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Best Places to Visit in East Timor

East Timor is a fascinating location known for its rich culture and stunning beaches that have escaped the ravages of tourism. East Timor became a country in 2002, making it one of the world’s youngest countries – however it remains heavily influenced by Portuguese and Indonesian influences. If you’re searching for a tropical adventure location that’s not too far off the beaten path, East Timor is the place to go. Because signs are scarce once you leave the country’s single large city, the best way to tour the nation is with an experienced driver. Despite the fact that the region is largely stable, you should nevertheless drive with caution and be aware of your surroundings. Here are the best places to visit in East Timor.

Best Places to Visit in East Timor


Best Places to Visit in East Timor | Dili

Dili, East Timor’s largest city, is home to new restaurants, textile shops, fruit markets, and seafood booths, all nestled amidst thatch roofed dwellings. During migration season, you can savor freshly cooked fish on Dili’s beaches, sip a coconut, and watch whales swim along the coast. Dili scuba diving is reputed to be excellent all year, with a variety of corals, blue moray eels, trevally, scorpion fish reef sharks, and other marine life.

The majority of directions in Dili are based on Cristo Rei, a 27-meter-tall statue of Jesus Christ that stands over the city. Cristo Rei is the world’s second-largest statue of Jesus Christ. The effort required to trek up to Cristo Rei while in Dili is well worth the panoramic views of the city and the sea.

Atauro Island

the best places to visit in East Timor | Atauro Island

This is one of the coolest natural wonders,¬†Atauro Island is 30 kilometers from Dili’s beaches and can only be reached by boat. Here you’ll discover world-class diving, walking routes, and a good chance of seeing the local dolphin pod. In the native language, Atauro means “goat,” so expect to see plenty of them.

Atauro Island served as the local jail throughout both the Portuguese and Indonesian occupations. Its pristine beaches are ideal for snorkeling and diving, while trails leading inland through the cleared jungle lead to bustling settlements known for selling wooden sculpture and crafts.
Traditional fishing with homemade goggles and spear guns can be attempted for a fee.


Baucau has the appearance of being split into two cities. Portuguese colonial architecture can be seen in Old Town, while new buildings with an Indonesian influence may be found in New Town. Pay a visit to the brilliant yellow government building, which used to house the town’s communal market.

Visit Venilale’s beautiful architecture and the caverns made by Japanese forces during WWII on the south side. Swimming in freshwater rivers, exploring natural caverns, and gazing at churning waterfalls may all be found further south in the settlements of Ossu and Viqueque.

Mount Ramelau (Tatamailau)

Mount Ramelau, located in the heart of Timor-Leste and surrounded by undulating hills as far as the eye can see, is the country’s highest peak and a significant pilgrimage site. Climbing to the summit, which is ornamented with an alabaster white figure of the Virgin Mary, is an annual Christian rite.

A big gate marks the start of the hike in Hato Builico, a mountain settlement. You can hire a guide or walk the pretty well-marked path to the top on your own. The best time to visit is between May and November, when the weather is dry.


The Lautem region is one of the best places to visit in East Timor you should not miss. It is a great blend of culture and environment, with a rich bird population, lovely beaches, and cave art. Houses in this region are frequently erected on narrow stilts, almost defying gravity, and are entirely made of thin bamboo, wood, and dried grass.

Because the Lautem is so undeveloped, you’ll almost certainly have the beach or a nature trail to yourself. Visit the beaches of Tutuala and Viqueque and Lospalos for a taste of the region’s delights.



Maubisse is one of East Timor’s most popular vacation destinations, both for international visitors and Dili residents. The town’s single hotel, Pousada de Maubisse, hasn’t been rebuilt since the 1950s and has lovely views.

Expect a fascinating and exciting experience over a luxurious one, as you would anywhere in East Timor. Maubisse is the best town to stay in as a base for active hikers wanting to climb Mt. Ramelau.

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