Air access  Air North flies to Dili, East Timor, from Darwin, Australia, twice a day. The flight takes one and a half hours and costs AU$596- $796 (US$356-475 at the time of writing). If you’re travelling from North America or Europe, consider combining a few days in northern Australia with a stay in East Timor. Merpati, the Indonesian airline, flies daily from Denpasar, Bali.

Documents   US citizens should check with the US Department of State for visa requirements to transit Australia and Indonesia. No separate visas are required for East Timor, but passports must be valid for six months beyond the intended date of departure. Australian citizens should check with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (see Links).

Climate  East Timor has two seasons, dry and wet. The dry season runs from May to November and is at its driest on the northern coast, which becomes quite parched. Rains during the wet season can be torrential and flooding is frequent. The nicest time to visit is May through July, when the hills and fields are green and the temperatures comfortable.


°C 27.1 26.9 26.8 26.6 26.4 25.3 24.8 24.2 24.8 26.2 27.2 27.3
°F 80.8 80.4 80.2 79.9 79.5 77.5 76.6 75.6 76.6 79.2 81.0 81.1

Money  East Timor’s currency is the US dollar. Credit cards are accepted only at some of the major hotels and a few restaurants in Dili. Travellers cheques may only be cashed at the Australian ANZ and Portuguese Banco Nacional Ultramarine (BNU) outlets in Dili (and only in Dili). The ANZ outlet also has East Timor’s sole ATM machine, which is only as reliable as the power supply (read: not). Travellers are advised to arrive with US dollars in cash, which can generally be safely left in a hotel safe. Transfers may also be made via Western Union, which has an outlet in Dili.

Accommodation  Dili has some great hotels (see links) at every price level. There are really only two other bona fide hotels in the country, at Baucau and at Com. But plenty of creative options are available if you don’t insist on luxury, and these range from guest houses to convents. The catch is that few of them have phones, far less email, so you just have to arrive and take your chances. Camping is permitted but get permission before you set up if the site is near a village or a private home .

Telephone  East Timor is presently switching over from the Australian network communications to one of its own, including both land and mobile lines. The country code will remain 670.

Internet  As at December 2002, public access to the internet was available only in Dili.

Health  East Timor is prone to many of the health risks present in most Southeast Asian countries, especially malaria and dengue fever during the rainy seasons. Check with your physician and at the Center for Disease Control.

Security  Petty crime is present in East Timor and visitors should take the usual precautions against pickpocketing and theft. There have been a few isolated uprisings and demonstrations in different parts of the country over the past two years, especially in the area near the border with West Timor - ask around in Dili before you leave town.

Driving and Road Safety  Traffic operates on the left-hand side of the road. Cars and motorcycles are available for rent in Dili through Thrifty, Dili Rentals or a number of the larger hotels. Gas is available throughout the country but instead of being pumped by an attendant, it’s sold in jerry cans at roadside stalls. With the exception of the main arteries to Baucau and Batugade, the roads are rough - only 428km/268 miles are paved of a total of 3,800km/2375 miles. Mountain roads are steep and winding and are used as much by pedestrians (and their animals) as by vehicles. Flooding is common during the rainy season, when parts of the country can be cut off for days at a time by swollen rivers. Taxis are plentiful in Dili. Mikrolets (mini-vans) are the main form of public transportation throughout the country - they’re very cheap but often spectacularly overcrowded.

Time  GMT +8 hours. EST (New York) +14 hours

Electricity  220V, 50 Hz. Australian three-pronged plugs are fairly standard. The power supply throughout the country is erratic.

Embassies  It's good idea to register with your country's embassy in Dili upon arrival, if there is one.

Australia: Avenida dos Mátires da Pátria, Dili, East Timor
tel +670 (390) 322 111     fax +670 (390) 323 615

Great Britain: Avenida do Portugal, Dili, East Timor
tel +670 (390) 723 1606

United States: Avenida do Portugal, Dili, East Timor
tel +670 (390) 324 684     fax +670 (390) 313 206

Canadians should register with the Australian Embassy in Dili or with the Canadian Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia at
Tel: +62 (021) 2550 7800    fax +62 (021) 2550 7811