"Yes, Tourists do come to Timor" Top 5 Page for this destination East Timor by DSwede

East Timor Travel Guide: 195 reviews and 482 photos

When doing my research and talking to friends and family about coming to East Timor, most things raised the same question, "why?". There have been numerous travel advisories from governmental agencies and headlines bringing East Timor into the forefront as a cautionary tale against the recreational traveler for the last few decades.

As I was crossing the last border from Indonesia (overland from Kupang), even the immigration officers were suspicious of the fact that I was a tourist. They insisted on seeing my support letters and papers, believing that I was with the UN, military, police, etc. Thankfully, they were good spirited and just thought that I was having some fun with them, but stamped my passport as a tourist nonetheless.

I knew that there was a working population of outsiders, but as I made it to the capital city of Dili, I was surprised to see just how many foreigners had made Timor into their home. Despite the fact that some people are much more transient and other are "lifers", there are thousands of expats in East Timor. There is a large population of UN, foreign military and police, medical aids and doctors, NGO's as well as countless other philanthropic volunteers.

When crossing paths with these foreigners, they too continued the quizzical looks that the immigration officers started. They often stopped, re-focused and asked me to repeat the fact that I was a tourist. Many had been there for years, maybe even decades and could count the number of tourists they'd met on one hand.

I spent about a week in the environs of Dili, then about a week on a motorcycle exploring the fringes, stopping in places like Baucau, Tutuala, Manatuto and Com to name a few.

(for more pictures, feel free to visit my East Timor Gallery. If you enjoy the pictures, please leave a comment.)

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful conopies of jungle, beautiful coves and no tourists.
  • Cons:Accommodation is over priced due to the expat services communities
  • In a nutshell:The infrastructure is a bit lacking, but the beauty of the land makes the adventure worthwhile.
  • Intro Updated Sep 25, 2011
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (11)

Comments (9)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Nov 21, 2014 at 1:17 AM

    Close to home but have never thought of going there. I've really enjoyed reading and seeing photos of what it is like. Thanks for the interesting tour!

    • DSwede's Profile Photo
      Nov 23, 2014 at 4:05 PM

      That's exactly why I went! Saw some photos long ago and I remembered the movie "Balibo" so thought I should check it out. Well that, and I'm drawn to less traveled and more obscure places. Glad you enjoyed my pages!

  • mircaskirca's Profile Photo
    Sep 6, 2011 at 11:50 AM

    Exploring East Timor by motorcycle sounds like a great option to see the island. And love these Dong Son-style houses! They somehow remind of the houses in Tana Toraja, Sulawesi. I do wish to go back to Indonesia some day!

  • himmi's Profile Photo
    Sep 20, 2010 at 10:01 PM

    dear dave, This warning /caution is very helpful for new travelers like me. And road danger too are helpful. thankyou :) hammad

  • TwinkleC's Profile Photo
    May 3, 2010 at 9:25 AM

    Hi there! I plan to move there and I found your tips on East Timor really helpful! What is the malaria and dengue fever situation like? I will be living in Dili with a toddler. Any advice will be greatly appreciated! THank you.

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Mar 30, 2010 at 7:18 AM

    Talk about taking the path less traveled!! Great info. here and I like your observation about how ubiquitous the goats are here. I assume people were friendly too! Nice page!

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Mar 22, 2010 at 4:43 AM

    Wow... East Timor is a less travelled country. Thanks for sharing your great adventure here - travelling 12 hours land ride. Cheers, SL :)

  • Yiannis2000's Profile Photo
    Mar 20, 2010 at 5:56 AM

    So good that u enjoyed my beloved Timor as a tourist, i also enter often from W. Timor... Crocs are indeed dangerous but not all over the coasts of Timor...

  • black_mimi99's Profile Photo
    Mar 14, 2010 at 9:10 PM

    Diak Kalae Dave (How are you Dave?) It Seem you have a great time here Dave....^_^, I left Timor in 2005, so almost 5 years ago! And see your page of Timor remind my visit there for 2 years...

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Mar 13, 2010 at 12:34 PM

    Hello, Mr.World Tourist! Good for you! You've been there! Great trip! ><><><


“What I lack in experience, I make up for in curiosity”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 1 9 1
Forum Rank:
0 0 0 8 4

Badges & Stats in East Timor

  • 47 Reviews
  • 34 Photos
  • 10 Forum posts
  • 3,239PageViews
  • 5 Cities

Have you been to East Timor?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in East Timor

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (5)