Batugade is a logical place for a fort, only 2.5 km from the border with West-Timor. The fort was built by the Portuguese in 1655, now it is crumbling and overgrown. Within the walls a fairly spacious compound with a few ruines of buildings. Some people live in sheds within the walls and greet the few visitors. Most peculiar detail in our opinion: the fort was not built of rock but of coral - see one of the pictures, detail of a wall of the square building.
Batugade itself is a sleepy place: a church and a few houses at the T-crossing in the road. Coming from Dili one can turn right to the border or left inland to Balibo, Maliana and Bobonaro. As yet no restaurant or souvenir shops to serve tourists like at Maubara fort.
This deserted recreation beach near Liquica is called "Praia da Memoria", but our guide could not explain why. We wanted to have a swim here on our return from Maliana, but when we passed by again it was already dark.
At Liquica town square we saw this unfinished monument "in honour of the heroes of the independence" facing an old Portuguese mansion. At a government office people were queuing for social security benefits.
A shallow freshwater lake near the coast with eerie dead trees. People don't bathe here because there are crocodiles, according to our guide. When someone meets a crocodile, it is probably because he has done something wrong. The crocodile shows up to warn him that he has to make amends. The person will plead: "grandmother, please don't eat me". He calls the crocodile grandmother because according to a popular legend it was a crocodile who transformed into the island Timor and so provided the people with a place to live.
Also near Atabae there is a site where people make salt from seawater. Elsewhere we have seen them let the water evaporate in large ponds. Here they filter the water in a mud bed, then boil it off on a fire of palm leaf ribs.
There is another salt-making site closer to Dili, just about 15 km west of Dili (past the Pope statue).
Near Atabae the land is flat and fishermen live in hovels close to the coast. They try to sell their catch displaying it at the roadside.
We asked for the name of this long fish, and they said: "tuna", which made us wonder. Later we asked another Timorese about it, and he said: tuna happens to be the local name for an eel fish.
We could not buy fish on our trip, but the people were eager to be photographed, including the children.
The road from Dili along the coast to West-Timor is very scenic. Parts hug the beach where one can swim, parts wind through hills where one overlooks the sea. There are also several historic sites along the route (see following tips).
We made the trip twice, once a tour with Eco-Discovery to Balibo and Maliana, two days later with a minibus ("travel") of Timortravel to the border and on to Kupang. Of course with the minibus one cannot stop at interesting spots.
The road was asphalted during the Indonesian occupation, also the steel bridges were built in that time. Our guide told that the militias failed to destroy them in 1999 because they did not obtain explosives on time. They did succeed in destroying the electric power lines along the road and these have not been replaced yet.
It is usually referred to as the Portuguese fort, but according to Wikipedia it was built in the 17th century by the Dutch and later traded with the Portuguese for the island of Flores.
Actually only the walls remain. No ancient buildings inside them, instead a newly built restaurant that was not yet operational when we visited. Two old cannons on the seaward corners still point threateningly to possible invaders. Is the coat of arms on them Dutch or Portuguese? We cannot tell.
Below the fort, on the beach are a few souvenir stalls selling handicraft. And under the road lies a well pertaining to the fort; the road has been built over it.
According to our Eco-discovery guide Aipelo prison was used by the Portuguese to incarcerate Timorese who rebelled against forced labour and those who just could not pay their taxes.
Presumably dating from th 19th century, the buildings are now in ruins. The site is surrounded by a low wall, which one has to climb over to approach the ruins. There is one thick-walled main building and some minor ones, all roofless. Locals grow corn in the grounds.
The ruins are located on the coast. A signboard evidently was put up during the Indonesian occupation, as it says: "Propinsi Timor-Timur".
Timor Leste has beautiful seas. Corals can be seen even when the water is at hip level.
Diving hre will be wonderful. However, please do nature a favour by keeping the seas clean and the corals alive. Think of it as sharing the beauty with the next taveler after you.
most pple drives out of dili (rich locals and foreginers). poor foreigners like us travel by local bus hehe... scary turns, sudden brakes, loud timorese musik, polite men and loud local ibu were the order of the day....
we travelled to baucau, second largest town in Timor Leste..abt 3 hrs by bus , usd$2 ;-)
take from becora terminal.
The best beaches are in the north side of the island. The south part is very rocky.
Tutuala in the Eastern part of the island is the best beach in the entire island. The Dolar Beach (35 Km from Dili) is a white sand beach, good for swimming, despite the strong currents during the low tide. You have to pay 1 USD to enter the beach, that's the reason of the name.
Note: Accordingly to VT heliopinto you don't have to pay anymore to visit this beach (since 2004).
Beaches aroud the capital Dili are good as well, some of them have restaurants near them.
The toilets are composting toilets. They do not require the use of any machinery, it’s just a ventilation system. In two years time, the contribution of human waste that tourists make, can be used in gardens for fruit trees.
At Tua Koin, bathrooms are shared among travellers of every 3 cabins instead of having individual bathrooms, as water consumption would be higher for cleaning, etc. With limited budget, they could only afford economical means. They then decided to use the water system of a dipper (you can’t both soap and use water), hence restricting the use of water naturally.
The water they use at Tua Koin is from a spring up in the mountain. Water is recycled too. How? From the bathrooms, there is a reed bed, which clears some of the soap and chemicals out of it, and then it is used for watering plants and trees around the place.
At Tua Koin, waste management is an important issue. And how do they do it?
Influx of tourists would mean increase in waste. A recycling programme was thus implemented whereby waste is seperated into reusable bottles, recyclable cans, food scraps, and other non-biodegradable wastes. Bottles and cans are collected and brought to Dili for sale. And food scraps will go to chickens and pigs.
Avenida Presidente Nicolau Lobato, Dili, East Timor
Good for: Couples
Av. Direitos Humanos, Lecidere, Dili, East Timor
Good for: Couples
Av dos Direitos Humanos, Lecidere, Dili, East Timor
Good for: Couples