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Welcome to the The Government of Timor-Leste
Portuguese Tetum
Welcome to the The Government of Timor-Leste

Travel Guide: Beyond DILI

|Baucau | Maubisse | Los Palos | Oecusse | Atauro |


Timor Leste’s second largest town is a spectacular three hour drive from Dili along the coast via Manatuto. With a cool climate and outstanding beaches, nearby Baucau is an essential stop on any trip eastwards. The country’s first Hospitality training facility, the Pousada de Baucau, has recently opened. Boasting excellent accommodation, high service standards and an emphasis on quality food, this spectacularily “pink palace” is well worth a visit.

The beach at Baucau is a deserted haven that offers cool ocean breezes, fantastic camping under the shade of the palm trees and phenomenal sunsets. After the drive down from Baucau simply follow the road left until you reach the Portuguese ruins.

From Baucau you can also cut across the island and head for Viqueque. This region was once an important source of sandalwood and teak and the remaining forests are lush and dense due to the high amounts of rainfall that the area receives. Journeys can be difficult during the wet season so be sure to take travel advice before you set out.



The view from Maubisse
Maubisse and Aileu are old hill towns that are an easy day trip from the heat of Dili. This region is the main coffee growing area of Timor Leste. Between the periods of June and September it’s possible to witness the coffee harvest and its processes. At Maubisse the former government rest house, now known as the Pousada, has been converted into a hotel. With 360 degree views, spectacular mountain scenery and cool weather, this is an absolute must for any visitor to Timor Leste.


You can also use Maubisse as a base for walking up Mount Ramelau. To do this, drive to Hatobuilico, which is at the base of the mountain. The drive takes about 45 minutes. The walk up the forested slopes, takes around 3 hours to reach the summit which offers fantastic views that stretch from Ata‘uro in the north, all the way to the South coast. The forest on the plateau just before the summit offers protection against the worst of the elements if you are camping overnight. With its petrified trees and early morning mist the magical feeling of being at the top of Timor Leste is simply fantastic. Be sure to pack wet weather gear and to take water if you are climbing Mount Ramelau.


The district of Manufahi’s capital, Same, offers a fantastic base for exploring the South Coast of East Timor. The people here are friendly and accomodating while the natural beauty of the area is outstanding. With its villages surrounded by tall forests and dense vegetation Same has a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere with a fantastic climate.

Western style accomodation on the South coast is very limited at the moment so be sure to pack some form of camping equipment before you leave Dili. You can travel on towards the West arriving in the District of Cova Lima or head East towards Viqueque. Please be aware that bad weather can make some of these routes impassable during the wet season, sometimes for several days, ask for travel advice from the local police stations along the way if you are in doubt.

Los Palos

The Los Palos Lake

This region in the East is totally unspoilt. With fantastic beaches, pristine coral reefs and the National Park of Jaco Island, this area calls out for those who love the sea. In addition, the rugged landscape will delight visitors. The rural communities here are already experienced in helping visitors.

For those interested in the cultural past of Timor Leste, Los Palos has a whole host of interesting features. Cave paintings have been found near Lautem.

There are also stone sarcophagi and many animist shrines to be found in the area. The area is also a haven for many of the island’s 25 protected species of birds including eagles, ospreys and the barn owl.


Surrounded on three sides by West Timor, this isolated former Portuguese coastal enclave is politically part of Timor Leste. Pantemakassar, the capital, was the first permanent Portuguese settlement in Timor. The first Portuguese landing place is five kilometers west of the capital at Lifau, where a monument marks the spot. About 1.5 kilometers from Pantemakassar is the old hilltop of Fatusuba, offering wonderful views. Local religious festivals are held at the shrine here. The easiest way to travel to Oecussi is by the new ferry service.


The view of Ata'uro
The island of Ata’uro is a short trip from Dili and the journey is well worth it. The island has a very relaxed atmosphere and an unspoilt environment. The island is visible from Dili and there are a great variety of ways to travel there. You can choose a sailing charter, a diving charter or fishing charter with Dive Loro Sae. Currently there is an eco-tourism site being developed so it is possible to stay overnight, although accommodation is basic. Visitors to Ata’uro frequently report being accompanied during the journey by schools of dolphins and whales!