

    Backside Beach gets its name from the expats since its on the "Backside" of the Cristo Rei statue. There are no facilities there, so you must bring everything.It is more secluded than the main beaches between Dili and the statue. So if you want people and cafes, drink and food vendors, then stay to the front.If you want quiet beach, with only a few...

    more
  • CAVR - Chega Exhibition

    Located in the ex-Balide Comarca, the CAVR Chega Exhibition chronicals the history leading up to, during and after the Indonesian-Timorese conflict.The ex-Balide Comarca is the refurbished colonial prison which actually housed many Timorese captives by the Indonesians during the occupation. The facility was ultimately run down, but was rebuilt and...

    more
  • The Holy See embassy

    The Embassy of the Vatican at Dili should have been finished by January 2009. But when we saw it in July construction had come to a halt.

    more
  • Resistencia Timorense museum

    We happened to see the signboard for this museum dedicated to the Timorese resistance. It is rather modest considering the impact of recent history. Also taking pictures inside was not allowed. Yet we advise not to pass by the museum. Given sufficient visitors a bigger museum might be established, like the war museums in Vietnam which are a main...

    more
  • Cementerio de Santa Cruz

    The Santa Cruz cemetery has become symbolic for the human rights violations by the Indonesian occupying forces.When on November 12, 1991, the burial procession for resistance member Sebasti√£o Gomes reached the cemetery, Indonesian military started shooting at the mourners, who in vain tried to hide behind the grave stones. Estimates of the number...

    more
  • Motael Church

    Motael church was built by the Portuguese. The building played a role in the events leading up to the Cementerio de Santa Cruz massacre. On 28 October 1991 a confrontation had taken place between resistance members in the church and pro-integration activists, during which two Timorese were killed.Later, on 12 November, thousands attended the...

    more
  • Touring with Eco-Discovery Timor-Leste

    Asking around for a tourist information office, we were referred to Eco Discovery Timor-Leste. As far as we could ascertain, they are at present the most active tour operator in Timor-Leste. And wanting to get the most out of our short stay we took two days of touring with them, although this was not cheap. The first day our driver took us west...

    more
  • Pope John Paul II statue

    Since its inauguration on 15 June 2008, a statue of Pope John Paul II west of Dili mirrors the Cristo Rei statue on the other side. It represents a homage to the pope who visited the occupied country in November 1989 and thereby gave new hope to the struggle for freedom.The statue overlooks the plain where the pope celebrated mass in the open air.

    more
  • Cristo Rei statue

    The statue of Cristo Rei (Christ the King) has become Dili's most famous landmark, although it was erected by the Indonesian army and inaugurated in 1995 by president Suharto. The statue is located on a promontory east of the city. The figure of Christ is 27 m high and He is standing on a globe, looking out over the sea.We could not approach the...

    more

Dili Hotels

See all 6 Hotels in Dili

Dili Restaurants

  • Thai in Timor

    An interesting mix of Lebanese and Thai food. In terms of atmosphere, view, mix of food and just general chillout vibe, it doesn't get much better than this! Fantastic view, over looking the bay, right on the beachside, great for sunset. The staff are friendly and it is great value for money. Larb Gai/Spicy Chicken Salad - full of fresh herbs and...

    more
  • Turks in Timor?

    I was quite surprised to find this, but went with some local expats I met in Dili.The restaurant has some posters of Turkey on the walls and some tapestries from the homeland too. There are even some water pipes available to smoke.The tables seat four, but you can always pull up two tables together. The tables and chairs are rather short, so tall...

    more
  • Freshly grilled fish

    Of course, Dili being a harbour town, seafood is abundant. We had dinner with freshly grilled fish at Restaurante Victoria. There are several fish restaurants in the same area, we chose Victoria for its terrace on the beach. One chooses a fish from the stock in the ice-boxes, it will be immediately grilled and served with salad and fried potatoes....

    more

Dili Transportation

  • Dili by Air

    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...

    more
  • Getting around town on public transit

    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...

    more
  • Rent a motorcycle

    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...

    more

Dili Shopping

See all 2 Shopping in Dili
  • Groceries in Dili (1)

    Dili has an outdoor fish market along the waterfront. Its one of my Dili page to-do tips. Otherwise, there is no regular street market other than the typical small street vendors selling some vegetables or fruits. There is a vegetable stand that has some daily produce. This is on the waterfront, across from Lita's Supermarket (near Hotel...

