Top 6 Things You Must Do in Timor-Leste

Timor-Leste might be rarely on travelers’ bucket list because of this country not so well-known in the world. But trust me, once you visit this country, you may want to rethink to visit it again on the next year.

These top 6 things must do while you are in Timor-Leste as a traveler, wanderer, adventurer and/or explorer. Why not as a tourist? Because a tourist who loves to shop, take a selfie, go to a nightclub, and buy souvenirs will not even survive in a day here. Well, Timor-Leste surely has tourist spots, but only a few.

Anyway, we tried to make it as ‘7 things’, but we could only figure it out until number 6. Check this out.

1. Visit the Iconic Cristo Rei Statue

This is top of the top things you must do in Timor-Leste. This is the iconic statue and easy to reach out, so you can’t be missed it!

Cristo Rei statue

How to get there

Follow the map. The roadmap at Dili is the simplest one, so the possibility of getting lost is lower than 1%. The best way to reach Cristo Rei is from Cristo Rei beach, Dili. It has another way in from Dolok Oan beach, but the stairs might be a little bit more exhausted than Cristo Rei beach.

Prepare your stamina and check your physic condition, because you have to climb up the stairs for 30 minutes at a slow pace. No too many, but it sure is exhausting.

Best time to get there

In the early morning to see the sunrise, or in the evening before sunset.

Cristo Rei sunrise beach
Sunrise at Cristo Rei

Cost

None. There is no entry fee to go to Cristo Rei Statue. Not even a parking fee.

2. Have A Road Trip

Timor-Leste is too small if you just stay at Dili. Why not rent a car to have a road trip to Baucau, Maubara or Maubisse? They all have an incredible view of hills and ocean along the road. Or if you are a budget traveler like us, rent a motorbike. It’s worth the money you spend.

To Baucau Timor
On the way to Baucau

How to rent a car or a motorbike

We rent a motorbike from Taltabi Motor Rentals. They can drop off and pick up delivery at your hotel. The staff also friendly.

Cost

USD 15/day for a motorbike.

3. Explore the Beach

While having a road trip, don’t hesitate to stop and look around. You may not know what kind of beach you’ll discover. Timor-Leste has many beaches, not very often visited by people, and it’s for free!

Where to go

Cristo Rei, Dolok Oan, Hera, Behau, Tibalau, Black Rock (it’s a restaurant but they have a nice beach view)

Cost

Petrol only.

4. Watch a Panoramic Sunset at Av. de Portugal

Av. de Portugal is a beach street and an area mostly for embassies (United States Embassy is the hugest among others!). There are also cafes and restaurants for you can relax and chill while watching the sunset. Or you can just sit on the coast, looking at Timorese people having fun in the afternoon, and then you finally realized that your gadget is not important at the moment.

Ave Portugal Castaway
Sunset at Av. de Portugal

Recommended Café

Cast Away Bar, Letefoho Specialty Coffee Roaster, Nautilus Waterfront

5. Museum Visit

I know, it sounds boring to visit a museum while having a holiday. Timor-Leste became the first new sovereign state of the 21st century on 20 May 2002, so perhaps you want to know their history deeper because while strolling around the city you wonder why there are signs with Bahasa Indonesia and Portuguese but the local language is Tetun.

Arquivo Museu da Resistencia Timorense
Archives and Museum of East Timorese

Where to go

Archives & Museum of East Timorese is a small history museum and it has a mini theatre for visualization.

Cost

USD 1/person for tourist, USD 0.5/person for the student.

6. Exercise A Lot

If you are having a meal at the local restaurant, you might be surprised by the portion of the white rice. If you are on a diet, you can easily order for a half portion. But if you are not, don’t worry because apparently people in Dili and any other area in Timor-Leste like to exercise in the morning or in the afternoon. You will see people wearing sports in the morning at Cristo Rei statue, or people are playing football on the shore in the afternoon. After having a big meal, burnt that fat easily with the locals. Timor-Leste people are kind and friendly for sure 🙂

Ave Portugal
Afternoon at Av. de Portugal

Where to go

Cristo Rei Statue, Cristo Rei beach, Av. de Portugal, Dolok Oan Beach, or city park.

Writer’s note: This article is based on the trip in 2018. If there are any other ideas, please let us know for updates.

Thank you for reading. Happy traveling!

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