An Unexplored Land
Not ready for maistream tourism, dangerous these days
A little country with a big heart facing a new invader
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
Avenida Presidente Nicolau Lobato, Dili, East Timor
Good for: Couples
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
If you have flown to Dili, you can take the ferry for a side-trip to the enclave Oecusse. But we started out in Indonesia, so we tried the route overland from Kupang via Kefamenanu to the border and Pante Makasar on the Oecusse coast.Once in Kefa - by bus or otherwise - one has to proceed to the pasar lama where one can get on a minibus or ojeg to...more
Unlike in Dili, the destruction wrought by the militias in 1999 is still visible everywhere in Oecusse. All buildings constructed during the Indonesian occupation from 1975 to 1999 have been throughly burnt, only the brick walls left standing. Some historic buildings were destroyed too for good measure.Schools and a medical clinic (puskesmas in...more
Be sure to bring enough money to Oecusse, USD in small notes. There is no ATM and the one bank office serves local customers only. USD 50 p.p. a day will do: accommodation USD 15, food USD 15, transport USD 10 (an ojeg ride in town costs USD 1, the same for a microlet ride out of town), reserve USD 10.more
Tutuala does not have the modern conveniences of most towns.Water:There is no running water in the entire village. The installation of plumbing and bathroom fixtures in the Pousada de Tutuala was simply done in anticipation of when running water may grace the town. All of the villagers must walk down to the base of the hill about 1.5km away and...more
These style homes, known as Dong Son, are found only in the eastern-most Tutuala District.These structures are very tall, elongated from the base on stilts. There are some more popular ones along the main roads, however the smaller villages and side roads will have examples too. Just keep your eyes open.They are odd looking, being much more tall...more
Leneara Caves and the Ilikerekere Caves are well hidden in the jungle overgrowth. There are no sign posts, nor trail head markers, therefore you must hire a local guide. You may negotiate this from anywhere between $7 and $20 depending on your bartering skills.The caves are formidable in size and offer many ancient petroglyphs dating back thousands...more
Located in the heart of the old town, this cafe is accessible by foot from just about anywhere, so it location is key.Also, it has a nice back deck that provides you with a nice view of the mountain slope and gives you a refreshing breeze to cool off by. The local foods are all great. They have boiled fish, grilled fish and lots of other local...more
This restaurant was pointed out to me by a couple of local UN workers who had been staying in Baucau for months. The restaurant lived up to their words and gave me a great meal.The menu has lots of local dishes as well as a couple western ones. The owner spoke a bit of English and was quite polite and helpful. The local dishes of noodles and fish...more
After leaving Dili, traveling in East Timor becomes a much more "cash-only" destination. Baucau may be your best and last chance to get cash before heading further East or South into the more remote corners of the island.There is a ANZ Bank in Baucau with a fully functional ATM that accepts foreign cards. To get there, any local should be able to...more
While roaming the streets of Manatuto, I was fortunate to meet a Portuguese man who lived there for about 10 years as a teacher. He was quite pleasant to talk to and pointed me in direction of this restaurant.
The food and presentation was simple enough, but I was pleased and left satisfied.
Favorite Dish: The fish and noodles are best.
Some of the most exciting rock climbing is to be found in Baguia.
Locally you can see the swordmakers who fashion replicas of old Dutch and Portuguese swords from scrap metal and make an almost perfect copy - right down to the date using primitive techniques. These can be used as part of a bride price
During my drive along the north coast of Timor, there were no shortages of empty beaches and coves. Among them, I found this particular beach to be the best. The beach was about 2km long and I did not see another person, nor even see a car pass the road for over two hours.The sand is soft and clean. The water is warm and visibility is great. There...more
At the far east edge of town, there is the remains of the old Portuguese House. Back when Timor was a Portuguese colony, the Portuguese could be found at various places on the island to help facilitate trade, administration, etc.Just a few minutes walk past the Com pier, past what I have named "Goat Beach", you can find the foundations and walls of...more
The people in Com live modest lives and they survive mostly with the income earned from the few "tourists" that come to town. I use that word loosely because most are expats from Dili who come to relax for the weekend.There are half a dozen ladies on the street selling TAIS. If you wish, haggle for a good price and share so of those hard earned...more
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