With the exception of Atauro, Timor-Leste does have estuarine crocodiles around its coast and on the rare cases attacks happen, they are often fatal. Prior to going near the water, it is a sensible precaution to check with the locals whether the area is safe for swimming and if crocodiles have been recently sighted.
It is recommended when hiring a vehicle that you employ a driver unless you are experienced with local Timor-Leste driving conditions. Do buckle up seat belts and if travelling by motorcycle or bicycle wear a helmet. Also please keep your speed down, especially when travelling through villages as children often play near the road. To hire vehicles (including motorcycles) driving licences are required.
Food and Water
Take normal travel precautions when eating food and drinking – Timor-Leste tap water is not safe to drink unless boiled or chemically treated. Bottled water is readily available.
Before visiting Timor-Leste consult your doctor, or travel clinic, regarding vaccinations needed and do bring a good medical kit, as health services are limited, especially in the districts. It is important to take out comprehensive health insurance that covers all your intended activities (e.g. diving, mountain biking) and provides for evacuation if needed.
Dili National Hospital +670 331 0541
Stamford Clinic +670 311 0141 / 331 1209
Bairo Pite Clinic +670 7723 8343
Timor-Leste is a hot and humid country, around 25-35C and the sunshine can be very intense. If arriving from somewhere cooler, it is important to avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water, replacing salt lost from perspiration and limiting activity in the middle of the day as you adapt to the increased temperature. Covering up is also recommended to prevent sunburn.
In Timor-Leste there is a risk of mosquito borne diseases including dengue and to a much lesser extent malaria, especially in the wet season. It is recommended you apply insect repellent and cover up at all times of the day and evening.
Some popular sites for diving, snorkelling and swimming can experience very strong currents and care needs to be taken when in the water as conditions can change quickly.
Before visiting Timor-Leste do check out the recent travel advisory posted by your relevant country. In general Timor-Leste is rated similar to many other South-East Asian countries. That said, do avoid situations where there are crowds gathering or protests and please don’t flash money or leave valuables lying around. In Dili, if heading out after dark, do have a plan to get back to your accommodation as there is poor street lighting and no taxis (unless prearranged). For security reasons it is advised in Timor-Leste you travel with a companion (or guide) and don’t visit isolated areas or travel at night.