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  • Overview

    Charming, beautiful and off the beaten track, East Timor is the perfect setting for unforgettable adventures. Its beaches, forests, coral reefs and colonial towns are beyond enchanting.

    Colonised by Portugal in the 18th century, East Timor declared independence in 1975, only to be invaded and occupied by Indonesia nine days later. The country's road to sovereignty has indeed been a bumpy ride.

    Today, its tourism infrastructure is not highly developed, though East Timor is maturing as a destination. Visitors can look forward to hiking through jungles, diving hardly touched reefs, and exploring misty mountain villages.

    The Cristo Rei is one of East Timor's more famous landmarks and, standing at 89-feet (27m), one of the world's tallest statues of Christ. Beyond the capital, Dili, visitors will find a mysterious and intensely beautiful land, where empty beaches become tropical forests, and mountains reach down to the water's edge. East Timor is at its best just after the wet season from late April to July.

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    English Pronounciation

    Hot and humid year round, East Timor has a tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. The wet season, between December and April, has average temperatures of between 84°F (29°C) and 95°F (35°C), and the dry season, between May and November, averages between 68°F (20°C) and 91°F (33°C). The best time to visit East Timor is between May and July, when the weather is at its most pleasant and the conditions are excellent for scuba diving.

    Money:

    The US Dollar is the official currency of East Timor. The country's limited banking system will not exchange Pounds Sterling cash or, in many cases, Euros, credit cards are of little use outside of major hotels, and ATMs are hard to find in Dili. Banks, credit card facilities and ATMs are very limited outside the capital. Travellers should bring small notes when exploring the districts, as large denominations are hard to change. Notes older than 2009 are usually rejected.

    Language:

    The two official languages of East Timor are Portuguese and Tetum.

    Electricity:

    Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Plugs are generally of the twin round-pin or twin flat-prong variety.

    Entry Requirements:

    US nationals: US citizens must have a passport valid for six months beyond the date of their arrival in East Timor, and must obtain a tourist visa on arrival (if not arriving at the airport visas must be arranged in advance).

    UK nationals: British citizens must have a passport valid for six months beyond the date of their arrival in East Timor, and must obtain a tourist visa on arrival (if not arriving at the airport visas must be arranged in advance). Visa's are valid for 30 days and cost 30 USD. Tourist visa's can be extended up to a total of 90 days for a fee.

    CA nationals: Canadian citizens must have a passport valid for six months beyond the date of their arrival in East Timor, and must obtain a tourist visa on arrival (if not arriving at the airport visas must be arranged in advance). Visa's are valid for up to 30 days and cost 35 USD.

    AU nationals: Australian citizens must have a passport valid for six months beyond the date of their arrival in East Timor, and must obtain a tourist visa on arrival (if not arriving at the airport visas must be arranged in advance). Visa's are valid for up to 30 days, and there is a charge of 30 USD on arrival.

    ZA nationals: South African citizens must have a passport valid for six months beyond the date of their arrival in East Timor, and must obtain a tourist visa on arrival (if not arriving at the airport visas must be arranged in advance). Tourist visa's valid for up to 30 days are available for a fee.

    IR nationals: Irish citizens must have a passport valid for six months beyond the date of their arrival in East Timor, and must obtain a tourist visa on arrival (if not arriving at the airport visas must be arranged in advance). Tourist visa's valid for up to 30 days are available for a fee.

    NZ nationals: New Zealand citizens must have a passport valid for six months beyond the date of their arrival in East Timor, and must obtain a tourist visa on arrival (if not arriving at the airport visas must be arranged in advance). Tourist visa's valid for up to 30 days are available for a fee.

    Passport/Visa Note:Visa:

    All visitors to East Timor require a passport valid for six months beyond the date of entry, and a visa. Travellers arriving by air can apply for a 30-day tourist visa on arrival for a fee of 30 USD. Travellers arriving by land should apply in advance for a Visa Application Authorisation. Visa's on arrival at the land border with Indonesia are no longer available.

    Travel Health:

    Visitors to this exotic country should protect themselves from mosquito bites, as there is a risk of malaria in certain areas and during certain times of year. Safety measures include covering up, using insect repellent, staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations and taking antimalarial medication. Vaccinations are recommended for hepatitis A, hepatitis B and typhoid; a yellow fever vaccination is required for all travellers arriving from yellow fever infected areas.

    Safety Information:

    Though most visits to East Timor are trouble-free, travellers should note that robbery and gang-related violence are common. Road conditions and safety are poor throughout the country for reasons that include narrow, winding mountain roads, flashfloods during the rainy season, and poorly maintained roads. There is no recent history of terrorism but attacks can't be ruled out.

    East Timor