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).
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.
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.
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 .
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.
at December 2002, public access to the internet was available only in Dili.
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
GMT +8 hours. EST (New York) +14 hours
220V, 50 Hz. Australian three-pronged plugs are fairly standard. The power supply throughout the country is erratic.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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