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Diving and Snorkelling

East Timor has kilometre after kilometre of pristine coral reefs, offering some of the best diving in the world. There are several diving companies running scuba safaris to sites in Dili, Atauro Island, Manatuto District, Tutuala and Jaco Island.

East Timor’s reefs are home to a vast diversity of marine creatures, from turtles to whales sharks and dazzling shoals of colourful tropical fish.

Read more about the fantastic diving and snorkelling opportunities off the coast of East Timor.

Mountain Biking

The rugged mountain territory in Oecussi provides some fantastic mountain biking trails where you can challenge yourself on difficult terrain.

The annual Tour de Timor is a mountain bike road race that will take you through nine of East Timor’s 13 districts. The race is a great opportunity to savour the sights and sounds of East Timor from a two-wheeler and is open to all participants. A highlight of the event is the four nights of the race spent in traditional villages, combining the sporting challenge with a cultural experience.

Four-wheel Driving

Rent a four-wheel drive to explore Jaco Island, situated on the eastern tip of East Timor. The scenery is sensational, with colourful paddy fields and white sand beaches.

Or drive through the Ramelau range and visit the 1900 metre high village of Hatobuilico. From there you can start the popular walking trek up Mount Ramelau, which stands 2,986 metres above sea level.


The most suitable time for trekking in Timor is during the dry season, which starts in March and runs through until November.

As a visitor trekking in Timor, whether you are in the Matebean or Ramelau mountains, Oecussi enclave or on Atauro Island you will need to hire a guide and buy accommodation and food. This greatly assists in rebuilding the local economy.

A local guide knows the language, terrain and hazards, and are likely to share some of their culture and local stories with you. Most importantly, if you get into trouble, your guide will be able to call for help quickly.

Visit Discover Dili for in-depth information.


The standard diet of a Timorese family consists of rice and green vegetables, which you will have no trouble in finding; however, international delights await those who are willing to splurge, with authentic Indonesian, Chinese and Portuguese dishes available.

Many restaurants in Dili serve Western cuisine, and are well-frequented by the foreigners living and working in East Timor. Local signature dishes are fried fish and chicken curries.

Refer to Discover Dili for a brief listing.


Two main things you must bring home are coffee and ‘tais’ (traditional hand-woven clothes), which can be found at local markets or roadside stalls.

The coffee of East Timor is dark and excellent and can be found at reasonable prices in any convenience store or some roadside stalls.

Tais are particularly special as the design varies from region to region and an expert can even tell which family they are made from. In Dili, the best place to find tais is the tais market, where you also can buy local silver jewelry.


The best variety of nightlife in East Timor can be found in the capital city of Dili, due to the large number of foreigners working there.

Nightlife in Dili ranges from a few discos to pool bars and live music bars. There are also many bars at the beaches near Dili. Most are open late and serve food as well as drinks.

Refer to Discover Dili for a brief listing.