    more
  • Groceries in Dili (2)

    For more western staples like cheese and milk, there are two main grocery stores. The larger (and more expensive) one is "Leader Supermarkets" on the main Ave Comoro, just west of the "Backpackers" and "Tiger Fuel", in direction of the airport (only about 5 minutes from city center). Buy fruits, vegetables, western foods and meats. Don't buy fish...

    more
  • Dili Hotels

    6 Hotels in Dili

    66 Reviews and Opinions

Dili Warnings and Dangers

  • by Endievb Written Mar 15, 2009

    Not a joke! UN Police cars have become the biggest threat in Dili traffic (many hit-and-run cases with UN police cars involved, too). Many UN Police drivers over-speed and seem to have no experience in driving such a big car..... It's no reason to avoid Dili, but do take this as a serious warning before you enter Dili traffic

    Related to:
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

    more

Dili Off The Beaten Path

  • The restored presidential residence

    When we were driving up the road from Dili to Aileu and Maubisse our driver stopped at a vantage point to show us the official residence of Timor Leste's president. Used mainly for representative purposes, because Ramos Horta has a private home which he prefers.What our driver did not say, was that this same mansion was once the residence of "the...

    more
  • The president's private home

    The president's official residence is only for representative purposes. President Ramos-Horta lives in a private home built in traditional style. This reminded us of Ho Chi-Minh who also had a traditional house built for himself, which is now a pilgrimage site in Hanoi.The house lies on a turnoff from the road to Christo Rei. The turnoff is guarded...

    more
  • Emptiness of Dili

    It is hard to believe this is the capital of the new nation. There is hardly anything, and this was before a lot was destroyed by the Indonesian army which was controlling the territory it had annexed forcefully.

    more

Dili Sports & Outdoors

  • DSwede's Profile Photo
    Cuttlefish off of K41

    by DSwede Updated Mar 10, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Scuba diving in East Timor is quite good, but very little is known about it in the outside world. I'm a rather experienced diver and have logged several hundred dives in dozens of countries. The diving off of Timor is worth taking your time to try.

    Try to avoid the wet season since the runoff in the rivers will cloud visibility. However even in the wet season, diving sites that are rather removed from the mouths of rivers will still yield good dives.

    The corals are very healthy and the fish life is too. Timor is located along the southern edge of the Coral Triangle, which is the global epicenter for tropical coral life. On the few dives that I logged, we saw sharks, turtles, scorpion fish, orangutan crabs, bat fish, barracuda, dozens of nudibranchs and dozens of different hard corals, soft corals, fans and sponges.

    As of this posting, all diving in Timor is beach access. Be prepared to walk into the water with equipment on and do your surface intervals and equipment changes on the shore.

    Equipment: Bring your own if you will be staying awhile, otherwise the rental of gear is relatively inexpensive in Timor.

    Cost of each dive with transportation and gear rental is $40, so a two-take day trip will be $80. If you pay credit card, expect a 5% fee.

    I asked around and many local expats recommended "Free Flow Divers". I must say, I had a good experience with them too.

    Related to:
    • Diving and Snorkeling
    • Water Sports

    Was this review helpful?

    more

Dili Favorites

See all 4 Favorites in Dili
  • Internet Access

    If you are traveling with your own laptop, WiFi is always gaining popularity. Many hotels and cafes offer WiFi in Dili. A popular spot on the weekend is the Esplanade Cafe (near the Japanese Embassy).However if you are traveling without a laptop, internet cafe options are more limited and a lot more costly.Tiger Fuel (on Comoro Ave) offers 24-hr...

    more
  • Dili harbour

    The harbour was sadly empty before the referendum - it seemed the whole nation was holding its breath. This was weeks before the Indonesian army slashed and burned so much of the country as they made there way out of decades of occupation.

    more
  • View of Dili

    Dili is such a small city, and yet it is the capital of this desolate country. This is where most discoveries start, and it is immediately off the beaten path, as few are those who travel here.

    more

Instant Answers: Dili

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

72 travelers online now

Comments

 
Explore Deeper into Dili
Overland to/from Indonesia (Kupang)
Transportation
Ferry to Atauro
Transportation
Cristo Ray
Things to Do
Quiet Dili harbour
Off The Beaten Path
POST office!
Favorites
Busses to other towns
Transportation
Map of Dili

View all Dili hotels